New Study Says Nice Guys Have More Sex

So much for the old adage about finishing last.

Some say life has a way of compensating good behavior. They’ll argue that before you get, you should be willing to give. Those who haven’t yet jumped on that bandwagon might want to try, because the universe seems to have rewarded those who have with one spectacular gift: lots of sex.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychology earlier this summer found a link between altruistic acts and sexual success. After examining 192 unmarried women and 105 unmarried men, researchers noted that “participants who scored higher on a self-report altruism measure” considered themselves more desirable to the opposite sex. They also reported having more sex partners, more casual sex partners, and more sex within a relationship. They also found those willing to donate “potential monetary winnings” had more lifetime sex partners, more casual sex partners, and more sex partners over the past year. These findings, they say, are particularly true among men. “Altruism mattered more for men’s number of lifetime and casual sex partners,” they write.

It’s not the first time scientists have looked at why “being nice” seems to serve as some kind of sexual magnet. Last year, researchers at the University of North Texas interviewed 459 college students. They found that both men and women were more likely to be satisfied by partners they considered modest and respectful. The same characteristics were more likely to land individuals in committed relationships.

“There is support for the proposition that humility can help repair and form relationships with strong social bonds,” the researchers wrote.

A separate study from the University of Nottingham and Liverpool Jone Moores University yielded similar results. Researchers asked 32 women and 35 men to rate the attractiveness of the opposite sex based on a list of qualities, from “he does the shopping for his elderly neighbor” to more neutral attributes, like preferences for food. Both sexes considered individuals who invested in altruistic acts better candidates for a long-term relationship.

“At first glance, it’s difficult to see how natural selection could favor behaviors that involve investing significant time and resources to help others at a cost to oneself,” said Freya Harrison, a research fellow in the University of Nottingham’s Life Sciences Center for Biomolecular Sciences.

One potential factor researchers have started to investigate is how it relates to procreative success.

“We’re not sure whether being helpful to others signals that you’re more likely to be a good parent who helps your partner with the work involved in raising children, or whether it might be a signal that you carry ‘good genes’ that will produce healthy children,” added Harrison.

So do nice guys finish last? Possibly, especially if they let the little old lady in front of them cut in line. But at the end of the day, they have another kind of finish coming and it’s probably worth the wait, because the ones they’re due are the kind that end in orgasm.

Carrie Weisman is an AlterNet staff writer who focuses on sex, relationships, and culture. Got tips, ideas or a first-person story? Email her

This originally appeared on Alternet. Republished here with permission.

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