The role of personality in sexual and reproductive health



Publication Details

Allen, M. S. (2019). The role of personality in sexual and reproductive health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, Online First 1-6.


Strong evidence suggests that sexual behavior and reproductive success can be predicted by personality traits. Here, I review new studies that have contributed to the understanding of these associations and outline potential avenues for further research. Findings show that extraversion is the most important personality trait in sexual behavior (number of lifetime sexual partners, involvement in casual sex, marital infidelity, condom use, male and female sexual dysfunction, sexual coercion, and sexual harassment) and that neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness are also associated with these outcomes. Extraversion has emerged as the most important personality trait for fertility in men but appears relatively unimportant for fertility in women. Findings for other personality traits are somewhat mixed, probably because of variations in research design, and further prospective studies are recommended to address potential bidirectional associations. Further research is also needed in adolescent samples, in understudied topic areas (e.g., sexually transmitted infections, biomarkers of fertility), and on personality similarity between sexual partners in samples from both poor and developed nations.

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