Written by We-Vibe’s Relationship Expert Dr Becky Spelman

Dr Becky Spelman

Dr Becky Spelman

The research shows that nice guys typically don’t finish last— but that they are playing the long game, and don’t always see the dividends straight away. While women are often attracted to “bad boy” types when it comes to quick thrills, in the longer term they’re more likely to choose someone nice, so whatever happens in the short term, all they have to do is bide their time!

What’s going on? The answer lies in the psychological make-up that we’ve developed as a species over thousands of years. 

Women make what is known as a large investment of energy when it comes to reproducing. It takes nine whole months to gestate a baby, and babies are dependent on their immediate caregivers for far longer than other mammal species. For this reason, when women want to make a commitment, they are typically drawn (consciously or subconsciously) to men who are nice guys—men who will be kind and considerate and will play their part in raising and providing for their child, if they have one. 

Of course, nowadays we all have access to contraception, and a lot of women don’t want to have children when they are young, or at all—but it’s still impossible to ignore thousands of years of evolution. 

The bottom line is that when they are looking for a medium to long term relationship, most women will choose someone kind, considerate, patient, and supportive—even if they were not attracted to them straight away, have no intention of ever having kids, or initially found someone else more sexually appealing. Nice guys are also more likely to get more sex in the longer term, because once the initial excitement of a relationship is over, women are more into sex with someone who is pulling his weight at home, and who treats them in a considerate way because… well, because of course they are. 

When it comes to short term relationships and one night stands, however, all bets are off. Some research suggests that women looking for casual sex, a one-night stand, or who are cheating on their long-term partner because they want some fun on the side, are attracted to men with physical characteristics that are known as “hyper-masculine”—bigger, stronger men with well-defined muscles, strong jaw-lines, and deep voices. The theory goes that they are attracted to these men because, subconsciously, they have identified their physical features as being associated with healthy qualities that would be good to pass on to their offspring, even though they’d rather raise a family with someone who is going to stick around. Some research has even suggested that women are more attracted to men like this when they are ovulating than at other times of the month. However, there’s no guarantee that men who look like this will be good long-term partners—and if they have particularly high levels of testosterone (as their physical qualities suggest they may do) they can have issues with higher levels of aggression, and a greater propensity to cheat, making them a poorer choice in the longer term. 

Nice guys, who go out of their way to be polite, considerate, and thoughtful, will do very well in the dating market. The fact is- nice guys will almost certainly be having more, and better, sex, as they move into their thirties, forties, fifties, and beyond, than guys who play with others’ emotions, wreak havoc in their personal lives, and lose their smokin’ good looks to too many nights spent boozing and playing video games.