Happy guys finish last, says new study on sexual attractiveness

We've heard it before: nice guys finish last. And when it comes to sexual attraction, it appears the rule holds. Women find happy guys significantly less sexually attractive than swaggering or brooding men, according to a new University of British Columbia study that helps to explain the enduring allure of "bad boys" and other iconic gender types.

Although some of you might be saying that everyone knows that women are more likely to be attracted to a bad-boy attitude, but here is some actual research to back that claim up. The University of British Columbia researchers who worked on the study say there's an inherent contradiction in this finding.

They note that in almost every social interaction - including those involving sexual attraction - smiling is actually considered essential. But when it comes to first impressions, women seem to prefer men who look either sullen or boastful. 

The study from UBC's Deptartment of Psychology involved more than 1,000 men and women who were asked to rate how sexually attractive they found hundreds of pictures of people of the opposite sex.
The pictures showed men and women engaged in standard displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) or shame (lowered heads, averted eyes).

When they asked the women which images they found sexiest, the women tended to be least interested in the smiling, happy men. They instead preferred either those who looked proud and powerful, or moody and ashamed. 

In contrast, men were most sexually attracted to women who looked happy, and least attracted to women who appeared proud and confident. 

Alec Beall, a UBC psychology graduate student and one of the study's co-authors says it's important to remember that the study was meant to explore first impressions of sexual attraction.

"We were not asking participants if they thought these targets would make a good boyfriend or wife - we wanted their gut reactions on carnal, sexual attraction," he explained in a news release.

He notes that previous studies have found nice personalities and positive emotions are highly desirable in relationship partners. But when it comes to sexual attraction, women seem to like their men "complicated." Why would women like men who looked ashamed? Prof. Jessica Tracy of UBC's Department of Psychology, who also worked on the study, has a theory. 

She says displays of shame suggest the men are aware of social norms and appeasement behaviors, which suggests they are trustworthy, a trait that is valued by both sexes.

While this study focused on sexual attraction between heterosexual men and women in North America, the researchers say future studies will be required to explore the relationship between emotions and sexual attractiveness among homosexuals and non-Western cultures.

Overall, the researchers found that men ranked women more attractive than women ranked men.


  1. now i see why chicks dig me! :)

    but i also like more moody and ashamed chicks than proud and powerful - cos thats a real turn off at the chick

  2. And they needed a study to conclude this? I think a lot of men already knew this ;)

  3. It's obvious for man :)

  4. i like to finish all over the place

  5. a very, VERY interesting article