A lot of evolutionary psychology goes into the "They did a study on what?" category. So check out Daniel Kruger's paper, Male Financial Consumption is Associated with Higher Mating Intentions and Mating Success:
Cross-culturally, male economic power is directly related to reproductive
success. Displays of wealth and social status are an important part of human male mating effort. The degree of male financial consumption may be related to variance in life history strategies, as differences in life history patterns are fundamentally differences in the allocation of effort and/or resources. Males who have higher mating intentions may maximize their economic displays, saving little and even spending beyond their capacity through the use of credit. These men may seek and possibly obtain a greater number of sexual partners. This hypothesis was tested in a randomly selected community sample of men aged 18-45 included in a telephone health interview. The degree of financial consumption was directly related to future mating intentions and past mating success, even when accounting for age, years of education completed, and marital status. The degree of financial consumption was not related to future mating intentions or past mating success for women in the same sample.
No surprise that degree of male financial expenditure was linked to sexual prowess (as measured by # of partners), but my first thought was that this was just due to variation in time preference (which is correlated with other variables such as IQ). But the data from women showed no relationship between financial expenditure and number of sexual partners. If time preference was the original causal factor I would have expected a similar relationship to hold for women (even if attenuated). One could claim of course that the expression of time preference is different in men and women. In any case, here is the main table of interest:
The primary finding of this paper shouldn't surprise anyone who watches rap videos, or the episode of Cheers where Sam admits that all of his material possessions (e.g., his car) are simply a means to furthering his sexual conquests. Some have held that the materialism which is held up opprobrium in Fight Club has an anti-female subtext (insofar as men have to work within the system to obtain prestige in the eyes of women). I've joked before that civilization was what men invented to impress women, so the urge to impress has definite positive spillover effects. Nevertheless, the main "hook" that this research has today is the behavioral economic finding that many humans are not rational actors when it comes to responsible use of credit. This offers one proximate dynamic in what is turning into a public policy problem; buy the sweet car you can't afford so that you can "score" now (I actually know someone who is a graduate student in the physical sciences who did exactly this, so even the smart can overwhelm their rational faculties rather easily).
Seeing as this was a telephone survey, I wonder how accurate this information is. (Not to say that conspicuous spending doesn't correlate with the intention or desire to mack it with many womens, but I still wonder as to the true success of this tactic.)
Oh, and humans not being rational economic actors? Yeah, seriously! Good to see that's being supported and promoted.
Perhaps they're spending all their money on brothels. Anyway, isn't someone who only feels secure in an expensive car more likely to lie about sex than someone on a humble bicycle?
(I ride a bicycle and have huge muscular thighs. You want to know how many mules I've scored? No?)