•  Estimates the prevalence rates of poor mating performance
•  Finds that about one in two adults face difficulties in intimate relationships
• Explores the factors that predict poor mating performance
• Identifies the evolutionary causes of poor mating performance


There are reasons to believe that the mechanisms involved in mating, evolved in a context where marriages were arranged and male-male competition was strong. Thus, they may not work well in a post-industrial context, where mating is not regulated and where male-male competition is weak. As a consequence of the mismatch between ancestral and modern conditions, several individuals may face difficulties in the domain of mating. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence rates of poor mating performance and to identify some of its predictors. In particular, evidence from 1894 Greek and Greek-Cypriot participants from three independent studies, indicated that about one in five individuals found intimate relationships difficult, about one in two experienced difficulties in either starting or keeping a relationship, and about one in five experienced difficulties in both starting and keeping a relationship. Moreover, it was found that sexual functioning, self-esteem, self-perceived mate value, choosiness, personality, attention to looks, and mating effort were significant predictors of poor mating performance. It was also found that men and women closely overlapped in their mating performance, while age did not predict how well people do in the domain of mating.