Study: personality impacts sex and number of children

Do you know that story that funny people are luckier in relationships? This may have some truth to it, according to a study published in the scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences .

The survey, carried out by the Queensland University of Technology, analyzed data from 4,500 Australians on sexual and reproductive behavior, and their relationship to personality traits.

The results indicate that having sex more often and having more children is related to certain individual characteristics.

From the national report on Australian sexual behavior, carried out in 2016, on sexual frequency, satisfaction and variety of partners, the university’s researchers selected 3,000 heterosexual men and 1,500 women to compose the research.

After selecting the participants, they were subjected to personality tests of the Big Five type (or five personality traits) in which some individual characteristics are evaluated.

After obtaining all the questionnaires and profiles of the participants, it was time to cross-check the behavioral data.

What changes between men and women?

Few studies have placed special emphasis on aspects of sexual behavior like this – no one knew much about the predominant personality of people who have an intense sex life or those who want a family full of children.

The results were quite different between men and women.

For them, there was a greater variety of spectra related to sexuality and reproduction, that is, those who have more sex and have more children have more diverse combinations, involving characteristics such as extraversion, pleasantness and discipline.

It is more or less as if women prefer men who are more communicative and pleasant to have a conversation with; friendly and responsible people; or those who care about feelings and are organized.

Previous publications, such as studies carried out in 2006, already related extraversion to mating or willingness to start a family. In this case, reinforcing the idea that sociable people find it easier to find company for a movie or party.

In the publication, the combination of extraversion traits and little openness to experiences pointed to a predominance, among men, of low sexual activity and high reproducibility.

This means that those who tend to be less adventurous, but communicate well, have fewer romantic encounters. Despite having a calmer sexual routine, there is a propensity for fatherhood and / or having more children.

But among women, the combinations were quite restricted. Maternity or a larger number of children is related only to those participants with pleasantness traits – imposing, determined, convinced or objective profile reduced the meetings of the participants.

In conclusion, the study indicated that there seems to be a relationship between individual personality traits and sexual behaviors for each biological sex, with the variety of combinations representing reproductive advantages only for men.

Considering only the behavioral and personality factors, women have less sexual variety and propensity to reproduction, since there are few combinations of spectrum related to high sexual behavior.

While they, in general, can be more empathic, energetic, curious or messy. If they are pleasant to talk and friendly, the meetings and the parenting are assured.

The five personality traits

Personality is unique and individualizing. This means that each person will manifest distinct traits and behaviors resulting from heredity (genetics) and the social environment.

Theories of personality traits have helped researchers to relate behaviors and to project individual and collective responses, making the action of individuals better understood – helping scientific studies and even job interviews.

In the Queensland University of Technology study, the Big Five (or five personality traits) was the theory used to analyze participants.

To understand the study, it is worth knowing that the spectra, or characteristics, are evaluated on scales. For example, each person has a degree of extroversion – ranging from absolutely extroverted to nothing extroverted (or introverted).

In addition, the categories talk to each other, where a participant can have one of the high traits, the other low and so on.

The five personality traits, as well as the behaviors that most characterize each one, are:

Openness to new experiences

People who are highly open to experiences are more creative, abstract and imaginative. They handle unexpected situations, news and changes better. The opposite spectrum, on the other hand, relates to reserved people, attached to routine and afraid of the unexpected.

Conscientiousness

People with a high degree of conscientiousness are more organized – in activities and environments – systematic, maintain more rigid routines and are more persistent. People in the opposite spectrum, are more flexible, more adaptable and with ease of abstraction.

Extroversion

Analyzes the person’s behavior towards social groups or other people. It indicates how communicative, active, willing to be a part of the group the person is. In opposition to the spectrum are the most reserved people, comfortable with the isolation and timid – the introverts.

Pleasantness

The spectrum refers to the person’s behavior towards others, such as respect, empathy, receptivity and friendship. The opposite of pleasantness suggests people who are more aggressive and inflexible with the opinion of others.

Neuroticismo

People with a high degree of neuroticism react more to emotions. In general, they respond more instantly to impulses. On the opposite spectrum, there are people who control emotions better or are less emotional.


Although studies on personality and behavior are part of several areas of psychology and social studies – helping to define parameters of profession, consumption and personal interests – the relationship with sexual and reproductive behavior is still not a very deep field.

The study, although recent and limited, opens doors for observations and new research – it may even help to explain the intensity of sexual life.

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