Promiscuity: Spread the Love

Sex can be a selfless act. Those who are very warm and those who are very cold get around.

By Matthew Hutson, published September 1, 2007 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

People who sleep around are called a lot of things. "Warm" is not typically one of them (although another w word is quite popular). But sex can mean many things for many people, so who's to judge?

Scientists. In a study, Patrick and Charlotte Markey of Villanova and Rutgers universities, respectively, explored the interpersonal meaning of sexual promiscuity by charting personality traits against number of bedmates. Dominance upped the numbers—wallflowers stay sidelined—but a stranger statistic popped up. Those who are very warm and those who are very cold get around more than people in between. The pattern holds for both men and women and manifests in number of playpals for acts ranging from sucking face to doing the deed.

The Markeys suggest that cold people may play the field because they avoid serious relationships and the attendant risk of rejection. Or maybe these heartbreakers just want to have as much fun as possible with no regard for the feelings of others.

But not every Casanova is a cad. According to Patrick, "some people might sleep with multiple partners not because they are selfish but because they view sexual activity as an extremely warm activity and want to share it with others."