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Are women (on average) attracted to selfish men?

October 24, 2021

Edit: I should have added that I don’t necessarily believe that women are attracted to selfish men. What I am more interested in is whether altruism has an effect in and of itself - namely, that being altruistic makes one more attractive, no fine print. In my experience, confidence is what matters - not so much kindness or compassion, or lack thereof.

This is something which has interested me for a while. I’ve always assumed the affirmative, but I recently stumbled upon two studies that do seem to dispute this, and I believe they are worth posting for discussion, for the sake of intellectual honesty.

Dissenting articles: https://bpspsychub.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjop.12208


Use sci-hub to read the full papers if needed.

To start, I’m pretty skeptical of these papers simply due to personal experience. All of the guys I know who get around with girls are selfish and arrogant, and the most respected and altruistic guy I know has only had one girlfriend (who ended their relationship, I should add). While personal anecdote is not proof, it’s an anecdote which is shared by many other guys. I find it hard to believe that we are all wrong.

Edit: I would also add that there’s an issue here which is not addressed, and that is whether altruism is truly a rule-in factor. It is possible that altruism is more attractive only if a man has several other qualities - self confidence, popularity, dominant social skills (some might call this swagger or boldness), physical attractiveness, height, and most importantly, resources. A man can be altruistic while having none of these, but a dark triad jerk can have all of them with no altruism. But if these factors are more important, then the jerk will be successful while the unmasculine nice guy is not. Yet if you only take into account altruism in ones stats, it will certainly seem like being more altruistic has an absolute effect on attractiveness. In reality, however, it only makes you more attractive after you have that core set of qualities. The powerful and heroic Batman may be more attractive than the Joker, but the powerful Joker still gets laid - your average nice guy does not.

On top of that, neither of the papers even seem to mention papers like these:



Both of which clearly suggests the opposite. The second one had 90,000 people, and I find it difficult to believe that there isn’t a correlation between criminal behavior and, y’know… being an asshole.

What does everyone here think about these papers? Obviously, remember rule 6 - I’m not interested in bashing people, I’m interested in defending sexless men from the really repulsive charge that they are only sexless because they are “worse people”.

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[–]WeaknessTechnical654 21 points22 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

It might just be that they are attracted to men who make a lot of money (which means that they are more likely to be selfish).

[–]local_meme_dealer45 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Biologically females (of almost a species) will want to mate with the male with the most resources as that means they are more capable of protecting their children.

Males who have lots of resources also have a tendency to be selfish assholes to get to that position.

[–]SpanishM 20 points21 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

> All of the guys I know who get around with girls are selfish and arrogant,

They are probably self-confident too. This is a very attractive trait, especially for women.

[–]thatbruh123[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is true. I should have added that I don’t necessarily believe that women are attracted to selfish men. What I am more interested in is whether altruism has an effect in and of itself. In my experience, confidence is what matters - not so much kindness or compassion.

[–]Sydnaktik 10 points11 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I wish I could understand the meaning of papers like this better. But oh well.

I do have some thoughts that I've very rarely seen anyone else mention:

There may be something more intrinsic that women find attractive in "assholes" but I've noticed a couple of things that are more mechanic.

Assholes don't have to expend as much effort to socialize and flirt with girls. Caring about only their own experience in the interaction is a whole lot simpler than caring about both.

Another secondary advantage to being an "asshole" is that people then won't want to hang out with you. Which means that it should be easier to learn the little behaviors, styles, etc... that are sexually attractive because that's nearly the only reason that remains for women to want to keep interacting with the asshole. A "nice guy" will receive a fair amount of attention from girls and will have great difficulty identifying the difference between a girl being friendly and responding to his kindness and a girl being flirty and responding to his attractiveness. So he'll have trouble figuring out what's attractive and what's not.

You put these two together and maybe assholes aren't attractive because they're assholes, but because they tend to be better at learning how to be attractive.

[–]TheLWMA 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Selfish and arrogant people tend to be confident in themselves. Confidence is an attractive trait to women (and men too).

But another nuance is that arrogant people are less likely to be manipulated because they're seen as more "world-weary".

You're comic book comparison is a little off. Your comparison would be apt if you were comparing Superman and Batman.

[–]BitsAndBobs304 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes. Selfish. Dark triad men, especially high in narcissism. Masculine. Misogynistic. A bit misanthrope. Low empathy. High t.

[–]Carkudo 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

As evidenced by the fact that there are selfish lonely men and altruistic men who date, it's more that women are attracted to men who can afford to be either without incurring punishment from their environment.

[–]Algoresball 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I wonder how the first study distinguished between true altruism and strategic altruism.

[–]Blauwpetjevalued LWMA contributor 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

The elk bull breaking the other elks' antlers can mate with all the females. People are different from elks, but not as different as they'd hope to be.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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