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1 December 2005
Creative Spark Means Artists Have More Success At Sex
by George Atkinson

Ever wondered why musicians and artists always seem to have more success with women? A new study from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in the UK could provide the answer. It seems that the more creative a person is, the more sexual partners they are likely to have, which could explain the behavior of famous historical womanizers like the poets Lord Byron and Dylan Thomas, and our latter day equivalent - rock and roll stars.

Astonishingly, the study found that professional artists and poets have around twice as many sexual partners as those who do not indulge in these creative activities.

The study, appearing in the The Proceedings of the Royal Society, involved surveying over 400 men and women, including visual artists, poets and schizophrenic patients. The researchers found the artists shared certain traits with mentally ill patients. These traits were linked with an increased sexual activity and are thought to have evolved because they contribute to the survival of the human species.

The study found that the average number of sexual partners for professional artists and poets was more than double compared with the non-creative types. Interestingly, the statistics also showed the average number of sexual partners increased in line with the amount of creative activity a person took part in.

"Creative people are often considered to be very attractive and get lots of attention as a result. They tend to be charismatic and produce art and poetry that grabs people's interest. It could also be that very creative types lead a bohemian lifestyle and tend to act on more sexual impulses and opportunities, often purely for experience's sake, than the average person would," said Dr Daniel Nettle, the study's author.

The link between creativity and mental illness could be explained in evolutionary terms, according to Dr Nettle. "These personality traits can manifest themselves in negative ways, in that a person with them is likely to be prone to the shadows of full-blown mental illness such as depression and suicidal thoughts. This research shows there are positive reasons, such as their role in mate attraction and species survival [reproduction], for why these characteristics are still around."

But although schizophrenics and artists share some of the same traits, schizophrenic patients do not experience the same level of sexual activity as artists. Dr Nettle explained that mentally ill people tend to suffer from acute social withdrawal and emotional flatness - characteristics that the researchers found were linked with a reduced number of sexual partners.

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