An Adjective Measure of Sexual Strategies


According to evolutionary personality theory, variation in sexuality and human mating tendencies may be especially important dimensions of individual differences (Buss, 1991). Differences in sexuality acquire importance from an evolutionary perspective because events that surround reproduction are pivotal in shaping our evolved psychology. Individual differences in sexuality, because of their proximity to reproductive events, are often the targets of selection, have consequences for solutions to the specific adaptive problems of mating, and likely affect the course of current evolution. The complete sexuality lexicon, all terms that have a sexual connotation, is nebulous and indefinite. Virtually any descriptor could be included if used within a sexual context. However, the author’s first stated objective was to explore the relatively neglected domain of sexuality descriptors using a combination of the traditional lexical approach and the theoretical lens of evolutionary personality psychology. As a result, they systematically limited our analysis of the sexuality lexicon to exploring only formal English adjectives that have an explicit sexual connotation in general sexuality references and that a clear majority of people say they completely understand for inclusion in the scale. The Adjective Measure of Sexual Strategies Scale is a list of adjectives relating to sexual strategies, for which participants indicate the degree of accuracy they perceive on a scale of 1-7.


The Sexual Attractiveness scale possessed high internal reliability (α 5 .91) and a high level of temporal reliability, r(49) 5 .92, p , .001. It positively correlated with a measure of Physical Self-Esteem (Phinney & Gough, 1984), r(84) 5 .32, p , .01, providing evidence of convergent validity. In addition, the Sexual Attractiveness scale did not significantly correlate with Social Desirability, nor in the dating couples sample did it relate to an index of General Relationship Satisfaction, providing evidence of discriminant validity. On the other hand, the Sexual Attractiveness scale did not show significant cross-person convergence as evaluated among dating partners. That is, one’s self-ratings of attractiveness did not significantly relate to one’s dating partner’s observer-ratings. Also, one’s self-reported Sexual Attractiveness did not possess discriminant validity in terms of its significant relationship to General Self-Esteem. Thus, overall, the Sexual Attractiveness scale displayed only moderate amounts of construct validity. For full pscyhometri description of all seven subscales, see article:Schmitt, D.P., & Buss, D.M. (2000).  Sexual dimensions of person description:  Beyond or subsumed by the Big Five?  Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 141-177.

Author of Tool:

Schmitt, D.P., & Buss, D.M.

Key references:

Schmitt, D.P., & Buss, D.M. (2000).  Sexual dimensions of person description:  Beyond or subsumed by the Big Five?  Journal of Research in Personality, 34, 141-177.

Primary use / Purpose:

A descriptive measure of individuals’ sexual strategies.