Teenage is a time of constant change and it is often overwhelming for the best of us. Adolescents tend to exhibit characteristics that are a mere reflection of insecurities, which often drive them to do things that would make for the best embarrassing stories 20 years later.

But, often, this could lead to serious consequences. Adolescents, who are willing to exploit others for personal gain are more likely to bully and researchers found this is directly linked to them having more sex than those who display honesty and humility.

Bullying might have evolved as a way for men to show their dominance and strength, according to a study in Springer's journal Evolutionary Psychological Science conducted by researchers from the University of Windsor in Canada. It also served as a signal to women of the men's fertility and willingness to mate.

Researchers believe a dominant man served an evolutionary purpose to a woman. It is a sign they can protect their offspring and provide for their needs. From an evolutionary perspective, a man's dominance may make him more attractive to his potential sexual partners, as well as scaring off rivals, said a press release on the Springer website.

The team used a study group of 144 older adolescents with an average age of 18.3 and a group of 396 younger adolescents with an average age of 14.6 years.

They investigated the individual personality differences that might make one person more willing and able to use bullying tactics when seeking sexual partners both at younger and older ages. They were asked to answer questionnaires about their sex life and number of sexual partners, as well as questions about their bullying tendencies.

The researchers also questioned both the test groups on their willingness to cooperate with others, or to exploit and antagonize them. By measuring the emotional stability of a person and how understanding they are of other people and their situation, as well as how honest and humble they are, the team established certain personality traits in the participants.

Those who failed to score high in these tests showed a higher chance of displaying antisocial personality traits and of being a bully.

Provenzano's team also directly correlated the bullying mentality to the amount of sex an adolescent has. Those who scored lesser in the " honesty-humility" tests were more likely to use bullying tactics to pursue more sexual partners.

"Younger adolescents lower in 'Honesty-Humility' may therefore strategically manipulate others in a variety of ways to obtain more sexual partners," said Provenzano in the release. "Our findings indirectly suggest that exploitative adolescents may have more sexual partners if they are able to strategically use exploitative behaviour like bullying to target weaker individuals."

According to Provenzano, adolescents lower in "honesty-humility" may also use bullying as an intersexual strategy to display traits such as strength and dominance to attract the opposite sex.

They use these dishonest characteristics to develop more ways to put down anyone they considered a threat. By bullying and threatening rivals into withdrawing from intra-sexual competition, they gain an advantage early in life in finding a mate successfully.

"Our results suggest that both research and intervention efforts with older and younger adolescents need to recognize and respond to the relationships between personality, sex and bullying," explained Provenzano.