We’ve all heard nice guys finish last, but what about nice girls? It turns out they actually do quite well for themselves. According to a new study, nice girls — or, specifically, more “responsive” women — are more attractive to men.
Researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, the University of Rochester and the University of Illinois examined how men and women interact and perceive each other’s responsiveness to their needs and life goals.
That perception and how the opposite sex responds can often fuel sexual desire, the researchers say.
In a study whose findings were published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, participants were asked to interact online with a responsive or non-responsive individual of the opposite sex.
The conversations often focused on a problem one of the participants was having. Some people received replies such as "You must have gone through a very difficult time," while others were given non-responsive replies like “Doesn’t sound so bad to me."
The men who interacted with responsive females perceived them as more feminine and sexually attractive. For women, however, there was no clear association between male’s responsiveness and their masculinity.
Women are typically more cautious than men when interpreting a stranger’s expressions of responsiveness, the study showed.
"Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing,” explained lead researcher Gurit Birnbaum.
“Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant,” he added.
The findings imply that whether a responsive partner is seen as sexually desirable or not depends on the context and meaning assigned to that responsiveness. Women didn’t perceive a responsive man as less masculine or as more attractive. But the study does help explain why men find responsive women sexually attractive