Why Are Many Women Attracted to the Bad Boy Type?
Why is it that so many women are attracted to the "bad
the ones that mothers have long been
warning daughters to avoid?
And the survey says: 21 percent of women 35 and older
would rather take their chances with a bad boy than
a slow-and-steady type.
"There is just SOMETHING about these guys that draws
you in, even as your head tells you to "beware"!"
says Toni Coleman, a relationship coach in Virginia.
It happens to both young and old. According to a survey by
Harlequin publishers of nearly 1,000 U.S. women:
21 percent of women 35 and older would rather take a
chance with a bad boy than date someone slow and steady
31 percent of women with children younger than 18 would
take a chance with a bad boy (compared with 16 percent
of women without kids)
Ironically, if you ask a woman what she is looking for in
a man, she will most likely not describe any of the characteristics
of a typical "bad boy," which often resembles confidence
that borders on (or steps way over the border on) cockiness,
arrogance and machismo.
"A Bad Boy exudes untamed masculinity, independence
and confidence," says Michael Fitzgerald, author and
relationship correspondent for AskMen.com, "To women,
these traits -- especially confidence -- are an aphrodisiac."
"Dominant" Men Smell Better
At least, that's the case when women are ovulating. A study
by Prague researchers asked 65 women to rate the smells of
48 men (by smelling cotton pads that had been worn in their
armpits for 24 hours). The men had assessed how dominant they
Each woman rated the scent of 10 pads on the basis of intensity,
sexiness and masculinity. Women who were at the most fertile
stage of their menstrual cycle were more likely to rate the
odor of the dominant men as sexy.
Said researcher Dr. Craig Roberts, "There seems to be
some sort of physiological mechanism that directs women to
indicators of good genes. The offspring of such a coupling
would therefore be likely to have better genes."
An Attraction to the 'Other' Extreme
The bad-boy attraction that some women feel may also stem
from a desire to taste a more risky side of life -- one they
themselves don't want to pursue, just experience.
Said Professor Petruska Clarkson, a consultant psychologist
and relationship psychotherapist, "
always been a strong sexual attraction to men who are so-called
Speaking of an extreme (and much more uncommon) example of
"bad-boy" attraction, some women even write letters
to convicted serial killers in prison.
The number one trait both men and women in the United
States look for in a mate? Sense of humor.
"Villains capture the imagination. Human beings are
interested in those who live by extremes since they often
do what other, more ordinary mortals, cannot bear to think
of themselves capable [of doing]," Clarkson said.
But Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?
Attraction is one thing. A life-long commitment is another.
When it comes to marriage, do women still prefer the bad boys?
Probably not, as most women are looking for commitment, loyalty
and trust from their potential mate -- none of which are bad-boy
As it turns out, at least one study by researchers at the
University of Pécs in Hungary found that women actually
marry men who look like their fathers.
"Our results support the notion of a long-lasting effect
of attachment during childhood on later mating preferences,"
said the researchers. According to their findings, people
make a mental model of their opposite-sex parent's appearance
and then seek it out later in life.
So what are women really looking for? You may be surprised
to hear that it's the same thing as men. Harlequin's international
survey found that the most important trait in a mate -- to
both men and women in the United States -- is a sense of humor.
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