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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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83 Responses

  1. goldengirl
    goldengirl June 23, 2008 at 3:53 pm |

    Just want to add that narcissistic college-aged men are probably also more likely to over-report the number of sexual partners that they’ve had.

  2. J
    J June 23, 2008 at 3:54 pm |

    Let’s not forget that men who exhibit such personality traits are probably also likely to, I don’t know, lie or exaggerate the number of sexual partners they’ve had. Self-reporting of sexual partners is hardly reliable.

  3. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan June 23, 2008 at 3:56 pm |

    I conclude from these utterly scienterrific results that schmucks, I mean narcissists, lie lots more than non-schmucks. Now who’d ever expect that?

  4. Tapetum
    Tapetum June 23, 2008 at 3:57 pm |

    Of course there’s also the idiocy of picking study participants for “dark traits” which include lying readily and then relying on their self-supplied answers for your data.

  5. Tapetum
    Tapetum June 23, 2008 at 3:58 pm |

    I see I’m not the only one who noticed.

  6. Ashley
    Ashley June 23, 2008 at 4:02 pm |

    I think it’s also key that these personality traits precisely match the profile of serial rapists who attack acquaintances. Since most rapists attack a lot of different people, I wouldn’t be surprised if the correlation they’re finding has to do with nonconsensual sex.

  7. Shae
    Shae June 23, 2008 at 4:31 pm |

    Another reason why this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with what women like:

    A narcassistic dark sort might be trying to get more partners, as in hanging out in bars and asking everyone in sight, and might be getting more partners through sheer percentage. Nice guys aren’t “asking” as much, and thus giving women the chance to respond positively. In other words, the nice guy tried to get two women and got a 50% success rate, but that is still less than the jerk who asked 100 women and got a 10% success rate. Or whatever.

    It’s the Boomhower effect.

  8. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil June 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm |

    See, Jill, there you go again, picking apart questionable conclusions drawn from questionable studies. Really.

    And didn’t we recently establish that statistics about sexual behavior are, somewhat questionable?

  9. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick June 23, 2008 at 4:41 pm |

    As well as lying about the number of partners they’ve had, they’re also more likely to lie in order to get them. Which you refer to, Jill, but what I mean here is how many times are these dark traits displayed to potential sexual partners rather than concealed from them?

  10. NYguy
    NYguy June 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm |

    Yeah, but Jill, if men care most about notches on their bedpost, then whether women like you as relationship material or whether they go for you when they’re just looking for something fast and cheap isn’t really something at issue; it isn’t the quality, it’s the quantity. From a quantity perspective (not, “do the women try their best?”, but just “do the women give it up?”), jerks do seem to attract more women, which suggests that women, if you conflate legitimate interest and cheap interest, do prefer jerks.

  11. Chel
    Chel June 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm |

    If women preferred jerks I’m guessing 2/3 of divorces wouldn’t be initiated by women.

    But they are.

  12. DEAF FEMINIST PUNK!!!
    DEAF FEMINIST PUNK!!! June 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm |

    I like nice, sweet, awkward punk guys. Uh, yeah, that’s all.

  13. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte June 23, 2008 at 5:03 pm |

    Well it does show if you’ve got “dark” traits, you’re probably getting dumped and switching up partners more. It’s been my experience that lower numbers of sex partners is actually evidence of a guy’s desireability because he gets into relationships quicker with high quality women he wants to stay with and he also gets dumped less.

    So basically, the opposite of what Nice Guys® want to believe.

    From a quantity perspective (not, “do the women try their best?”, but just “do the women give it up?”), jerks do seem to attract more women, which suggests that women, if you conflate legitimate interest and cheap interest, do prefer jerks.

    Actually, you’re 100% backwards. Jerks sleep around more because they have more trouble getting women to stay interested in them. The fallacy in your reasoning is you assume women have no agency, and that we can’t reject men after sex with them. Reality proves otherwise. In fact, women file for divorce more than men, showing that there’s reason to believe that women might do the majority of the decision-making when it comes to continuing or not continuing relationships. Jerks probably just get dumped more.

  14. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 23, 2008 at 5:21 pm |

    The aforementioned problems with self-reporting and male assholes are pretty big. The fact that they only interviewed very young men is also kind of a problem. That’s like trying to find some grand social truth about the length and stability of sexual relationships by interviewing nothing but high school students.

    I’d also like to see the phrase “reproductive success” uncoupled from “fucks a lot.” At least, that is, until humans start laying egg packets. Having a large number of different sex partners in a species that has to dump a buttload of resources into their offspring lest the spawn wither and die does not translate into having a large number of progeny who make it to the reproduction line (intact, competitive, and likely to raise viable offspring for their own part) themselves.

  15. Farhat
    Farhat June 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm |

    If women preferred jerks I’m guessing 2/3 of divorces wouldn’t be initiated by women.

    But they are.

    But that shows that not only did those women preferred the jerks, they preferred them enough to go beyond random mating and actually marry them.

  16. Thomas
    Thomas June 23, 2008 at 5:47 pm |

    Number of partners is not a very good measure for anything; and self-report based on memory is nearly useless. Diaries reduce lying (not eliminate, but people exaggerate less when recording contemporaneously), and it seems to me the frequency is what is a more useful piece of information. The right study, IMO is a short longitudinal study of a cohort, keeping daily track of every time they get off with a partner. Then we’ll see what the better strategy is. In fact, for both het men and het women, I think we would find that much higher frequency and higher satisfaction correlate with stable relationships, except for a small population that do very well either without a relationship or in a polyamorous situation. (I’m biased. I’ve been in either a more-or-less monogamous relationship or an open relationship with little break since I was a teen, and though my number of partners is not stratospheric, my frequency and satisfaction were pretty much stratospheric until the baby phase took away all my sleep and leisure time.)

  17. Suzanne M
    Suzanne M June 23, 2008 at 5:48 pm |

    While I agree with what’s already been said, I would also argue that narcissism can sometimes read as self-confidence on a first meeting. Self-confidence, of course, being very helpful in gaining consent for a one-night-stand. I was acquainted with a guy in college who was utterly charming… until you talked to him for the second time.

  18. Thomas
    Thomas June 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm |

    I also agree with PM about “reproductive success.” Humans, now, make different choices about sex than reproduction because we have the technological tools to control the latter. If one assumes that women take this into account in choosing sex partners (let alone men), then “getting laid” =/= “reproductive success.” I’m sure there are some evophych knuckle-draggers who argue that it’s all subcognitive and immutable, but that does not survive the reality that people vet sex partners for purely cognitive things like politics.

  19. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp June 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm |

    I’d never heard that women file for divorce twice as often as men. Interesting statistic about which I could spin a hundred unsupported but plausible hypotheses.

    And I agree with what everyone else has said about this study — especially the part about assholes saying whatever they need to say to get a woman in bed. Most assholes, after all, have learned to hide their assholishness long enough to get what they want.

  20. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte June 23, 2008 at 6:12 pm |

    I’d also like to see the phrase “reproductive success” uncoupled from “fucks a lot.”

    Or a lot of different people.

    In our society, you are more likely to have reproductive success if you settle down with one woman, convincing her that you’re stable enough to start a family with. Which is against the multiple sexual partners theory. Like a 180 from it.

  21. Room for a Certified Fuckwit?
    Room for a Certified Fuckwit? June 23, 2008 at 7:21 pm |

    This study is interesting because it demonstrates the failure of traditional academic institutions to appropriately approach the issue of sexual politics in a rigorous manner.

    Who doesn’t laugh at the the absurdity of academics using their prestigious pedigree to anoint conclusions about the formation of sexual relationships as if they have any more insight than the average person who actually participates in these events. The study identifies a phenomenon that everyone instinctively understands (Jerks get laid more than Super Nice Guys), but explains it with a laughably inane model: some men have more partners due to a “tendency to lie,” narcissism, and impulsivity.

    The debate over this study is more about the model that we use to understand this trend (which sucks in the study), than about the validity of the identified phenomenon.

    When someone discusses sexual politics, there is more at play than the phenomenon described. Models of sexual politics always include constructions of agency, identity, sexual attraction, and social interaction.

    These people are working backward. They begin with a model of sexual politics that erases the presence of their own assumptions of identity, agency, social interaction. They act like the controversy is only about the existence or not of the phenomenon as interpreted through a trite understanding of sexual attraction.

    Problem: These academics approach the issue in a way that never challenges the construction of their own identity, where a rigorous study of the formation of sexual relationships might reveal truths about human nature that would seriously undermine the status quo’s socially appropriate assumptions.

    Problem: These academics don’t understand social interaction. If you personally can’t go out and acquire multiple partners of your choice (setting aside comfortable delusions about “whores” and “jerks,” and admitting that normal people form relationships in ways you might not understand), then any model created will either be systematically inadequate due to your failure to recognize critical aspects or the model will downplay or denigrate the legitimacy of entirely valid means of forming those relationships. (Normal women don’t hook up. Guys that claim to hook up are either manipulators or liers.)

    The “duh” moment.

    Don’t men and women desire sexual relationships equally? Doesn’t this happen when both people are 1) comfortable and 2) in the right situation?

    Something we all know from personal experience: It’s a huge turn-off when the other person is needy. It can be on, but as soon as you feel them wanting/needing it too much, that they walk on eggshells around you, the spark dies.

    Sure, “jerks” can be narcissistic. But you could also say that they are just high self-esteem guys who will never screw things up by walking on eggshells, as if they’re taking something from the girl. Jerks are comfortable with themselves when making things sexual, which tends to make their partners comfortable. Nice guys waiting for approval will make her hesitate and kill the moment.

    Sure, “jerks” have a tendency to lie and manipulate, but you could also make this an attribute of social interaction. It’s just plain rude to say “let’s go back to my place for sex.” It’s polite to create a pretense. The creation of a pretense all the way up to the point where sex is a possibility actually empowers women. They can consent to every small little step along the way without having to feel locked in to consenting to sex. Saying “yes” to drinks at my place still leaves her free to say “no” to sex when that becomes a possibility. Instead of being manipulative, you might say that some men have finesse and demonstrate social sensitivity. But of course labeling them as “jerks” is an easy way to erase the existence of the author’s assumption that literal, in-your-face honesty should exist in the social interactions that enable the formation of sexual relationships.

    Sure, “jerks” can be impulsive. But you could also say that this is a subset of guys who are decisive. “Do you want to go back to my place?” is a billion times less likely to succeed as “Come outside for a cigarette.” “TAXI!” “I have to wake up early tomorrow, but first I’m going to show you that he wasn’t wearing a blazer in that scene in Casablanca. Call your friends and let them know where you’re going. Let’s go.”

    Newsflash: Academics say stupid shit about sexual politics. Also, high self-esteem decisive guys who don’t make social blunders are able to create situations where sexual relationships can happen and also make women feel comfortable participating in them. Some of these guys could also be be read as impulsive manipulating narcissists, but this says more about the reading than about the people. People infatuated with their academic credentials will have delusional certainty in otherwise stupid models of sexual politics and will misinterpret all of this to say “women like jerks.”

    /end rant

  22. CS Lewis Jr.
    CS Lewis Jr. June 23, 2008 at 7:52 pm |

    My anecdotal experience is that women who like jerks are usually themselves jerks. Usually if I can’t stand one half of a couple because s/he’s such an asshole, the other one is no prize either.

  23. male101
    male101 June 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm |

    Whether the jerks are dumped more often or not or marry more often or not is irrelevant. The point here is that the total number of sexual partners (which is considered “successful” by a large segment of hte male population) is higher for jerks than for non-jerks.

    Now, is it likely that the jerks are overreporting? Absolutely. But when you have 2 opposite sides of the spectrum agree on something, its far more likely that they are both right rather than both being wrong. Both “nice guys” and the superjerks agree nearly unanimously that the jerks have more sexual partners.

    You tell me whats more likely. That both the jerks and the nice-guys are wrong, and it turns out that the # of sex partners is the same or greater for the nice-guys, or that they are both right? I pick the latter. If they disagreed amongst themselves then I would be likely to side the more non-biased side of the “nice guys” but the fact that both sides agree on this point is very telling.

    All the other stuff about whether or not jerks have less sex overall because they are constantly switching partners or whether they have a good married life, or whether they are truly happy about their relationships is really besides the point. From the male perspective by and large, the goal is to have as many different sexual partners as possible, and the fact that both the jerks and the nice-guys agree that the jerks are more successful in that specific area is pretty convincing IMHO.

  24. Kristen
    Kristen June 23, 2008 at 8:28 pm |

    The creation of a pretense all the way up to the point where sex is a possibility actually empowers women.

    This may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard…and I’ve heard a lot of dumb things. So *pretending* that you don’t want sex and manipulating a woman by baby steps into your bed is EMPOWERING.

  25. Kristen
    Kristen June 23, 2008 at 8:29 pm |

    Also, why is there no discussion of a correlation between narcissistic behavior and date rape. While we might think of these women as victims, a rapist will likely think of them as “conquests”.

  26. timothynakayama
    timothynakayama June 23, 2008 at 8:44 pm |

    It’s been my experience that lower numbers of sex partners is actually evidence of a guy’s desireability because he gets into relationships quicker with high quality women he wants to stay with and he also gets dumped less.

    While I respect your opinion, I also have to say that in my opinion, it doesnt necessarily follow that a guy is desirable just because he has lower number of sex partners. It seems to me that another very obvious reason why a person could have a lower number of sex partners is because they are just not desirable. While your inverse relationship between desirability of the male and no. of sexual partners is valid, I would not be so quick to ignore the direct relationship as well, which is the more obvious relationship apparent to most people.

    Also, while I agree with your fact that the number of sexual partners for jerks are so high because they get dumped by women, you have to remember that most of these so called jerks are not interested in forming relationships in the first place: they are just after that favourite hetero-male goal seen so much in Western culture -” screw as many woman as possible”… so perhaps they WANT to be dumped, as it means they can go on to the next woman.

    Despite not agreeing/endorsing the hetero-male “goal” as mentioned by some of the men above, by I have to sadly say that Male 101 is actually right when he says:

    “From the male perspective by and large, the goal is to have as many different sexual partners as possible”

  27. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 23, 2008 at 8:50 pm |

    “Now, is it likely that the jerks are overreporting? Absolutely. But when you have 2 opposite sides of the spectrum agree on something, its far more likely that they are both right rather than both being wrong.”

    Unless, of course, part of the reason the one end thinks that is because the other end is constantly lying to them about it. I mean, if Group A is constantly talking about their hot Canadian girlfriends, and Group B believes them to the point of using them as evidence that they are ill-used by hot Canadian women who won’t date them, that doesn’t actually make those hot Canadian girlfriends exist.

    Nice Guy Syndrome frequently operates by observer bias (the study’s jerks and the Nice Guy’s jerks aren’t necessarily anything close to a perfect overlap), selective memory (the one time the jerk scored is remembered while the nine times he didn’t are), and improperly evaluated evidence. If it reinforces your treasured martyr status to believe that the complete asshole currently telling you he banged five different girls last Saturday actually did have sex with five different girls last Saturday instead of remembering that he’s a known liar and taking his account with a shaker’s worth of salt, you’re more likely to do the former.

    “From the male perspective by and large, the goal is to have as many different sexual partners as possible”

    So the guy who gets laid twelve times a year, but with a different partner each time, is doing better than the guy who has sex 300 times a year with the same partner? What a weird rubric.

  28. timothynakayama
    timothynakayama June 23, 2008 at 9:05 pm |

    So the guy who gets laid twelve times a year, but with a different partner each time, is doing better than the guy who has sex 300 times a year with the same partner? What a weird rubric.

    I think that’s true, actually. The reasoning behind it is probably why having a fling outside of a relationship seems so “dangerous” and “exciting”…it’s because being with someone, having sex with them over and over again…can make things less dangerous or exciting (the “same old same old” syndrome) [note that this is of course not for every relationship]. Whereas with each different woman, it’s like the first time, all the thrill is there of having sex for the first time, etc.

    there’s a reason why in popular culture you always see “dudes” mocking their guy friend for getting married, being tied up with the old “ball and chain” and the fact that he is only going to be having sex with one woman for the rest of his life , while they are free to have sex with different women.

  29. Room for a Certified Fuckwit?
    Room for a Certified Fuckwit? June 23, 2008 at 9:09 pm |

    So *pretending* that you don’t want sex and manipulating a woman by baby steps into your bed is EMPOWERING.

    It’s already implied that the guy is sexually interested by the fact that things are progressively more intimate. I give women way to much credit to think that they naively sit around wondering “Well, he invited me into his apartment for coffee and to show me that book he was talking about. I wonder if he’s sexually interested in me.”

    Sexual intimacy is something that just happens when the moment is right. And the fact is that guys can blow it in a thousand different ways before that moment arrives. It’s socially stupid to think that a woman wants to feel committed or pressured into sex before that moment arrives. By taking baby steps forward, she’s always free to put the brakes on at any time without giving the guy a reason to feel misled.

    And this isn’t a gender issue. It’s an issue of social interaction. There has never been a time that a girl took me home that she didn’t offer a pretense. “We’re going to get some beers and hang out.” “We’re going to watch a movie.” “I have to show you the view from my balcony.” It just means “I enjoy your company and am willing to see where this goes.” It would be totally absurd of anyone to think “Well I just wanted to see the view from her balcony, BUT THEN SHE TRIED TO KISS ME! THAT’S BATTERY!”

  30. SarahMC
    SarahMC June 23, 2008 at 9:44 pm |

    This doesn’t “prove” that women prefer jerks. In order to determine that, wouldn’t you have to survey the women re: their sexual habits and their parters’ personalities?
    Jerky guys probably try to get laid more often than regular guys or nice guys. They are narcissists with big egos and a lot to prove in terms of masculinity. So they probably invest much more time in trying to get laid than other men; of course their track record is going to be better if you’re going by numbers.

  31. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 23, 2008 at 10:33 pm |

    “The reasoning behind it is probably why having a fling outside of a relationship seems so “dangerous” and “exciting”…it’s because being with someone, having sex with them over and over again…can make things less dangerous or exciting (the “same old same old” syndrome) [note that this is of course not for every relationship]. Whereas with each different woman, it’s like the first time, all the thrill is there of having sex for the first time, etc.”

    The flip side of that, which I’m sure most of us have experienced, is that sex with a new partner isn’t always the fireworks fuckathon we thought it would be–it’s not infrequently a bit weird, or awkward, or just plan bad–whereas we tend not to stick with relationships where the sex is bad. If you’re having sex with someone almost every day of the year, one has to assume that it’s satisfying, or you wouldn’t be doing it. If you’re jumping into bed with someone new–especially if you’re cycling through partners too quickly to get to know them very well beforehand–there’s all sorts of quirks and disappointments that you stand to run into. That seems to be something that gets willfully ignored pretty often in the “men must have novelty–novelty!” argument.

  32. timothynakayama
    timothynakayama June 23, 2008 at 10:57 pm |

    The flip side of that, which I’m sure most of us have experienced, is that sex with a new partner isn’t always the fireworks fuckathon we thought it would be–

    While I agree with everything you say, however, I think it is quite interesting that you used the term “new partner” or more specifically the term “partner”. While most decent men and women will want to get to know their partner a little bit more, in order for the sex to be more meaningful, I am sure there must a be a subset of men (or women) out there who don’t think of the women (or men) that they’re sleeping with as “partners”. The term “partner” would imply that both were in a relationship….and isn’t it the stereotype that jerks don’t want to be “in” a relationship in the first place? That all they want to do is sleep with the woman minus all the emotional stuff ? That if the woman mentions that they’re in a relationship, he would go running in the opposite direction.

    What about the “jerk” who goes around sleeping with a lot of women but never bothering to call them in the morning? Sure, he might be “disappointed” in bed occasionally, but as one poster mentions above, it’s all about probability as well, ie. the more women he sleeps with, means that there’s the chance that SOME of them are good in bed. And I’m not sure whether a “jerk” is all that worried about “bad sex”…afterall, if he gets to see the woman naked, and sleeps with her, he can always get himself off if needed to…..and then he can claim that he “slept” with her, like some modern-day warrior who instead of collecting the scalps of defeated enemies, collects notches on his love-belt.

    Sadly, in our world, he’d be considered a stud by a large group of men (and women as well), and that will only Boost his desirability even more (the dreaded double standard).

    Forgive me for the verbiage.

  33. timothynakayama
    timothynakayama June 23, 2008 at 11:04 pm |

    I realized now that the initial post said “sexual partners”. I take it to mean this that sex is the main and primary focus of the “relationship”. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that.

  34. Neko Onna
    Neko Onna June 23, 2008 at 11:21 pm |

    To all the Nice Guys reading the results of this study and saying, “See! I told you so!” I have one thing to say:

    Confirmation bias.

    Society has sunk its claws so deeply into everyone as far as what we ‘want’ sexually, I don’t think anyone can properly sort out what is nature v. what is nurture on that score. We are taught from day one how ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ should act (heck, we’re taught that one IS either a girl or a boy, for that matter).

    What kind of statements can we make about sex, then? I think it is safe to say that people who follow societal edicts about what is propoer for them in sexual relationships will hew pretty closely to old gender stereotypes. I think this holds true for both women and men, and I think it says almost nothing about what those people really want/prefer/need from sex, unless they are lucky enough to have individual tastes that run very close to accepted norms.

  35. Neko Onna
    Neko Onna June 23, 2008 at 11:41 pm |

    Just as I hit submit, it came to me that the best proof against there being some innate male drive to have sex with lots and lots ‘o wimmins IS the very fact that certian people DO hew so closely to old gender roles. Because, before the idea that men were the sexual “agressors” by nature became faddish, the exact opposite notion was held to be true.

    Prior to the 19th century in Western culture, women were seen as wildly sexual beasts who would “do” just about anything that wasn’t nailed down. Men were seen as the civilized ones- too busy with their manly pursuits of work and politics and invention and such to be driven mad by sexual urges.

    The real irony of all of this is that the change to the women-as-asexual-beings myth was actually propped up by many 19th century feminists because in that time and place, it was actually a whole lot safer/better for women to be seen as the civilizers. As constricting as that role has become today, back then it was a lot better to be seen as the pure, sexually innocent flower or the motherly domestic diva who was ony interested in having sex for the baybees then it was the bestial trollop. At lest the Virgin and the Matron got some level of begrudging respect, even if they weren’t equal citizens- we all know how little patriarchal society thinks of abusing the Whore, even to this day.

    If we can do such a 180, I have a really hard time believing that all of the sexual “truisms” researchers love to validate are anything more than the effects of socialization.

  36. Hugo
    Hugo June 23, 2008 at 11:47 pm |

    Oh heavens.

    Was the narcissistic jerk in college and grad school (in and out of the first two marriages). At my most promiscuous, I assure everyone that it had nothing to do with horniness and everything to do with a desire to assuage a colossal amount of anxiety. Narcisssism and self-loathing tend to go together hand in glove, and my self-loathing led me to want validation from “new skin” as often as possible. And yeah, the sex in the relationships was usually much better.

    Back in those days, I called what I was doing “shooting tape”. I rarely liked what I was doing physically (I was loaded much of the time); I was too concentrated on performance. The payoff wasn’t the sex, it was the rush of the seduction. And I enjoyed the whole thing more physically when I replayed the “edited tape” in my head by myself later.

    Sigh, this is probably TMI.

    And gosh almighty, I’ve learned so much more from having a world of experiences with one woman than what was, (no matter what weird devices got involved) essentially the same damn experience over and over again with a lot of different people.

    Whether I’ve stopped being a narcissist or not is apparently open to debate, I note.

  37. Margalis
    Margalis June 24, 2008 at 1:10 am |

    People who are impulsive and thrill-seeking have more sexual partners. Shocking.

    The study found that those who scored higher on the dark triad personality traits tended to have more partners and more desire for short-term relationships

    People who desire short-term relationships are more likely to engage in them. Doubly shocking.

    It looks like the usual media reporting of scientific studies in in effect here, the most sensational elements are distorted and distilled into something essentially unrelated to the original content. Rule #1 of reading media accounts of studies is that they are always, always wrong.

  38. Tony
    Tony June 24, 2008 at 2:34 am |

    Or the age-old high school maxim is simply true “the bigger the dick you are the more they want it”

  39. Loosely Twisted
    Loosely Twisted June 24, 2008 at 3:49 am |

    # timothynakayama says:
    June 23rd, 2008 at 9:05 pm – Edit

    So the guy who gets laid twelve times a year, but with a different partner each time, is doing better than the guy who has sex 300 times a year with the same partner? What a weird rubric.

    I think that’s true, actually. The reasoning behind it is probably why having a fling outside of a relationship seems so “dangerous” and “exciting”…it’s because being with someone, having sex with them over and over again…can make things less dangerous or exciting (the “same old same old” syndrome) [note that this is of course not for every relationship]. Whereas with each different woman, it’s like the first time, all the thrill is there of having sex for the first time, etc.

    there’s a reason why in popular culture you always see “dudes” mocking their guy friend for getting married, being tied up with the old “ball and chain” and the fact that he is only going to be having sex with one woman for the rest of his life , while they are free to have sex with different women.

    Yes but you missed the second half of that stereotype, the married man’s friend really ISN’T getting laid. We see this all the time in movies, with friends, etc. The married guy is getting ALOT more sex then his single friends.

    Unless of course these men are also counting prostitutes as getting laid too, I dunno if that’s even accounted for in the study.

  40. Sloebertje
    Sloebertje June 24, 2008 at 5:53 am |

    Just the fact that “jerks” apparently get laid more often, doesn’t necessarily lead to the conclusion that women prefer them. A woman could try out sex with a series of jerks and find out she actually prefers a non-jerk. And because the non-jerk is the preferred man, she’ll need only one of those. Numbers are not the same as preference, I’d say.

  41. VK
    VK June 24, 2008 at 6:07 am |

    I wonder what the report considered reproductive sucess for women. I suspect it wasn’t having strings of short-term partners.

  42. bellatrys
    bellatrys June 24, 2008 at 7:28 am |

    VK, how could it? Since Women Don’t Want Sex(TM) and only want Commitment and Babies, as everyone knows.

    I also like how they conflate being honest with being a “bad boy” and lump the guy who says “I just tell women straight out I’m not interested in commitment, I just want a no-strings-attached lay, and they say Sure!” with the ones who manipulate and play games.

    Sorry, the first guy might be a jerk, but his honesty (and amount of sex he’s getting) don’t make him one. He might not get anywhere with me, but his honesty would make me respect him a HELL of a lot more than the game-players – into which category so many “Nice Guys” fall as well. Nothing is more crazy-making than trying to figure out if a guy wants short-term sex, a long-term relationship, or is just using you as a convenient golden retriever to talk at, because he doesn’t have any other people handy- but won’t come out and say what he wants outright, stringing you along and making you play mind reader. I don’t deal well with head games, they stress me out so much that I tend to write off the people who play them as soon as I figure them out, and the self-proclaimed “Nice Guy” is just another “Bad Boy” in my book for being manipulative and dishonest.

  43. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 24, 2008 at 10:09 am |

    I’ll just point out here, that out-and-out evil bitches get laid more as well. They are also the objects of unrequited love by Nice Guys (TM) who have a curious talent for projection.

  44. Ismone
    Ismone June 24, 2008 at 10:27 am |

    I’d rather see a study that looked at ‘batting average.’

    Of those who try more, what personality traits/appearances/approaches are correlated with a higher rate of success?

  45. Psyche
    Psyche June 24, 2008 at 11:25 am |

    From the male perspective by and large, the goal is to have as many different sexual partners as possible

    So, I know that lots of people claim that this is the male goal, but the thing is, I know zero men that actually act as though this is their goal. I know men put a lot of effort into having as much sex as possible, I know men who work hard to sleep with the most attractive women or smartest or most adventurous women they can, I know men who place a lot of value on having lots of novel sexual experiences, and I know men who are in long-term relationships who would still like to be sleeping with more than one woman. None, of these things, however, is the same as having as many different sexual partners as possible.

    This isn’t to say that such men don’t exist (Wilt Chamberlain?), but they certainly seem to be exceptions and outliers, even among the so-called alpha men that can supposedly sleep with whomever they desire.

  46. Psyche
    Psyche June 24, 2008 at 11:39 am |

    I suppose from the perspective of a partner who wants a monogamous relationship, it’s fairly irrelevant whether the other party wants to sleep with two other women or twenty other women, which is why I think people get away with the “as many as possible” – because anything over one kind of gets lumped into the same (dangerous) category.

    But, the reason it matters whether men want to sleep with as many women as possible or simply a reasonable variety is because the former allows both for the construction of male sexuality as rapacious and insatiable – a monster from which women need to be protected by various social, behavioral and moral controls, and whose strength and uncontrollability excuses any number of unacceptable male behaviors – and for the construction of a false dichotomy between one socially legitimated, long-term, monogamous relationship on the one hand (which women are then required to entice and coerce from men) and some sort of uncontrolled sexual free-for-all where relationships cease to exist all together on the other.

  47. Seth
    Seth June 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm |

    Women think with their vaginas. That’s the problem.

  48. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers June 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm |

    Another confound that wasn’t mentioned: men tend to sleep with women who are younger than them. Ask men in their 20’s about their sex lives, and it’s going to be mostly with women in their 20’s or girls in their teens. And young people of either gender are *much* more vulnerable to being suckered by cultural scripts, because they don’t have enough experience to understand what they personally want.

    Tell women often enough “women like bad boys” and the teen girls will fall for it. The adult women, having dated enough bad boys, will figure out that actually, the bad boys are lousy in bed (or good in bed but the emotional wringer they put you through is totally not worth it), and they’ll start dating the “good boys”. And if this happens around the time a woman is 23, then the “good boys” will start getting laid around the age of 24, due to the average age difference between male and female sex partners.

    (Please don’t point out to me that you sleep with women who are older/men who are younger. I know this well. My husband is five years younger than me. This is an AVERAGE, not a hard and fast rule of every relationship. Also, pointing out that you were a teen girl who liked nice boys *also* does not invalidate the fact that ON AVERAGE teen girls are more likely to fall for the cultural script of “bad boys are sexy, but the love of a good woman can tame them!”)

  49. lisa
    lisa June 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    Personally I’m suspicious of men who claim to have had sex with lots of different women as in my experience they’re not trustworthy (yes – they are the date rapists as they really don’t take ‘no’ for an answer how else could they build up such imresessive scorecards ?) or just selfish in bed (therefore tend not to be very compatible with my sexuality – I tend to get a bit bored and frustrated with the ‘performers’ who are just ‘shooting tape’ as Hugo said for their solo playtime later).
    Why are men jealous of rapists who are including non-consenting women on their scorecards ? or w…….kers just storing up a memory for those lonely evenings ?Bizarre ?!

  50. Room for a Certified Fuckwit?
    Room for a Certified Fuckwit? June 24, 2008 at 2:38 pm |

    Personally I’m suspicious of men who claim to have had sex with lots of different women as in my experience they’re not trustworthy (yes – they are the date rapists as they really don’t take ‘no’ for an answer how else could they build up such imresessive scorecards ?)

    Scary. Really scary. Terrifying. This is next-level frightening. Almost to the extent it makes me wary of talking to feminists in general, because although many are cool, the scary ones are so scary that the average risk within the entire group is too much to ever justify.

    Women who toss around accusations of rape blithely and hide behind the feminist victim cloak are irresponsibly wielding the power feminism gives them. “I can’t explain why some guys get lots of play. Ergo, they’re rapists. QED.” What other groups of people do you want to presumptively redefine as rapists because you don’t understand them?

  51. Neko Onna
    Neko Onna June 24, 2008 at 7:15 pm |

    Women who toss around accusations of rape blithely and hide behind the feminist victim cloak are irresponsibly wielding the power feminism gives them. “I can’t explain why some guys get lots of play. Ergo, they’re rapists. QED.” What other groups of people do you want to presumptively redefine as rapists because you don’t understand them?

    Well, Fuckwit (hey, you picked the name, not me) I don’t think that lisa was necessarily doing what you accused her of. It wasn’t like she said, “Oh, my, I’m not sure why compact car drivers get all the good parking spaces- they must be rapists!” The study referenced itself calls these men into question as “jerks” and narccisists, then goes on to say that the reason they get so much more play is because women like the “bad boys”. Now, if you want to accuse anyone of a logical leap, I’d say the writer of the quoted article is the one to call out. lisa was simply engaging in an exercise in alternate causality- given the ancedotal evidence of her own experience, the type of men who brag up their conquest tend to be date rapist types or wankers. Now, I’m not saying lisa’s experience is necessarily typical, or that ancedotal evidence is really worth that much, but she’s really only building on the original sloppy premise, not veering off into some crazy terra incognito.

    Oh, and fuckwit? If I didn’t know any better, your feeble little swipe at the “power feminism gives (women) them” to be some sort of false rape accusers makes me think you were never really that interested in engaging in honest conversations with women in the first place.

  52. male101
    male101 June 24, 2008 at 7:57 pm |

    Men know that other men lie about sex, so I dont buy the argument that the only reason the perception exists that jerks get more sexual partners is because they are bamboozling the “nice guys” about it. I’d say the “nice guys” are fairly objective observers of the phenomenon and easily make their own conclusions based on the evidence at hand. What reason do the “nice guys” have to lie or make up stuff? If anything they should be biased towards falsely inflating their own numbers, because it fits into the machismo attitude that more sex partners = stud.

  53. Lala
    Lala June 24, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    From what I see there is a lot of truth to that study

  54. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 24, 2008 at 9:38 pm |

    “While I agree with everything you say, however, I think it is quite interesting that you used the term “new partner” or more specifically the term “partner”. While most decent men and women will want to get to know their partner a little bit more, in order for the sex to be more meaningful, I am sure there must a be a subset of men (or women) out there who don’t think of the women (or men) that they’re sleeping with as “partners”. The term “partner” would imply that both were in a relationship….and isn’t it the stereotype that jerks don’t want to be “in” a relationship in the first place?”

    I’ve never met anyone who assumed that “partner” referred only to relationships when used in terms of sexual activity. When the doc screening you for STDs or the blood bank nurse figuring your donor eligibility asks about previous partners, it’s not their dash cunning way of asking if you’re in a committed homosexual relationship. I used it because it’s the standard non-gendered nomenclature for someone with whom you’re having sex and does not imply anything more than the fact that you’ve hooked up.

    I suppose we could switch to “fellow genital-enthusiast” if that would help, though. I’m partial to the term because it’s kind of classy, but not like, monocle-classy or anything.

  55. jfpbookworm
    jfpbookworm June 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm |

    Why are men jealous of rapists who are including non-consenting women on their scorecards ? or w…….kers just storing up a memory for those lonely evenings ?Bizarre ?!

    Well, when I was that age, I’d hear that A hooked up with B and I’d extrapolate from my own experiences; it didn’t even *occur* to me that these men’s sexual encounters would be unfulfilling, much less non-consensual. (Besides, the cultural narrative is that how good sex is has nothing to do with what actually happens, but is based on the visual attractiveness of the partners.)

  56. exholt
    exholt June 24, 2008 at 9:56 pm |

    I missed this entire phenomenon in high school and college as I didn’t start hearing about all of this until I graduated and started working. Guess that’s what I get for spending too much time dealing with keeping my neck above academic water in high school or too much time in the library engrossed with my undergraduate studies and co-curricular activities both out of interest and to maintain my scholarship. :P

    Main dating complaints at my college from classmates of both genders was centered on the lack of available potential partners because a large portion of the campus population had off-campus relationships, students who were not interested due to school/political activism/other priorities, high degree of campus polarization due to conflicts between and within activist groups, and for the hetero classmates…the rumored “fact” that 1/3 of our student body was Gay or Lesbian.

    There were lots of hooking up…though I have overheard some dudes expressing fears of being turned in to the judicial board on sexual assault/rape charges by their female partners if they were “unsatisfied” or “changed her mind after the fact”. Wonder how much of it was due to the misunderstanding of the campus judicial code and how much was due to perceptions of “excessive PC” on campus.

  57. enlightened
    enlightened June 25, 2008 at 12:44 am |

    these are the dudes that chicks want to fuck

    If they are indeed “jerks” why do they indeed want to fuck them? After 15 years of marriage and monogamy, my wife has had an affair with a married man. My experience, tells me, unfortunately that women are attracted to jerks. If that is not true then wives would not be so frequently the victims of spousal physical and sexual abuse. So what is it? Are women not attracted to jerks and therefore are rarely if ever the victims of abuse or are they attracted to jerks and end up being victimized?

  58. enlightened
    enlightened June 25, 2008 at 7:47 am |

    If women preferred jerks I’m guessing 2/3 of divorces wouldn’t be initiated by women.

    But they are.

    But that shows that not only did those women preferred the jerks, they preferred them enough to go beyond random mating and actually marry them.

    Point well made!!

  59. suveer
    suveer June 25, 2008 at 11:49 am |

    I like that everyone is so quick to condemn the men, but women play a very voluntary role in this. And yeah, many women do choose these types of men. and these men are more likely to have more partners because they are more willing to try than the nice shy guys. And to the post about women initiating 2/3 of divorces – maybe thats because they did pick the jerk guys. ps i am a woman myself and i am not self-hating, i am rational

  60. crow
    crow June 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm |

    I’ve always hated the “nice guys finish last” myth, even when I was a little girl. It’s so sexist.

  61. Persia
    Persia June 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm |

    After 15 years of marriage and monogamy, my wife has had an affair with a married man. My experience, tells me, unfortunately that women are attracted to jerks.

    You’re missing an essential point: Women are jerks too. Perhaps it’s as simple as ‘jerks are attracted to jerks.’ (And you have my sympathies.

  62. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 25, 2008 at 3:22 pm |

    “If they are indeed “jerks” why do they indeed want to fuck them?”

    Dunno. Why do guys want to fuck female jerks?

  63. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax June 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |

    From the male perspective by and large, the goal is to have as many different sexual partners as possible

    What preying mantis and Psyche said. This is both a very bizarre goal to actually have (what? you prefer women to break up with you as quickly as possible, so you can spend weeks or even months trying to score again, rather than having repeat good sex with the same woman?), and one that’s totally out of sync with how most men (even most men who try to carry on sexual relationships with multiple women at a time – let alone the ones who don’t) actually act. Men devote a lot of energy to hanging onto women they particularly like, even when they’re seeing other women on the side, and get noticeably upset when said women they particularly like dump them.

    Personally, I think what’s going on is probably a combination of things: people who score as narcissistic and deceitful are probably more prone to lie and inflate their numbers, thrillseekers of either sex are likely to approach more people for casual sex and do so more often, and Amanda’s probably right that the guys who are jerks are getting dumped more. But, who can really say? The study doesn’t exactly give us much to go on (or even much grounds to trust the guys’ self-reporting).

  64. Nav
    Nav June 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm |

    Everytime I see some guy bitching about women only “liking jerks,” I question them on their taste in women, or whether he’s just a jerk because “he’s not you.” No one ever really wants to give me an answer, isn’t that just so strange.

  65. norbizness
    norbizness June 25, 2008 at 4:36 pm |

    I choose you, Anecdotachu!

  66. Ryan
    Ryan June 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm |

    Since this is based on college men, I think that I would like to apply my “familiarity hypothesis.”

    Take, for example, the average female co-ed interested in getting laid. At a party where the alcohol is flowing, people are more friendly than usual, especially people that otherwise would be unapproachable. There are two guys: one, a nice guy from her math class, and the other a significantly more attractive athlete who she’s never talked to before. The girl choses the athletic guy: as far as a one night stand goes, she’s more attracted to him. And he seems otherwise unattainable. The cute guy in the math class will always talk to her, his availability is much higher outside of the limited party. The athletic guy’s attention is more of a rarity, and therefore more valuable. Plus, if the girl is interested in a relationship with the nice guy, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t start out at the party.

    And maybe, just maybe, they should have correlated this with general attractiveness.

  67. Rockit
    Rockit June 25, 2008 at 9:51 pm |

    Lynn, perhaps the point is that having a high number of prior partners is proof that you’re sexy enough not to have to spend weeks and months to find someone else.

  68. Rockit
    Rockit June 25, 2008 at 9:53 pm |

    Oops, I confess – I’m computer developmentally disabled.

  69. AE
    AE June 25, 2008 at 10:56 pm |

    fuck this study and the people who study this study.

  70. AE
    AE June 25, 2008 at 10:56 pm |

    nope.

    not laid.

    study disproven.

  71. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax June 25, 2008 at 11:26 pm |

    Lynn, perhaps the point is that having a high number of prior partners is proof that you’re sexy enough not to have to spend weeks and months to find someone else.

    If we’re talking Gene Simmons’ level of prior partners, maybe (I don’t find him sexy, but if his self-reporting is accurate, enough other women do that he doesn’t have to go without for long). But, given that these are ordinary male college students, and not rock stars with groupies, I doubt we’re talking about that magnitude of difference. There’s a huge difference between “a statistically significant difference in the number of partners self-reported by men who might be lying” and “hey, look, here’s James Bond, and he can sleep with anyone he pleases in short order.” Under normal circumstances, men who can get the same woman to sleep with them for an extended period of time have way more sex than men who only have short flings.

  72. Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » Do Jerks Get Laid More?

    […] puzzling thing, for me, about threads like this one is the set of men who show up in the comments to insist that of course jerks get laid more, any guy […]

  73. enlightened
    enlightened June 26, 2008 at 10:53 pm |

    Women are jerks too

    I never thought I would see that said on a feminist website

  74. Do jerks really get laid more, or is that phrase just an excuse? « The Eclectic Hedonist

    […] sex I’m going to join this thread of discussion.  The discussion starts at Feministe with Do Jerks get laid more?, which is a discussion on some peer-reviewed pychology research on college-age men and “dark […]

  75. Venus
    Venus June 28, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

    Being a member of the female sex, I have a couple of points to put into this thread if I may:

    1) You girls can pretend to be as feminist as you want to, you know as well as I do that confidence is a trait we look for. Although I will admit that there is an ever so thin line between confidence and cocky. Like the Kid of Detroit says, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up…” Girls, you know that is sexy, especially if he can deliver.

    2) Perhaps it is this confidence that draws us to the men to begin with, but after a while, a fight happens or disagreement about fundamentals, and suddenly the man becomes a “Jerk” to us?

    It makes it easier if you do not try to find emotional connection with every guy you date or sleep with. I’m just saying…

    ~ Venus
    http://gotvenus.com
    http://gotvenus.blogspot.com

  76. Point of Order
    Point of Order June 28, 2008 at 11:25 pm |

    I never thought I would see that said on a feminist website

    You do realize that just because women are jerks TOO, it doesn’t mean that they thus don’t deserve to have rights, right? I know a woman I hate so much that I have taken joy in her misery; however, if that woman got pregnant from being a jerk and not using contraception on a one-night stand with the hottest guy she could find to spite someone and demonstrate she was sexier than another person, she still should have access to abortion. She still should get paid equally. And her jerkishness should be considered a function of Hateful Individual X, not because she has boobs and a hoo-ha. She may use her boobs and her hoo-ha in a hateful way because she’s a hateful individual, but her boobs and her hoo-ha are not the cause of her jerkishness.

  77. Chicks dig a**holes?: Evolutionary psych on sex #1 « Neuroanthropology

    […] (usually described instead as ‘human nature’), I have another couple of exhibits: Do Jerks Get Laid More?, a great attack on recent research by Jill Filopovic at Feministe (h/t: Alternet); and Science […]

  78. Donna
    Donna July 1, 2008 at 10:22 am |

    I never thought I would see that said on a feminist website

    Yeah, neither did I (Although my experience with feminist blogs is limited to this one blog post… still, my preconcieved notions about what they would be like still count, even when they turn out to be untrue). In fact, I just came to from fainting with shock.
    You know something that’s confusing me? How can feminists both think that women are superior to men AND that men and women are the EXACT SAME? It just doesn’t make sense! Hey, I just proved that feminism doesn’t make sense! HA! And if that wasn’t enough by itself, it flies in the face of the fact that the exact opposite is true, eg. the well-known scientific fact that boys like blue and girls like pink and pink sucks (because it’s girly))

    (sarcasm, btw. thought i’d add a disclaimer since some people really do talk like this sincerely)

  79. Media To Women: You’re Not Having Sex Right « Accismus

    […] everyone knows, women love jerks, who, it seems, get laid a lot more. Why might that be? It’s not always a matter of bad boys […]

  80. SheilaK
    SheilaK August 6, 2008 at 4:05 am |

    What about this article:

    http://health.yahoo.com/relationships-overview/the-orgasm-wars/pt–Psychology_Today_articles_pto-19960101-000028.html

    Essentially, the article claims that women have more orgasms with men who are good-looking (symmetrical). When a woman has an orgasm, that causes her to retain more of the man’s sperm, leading to an increased chance of pregnancy. But symmetrical men typically invest less time/energy in relationships, and they are more likely to cheat. BTW, Physical symmetry is often considered a sign of “good genes”.

    So, the upshot of all this is that “The men with the best genes make the worst mates.” And that women are more sexually aroused by good genes than anything else.

    I’m guessing the idea is that men with good genes don’t need to stick around to give their offspring the survival benefits of having a father around, but those with not-so-great genes developed husband/father traits to give their offspring a needed boost (and increase their chances of having more children with the same woman, since their genes aren’t good enough to give them a shot at having children with multiple women)? I don’t know anything about genetics so I don’t know if that makes any sense or not.

  81. Jerks Get Laid Than Nice Guys.
    Jerks Get Laid Than Nice Guys. September 21, 2008 at 6:58 pm |

    […] do get more girls. While I do really like Feministe blog, I’ve got some issues with their Do Jerks Get Laid More? […]

  82. Yes. Jerks Do Get More Women Than Nice Guys. « Life, Libations and the Pursuit of Boobs

    […] do get more girls. While I do really like Feministe blog, I’ve got some issues with their Do Jerks Get Laid More? […]

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