Science

Selflessness Is The New Sexy

Want to know how to become sexier? Forget the hot pants, the high heels, the low cut shirt or the snap back. All you need is an elderly woman, some shopping bags and a busy road.

A recent UK study has produced new evidence that selfless or altruistic behaviour increases your desirability as a long-term mate. 35 men and 32 women were asked to rate people on their attractiveness when shown cards containing a head-shot and three facts: their job, their favourite sport, and a neutral (such as the last film he/she saw) or altruistic (e.g. she/he volunteers at youth club for disadvantaged children) behaviour. They had to score the fictitious individuals on how attracted they were depending on whether they were considering them for a fling or a long term mate.

When on a date mention how well you looked after your housemate when she was ill as opposed to the amount of J?ger bombs you managed to down the night before.

When asked about long-term relationships the results were consistent for both men and women: they scored the individuals with altruistic manners much higher, therefore finding the nicer partners much ‘fitter’. So when next on a date maybe remember to mention how well you looked after your housemate when she was ill as opposed to the amount of J?ger bombs you managed to down the night before.

But what about those one night stands after Crisis? When guys were asked to rate attractiveness for flings, they didn’t have a preference as to whether the women’s favourite food was Chinese (neutral) or if they read to the elderly (altruistic). Men found the women sexy no matter if they were nice, helpful or sympathetic. However, according to the results of the study, women do in fact appreciate a nice partner to accompany them to the bedroom even for short term antics.

Being selflessly helpful shows a potential partner that you will provide good parental care or have ‘good genes’.

So why are selfless people more sexy? Why would you want to waste time, energy or resources on helping someone else out? The reason is that it can actually increase your fitness as an individual (and I’m not talking about how long you can pump your arms at the gym) but in evolutionary terms, ‘the ability to survive and reproduce’. Being selflessly helpful can show a potential partner that you will provide good parental care or have ‘good genes’ and will produce healthy children – as well as implying that your help could be reciprocated at a later date from others – both of which make you more attractive.

So there you go guys and gals: next time you feel like you need a bit more attention, you know the way to your future partner’s heart is spending more energy dishing out soup at your local homeless shelter than spending money on that new outfit you’ve been eyeing up in the shop window.

Amy Guest

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Image: Camdiluv via Flikr.

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