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Why women think narcissistic men are sexy

Ladies love guys who love themselves — at least at first, study suggests

By Joy Jernigan - MSN Living Editor May 6, 2013 6:54PM

man and womanGuys, if you want to pick up women, it helps to be a narcissist.

Women find such men more attractive as sexual partners, according to a recent study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

In the study, Michael Dufner of Humboldt University in Berlin and colleagues set out to test whether narcissistic individuals — those who have traits such as an “unrealistically positive self-view, a strong self-focus, feelings of entitlement, and a lack of regard for others” — were appealing as short-term romantic or sexual partners. Researchers also wanted to see whether physical attractiveness and high social boldness — traits linked to narcissism — contributed to mate appeal. For the study, Dufner and his colleagues relied on ratings of members of the opposite sex, ratings of friends and records of courtship outcomes.

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Researchers then recruited 61 heterosexual men and sent them out into the streets of a large German city to pick up 25 women they would “genuinely like to get to know better” and get their contact information.

Their findings: “The higher participants’ narcissism, the more personal contacts they received from unacquainted women and the more appealing they were rated by these women.”

“It was interesting to see that these effects were not due to self-esteem,” Dufner said. “It was really narcissism that was attractive.”
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While narcissists might get more phone numbers, previous research has shown that they tend to be less successful at long-term relationships, said Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a  psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who wrote about Dufner’s study in her blog on Psychology Today.

“Because their long-term prospects in relationships tend not to be very good, narcissists become the masters of the good first impression,” she writes. “They know how to manipulate their own self-presentation so that they seem desirable and attractive.” 

In other words, “these are the people who are OK on one date, if that,” Whitbourne said.

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Photo: Chris Clinton/Getty Images

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