There is a general perception that a nerd’s level of nerdiness is inversely proportional to their chances of getting laid. In fact, examples of famous geniuses who died as virgins, like Nicola Tesla and Isac Newton might cement this perception. Charles Darwin would make a great nerd if he lived today. He most likely didn’t have sex before his famous voyage of on the Beagle and might well be spending his time playing Minecraft if he were alive now assuming he hasn’t met his beloved wife Emma, yet. So, the obvious answer to the above question is: girls aren’t just that much into nerds.

But why? It has become clear that nerds are the new rulers of the world, with the likes of Elon Musk being really attractive potential partners. The truth is, without all the fame and fortune nerds are still not valued highly on the mating market. Despite having a number of real perks for any potential female partner:

  • nerds are in demand for their skills on the job market, therefore being able to be good providers for a family
  • nerds are basically very honest people and partners
  • nerds tend to be very faithful and loyal partners
  • nerds tend to be good dads rather than cads

Well, despite these perks, girls aren’t really into nerds after all, right?

Hang on, that can’t be the whole truth, however. Assuming that “nerdiness” is at least 0.5 genetically determined like most personality traits, previous generations of females must have preferred nerdy types over non-nerdy types (sexual selection). What makes us believe that girls aren’t into nerds is that they are relatively rare. Let’s assume nerds make up 10% of the population. In this case, about 10% of women choose nerds as partners for mating, which would create a subset of about 20% of the population altogether who would prefer to mate among themselves. This phenomenon is known as “assortative mating” and in fact, there is a group of people that make up about 20–25% of the population, called “intuitives” in the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. Incidentally, you will also find the biggest number of nerds in this group (with INTPs being the prototypical nerds).

So, a part of the answer to why nerds get laid less is the relative rarity of potential female partners. And this isn’t the whole story either. I have identified nerds as having ancient hunter-gatherer genes before. Extrapolating from life-history theory these hunter-gatherer types have later average on-set of puberty and extrapolating for hunter-gatherer societies hunter-gatherers have hardly any mating rituals. So, by the time the mating starts for other types most hunter-gatherer types are actually still children watching in bewilderment the mating ceremonies of early starting herder types, involving a lot of mating display ranging from revealing clothes to demonstrations of dominance. By the time farmer types join the game showing off money and material possession (i.e. making it clear they will be good providers), hunter-gather types have become totally insecure about this mating game they are clueless about.

Hunters are not “programmed” to brag about their status (there is none) or even about the importance of their catch (they are supposed to downplay it). Of course, many females will be attracted to the most competent hunter, but the hunter better be modest about it. Hunter-gatherers don’t play mating games, when they are attracted to each other they spend a lot of time with each other and if they stay together they are at some stage considered married. We can therefore infer that the most important “love language” for hunter-gatherer types is spending quality time with each other.

By the time it’s the hunter’s (nerd’s) time to mate, he has often little self-confidence left, having gotten the message that he just isn’t that attractive as a mate too many times.

When I was a teen I spent my Saturday evenings reading, chatting online or teaching myself how to code while my friends went clubbing, hoping to get laid. I rarely joined them, because this was no option to find a mate for me. I needed to spend time with a girl to see if I could establish an emotional (demisexual) and intellectual (sapiosexual) connection. Of course, at the time I wasn’t fully aware of that, but I did know intuitively that by going clubbing my chances of finding a soulmate were next to nil.

Like many nerds, I eventually did get married, well a decade later than most of my friends at the time. One thing that makes dating really hard (even with the right kind of girl) for hunter types is that they aren’t the most emotional types. “I will love you forever” does really not come easily to them. A hunter-gatherer female friend of mine once confided to me that her hunter boyfriend never says “I love you” anymore. His explanation: “I told you that I love you once, I will tell you when I DON’T love you anymore”. It’s not really that important (despite social expectations, perhaps). One of the most beautiful declarations of love I ever saw in a movie is this one:

“Just as you are” is an important part of it, because hunter-gatherer females are also rare and often feel different or even not good enough. There is a way to one-up the above declaration of love, however: “I love you BECAUSE you are different”.

If you are as clueless about dating and mating as I used to be, you might want to have a look into my book

Originally published at on December 15, 2020.