Whenever I hear “nice guys finish last,” I think my eyes might roll out of their sockets. I’m not one to ask “why good girls like bad boys,” either. The generalizations tend to irk me. In the situations where people like to apply those statements, there is often so much going on. However, Kristina Durante, assistant professor of marketing at The University of Texas at San Antonio, has shared a couple of studies that say ovulation hormones lead women to believe that bad guys make good dads:

“Previous research has shown in the week near ovulation women become attracted to sexy, rebellious and handsome men like George Clooney or James Bond,” said Durante. “But until now it was unclear why women would ever think it’s wise to pursue long-term relationships with these kinds of men.”

In the first study women viewed online dating profiles of either a sexy man or a reliable man during periods of both high and low fertility. Participants were asked to indicate the expected paternal contribution from the men if they had a child together based on how helpful the man would be caring for the baby, shopping for food, cooking and contributing to household chores. Near ovulation women thought that the sexy man would contribute more to these domestic duties.

“Under the hormonal influence of ovulation, women delude themselves into thinking that the sexy bad boys will become devoted partners and better dads,” explained Durante. “When looking at the sexy cad through ovulation goggles, Mr. Wrong looked exactly like Mr. Right.”

In another study women interacted directly with male actors who played the roles of sexy cad and reliable dad once during ovulation and again at low fertility. Again, ovulating women thought that the sexy cad — but not the reliable dad — would contribute more to childcare, but only if she were his partner.

“When asked about what kind of father the sexy bad boy would make if he were to have children with another woman, women were quick to point out the bad boy’s shortcomings,” said Durante. “But when it came to their own child, ovulating women believed that the charismatic and adventurous cad would be a great father to their kids.”

Did you peep that the bad guy is only really a bad guy if when he’s with a different partner? So what do you think of the study?


Looking back on your experiences with the bad boy type, is it really just that you thought he’d make a better provider and father?

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