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

Everything you need to know about growing your own vegetables

(Even if you don't have loads of space)

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Calling all vino fans: are you ready for red wine ice cream?

Ice cream and red wine, together at last…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Letters penned 100 years apart show unchanging attitude to abortion

"I'm in the family way again, and I'm nearly crazy..."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Woman opens up about having her grandmother as her bridesmaid

“She’s my best friend”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Artist captures how mental illness feels with sketches of houses

“It belongs to our lives and we must not stigmatise it”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Pair cheese and wine like a pro with this incredible interactive map

Winchester Aged Gouda with a glass of Amarone della Valpolicella, anyone?

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017

Elderly woman finds £5 note worth £50k, donates it to “young people”

She’s the hero we need right now, if not the one we deserve.

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017

Watch Emma Watson sing ‘Belle’ in new Beauty and the Beast clip

“There goes the baker with his tray, like always…”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

The worst date I’ve ever witnessed: waiters share their stories

From the toe-curlingly awkward to the jaw-on-floor shocking.

by Moya Crockett
20 Feb 2017

Men open up about “the one that got away” in thought-provoking video

But not all is as it seems…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Feb 2017