This survey (N = 224) found that characteristics collectively known as the Dark Triad (i.e. narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) were correlated with various dimensions of short-term mating but not long-term mating. The link between the Dark Triad and short-term mating was stronger for men than for women. The Dark Triad partially mediated the sex difference in short-term mating behaviour. Findings are consistent with a view that the Dark Triad facilitates an exploitative, short-term mating strategy in men. Possible implications, including that Dark Triad traits represent a bundle of individual differences that promote a reproductively adaptive strategy are discussed. Findings are discussed in the broad context of how an evolutionary approach to personality psychology can enhance our understanding of individual differences. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.