Why do women prefer tough guys?

Figures of the seventh art with a reputation of thugs like James Dean, Charlie Sheen or Mickey Rourke they obey the same profile: the charismatic man, with a confrontational and aggressive personality, with self-confidence that is bombproof; capable of anything. The classic tough guy.

An intriguing facet that is a common denominator for many people with this profile, is the idea that they are much more attractive. It could be a simple myth magnified by the mystique that these subjects give off, or it could indeed be a real trend.

Hard guys (‘Dark Triad’) like it better

Some men wonder why they always make friends with kind and caring boys, While dating and having relationships with complete idiots. Are we such different men and women?

This paradox has flowed rivers of ink (and tears!), And although many have formulated theories to explain it, the causes of the greater attractiveness of hard types have not been carefully studied. Fortunately, that same year saw the publication of research conducted at Durham University which provides interesting data on this question.

Male traits: tough guys?

Since human being is a social animal, how is it possible that this type of personality, in some way antisocial, is preserved on an evolutionary level? And above all, Why is it particularly attractive?

A higher proportion of males than females fits the psychological profile known as the dark triad or Dark Triad. This personality profile is seen in people with prominent narcissistic traits, psychopathic tendencies, and Machiavellianism. This gives the subject a despotic attitude and a self-perception of superiority over others.

1. Narcissism

Research shows that narcissism affects many more men than women, Regardless of the cultural substrate. It is a trait that is based on the excess of value that we arrogate to ourselves. They are individuals with an air of grandeur, who see themselves as special and demand preferential treatment from others. They get angry if their merits and talents are not recognized. Several studies suggest that narcissism is linked to casual mating in men because it is associated with their “ability to compete with other men and reject sex partners after sex.” It has also been observed that they are less monogamous as they tend to have more frequent and chained relationships.

2. Psychopathy

Psychopathy is detected in the lack of empathy, Which leads the subject to base his relations on criteria of individual benefit. They have an unnecessary emotional response and antisocial behavior. Men with these traits tend to impart a simulated superficial charm and communication ability that often provides them with scenarios for one-off relationships.

3. Machiavellianism

To finish, Machiavellianism is based on duplicity and the tendency to manipulate social relations in favor of a, Certainly complex and timely. This also gives rise to short-term mating situations. These are usually people with high emotional intelligence, but they use it for their own benefit. Some research has found that the Machiavellian psychological profile is strongly associated with sexual promiscuity.

Studies carried out until 2013 they linked the profile of the dark triad to above average sexual success. However, the authors of the research in question found that previous studies were based on data provided by the participants themselves, which could have skewed the results, as participants with the dark triad could have amplified the number of relationships. sexual they would have maintained. In this way, the authors of the following study questioned the opinions of women and designed their study to elucidate why they are more attractive to men of the dark triad, if indeed such a trend is true.

What is it that really attracts women?

In a previous article, we wondered if the opposite poles were drawn, and the conclusions that psychology brings to them are certainly interesting.

The study by G. Carter, A. Campbell, and S. Muncer (2013) aimed to test whether dark triad categorization was indeed a more successful male psychological profile in women.

The researchers assembled a group of 128 women between the ages of 18 and 36, who were introduced to a man with psychological characteristics typical of the Dark Triad and another with a normal psychological profile, without the elements of the Dark Triad. Watching the introductions, they were asked which of the two men found them more attractive.

The results were as follows: men with Dark Triad personalities (narcissists, Machiavellians, and psychopaths) scored higher than men in the control group.

It seems that the three traits of the Dark Triad represented, in and of themselves, aspects of the personality that turned out to be attractive, apart from other traits like extroversion, which also improved the average.

From the study by G. Carter, A. Campbell and S. Muncer, combined with the above in this area, it seems clear that the antisocial traits of the dark triad seem to provide social and marital success to these subjects, Thanks to their Machiavellian mastery over themselves and over social interactions, which allows them to develop interactions where the ability to communicate, a good image and the ability to make their partner feel special gives them tools to attract and seduce. However, in the medium and long term, this success would be highly questionable as they would be unable to establish relationships in the medium and long term.

Assumptions of bad boy attraction

Carter and his colleagues have proposed two hypotheses about this phenomenon. On the one hand, they consider that sexual selection can play an important role. This would indicate that women are detecting signals of those “masculine qualities” which offer good indicators of reproduction. In terms of one-off relationships, this would explain the attraction that women feel for this personality profile; sure of himself, reckless, irreverent.

In his second hypothesis, they exposed the factor of sexual conflict. Women might respond to a man’s ability to show his qualities, thus differentiating himself from others. Men of the Dark Triad are very skillful manipulators and seducers, so it would be easy for them to offer an ideal image of themselves in front of a potential mate. Another thing, women have also chosen this type of man to be their husband, or the father of their children, since, according to the study of D. Asquith (2014), only women with profiles close to the dark triad preferred men of the same personality profile because of their long-term marital relationships.

Bibliographical references:

  • Asquith, D., Lyons, M., Watson, H., and Jonason, P. (2014). Feathered Birds Come Together: Evidence of Matching Mating of Dark Triad Traits Personality and Individual Differences
  • Carter, G., Campbell, A. and Muncer, S. (2014). Black’s personality chosen: attractive to women. Personality and individual differences
  • Carter, G., Campbell, A. and Muncer, S. (2014). The Dark Choice: Beyond a “Male” Mating Strategy Personality and Individual Differences

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