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The Mating Game

The Mating Game
A Primer on Love, Sex, and Marriage

Third Edition

January 2016 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Third Edition of The Mating Game: A Primer on Love, Sex, and Marriage is the only introductory text about human mating relationships aimed specifically at a university audience. Encompassing a wide array of disciplines, this comprehensive review of theory and empirical research takes an integrated perspective on the fundamental human experiences of attraction and courtship; mate selection and marriage; and love and sex. Strongly grounded in methodology and research design, the book offers relevant examples and anecdotes along with ample pedagogy that will spark debate and discussion on provocative and complex topics.

PART I. Mating Relationships
Chapter 1: Mate Preferences
Theoretical Approaches to Human Mating

Methods Used to Examine Mate Preferences

Empirical Evidence

Continuing Debates

Chapter 2: Attraction, Affiliation, and Courtship
Who Do We Like? Principles of Romantic Attraction

Who Do We Approach? Principles of Romantic Affiliation

How Do We Convey Romantic Interest? Principles of Flirting

E-Courtship: Attraction, Affiliation, and Flirting in Cyberspace

The First Date

Beyond the First Date: Initiating a Romantic Relationship

Pathways to Commitment

Chapter 3: Relationship Development
The Sequence of Relationship Development

The Process of Relationship Development

Chapter 4: Marriage and Mate Selection
Mating Systems Across Cultures

The Nature of Marriage

Division of Labor

Marital Satisfaction: How Happy Are Married Couples?

Has Marriage Changed Over Time?

Same-Sex Marriage

Cohabitation: An Alternative to Marriage

Chapter 5: Conflict and Dissolution

Relationship Dissolution

Chapter 6: Intervention
Identifying Distressed Relationships

Treating Distressed Relationships

Does Therapy Work?

Part II. Love
Chapter 7: General Theories of Love
The Triangular Theory of Love

The Colors (Styles) of Love

The Prototype Approach: Mental Models of Love

Chapter 8: Passionate and Companionate Love
Passionate Love: A “Sexy” Kind of Love

Companionate Love: A “Sturdy” Kind of Love

Chapter 9: Love Gone Bad: Problematic Aspects of Love
Unrequited Passionate Love: When the One We Love Does Not Love Us

Relational Stalking: When Romantic Interest Becomes Obsession

Relational Aggression: When Love Turns Violent

Loss of Passion: When Attraction Fades

Chapter 10: Sexual Attitudes
Beliefs About Sex in Dating Relationships
Beliefs About Sex in Marital Relationships
Chapter 11: Sex in Beginning Relationships
Sexuality and the Attraction Process

Sexuality in Beginning Relationships

Chapter 12: Sex in Established Relationships
Sexual Frequency

Sexual Practices

Sexual Preferences

Sexual Satisfaction

Sexual Communication

Sexuality and Relationship Satisfaction

Chapter 13: Sex Gone Bad: Problematic Aspects of Relational Sex
Sexual Disinterest: When the One We Desire Does Not Desire Us

Sexual Assault: When Sex Becomes Nonconsensual

Sexual Infidelity: When the One We’ve Chosen Cheats

Sexual Jealousy: A Common Response to Infidelity

PART IV. Individual Differences
Chapter 14: Maleness and Femaleness
Biological Sex

Psychological Gender and Gender Role Orientation

Chapter 15: Personality


Sociosexual Orientation

Chapter 16: Interpersonal Belief Systems
Attachment Styles

Rejection Sensitivity




Instructor Resources Site

Instructor Resources

  • An author-created test bank with 500+ multiple-choice questions provides a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.

Broad range of subjects covered

Dr Amanda Grieme Bradley
Psychology, Trevecca Nazarene University
July 18, 2019
Key features


  • Updates in every chapter reflect current, cutting-edge theory and research, resulting in more than 400 new references.
  • Additional real-life examples have been added to chapters to capture reader interest and help illustrate the concepts under discussion.
  • Coverage of multiple, entirely new content areas includes brand new sections on romantic attraction and affiliation in initial encounters; E-courtship (attraction, courtship, and relationship formation in cyberspace); conflict termination; consensual non-monogamy and polyamorous relationships; bereavement and loss; specific components and features of passionate love; cyberstalking; and intimate partner violence.
  • Updates in Chapter 4 (Marriage and Mate Selection) reflect recent changes in the legal status of same-sex marriage in the U.S. and worldwide, as well as new research on polygamy or plural marriage, cohabitation, and the recently-identified phenomenon of “stayovers” among partners in long-term romantic unions.
  • Updated end-of-chapter discussion questions are ideal for in-class or take-home activities to encourage student involvement and active participation.


  • Comprehensive reviews of theory and empirical research on love, sex, and marriage from a variety of social and behavioral science literature highlights the links among these interrelated topics.
  • A strong grounding in methodology and research design, including coverage of a number of measurement instruments for self-use or course-related research, helps students develop a true understanding of how to interpret empirical research findings.
  • Student learning aids, such as tables and figures, chapter outlines, key terms and concepts, part openers, chapter summaries, recommended readings, and discussion questions, help students master key concepts.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 9

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