Skip to content
Surprising Science

Women looking for marriage are still attracted to narcissists

Here’s a problematic new study: Women looking for marriage still find narcissistic traits alluring.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Tom Jacobs from Pacific Standard writes on a problematic 2015 study: Women looking for marriage still find narcissistic traits alluring.

Researchers V. Tamara Montrose and Carrie Haslam from Hartpury College in England reported in their study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences:

The narcissistic male does not make a good partner, but even experienced females do not realize this.

Their study consisted of 146 women between the ages of 18 to 28. Out of these women, 76 percent claimed they were looking for a partner in marriage, while 24 percent were not. They also provided information on “past mating experience.”

To test the participants’ attraction to narcissistic traits, the researchers asked the women to rate their level of agreement with 20 statements. They consisted of things, like, “Confidence in a male is more alluring than modesty,” “Male vanity is an attractive attribute,” and “I am attracted to men who take pleasure in being the center of attention.”

The researchers were surprised to find that women “wishing to get married were more attracted to the narcissistic male personality than those not desiring marriage.”

The finding is a bit problematic for those women looking for a life-long commitment “as the narcissistic male is primarily short-term mating goal-oriented.”

The researchers concluded that, “Despite future long-term mating desires which are unlikely to be achieved with a narcissistic male and possession of substantial mate sampling experience, females view the narcissistic male as a suitable partner: a testament to the success of the narcissistic personality in facilitating short-term mating.”

So, why are narcissists attractive to women?

The researchers suggest that the narcissists’ “ability to acquire resources, and that they are entertaining and self-assured. These traits are attractive to females in relationship contexts.” Indeed, researchers found that women with marriage on the mind responded more positively to statements, like, “I am drawn to a man who displays authority,” and, “A man who uses manipulation to influence his success at work is attractive.”


But here’s a helpful tip: Avoid guys who post a lot of selfies. A recent study found men who posted more images of themselves measured higher for narcissism and/or psychopathy.

As the spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen explains, narcissism is the product of a decades-long pursuit of selfish gain in our culture. But that’s actually the good news, Cohen says, because it means that, with a little effort, we can arrive to a more selfless place.

Read more at Pacific Standard.


Up Next
Massive data centers in the world require massive amounts of energy, not just for processing power, but also for cooling. While big companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are looking into a variety of ways to make the cooling process greener, one particularly clever solution is coming from a Dutch startup called Nerdalize.