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Why Do Girls Like Bad Boys: The Science Behind the Thrill

Here's one reason why girls like bad boys

Why do girls like bad boys? At least, it seems that way. We all know a guy who is a total ass, but he’s a good-looking, ruggedly-charming, mysterious ass who wears a leather jacket and rides a Harley. And even though girls are aware of his abysmal track record in relationships and commitment, they continue to flock to him, ignoring all the warnings and red flags.

The million-dollar question is why women love bad boys.

That’s exactly what we’ll explore in this article.

Because when you ask most women what they’re looking for in a man and a relationship, they won’t say someone who ghosts, is flaky, or is a commitment-phobe. What they’ll usually say is someone who is kind, trustworthy, makes them laugh, makes them feel safe, etc., all of which are traits of a nice guy.

What Is a Bad Boy?

They are hypermasculine

A bad boy is typically an uber-masculine man. He will ooze testosterone, be very bold, and be sexually exaggerated. A lot of the time, you can’t really describe what makes him appear so masculine: it’s everything. The tone of his voice, the way he carries himself, how he dresses, the glint in his eye, and even the way he smells. And this is one of the primary reasons why women love bad boys.

They are rebels

A man with a rebellious streak

A bad boy is labeled “bad” for a reason. These guys are non-conformists and tend to be rule-breakers. They do what they want when they want to, and they just don’t appear to give a f*ck about anything. Tell them not to do something, or they can’t do or have something (or someone) and they’ll want it so much more.

They might be emotionally unavailable

In a nutshell, being emotionally unavailable means they aren’t able to show up for you. This is classic bad-boy behavior. They reel you in only to ghost you for weeks at a time, bail on plans last minute, and be completely selfish in their behavior. You’re left feeling rejected, unappreciated, and unloved.

They might display the psychological dark triad

In extreme cases, a bad boy might have what’s known as the “dark triad” in psychology, which describes three behavior disorders:

  1. Narcissistic
  2. Machiavellian
  3. Psychopathic

A lot of these disorders are difficult to spot at first because these guys can be incredibly talented at masking their true colors and being on their best behavior when they meet someone new (that’s classic psychopath behavior).

Why Do Girls Like Bad Boys?

It’s a biological thing

Why do girls like bad boys? Because it literally might be in our DNA. Some research suggests women associate masculine characteristics on a man’s face with good health and physical strength, which indicates a man is likely to produce healthier, stronger babies. It’s constantly being debated whether this is true, but what we do know is that these perceptions of masculinity are true.

On top of this, when women are in the most fertile stage of their menstrual cycle (the ovulation phase), they are more likely to be attracted to more masculine men, but at a subconscious level.

However, when asked what they’re looking for in a relationship, most women rate traits like honesty, respect, and kindness.

It’s because we have mummy or daddy issues

Wondering why do good girls like bad boys? It could be because of her upbringing.

If we experience childhood rejection (e.g. aloof, unloving, cold parents) it cripples our self-esteem, leads to self-doubt, and prevents us from creating secure attachments with people. The bottom line is, we are very likely to end up in unhealthy, toxic, and/or abusive relationships because we have no clue what a healthy, functional relationship looks like.

We will be on a subconscious life-long mission to do anything we can to receive that love and warmth we were starved of. When we leave home, we transfer this wound onto other people. And who’s more rejecting than an emotionally unavailable bad boy?

You see, when it comes to love and relationships, we don’t look for what makes us happy. We look for what feels comfortable and familiar.

Bad boys are fun and exciting (at least at first)

Riding off into the sunset

Sometimes, women are attracted to bad boys because they’re tired of “normal” ordinary relationships. If she has been out with a guy who was too nice, i.e. he was a pushover and didn’t lean into his masculine energy enough, she might swing the opposite way and look for someone who is overtly masculine.

Bad boys seem fun and exciting from the outside because they don’t have any real ties with anyone or anything and keep all their cards close to their chests. They don’t play by the rules, and sometimes that’s a good thing, but when you do that all the time you’re not able to function in society.

So yes, a woman might have epic adventures and wild, passionate sex with a bad boy, but this will be dampened by raging fights and no stability.

We love the thrill of the chase

Why do girls like bad boys? Well, it’s not just you guys who like the chase, some women do too. A certain level of mystery is sexy. It keeps reeling us in, wanting to discover more about this person and what makes them tick. So when we can’t figure someone out right away, it’s frustrating, but in an enticing way.

The problem is, when it comes to bad boys, this “thrill” is usually messed up. For example, when he acts like he doesn’t give a f*ck about us, that might lead us to hope even more that he harbors secret emotional feelings but just doesn’t want to show them. Or if he’s clearly emotionally unavailable (maybe he has even openly told us), we won’t leave it there and move on, we’ll want to know why and see if we can change him (more on that later).

We think they’ll protect us

One of the key masculine traits is to be a protector. Men are biologically wired to protect the people they love, and women want to feel protected. And who is likely to offer them that protection more than the guy who looks tough, strong, and maybe even a little aggressive?

So when he quickly blows a fuse or is willing to start a fight with some guy in a club just because he’s flirting with her, she might subconsciously see this as a sign of protection and be at ease with his aggression.

We think we can change them (but we can’t)

Arguing because she can't change him

Women who have a high level of confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth look to date high-value men who can meet them on their level. But women who haven’t done the inner work and are still dealing with childhood trauma and emotional baggage are likely to be drawn to men who are what we call “fixer-uppers.” We believe that in “fixing” him, we will gain validation and finally feel good enough, and like we’ve won a “prize.”

But this is a catch-22. 99.9% of people will never change because you want them to (they have to change for themselves, and even if they want to, it’s still damn hard). And if a woman happens to meet the 0.1% of bad boys who do change, well then he will no longer be the bad boy she was initially attracted to.

We get to live our rebel life vicariously through them

Why do good girls like bad boys? The final reason is that they allow us to explore our inner rebel. A lot of girls are praised during their childhood and teen years for being compliant, good, quiet, and people-pleasing, and living a sheltered life. What this does is repress other traits like speaking up and out, independence, being opinionated, and rebelliousness. If this is what happened, when we grow up, we might be drawn to a bad boy because he allows us to vicariously explore and express this rebel archetype.

In a way, women like this are attracted to the qualities they wish they had. For example, the bad boy’s sense of freedom, his middle-finger attitude to society, and his strong sense of independence and adventure. All of our relationships are lessons, and this could be a lesson of finally reclaiming her strength and freedom, and taking back ownership of her life and self-expression.

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