A common stereotype out there is that girls tend to prefer bad boys to well-behaved boys.
In some cases, there may be some truth to that claim.
In entertainment, especially, it’s common to see the girl fall for the bad boy over the safer option.
It may make you wonder why girls seem to prefer bad boys.
A few factors like bad boys appearing more masculine, appearing as protective, and struggling with their own absent parents, along with some other factors, could be why some girls like bad boys.
Why Do Girls Like Bad Boys? (10 Reasons)
1. Appear More Masculine
One reason girls like bad boys is that they can sometimes appear more masculine.
The stereotypical bad boy usually is a bit wiry or lean.
They’re used to defending themselves, so they have a muscular form.
They sometimes have facial hair, too, or some sort of scruff.
Beards tend to make men more look masculine as well.
Some bad boys wear certain types of clothes that also show off their physique.
Their goal is to intimidate other men or to make themselves look tougher.
Whether they’re successful or not doesn’t matter.
They look tougher, which can seem more masculine and thus more appealing to girls.
Finally, the attitude they possess tends to make them appear more stereotypically masculine as well.
Bad boys tend to lack empathy.
They’re only loyal to themselves or their group.
Many of them are either the head of that group or aspire to lead.
Those sorts of factors can make them appear more masculine, too.
Some women find acute masculinity attractive.
It may make them feel a certain way, themselves.
For example, they might feel more petite or feminine with them.
Others just find very masculine men attractive.
Either way, some girls like bad boys because they appear more masculine.
2. Never Want To Settle Down
Another reason some girls like bad boys is that they don’t want an actual relationship with them.
Some girls prefer to play around for a few years before finally settling into a relationship.
As such, being with a bad boy is ideal for them.
They’re only interested in short-term fun rather than a lasting relationship with them.
It’s when girls have had their fun that they tend to move beyond bad boys.
When they want to settle down, they look for kinder guys instead.
They know that kinder guys are safer and more reliable.
Of course, just like guys, some girls also never want to settle down.
They want to hold onto their party days for as long as possible.
These girls may continue to date and enjoy bad boys because they’re not done partying yet.
Some girls like bad boys because they’re not looking for anything serious, and bad boys serve that purpose.
3. Expresses Inner Rebel
Some girls also date bad boys because it allows them to express their inner rebel.
Girls tend to get held to higher standards than guys.
They’re expected to follow the rules.
If they break a rule, then their reputation gets hit hard.
When guys break a rule, it’s waved off as boys being boys.
Since the stakes are higher for girls, they tend to stick close to the rules.
However, one way that they can enjoy their own rebellion is by being with a bad boy.
Bad boys are often rebels.
They’re seen as bad boys because they don’t regularly follow the rules.
Some bad boys might have a code, while others believe in anarchy.
Being with a bad boy makes the girl appear to be something of a rebel, too.
Because she’s chosen to be with a bad boy, it suggests that she also believes in the ideals that the bad boy has.
If, for example, the bad boy is particularly vocal about drug use, then some might perceive the girl as a user, as well, or someone who promotes drug use.
Even if the girl doesn’t partake, the image or suggestion is there all the same.
This makes her seem like a rebel.
She’s going against the rules even if she, herself, technically isn’t breaking any rules.
It’s a safe way to feel like a rebel without damaging one’s reputation too much.
She could easily restore her reputation by dumping the bad boy.
Feeling like a rebel can be a lot of fun.
This is especially true for girls who have had to follow rules all their life.
It’s a way to get back at helicopter parents or strict officials who they perceive as having controlled their life.
Since it’s a bit of release, feeling like a rebel can even feel cathartic.
That makes being with a bad boy quite alluring.
4. Admire Their Freedom
Bad boys also represent freedom.
Because many of them have the appearance of being a rebel, it means they usually go against the grain of society.
There’s a certain amount of freedom to that.
Bad boys don’t chafe against the bonds of society.
They do what they want when they want.
Girls may long for that sort of freedom.
Because they’re held to higher standards than guys, many girls might feel caged.
When their parents hold them to those high standards, that cage can feel pretty tight.
They may feel that they can’t express who they actually are, lest they risk their parents’ disappointment and shame.
That can cause a lot of anxiety, if not depression.
By being with a bad boy, they’re able to express themselves freely.
It’s a way to get back at society for trying to turn them into something that they aren’t.
Bad boys can also act like mentors in navigating their newfound freedoms.
They might come to rely on them for those feelings.
Other girls may just like the idea of dating a bad boy because it makes them feel free.
Since bad boys represent freedom, some girls like them because they want to feel free from something as well.
Perhaps one of the main reasons girls like bad boys is that they’re different from most guys.
There’s no question that their parents likely pushed a certain type of guy they have in mind for her to marry.
That sort of guy is usually financially successful, good-looking, has decent parents, and isn’t involved in crime.
They want a guy who will not only take care of their daughter but will also keep her safe and add to the family’s reputation or status.
As such, the girl gets introduced to a different version of the same guy over and over.
It might be a frat guy or a nerdy guy or an entrepreneur.
In the end, they all end up being the same.
They’re all following the same rulebook.
Bad boys, on the other hand, live life according to their own rulebook.
Whether it’s by saying what they mean to say, hurting people, or just living a dangerous life, they’re far different.
Most importantly, they’re far different from the sort of guys that the girl has had to navigate through in her life thus far.
Seeing something different after experiencing a lot of the sameness is sort of a release.
It’s like traveling through an endless, flat cornfield before you finally come to some gorgeous mountains and waterfalls.
It gets stale.
Bad boys are a breath of fresh air.
They’re more alluring exactly because they’re so different from other guys.
While some girls may appreciate the safety of being with guys who are all similar to one another, others prefer something different.
It’s just more interesting to them.
As such, some girls like bad boys because they’re different from the guys they’ve always been expected to date.
6. Seen As Forbidden
Another major factor that makes some girls like bad boys is the appearance of forbidden fruit.
A lot of people usually want what they can’t have.
The very fact that they can’t or shouldn’t have it is what makes it all the more attractive.
Some people—both guys and girls—prefer the hunt or chase.
They like having to work for something.
Because bad boys represent forbidden fruit, it means the girl has to hunt harder.
They’re not supposed to hunt the bad boy, but because they’re not supposed to, it makes the hunt all the more alluring and enjoyable.
It’s a classic case of Romeo and Juliet.
The very fact that it feels as though the world is against them makes that bond stronger.
They’re united in their love or feelings for one another.
It can make that sort of bond feel all the more special.
Even if the relationship ends up becoming abusive, the feeling of having only that other person as your ally is addictive.
It can be difficult to break away from it.
If the girl feels as though her parents would definitely forbid her to date a bad boy, it makes him all the more alluring.
There’s a certain rebelliousness to it all in the name of love.
In a twisted way, it makes the relationship seem more romantic.
7. Offer Protection
Another big reason some girls like bad boys is that they seem to be able to offer protection to them.
That’s largely because bad boys seem dangerous.
When a girl is dating a bad boy, there’s a belief that the bad boy won’t hurt her.
Rather, they’ll hurt anyone but her.
The fact that they’re dangerous also means that the bad boy is less concerned about causing real harm to a threat.
Girls find protective men or the idea of feeling protected quite attractive for a few reasons.
The first is that the act of being protective over someone might make them appear more masculine.
If the girl feels an attraction to someone who is overtly masculine, then she might find that aspect of them attractive, too.
Some girls just feel safer when they feel that their partner can protect them.
Even if they’re not safer in the case of abuse, they feel safe from outside threats.
Feeling safe is an attractive quality in a relationship.
Some girls may even simply find that their bad-boy partner is alluring because they’re ready to get into a fight to protect them.
Whatever the exact reason, some girls like bad boys because they feel more protected by them.
8. Emotionally Unavailable
Some girls like bad boys because boys are typically emotionally unavailable.
This means that the individual doesn’t want to engage in their own emotions or share them with others.
They’re not going to be emotionally vulnerable with someone else.
In regards to a relationship, this means that the bad boy isn’t going to feel affection toward his partner.
He might express affection or do things that seem affectionate, but he’s not going to actually feel it.
Some girls find emotionally unavailable men attractive.
When girls are emotionally unavailable themselves, they might also see a bad boy as a safer option.
Neither partner will need to ever worry about being emotionally vulnerable with one another.
While such a relationship is likely doomed in the long run, it feels good and serves its purpose in the short term.
9. Believe They Can Change Them
Another big reason some girls like bad boys is that they believe they can change them.
It’s a classic tale of Beauty and the Beast.
They believe that their love is going to be enough to fill their partner’s darkness with light.
Some girls are successful, but most end up dating an abusive partner.
However, it’s the success stories that spur other girls on into believing that they can do the same.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a person as a project.
Some girls feel so invested in the person that they’ll give their all to help change them.
Bad boys usually need some therapy to actually change.
That doesn’t stop girls from trying.
Seeing someone as broken and believing that you can change them can become an addiction.
You become addicted to the struggle and end up riding their highs and lows with them.
Some girls like bad boys because they believe that their love can change them into good boys.
10. Absent Parent Trauma
A final reason some girls like bad boys is that they had absent parents.
Whether it was an absent mother, father, or both, if they didn’t get enough love as a child from their parent, then there’s a good chance that they’re going to look for that love from other people.
They might see an aloof bad boy as the perfect replacement for their absent parent and the trauma that the experience inflicted on them.
By having the bad boy love them and care for them, they end up trying to fill that void.
It doesn’t quite fix the trauma, but some girls may feel that it does for a time.
Many romance stories—both real and fictional—involve a good girl falling for a bad boy.
Certain factors like past trauma, a feeling of rebelliousness, and general attractiveness make some girls like bad boys.