Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Revealed: The surprising sexual benefits of kindness and charity

iStock_89857795_LARGE.jpg

Thanks to all of those #passiton and #rakday hashtags on social media, people have never been more likely to take time out of their day to help someone else – if only to get a good Instagram photo out of it.

But, in today’s dog-eat-dog world, it often seems as if altruism isn’t just an indulgent habit; it’s a risky one, too.

So why have our most selfless traits been maintained throughout the process of evolution?

Yup, you guessed it; selflessness is sexy.

The concept is hardly a new one. After all, Saint Basil famously said: “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.

“A good deed is never lost; her who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

Now a new study, carried out at Nipissing University in Ontario, has confirmed that Saint Basil’s words are completely true - people who go out of their way to help others tend to reap the rewards in the bedroom, with more sexual partners, and better, more frequent sex, than those who are selfish.

Jar filled with pennies for charity, lying next to paper hearts

Kindness is sexy, according to a new study

Researchers in Canada spoke with almost a thousand people about their relationships and their altruistic habits, which included such tasks as giving money to charity, donating blood, helping people across the street, and more.

The men and women who scored higher on altruism said they were more attractive to, and received more interest from the opposite sex – which supports the theory that altruism evolved as a means to help our entire species survive, not just individuals.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychology, stated: “The present study provides the first empirical evidence that altruism may tangibly benefit mating in humans living in Western industrialised society.

“Previous studies have investigated whether altruists are more attractive than non-altruists, all else being equal.”

The researchers added that their findings add to past research on hunter-gatherers, which showed that men who hunt and who share more meat among non-relatives also tend to have more sex. 

They concluded: “The present study is the first to show that this may translate into mating success, in that altruists had more mates than non-altruists. This supports the idea that altruism might be a signal of desirable qualities and could have evolved in part via sexual selection.”

People working at a homeless shelter

Has this encouraged you to volunteer with a local charity?

However there is one sticky issue with the study; researchers can’t figure out which way the juices are flowing.

That’s right; it remains to be seen whether or not the feel-good vibes of sex are what encourage happy people to be kinder to others, or whether kindness itself is what acts as the aphrodisiac.

It’s a bit like a more sexy version of the age-old ‘chicken or the egg’ debate, isn’t it?

Either way, we feel strangely compelled to drop off some tins at our local foodbank later.

Images: iStock

Related

72790023.jpg

New ‘orgasm’ fashion range sparks debate about female sexual pleasure

prostitution pimp state.jpg

“Why we should never legalise prostitution”

maxresdefault.jpg

How sexism could be ruining your sex life

rexfeatures_4103864b.jpg

Kirstie Allsopp, Leyla Hussein & June Sarpong

lg_5076fe2c-f574-456e-af17-04b30a0b0910.jpg

“Be as promiscuous as you want to be”: advice for women in their 20s

rexfeatures_5772360b.jpg

Mila Kunis says there is "no such thing" as women having it all

1a-me-and-jodie.JPG

Director Rachel Tunnard on creating funny and flawed female characters

main_rt.jpg

Seven reasons feminist comedy Fleabag will be your new TV addiction

jessica-jones-netflix-09-1280x720.jpg

How Marvel’s Jessica Jones led the charge against the patriarchy

Comments

More

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

“When are you going to get hitched?” How to tackle intrusive questions

Useful responses for the most annoying of questions

27 Mar 2017

Oh, happy day: a live Sister Act show is coming to London

Featuring a 35-piece gospel choir and full band

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Westworld creators answer one of the big questions about Maeve

And star Thandie Newton addresses the show’s violence toward women

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Women link hands on Westminster Bridge to honour victims

Many wore blue as a symbol of hope and peace

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

New report: endometriosis symptoms often “dismissed” by doctors

42% of women said they were “not treated with dignity and respect” by doctors

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Airline defends decision to ban girls from flight for wearing leggings

The incident was “sexist and sexualised young girls”, according to an observer.

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Deliveroo is giving away free ice cream to make your Monday better

That's your lunch break sorted.

by Hayley Spencer
27 Mar 2017

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017