Why do some species exhibit apparently suboptimal combinations of life history traits? In a comparative study of lizard species, Reedy et al. test the idea that variation in the trade‐off between fecundity and survival can be explained by sexual conflict. Their results show that degree of sexual conflict alone cannot explain this variation, and they found a positive correlation between trade‐off optimality and the size of males relative to females. These findings suggest a more complicated picture of the fecundity‐survival trade‐off, possibly involving a third, unknown source of selective pressure.