Scientists have long speculated why famous "bad boys" like Mick Jagger and Warren Beatty appear to have more success with women.
Researchers at New Mexico State University tested 200 university students for three characteristics which when taken together have been dubbed the "dark triad" by psychologists.
These are a tendency to lie and manipulate others, the selfishness associated with narcissism and impulsive behaviour that gives little thought to consequence.
The scientists then asked the students about their attitudes to sex, including how many partners they had had and whether they desired short-term sexual encounters.
The result of the study, presented at the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society conference in Kyoto, Japan, earlier this month, found that those who were ranked highest for "dark triad" characteristics also tended to have the largest number of sexual partners.
Peter Jonason, from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, who led the study, said that many of the traits were those seen in Ian Fleming's fictional spy and could explain James Bond's success with women.
"He's clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things – killing people, new women," he said.