16 Reasons Why Girls Fall For Bad Boys (The Unsettling Truth)

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Not all girls like bad boys, let’s be clear about that! However, those who do tend to like them for a number of key reasons.

Everyone is different, and has varying motivations for who they’re attracted to, but we’ve put together 16 key reasons why some women like bad boys. From a girl who loves bad boys, here’s our list…

1. Let’s be honest – it’s exciting!

First off – bad boys are just so attractive and it’s kind of thrilling to date one. We’re kept on our toes, we get a buzz from making a ‘bad’ decision, it’s passionate, it’s wild… need we go on?

Part of the appeal of bad boys is the fact that it all feels so exciting. This is partly because TV and movies are always telling us it’s something we should be hyped up about. 

2. We like the reputation we get by association.

If you’re dating a bad boy, you must be pretty wild too, right? Some of us like the fact that we get a reputation as a bad girl because we’re dating a bad boy.

We like the assumptions that people make about us – we’re fun, we’re great in bed, we’re sexy, we’re dangerous.

Dating guys that are edgy or just plain bad news makes us seem that way by default, and we get a weird buzz from knowing that everyone thinks we’re bad.

3. We don’t know how to cope with stability – or if we even deserve it.

A lot of us have been in unhealthy relationships before – either with our parents or our partners. We don’t really know what a stable, secure attachment would look like because we’ve had a lot of disruption or lack of routine in our lives.

As such, we find comfort in feeling unsafe or on edge. We try to continue this by going for men who are emotionally unavailable, a bit nasty, or can’t commit.

It makes us feel secure because we’re used to it – in the same way, a committed, stable relationship makes us feel weird and out of place, because we don’t know how to be in one.

Part of this comes down to the fact that we don’t know if we even deserve a good, healthy relationship.

We’ve been so conditioned by all of our previous experiences that we don’t know if we are worth all the things that a ‘good guy’ can offer, like emotional availability, communication, and affection.

We stick with what we know and what we think we deserve, based on habits we’ve formed over the years. Bad boys give us what we’re used to, and that makes us feel comfortable.

4. It’s two fingers to our ex.

Okay, this one is slightly petty, but we’ve all been there. You’re freshly out of a relationship and you want to get back at your ex. The best way to do that? Move on – with someone totally different to them.

If your ex sees photos of you making out with a guy with a motorbike, covered in tattoos, and totally ripped, he’s going to feel intimidated and pretty rubbish about himself.

And, in some way, that’s kind of what you want. You want to get back at them and make them feel insignificant and forgotten about – just like they made you feel when they dumped you.

We’re not recommending this behavior or saying that it’s healthy or fair, but it does explain why some girls like bad boys.

5. We love drama.

What would dating be like if we always got a text back within minutes, or if our boyfriend didn’t have any super hot female friends?

It would probably be really enjoyable!

However, we’ve been conditioned by TV shows and movies to constantly obsess over the guy we’re dating. We have to call our girlfriends if the guy takes more than an hour to reply, and we should spend at least one bottle of wine b*tching about our boyfriend’s female friends.

We’ve been convinced that we have to find drama in our dating lives, so we look for partners who will offer the maximum level of it.

We want someone who we know is probably going to cause us heaps of anxiety, who’ll make us question the relationship, who’ll leave us on read for days at a time. We’re doing it subconsciously, but we’re still doing it – and that’s why we’re often drawn to bad boys.

6. They’re sexier and better in bed, right?

There’s just something about bad boys that makes them so sexy. Maybe it’s all the drama (mentioned above) or the simmering anger and passion. Whatever it is, we want it – and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Then there’s a stereotype that bad boys are great in bed – they’re more exciting, more adventurous, and more passionate than nice, normal guys. We’re attracted to that as much as anything else, and we want a steamy sex life!

7. We’re in self-destruct mode.

Okay, we’ve talked about spiced-up sex, but it’s time to get serious for a moment. Some of us choose to be with bad boys because we’re going through a self-destructive phase.

We almost want to go through a breakup, so we look for options that we know are not good for us. We’re attracted to things that will make us feel bad about ourselves, because we want to experience those negative emotions. It’s weird, we know, but not uncommon.

8. We’ve got an exit lined up.

If you know that things aren’t going to work out with this guy, you already know that you can end it because of the fact that they’re a bad boy.

This ties in with the above point – we’re looking for something bad to happen, but we want an excuse to escape it when we need to.

By dating someone that isn’t right for us, or that we know is bad news, we’re giving ourselves an ‘automatic out.’ This can help us feel more in control and means that we can follow through with the aforementioned self-destruction any time we want to.

9. We’ve got daddy issues.

One of the reasons some girls like bad boys is because they never had a great relationship with their dad.

If they don’t know how to have a healthy relationship with a man, on any level, they might be drawn to bad choices because they don’t know any better, as we discussed in the beginning of this article.

However, some of us also try to take control of our childhood issues by recreating them on our terms. If you had a bad relationship with your dad growing up, it was probably because of his actions more than your actions – mainly because he was the adult in the situation.

In order to get over that, you look for situations where you can be the reason that a relationship with a man isn’t healthy. If it’s on your terms, you can’t be as hurt by it.

Instead of addressing the issues with your dad, you keep repeating the same unhealthy patterns with men in the hope that you can ‘overwrite’ those daddy issues and take control.

10. We think we can change them.

Of course, some of us like a project. We meet a guy who could be amazing, he’s just a bit of a ‘fixer-upper.’

We like the idea of being the girl who managed to tame the wild guy. If we can get the dangerous bad boy to settle down and commit, that must mean that we’re pretty special, right?

We love thinking about being that girl in every movie who makes the guy finally change his ways – he goes from drugs and motorbikes to marriage and kids, all because he loves us so much. It’s a nice fantasy, and it’s a huge ego boost…

11. We like a challenge and we’re fed up of nice guys.

Some of us girls want to date bad guys because we like the challenge of it all. This isn’t about changing them; it’s about keeping up with them.

We’re fed up with guys who like us so much that they go along with everything we want. It’s nice to be worshipped by a guy to an extent, but it can get so boring and predictable.

We want a challenge, and we want to feel challenged. We want to feel like we’re out of our depth and like we’re being made to work for it. If things come too easily, there’s often a reason for it, right?

12. The good guys screw us over too – so we may as well go for a bad boy…

We’ve never been with a bad boy before because we’re told that they’ll cheat on us, they’ll make us feel bad, they’ll leave us… so we ignore how attracted we are to them and go for a ‘safer’ bet.

A guy who is more likely to play board games than be out doing drugs in a club on a Friday night, for example.

But, when the nice, safe guy cheats on you or hurts you in some other way, it makes you think – why not just get with the guy I’m really attracted to if I’m going to get hurt anyway?

If the outcome is probably going to be the same, based on the fact that the good guys you’ve dated turned out to be bad anyway, you may as well get with someone you really, really fancy.

13. They let us be bad too – plus, opposites attract, right?

One of the reasons so many girls love bad boys is because they let us be bad too.

If you’re with a nice guy, you feel obliged to be nice back. He might not want to do anything wild, so you tame yourself to match his vibe. He might not be into anything exciting in bed, so you pretend you’re not either. You dull yourself down to suit him, so that you can be a nice, lovely couple together.

When you’re with a bad boy, however, you’re suddenly free from those expectations and you can liberate yourself by doing all the whacky, thrill-seeking things you’ve been holding back.

You’re no longer under pressure to fit the ‘nice girl’ stereotype, and you won’t feel ashamed or guilty for wanting to explore things that your last partner wasn’t into.

Being with a bad boy lets us be that baddest version of ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that…

The saying ‘opposites attract‘ can be very valid when it comes to who we want to date. So if you’re a good girl, there’s a strong chance you’ll want a bad boy, at some point at least.

We often like things that are different to us, this is sometimes because we want exposure to ‘the other,’ but also just because we like variety and we want to experience a whole range of things and people.

14. We like what’s bad for us.

Chocolate, wine, takeout. Things that are labeled as ‘bad’ for us are just so much more tempting!

It’s the same when it comes to guys. We like the forbidden, or taboo, and we want to indulge in as much of it as possible.

We know it’s ‘bad’ for us, but that only makes us want it more. There’s some science to this – the more we restrict ourselves and label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ the more limited we feel and the more we want to break free and just have whatever we want.

With a diet, for instance, if you’re told you can’t have bread, you will think about bread constantly until you reach a point where you’re craving it so much that you’ll eat an entire loaf in one go – just because it was forbidden.

It’s the same with men. You’ll restrict and restrict and tell yourself not to go for the bad boys, until you cave and seek one out just because it’s what you haven’t been able to have.

15. They’re dominant and they’ll protect us.

Some of us just love the stereotype of a bad boy. They’re big and strong, and they’ll protect us. They might not stroke our hair or buy us flowers, but they’ll start a fight with anyone who disrespects us.

Again, we’re not condoning any of this, but we do admit that it’s attractive.

A lot of us also want a more dominant boyfriend. We like the idea of a guy who isn’t scared to voice his opinion, and someone who’ll call the shots and make decisions for us.

Not all girls want this, of course, but there’s a bit of a stereotype that girls who like bad boys are indecisive and more passive themselves. They prefer someone else making decisions, and they want someone who’ll take control.

16. It’s all about hormones.

Our hormones change a lot of things throughout the month, but you might not know that they also change what kind of guy we’re attracted to.

At different times of each month, certain hormone levels fluctuate, and they can make us attracted to different types of guys during different phases of our cycle.

At some stage of our menstrual cycle, we’re attracted to nice guys with symmetrical faces, for example, who give off nice pheromones and seem like they’d be great dads.

At other stages of our cycle, we want danger and excitement, and we’re scientifically more likely to be attracted to rugged guys – or guys with tattoos, facial piercings, and poor communication skills, for example.

Pheromones are also important, and scientists believe that they play a big role in attraction. Now, bad boys don’t always necessarily have more ‘attractive’ pheromones, but there could be some coincidences in there that are yet to be discovered!

It’s worth nothing that some preferences have no science or reasoning behind them. Sometimes, we just like who we like – that’s the beauty of attraction!

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About The Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.