That old trope “nice guys finish last” is bunk, says science. In fact, the opposite is true. Altruistic people, says new research, actually have more sexual partners than the kinds of negging idiots who always win on dating TV shows. The truth is more like a romantic comedy movie, where our good traits shine through and attract others.
Studies show that people will prefer an altruistic partner, suggesting that cooperative behavior can be a “display” that attracts mates. And from the other direction, we are more likely to be altruistic if we think we’ll get something out of it, sex-wise. In one study consisting of a series of games, participants were more likely to make donations if the person soliciting the donation was attractive.
So, the science says that we find selfless, helpful people attractive, and that we are more likely to behave altruistically in the presence of possible sexual partners. But that, say researchers Steven Arnocky and Pat Barclay, isn’t the whole story. “[I]t seems clear that people tend to report preferring altruistic partners,” they write. “However, preferences do not always translate into real-world mating decisions, and we wanted to know if altruists also happen to experience more mating success.”
Head over to Coexist to read more about why being altruistic attracts more partners!