In species in which adults of the two sexes show long-term association, males often engage in acts of assistance (“services”) aimed at females and/or their young in various behavioural contexts that are not reciprocated. We conducted a quantitative review of the primate literature on sex differences in involvement in protection against predation. We found that males were more likely to be at the front of group progressions, especially in contexts of increased risk, were more vigilant, sometimes to the point of becoming sentinels, were more active in mobbing, and were far more likely to counter-attack felids and monkey-eating raptors than females did. Our evaluation showed that these services may be an expression of male parental care or aimed at bonded partners, but we also encountered many cases in which non-sires, unrelated to either females or immatures, provide them. We hence investigate explanations invoking group augmentation or costly signalling. Currently, available data on male anti-predation services in nonhuman primates do not allow us to distinguish among them, although costly signalling better explains data on birds and humans. We develop predictions that will allow more detailed tests of the various hypotheses for this understudied phenomenon.