Why do good girls like bad guys? In addition to being the name of an iconic punk rock song from the early 2000s, it’s a question that plagues millions of men in modern society.
And it’s easy to see why.
If you ask most women what they want, they’ll respond with “A nice guy.” They might talk about someone who buys them flowers, holds their hand in public and opens the door for them when they go out.
Yet in many cases (although certainly not all), these same women will ignore the Nice Guys chasing their attention and instead fall for the mysterious and aloof bad boys who appear antithetical to the traits she claimed to want.
While this affection is often short-lived, it can be intensely frustrating for the men who feel like they’re doing everything right and yet find themselves being rejected time and time again.
But today, I’m going to demystify the bad boy archetype and show you step-by-step how to become the type of man who can integrate the best parts of both archetypes to become the type of man women are attracted to not only in the short-term but the long-term.
Let’s dive in.
Why Good Girls Are Attracted to “Bad Boys”
To explore the nuances of why so many women fall for bad boys and ignore the nice guys who seem like a better fit, it’s important that we first understand the history and evolution of attraction.
Because, whether we want to admit it or not, all attraction in the 21st century is based on our evolutionary biology. And if you’re struggling to attract the women you want, there’s a scientific reason for your struggle.
Although it isn’t politically correct to acknowledge, every woman subconsciously filters new men through a simple lens:
Does this man’s genetics give a potential child the highest chance of survival?
Simply put, if she has your baby, will that baby survive?
Will he be nice, passive, and agreeable? Or will he be strong, aggressive, and capable of both protecting himself and exerting force (whether it’s mental or physical) to get what he wants?
Although kindness and aggression aren’t mutually exclusive–as we’ll explore in a minute–many men in modern society fall neatly into one of these two camps.
The hyper agreeable and effeminate “Nice Guy.” Or the masculine and aggressive “Bad Boy.”
Even though the former makes for a better long-term partner, the latter appears to offer better genetic material. Our brains haven’t caught up to the fact that aggression and risk-seeking behavior aren’t the advantages they once were or that society has changed (and so too has the type of behavior that causes a man to thrive inside of it).
And even though dating a bad boy often results in unhealthy relationships, this line of reasoning is often overridden by the power of evolutionary attraction.
This is why so many good girls fall for bad boys they consciously know are bad news and unfit long-term partners.
Does this mean that the only way to get the woman you want is to start wearing leather jackets, smoking cigarettes, and starting bar fights?
The Power of the Bad Boy Archetype
Once you understand the core evolutionary drivers that cause women to fall for bad boys (and remain stuck in a bad relationship with them), the next question is simple.
What are the specific personality traits and behaviors that elicit this type of evolutionary attraction?
Because if you can learn from those patterns and integrate them into your own life from a mature and grounded frame, you can become the type of man who has it all.
1. Bad Boys Create a Sense of Security and Power
First and most importantly, bad boys offer their partners a sense of security and safety.
Women–especially women who have experienced traumatic events–want to know that their partners can keep them safe. That he’s able to be aggressive and even violent to protect her.
And bad boys meet this need from the onset.
The archetypical bad boy is inherently comfortable with aggression. He’s no stranger to violence or conflict and he doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind or exerting force to get what he wants.
While he might do this from an unhealthy and even toxic frame, on a subconscious level, his ease with aggression feels safer than being with a nice guy who avoids and runs from conflict.
When you consider this concept inside of the context of evolution–and remember that most of our species’ history was plagued with violence, war, and conflict–it’s easy to understand this dynamic.
Who would make a woman feel safer?
The man who casually punches out a stranger for catcalling his girl? Or the guy who is so terrified of confrontation that he can’t even ask his server to bring him the correct order when they get it wrong?
2. Bad Boys Liberate Women from Being Good Girls
The second, and most often overlooked reason why women fall for bad guys is that these relationships give them a sense of freedom and liberation.
For most of human history, women were forced into a stereotypical role that required them to be “good little girls” who sat down, shut up, and listened to the man. Even in our modern and “liberated” culture, many women still feel the pressure to conform to a specific mold that is often opposed to who she really is.
So when a bad boy enters her life and gives her permission to be a “bad girl” herself, it makes him dangerously attractive.
As unhealthy as their dynamic, his presence gives her permission to break free and express herself on her own terms.
She feels free to be herself. To express the darker parts of herself without fear. To be the woman she always wanted to be (but feared would be rejected).
In other words, bad boys liberate her “wild side.”
3. Bad Boys Provide Excitement and Uncertainty
Most men today aren’t truly living, they’re just waiting to die.
And women can feel this from them.
The safe and secure job, the 401(k), the trusty old sedan with five stars for safety. While these things might appear attractive on paper, they hit differently in the real world.
Bad boys, on the other hand, live dangerously. They’re fully alive, open to risk, and live by the motto, “Live hard, die young.”
And while it might seem opposed to some of the concepts we discussed around evolutionary psychology, this attitude is intensely attractive to many women.
Most humans are simply going through the motions of life. They aren’t alive so much as they are existing.
So when a bad boy comes along and creates a container of excitement and uncertainty–many women tend to fall head over heels for these men.
She wants someone to take her out of the exhausting and stressful reality she’s used to and take her on the journey of a lifetime. She wants to experience more excitement and thrill in her daily life. She wants to feel alive.
And that’s exactly what the bad boy makes them feel.
Becoming the Grounded Man Women Truly Crave
Now that you have a basic understanding of the traits and behaviors that set bad boys apart from the Nice Guys, the question remains:
What does it look like to integrate masculinity traits and behaviors in a grounded way?
How can you marry together the best of the bad boy and the Nice Guy to become the man that women are not only attracted to but devoted to?
It all starts with these five journeys.
1. Put Yourself First
Many men fall into the trap of believing that women want a martyr. That they’re attracted to men who will sacrifice themselves for her love and affection and give up everything to make her happy.
But the truth is, most women don’t. And even if they do, this exchange is never worth it.
When a man sacrifices his power to a woman, he loses his ability to attract her.
Because not only does he rescind his role as a leader inside of the relationship, but he forces her to lead everything.
If she is the purpose of his life, she now has the pressure to do everything herself. Because she is now responsible for his happiness, his success, and his purpose.
He becomes dependent on her for validation and approval. Causing the relationship to feel more like a parent and child rather than two lovers co-creating an epic life together.
However, when a man retains his power and commits to his own vision, his own purpose, and his own goals, the dynamic shifts.
Instead of saying to a woman, “You’re my everything. I need you to be happy and I’ll do anything for you.”
He says, “I’m going on the journey of a lifetime. This is what I want, this is where I’m going. If that sounds like a fun ride to you–you’re welcome to come with.”
Never forget that relationships are nothing more than a mutual value exchange.
If you need more than you offer, you cannot be attractive in the long term. But by putting yourself first, you eliminate the neediness most men display and can honestly say to a woman “I want you, but I don’t need you to be happy.”
This doesn’t mean you need to be selfish. Simply that you need to have your own life that exists with or without the woman you want (and that you’re unwilling to sacrifice that life for her).
Maintain your own social circle, your own hobbies, your own goals, and your own interests. Do the thing that you enjoy because you enjoy them. And make sure that you’re meeting your own needs before trying to get them met by another person.
2. Speak Your Truth
One of the traits bad boys possess that few other men do is a willingness to speak their truth without shame or hesitation.
So-called bad boys truly don’t care what other people think about them and there’s little difference between what they think and what they say.
And the reason this trait is so attractive is that it creates a sense of trust.
Most men will change their opinions on a dime to try and make the women they’re interested in happy.
They avoid disagreeing with her at all costs and will never call her out on bad behavior or inaccurate beliefs.
But when they do this, it shows women that they can’t be trusted. If they aren’t willing to share their truth when it comes to something small like their political beliefs, music tastes, or food preferences, how can they be trusted when it really matters?
The simple truth is, that most men will lie through their teeth to get a woman to like them.
But the men women find most attractive are the men who are unwilling to compromise their truth and who will take a stand for themselves, their beliefs, and their desires.
Because not only does it instill a sense of trust, but it establishes strong status and conveys a sense of abundance.
When you disagree with a woman you find attractive, you are subconsciously saying that “This is who I am, this is what I believe, and it doesn’t matter if you like it or not.”
You aren’t trying to prove anything to her or get her to like you through manipulation. Instead, you know who you are and what you want, and if she isn’t compatible with your personality, goals, and desires, you’re willing to walk away.
Because you know that there are plenty of other women out there who do.
3. Maintain Strong Boundaries
Most men struggle to enforce boundaries.
Because, by their very nature, your personal boundaries result in disappointment for other people.
Bad boys don’t care about disappointing other people and will often take this concept to an extreme. But most men will sacrifice their boundaries at the drop of a hat.
They’ll go out with their partner and her friends even though they already made plans with their friends.
They’ll provide the financial support they can’t really afford and don’t want to offer because they want to help her.
They’ll sacrifice working on their dreams and goals so that they can be home at a certain hour to spend all of their free time with their partner.
But again, when a man is unable to enforce boundaries, he begins losing his power. What’s worse? He’s implicitly lying to his partner because he isn’t communicating how he truly feels.
In the long run, this causes him to resent his partner and see her as the source of his problems even though he was the one who didn’t take a stand for what he needed.
She doesn’t know that she’s violating his boundaries because he never communicates or enforces them. And over time this breeds toxicity and drama in a relationship no matter how compatible you may have been.
Similar to speaking your truth, knowing and communicating your boundaries creates a container of trust inside of your relationship.
When a woman knows what behavior is and is not acceptable to you, she’s able to trust you at a deeper level. And because you’re clearly communicating your needs, she’s able to assess the relationship fully and decide for herself whether or not your boundaries conflict with her needs.
By the way…
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4. Create a Container of Safety
While bad boys create a sense of safety through their comfort with aggression, applying this principle in your own life doesn’t require you to get into bar fights or start an unnecessary conflict.
Instead, you can create a container of safety through leadership and capability.
For example, when it comes to date night, most men will defer to their partner and ask them “Well, what do you want?”
Again, this puts pressure on her to make decisions and lead the relationship–which is fine in small doses but exhausting when it’s a persistent pattern.
A much more attractive frame is to take charge and simply tell her, “We’re got reservations tonight at that new Italian restaurant and after we’re done I’ve got a surprise for you. Be ready at 7 o’clock and wear that black dress I like.”
By leading the relationship, you create a sense of trust and security and slowly build her confidence that you can not only handle her and the relationship but any challenges that life brings your way.
She wants to know that she’s safe with you. That you can handle things. And that by choosing to be with you instead of the millions of other men available to her, her life will be easier, more joyful, and more exciting.
The more that you can show up as a leader and alleviate the pressure she experiences, the more attraction she’ll experience.
5. Strive for Growth and Shun the Status Quo
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to get the woman that you want, you must commit to constant growth and shun the status quo.
While this may look different in practice for every man, the underlying principle is immutable.
Are you growing and progressing inside of the important journeys of life?
Are you learning, improving, and becoming better today than you were yesterday?
Every human on the planet, man and woman alike, want their lives to be better tomorrow than they are right now.
They want more joy, more impact, more adventure, and more aliveness.
And when a man stagnates and grows complacent, he’s subconsciously signaling to his partner that, “This is as good as it’s going to get.”
An important, but an uncomfortable question to ask yourself inside of this principle is this:
“If I were a woman, would I be excited by the thought of sharing in the life that I’m building?”
If the answer is “no,” see this as an invitation to embrace new journeys and commit to a bigger and bolder future.
Becoming the type of man women want so that you can have the relationship you want isn’t an easy journey.
It isn’t for the faint of heart of those who are unwilling to step out of their comfort zone.
But if what I shared today resonated with you and you’d like to learn more about the work we do here at Knowledge for Men, then I want to invite you to watch this free training I’ve put together to help men become the strongest versions of themselves.
Inside this masterclass, I share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned after coaching thousands of men for the past decade.
It may not be comfortable and will likely challenge many of your beliefs. But I promise, if you’ll take action on what we teach inside of it, your life will never be the same.