A new study has offered some compelling insight as to why men prefer nice women and women don’t necessarily prefer nice men. While being nice is perceived as increasing a woman’s femininity and making her more sexually attractive, women seem rather unmoved by responsive men. Although the researchers are not exactly clear on the reasoning for this, they do present rather interesting hypotheses to explain why.

Responsive Individuals

Researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, the University of Rochester, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study to see why people respond differently to “responsive” individuals, a recent press release reported. A responsive individual is described as someone who is supportive of another’s needs and goals.

Past studies revealed that men perceived a responsive woman as being more feminine, more attractive, and more sexually desirable. Heightened sexual arousal was also linked to a greater desire for a long-term relationship with that partner. “We wanted to understand the reasons for these gender differences: What makes a responsive woman sexually attractive and what makes a responsive man less sexually attractive,” lead researcher Gurit Birnbaum told Medical Daily in an e-mail.

Results For Females Aren’t As Clear

Being responsive did not make the men seem any less masculine, but it also did not seem to affect women’s sexual desires as strongly. “Some women, for example, may interpret responsiveness negatively and feel uncomfortable about a new acquaintance who seems to want to be close,” said Birnbaum in the press release. “Other women may perceive a responsive stranger as warm and caring and therefore as a desirable long-term partner."

The study’s authors write that their findings “indicate that the elusive spark of attraction in initial encounters may be influenced by perceived responsiveness.” In short it seems that it’s not exactly the trait of being nice that determines sexual desirability, but rather how other perceive this trait. With men the trait of responsiveness seems to be more commonly perceived as a position attribution, where with women perception is not as clear cut.

Nice Guys

Women may say that they are looking for a “nice guy” in a potential mate but the results from the study suggest that being too nice is not likely to get you very far on a first date. Birnbaum suggested that men should “slow learn to pace themselves… if their goal is to instill sexual desire.” Women are more cautious towards responsive strangers, but the reasoning for this remains unknown. “It may not necessarily have to do with 'being nice. Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons," explained Birnbaum. The researchers hypothesized that “niceness” in men may be seen as being inappropriate or manipulative, being too eager to please, and even desperate. “Women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant,” Birnbaum added.

Why We Need To Know The Laws Of Attraction

Birnbaum told Medical Daily that her study emphasizes the desire-intimacy paradox. “Because sex is a prominent context in which people seek a sense of felt understanding and caring, it is easy to understand why the need for more intimacy is likely to increase the desire for sex with a partner.” Deeper understanding of how the opposite sex views responsiveness can help a partner to strengthen their existing relationships. “Both scholars and lay people should be aware of these different meaning [people may assign to responsiveness] if they want to predict the effect of expressions if intimacy on sexual interest,” concluded Birnbaum.

Source: Birnbaum GE, Ein-Dor T, Reis HT, Segal N. Why Do Men Prefer Nice Women? Gender Typicality Mediates The Effect of Responsiveness on Percieved Attractiveness in Initial Acquaintanceships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2014