Studying the Booty Call

Perhaps apropos yesterday’s post musing over whether “dating” is the appropriate way to describe an adulterous relationship, Michael Munger points us to a forthcoming article in the Journal of Sex Research entitled “The ‘”Booty Call’: A Compromise Between Men’s and Women’s Ideal Mating Strategies.”

I render no judgment on the value of the research of Jonason et alia but find their abstract more amusing than traditional academic fare:

Traditionally, research on romantic and sexual relationships has focused on 1-night stands and monogamous pairs. However, as the result of men and women pursuing their ideal relationship types, various compromise relationships may emerge. One such compromise is explored here: the “booty call.” The results of an act-nomination and frequency study of college students provided an initial definition and exploration of this type of relationship. Booty calls tend to utilize various communication mediums to facilitate sexual contact among friends who, for men, may represent low-investment, attractive sexual partners and, for women, may represent attractive test-mates. The relationship is discussed as a compromise between men’s and women’s ideal mating strategies that allows men greater sexual access and women an ongoing opportunity to evaluate potential long-term mates.

Clearly, I chose the wrong field.

Photo by Flickr user B Tal under Creative Commons license.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Drew says:

    Uhh, er…….

    I’m such a dinosaur. I lost track at “friends with benefits.”

  2. Paul Barnes says:

    Booty calls tend to be partners of last resort as well. For example, you are at last call in a bar and the prospects for having someone come home with you are nil, you then make a booty call. I don’t think any male considers a booty call to be someone they would like to develop a relationship with.

  3. fester says:

    Paul — I’m not too sure I would agree with your description of a booty call as a means of getting laid as a last resort. When I was in college, it was a social norm for them to be minimally strings attached sex that could happen at pretty much any time — one of the girls down the hall from me had a recurring mid-afternoon booty call for most of the second semester of sophomore year for instance. I think it is less formalized than friends with benefits as FWBs had the potential to be friends or at least friendly outside of the sack. They were people who did things together including but not limited to sex while Booty Call participants were mostly limited to sex. At least that is what I saw in college.

  4. UlyssesUnbound says:

    Fester–you are on the right track, but I would disagree with your ‘no strings attached’ assertion.

    In my experience booty calls may well be low-level commitment–even lower than FWBs. However there have been many experiences of both my friends and myself where a booty-call relationship (BCR–you saw it here first folks) was just as the author stipulated. A way for men to gain greater sexual access, and women to test-run a boyfriend. I’m sure the reverse has often occurred. I think the difference here between a FWB case, is that the booty call partners may never have been close friends. They may have been classmates, or friends of friends. A series of booty calls are initiated, sometimes leading to a relationship of sorts, and sometimes to a few months of happy-fun-yes times.

  5. Eric Florack says:

    Clearly, I chose the wrong field

    I’m not so sure, James.
    Think of the research involved alone, and their implications, you newly married and all. 😀

  6. John Burgess says:

    Clearly, I chose the wrong field

    Observers are not supposed to be taking part in the observed activities, in order to remain objective.

    Simply watching BCR’s has another, more usual name, you know…