For ages, the ‘nice guys’ of the world have asked this question. Why do women find the ‘bad boy’ so very attractive? What is it about a man with a precarious lifestyle and a disregard for his own well-being that pulls women like magnets?
Well, according to Broadly, science finally explains just what about ‘bad boys’ is so very irresistible.
The study, conducted by Ghent University in Belgium called the ‘The Young Male Cigarette and Alcohol Syndrome: Smoking and Drinking as a Short-Term Mating Strategy’ reveals that there might actually be some truth to what ‘nice guys’ have been complaining about for ages.
The findings of the study suggested that young males use these physically risky behaviours as a short-term mating strategy.
These behaviours, because they are considered as physically harmful, are sexually compelling to women.
In fact, it was observed during the study that warning young women of the dangers of smoking and drinking only reinforces the dangers of such behaviour and ends up strengthening the attraction they feel towards said ‘bad boys’.
An interesting observation that the research made, though, was that men aren’t genetically programmed to live dangerously – it is a mere reaction to the perceived loss of masculinity.
“How do they find ways to establish masculine identities when their claim to masculinity has been challenged? Risk-taking is one method on which research has shown that men rely.”
All right, men tend to secure their masculinity with behaviour considered risky. But why do women love it so much?
Some bodies of research claim that the reason for it lies in evolution – because in a manner of ‘sexual selection’, women tend to locate men that are most likely to protect them.
But this theory has been discredited widely. According to Bridges, the reason for women being drawn to risky behaviour may not have any biological roots at all.
“Our sexual desires are shaped and moulded by the societies in which we grow up. Both men and women are often attracted to culturally idealized embodiments of masculinity and femininity.”
The roots to this phenomenon lies in subconscious societal instruction. Risk-taking is just another way for men to demonstrate their power, and women are told to admire that.
The reason behind it may be perversely ingrained in gender stereotyping, but the science has spoken. Bad boys win, at least in the short term.