What Is It About ‘Bad Boys’ That Women Love So Much?

The love of the bad boy has crossed generations. From Danny Zuko to Dean Winchester, girls just love a guy that’s not boyfriend material. But why? Why are we all so drawn to the emotionally unavailable, break all the rules, can’t take home to your parents kind of guy? Turns out, there are quite a few reasons—some of which are even scientifically driven.

  1. We want their seed. Yup. That’s probably one of the most important and wild reasons we love the guy that appears as if he just rolled on over from the wrong side of the tracks. Bad guys tend to project this hypermasculinity which makes our subconscious brains go crazy. From an evolutionary biology standpoint, women are drawn to bad boys because their big D energy makes us unconsciously think they’d give us one hell of an offspring.
  2. They let us relax. When you’re dating a bad boy, you’re free to be as bad as you want to be. Women are often inundated with lessons on how to be “good girls” all throughout their childhoods, and when we reach those rebellious teenage years, that bad boy image makes us feel free to get all that bad girl energy out without having to feel judged for it.
  3. Forbidden fruit just seems sweeter. We’re drawn to things that are bad for us in all aspects of our lives. Junkfood, binging trashy reality TV, and yes, bad boys. Women are able to play out a fantasy in their heads that this less-than-ideal partner will somehow shake up their boring ol’ life and bring them some much-needed excitement.
  4. They just seem like better protectors. This isn’t to say that we women can’t protect ourselves or nice guys can’t be strong enough to protect us if need be. We can definitely kick some butt, and nice guys are just as awesome at protecting the ones they love. However, it’s just another one of the subconscious things that get our fire going. Overtly masculine men seem like they could keep us safe from all the threats of the world—and there are many—and it feels good to feel safe.
  5. We like projects. From DIY to home decor, women love projects. We like having something to fix or make better. It’s pretty much our whole deal. Everything a woman touches becomes better because we work on things, sometimes incessantly. Bad boys are just human projects that we think we can mold into well-rounded and decent partners.
  6. Our upbringing is a big factor. It’s no secret that children often grow up and form romantic relationships based on how their relationships with their parents were. This is why many women with absent, aloof, or cold and distant fathers often find themselves attracted to men cut from the same cloth. We change who we’re trying to get the affection from and replace them with someone else to get that unrequited paternal love we never got as children.
  7. It’s the Dark Triad’s fault. Okay, so, the Dark Triad is a grouping of malevolent personality traits. The traits in question are narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Bad boys tend to fall into this category of character by default. For some reason, women find men with this Dark Triad personality more attractive. It could be because of the evolutionary thing of having a strong baby or it could be because people with those traits tend to be more charismatic and find manipulation way too easy. Either way, there’s a very real reason why bad boys are a hot commodity.
  8. Bad boys are always portrayed as more interesting. If you’ve ever seen a movie in your life, you’ll know that the bad guy always seems to be much more interesting than his nice guy counterpart. The nice guys in movies always seem clumsy, shy, and weak, to put it bluntly. The bad guys (that always turn into nice guys in love by the end for some reason?) always seem to be hotter, more mysterious, and way more exciting.
  9. Let’s face it, it goes both ways. Guys always want to bring home a nice girl to their family, but they’re just as attracted to ‘bad girls’ as women are to bad boys. It’s like a weird thing we’re all conditioned to deal with for a good chunk of our adult dating lives. At least we all learn eventually, right?
Angelica Bottaro has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trent University and an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She began her career as a freelance writer in 2014, racking up bylines in The Good Men Project, MakeWell, LymeTime, YouQueen, and more. She eventually shifted her focus and began writing about mental health, nutrition, and chronic disease for VeryWell Health.

You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website at AngelicaBottaro.ca. She also posts on Instagram @a.ct._b and Twitter @angiiebee.