The role of self-control and sociosexual orientation in partner selection: A speed-dating study

Tila M. Pronk (Corresponding author), Johan C. Karremans, Andrew Demetriou, Leander van der Meij, Jaap J.A. Denissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Self-control is a crucial factor in maintaining an established romantic relationship, but its role in relationship formation is understudied. The current study tested whether trait self-control is related to a more selective approach toward romantic partners. Over 4 years, we organized 11 speed-date events at which a total of 342 single, heterosexual participants met potential partners. Our results indicated that there was no main effect of self-control on selectivity. However, there was an interaction between self-control and sociosexual orientation (SOI) in predicting selectivity. Specifically, self-control was positively related to selectivity for people with a restricted SOI (i.e., interested in a long-term, stable relationship). For people with an unrestricted SOI (i.e., interested in a short-term, sexual relationship), however, self-control was related to lower selectivity. Our findings point to the flexibility of self-control in facilitating goal progress, stimulating people to refrain from—or act on—their impulses, depending on their own personal mating goals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue numberXX
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Human mate selection
  • interpersonal attraction
  • mating strategies
  • romantic relationships
  • self-control
  • sociosexual orientation
  • speed-dating

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