Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-3-2023

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Amy Moors


Background Decades of research have found a consistent gender difference in sexuality: men tend to desire short-term and casual relationships, and women desire monogamous relationships (Petersen & Hyde, 2010; Moors et al., 2013). The COVID-19 pandemic provides a context that may shift a person’s desires for sexual activities or types of relationships. Recent research suggests that the pandemic allowed people to reevaluate their intimate lives, including lowered interest in monogamy and increased exploration of sexual activities (Lehmiller et al., 2021; Masterson et al., under review). Method: In the present study, we analyzed data from a national sample of single people in the U.S. as part of The Kinsey Institute’s 2020 annual Singles in America study (N = 2,151; 53.2% heterosexual women; 46.8% heterosexual men). Data were collected in June-August in 2021 when the first series of COVID-19 vaccines became available to the public. Using Chi-Square analysis, we analyzed gender differences across the desire for different types of relationships and the engagement in diverse sexual behaviors when vaccines were available. We predicted that, contrary to previous research, there would be minimal gender difference in sexually diverse behaviors and desire for casual relationships. Results: To compare single heterosexual men’s and women’s interests in different types of relationships and sexual acts, we conducted a series of chi-square analyses. Results show that single heterosexual men reported higher desire for casual (e.g., one-night stands, friends with benefits) and CNM relationships (e.g., polyamory, open relationship) and were less likely to desire monogamous relationships than single heterosexual women, X2(2, N = 2,151)=75.64, pConclusion Although this was inconsistent with our hypotheses, the differences in desire for casual and CNM relationships were small. However, the difference in desire for monogamous relationships was medium-large. Findings reveal decreased gender differences in desired relationship types and sexual behaviors. These findings are important for social psychologists, sex therapists, and individuals pursuing romantic and sexual relationships to understand current trends and diversity in desired relationship types.


Presented at the Spring 2023 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.