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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 23:56 GMT
Creative people 'luckier in love'
Image of Casanova, played by actor David Tennant
David Tennant played the part of Casanova for a BBC drama
If you are hoping to improve your love life, it may be wise to develop artistic traits, researchers suggest.

The more creative a person is, the more sexual partners they are likely to have, UK investigators have found.

Artists and poets had an average of four to 10 sexual partners, compared to three for non-creative types, Newcastle and Open University teams discovered.

Creative people could be displaying the "positive side" of personality traits seen in schizophrenia, they say.

'Schizotypal' traits

Researcher Dr Daniel Nettle explained: "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.

"It's common to find that this sexual behaviour is tolerated. Partners, even long-term ones, are less likely to expect loyalty and fidelity from them."

There are positive reasons, such as their role in mate attraction and species survival, for why these characteristics are still around
Researcher Dr Daniel Nettle

But he said these "schizotypal" personality traits could manifest themselves in negative ways.

"A person with them is likely to be prone to the shadows of full-blown mental illness such as depression and suicidal thoughts."

He said there could be an underlying evolutionary survival benefit that would explain why creative people continued to display schizotypal character traits.

"There are positive reasons, such as their role in mate attraction and species survival, for why these characteristics are still around."

His work in Proceedings of the Royal Society B focused on 425 men and women, including a sample of visual artists and poets and schizophrenic patients, and their history of sexual encounters since the age of 18.


There are historical examples of creative people who were as notorious for their sexual exploits as their creative talents.

Actor Errol Flynn, famous for his lead role in the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood, had a reputation as the original Hollywood hellraiser, with his off-screen exploits often overshadowing his prolific film career.

Screen legend Marlon Brando, famous for his roles in On the Waterfront and The Godfather, had at least 11 children with three ex-wives and various other women.

The real Casanova, who boasted relationships with more than 100 women in his memoirs, was the son of actor parents.

He rubbed shoulders with luminaries such as Russia's Catherine the Great and French philosopher Voltaire.

But plagued by venereal disease from an early age, Casanova died in exile, having fled Venice's Piombi prison.


Professor John Gruzelier, professor of psychology at Imperial College London said: "The link between creativity and schizotypy has been made before.

"One of the things about creativity is putting together unusual associations and ideas. In the schizotypal person who is creative, these are kept in balance. But in schizophrenia these can be bizarre.

"Schizotypy is associated with much more cognitive activation. These people are overactive both cognitively and interpersonally. That could lead to great sociability."

He said this might explain why creative people were popular and attractive to others.

However, he said some arts required introversion.

"Some creative people, such as artists and writers, are solitary people. They are almost hermit-like. That's partly because they are so driven. Their art is all they want to do."

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