This study investigated sexual functioning with respect to differences in the Dark Triad traits in a large community sample (N = 1116). The participants completed an online survey examining dark traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy domains: boldness, meanness and disinhibition) and measures of sexual functioning. The Dark Triad traits were positively associated with sexual preoccupation in both sexes. Compared to the participants lower in dark traits, those with higher narcissism and boldness reported higher sexual motivation, sexual self-esteem and sexual assertiveness and lower negative emotions in the sexual context, which can be interpreted as higher quality of their sexual experience. In turn, those higher in Machiavellianism and disinhibition reported higher sexual fear and anxiety; women additionally showed lower sexual self-esteem and/or sexual assertiveness. Boldness was the only dark trait positively related to sexual satisfaction, especially in men.
The Dark Triad (DT; Paulhus & Williams, 2002) describes three distinct but interrelated personality traits: Machiavellianism (characterized by manipulativeness and selfishness), narcissism (superiority, vanity and entitlement) and psychopathy (impulsiveness, callousness and interpersonal antagonism) associated with many types of negative psychosocial outcomes. From an evolutionary perspective, the DT may be treated as personality background for a socially aversive, exploitative and aggressive interpersonal strategy, which enables achieving personal goals at the expense of others. This strategy is considered to be evolutionary adaptive, it persists (though it is socially undesirable) because it brings some evolutionary benefits (Jonason, Li, Webster, & Schmitt, 2009). However, this strategy also generates some important costs for individuals who use it (Jonason, Li, & Buss, 2010; Jonason, Li, & Czarna, 2013). In this study we explore these costs and benefits in the sphere of sexuality and in relation to particular DT personality traits. Within an evolutionary approach, life history (LH) theory constitutes valuable analytical framework to investigate the DT (Jonason, Zeigler-Hill, & Hashmani, 2018). According to this theory, the DT can predispose an individual to “fast” LH strategy, which manifests itself, among others, in short-term mating orientation (Jonason, Luevano, & Adams, 2012; Koladich & Atkinson, 2016). In turn, “slow” LH strategy, associated with long-term mating orientation, seems to be less attractive to individuals with higher levels of the DT, as they are characterized by low empathy, emotional deficits, manipulativeness and egocentrism. Many studies have investigated the associations between the DT and “fast” LH strategy, including short-term mating orientation.