The Male Idiot Theory – Sex Differences in Risky Behaviour

A pseudo-photograph showing a man jumping off from an aeroplane without parachute, shouting "I'M AN IDII...OTT!!!". Image: NaturPhilosophieAre you a Risk Taker?

If so, are you a man??  Mmmh… yes…  The Male Idiot Theory: it’s not new but I thought I’d mention it in passing…  Ladies, enjoy… 

Until December 2014, sex differences in risk seeking behaviour, emergency hospital admissions, and mortality were well documented.  However, little was known about sex differences in idiotic risk taking behaviour. 

So researchers in England decided to put their “male idiot theory” (MIT) to the test.

The results were published in the British Medical Journal under the title ‘The Darwin Awards: sex differences in idiotic behaviour‘.


There’s an Award for That!

The Darwin Awards are open to all ethnic groups, cultures, and socio-economic groups.  Nominations are evaluated according to five rigorous criteria:

  • Death

The candidate must be eliminated from the gene pool.

  • Style

The candidate must show an astounding misapplication of common sense

  • Veracity

The event must be verified

  • Capability

The candidate must be capable of sound judgement

  • Self-Selection

The candidate must be the cause of his or her own demise.


To qualify, nominees must improve the gene pool by eliminating themselves from the human race using extraordinarily stupid methods.


The Darwin Awards criteria make a clear distinction between idiotic deaths and accidental deaths.


What the Results Show

Lendrem, Gray and Isaacs reviewed data on idiotic behaviours demonstrated by winners of the Darwin Awards over a 20-year period (1995 to 2014), carefully recording the sex of the winner.

Among the worthy candidates,

  • The thief attempting to purloin a steel hawser from a lift shaft, who unbolted the hawser while standing in the lift, which then plummeted to the ground, resulting in the death of its occupant
  • A man stealing a ride home by hitching a shopping trolley to the back of a train, only to be dragged two miles to his death before the train was able to stop,
  • The terrorist who had posted a letter bomb with insufficient postage stamps and who, on its return, unthinkingly opened his own letter.


Honourable mention (not resulting in elimination from the gene pool) goes to:

  • The man who slipped when using a belt sander as an auto-erotic device and lost a testicle.  Repairing his scrotum with a staple gun enabled him to salvage his remaining testicle, thus failing to eliminate himself completely from the gene pool and disqualifying him from the Darwin Awards.


Of the 413 Darwin Award nominations, 332 were independently verified and confirmed by the Darwin Awards Committee.

14 cases were shared by male and female nominees – overly adventurous couples in compromising positions.

This left 318 valid cases for statistical testing.

Of these 318 cases, 282 Darwin Awards were awarded to males.  Only 36 awards were given to females.

Thus, males made up 88.7% of Darwin Award winners.  This marked sex difference was highly statistically significant according to the (all-male) research team.


The Male Idiot Theory (MIT)

Their findings were entirely consistent with the Male Idiot Theory (MIT) and support the hypothesis that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things…

Darwin Awards:

  • 88.7% Men
  • 12.3% Women


The authors said that it was puzzling that males were so willing to take such unnecessary risks – simply as a rite of passage, in pursuit of male social esteem, or solely in exchange for “bragging rights.”

Men are idiots.  Idiots do stupid things.

Men do stupid things.


And the Winner is…

Many of the differences in risk-seeking behaviour may be explained by the observation that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things.  Hence men do stupid things.

For illustration purposes, here are a few situational examples using what one hopes (very much) to be staged photographs…

A man accidentally trapped inside a step-ladder while trying to put up a wardrobe.
#1 – The DIY Enthusiast


A man climbing precariously on a step-ladder while trying to decorate a stairwell.
#2 – The Downright Daredevil


A man biting the tail of a live tiger.
#3 – The Complete Numpty


A man bonnet-surfing a car moving at speed, while trying to make a telephone call.
#4 – The Stunt Artist


Several men bathing in an inflatable swimming pool in the middle of which is set up a table with various drinks and a sound system dangerously connected to mains power supply.
#5 – The Party Animals


A man "teasing" an alligator.
#6 – The Surplus to Evolutionary Requirement


I could go on but…

It’s been scientifically confirmed.

Once again, the male of the species is more likely to suffer an embarrassing death than the better half of the population.  Almost 90% more likely…

There is no getting away from it…

If men weren’t so stupid, they’d be women!