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Why do women prefer hard guys?

Why do women prefer hard guys?

July 18, 2024

Figures of the seventh art with a reputation for ruffians like James Dean, Charlie Sheen or Mickey Rourke They obey the same profile: man charismatic , with a conflicting, aggressive personality, with self-confidence that is bombproof; capable of anything. The classic hard guy.

An intriguing facet that is a common denominator in 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 be, indeed, a real trend.

Hard guys ('Dark triad') like more

Some men wonder why they always make friends with kind and attentive guys , while they leave and maintain relationships with complete cretins . Are we so different men and women?

This paradox has made 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 studied carefully . Luckily, this year has seen the light of an investigation carried out at the University of Durham that provides interesting data on this issue.

The masculine traits: hard guys?

Being the human being a social animal, how is it possible that this type of personality, in a certain antisocial way, is preserved at the evolutionary level? And above all, Why is it especially attractive?

Greater proportion of men than women fit in the psychological profile known as dark triad or Dark Triad . This personality profile is observed in people with outstanding narcissistic features, psychopathic tendency and Machiavellianism. This gives the subject a despotic attitude and a self-perception of superiority with respect to others.


Research shows that Narcissism occurs in many more men than women , regardless of the cultural substrate. It is a trait that is based on the excess of value that one arrogates to oneself. They are individuals with an air of grandeur, who consider themselves special and who demand preferential treatment from others. They get angry if they do not recognize their merits and their talent. Several studies suggest that narcissism is linked to occasional mating in men, as it is associated with their "ability to compete with other men, and to discard sexual partners after intercourse." It was also observed that they are less monogamous because they tend to maintain relationships more frequently and in chains.


Psychopathy is detected in the lack of empathy , which leads the subject to base their relationships based on criteria of individual benefit. They have a superfluous emotional response and antisocial behavior. Men with these traits tend to convey a sham charm and a communicativeness that often provides scenarios for specific relationships.


By last, Machiavellianism is based on duplicity and the tendency to manipulate social relations in favor of one , in a certainly complex and timely manner. It also gives rise to short-term mating situations. They are usually people with great emotional intelligence, but they use it to obtain their own benefit. Certain investigations have revealed that the Machiavellian psychological profile is strongly associated with sexual promiscuity .

The studies carried out until 2013 they related the profile of the dark triad with sexual success well above the average . In spite of that, the authors of the present investigation detected that the previous studies were based on data contributed by the participants themselves, which could have distorted the results, since the participants with dark triad could have magnified the amount of relationships that they would have maintained. In this way, the authors of the following study questioned the opinion 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 really attracts women?

In a previous article, we asked ourselves if the polar opposites are attracted, and the conclusions that Psychology brings about it are certainly interesting.

The study carried out by G. Carter, A. Campbell and S. Muncer (2013) set out to verify if the categorization of the dark triad really was a male psychological profile with greater success among women.

The researchers gathered a group of 128 women between 18 and 36 years old, who were introduced to a man with psychological characteristics of the Dark Triad and another with a normal psychological profile, without the elements of the Dark Triad.When they finished seeing the presentations, they were asked which of the two men had been more attractive.

The results were the following: men with Dark Triad personality (narcissists, Machiavellians and psychopaths) were better rated than men in the control group .

It seems that the three features of the dark triad represented, by themselves, aspects of personality that were attractive, apart from other features such as extroversion, which also improved the average.

According to the study of G. Carter, A. Campbell and S. Muncer, combined with the previous ones in this field, it seems clear that the antisocial characteristics of the dark triad seem to provide social and conjugal success to this type of subjects , thanks to their Machiavellian control over themselves and over social interactions, which allows them to develop interactions where the communicative capacity, the good image and the ability to make their partner feel special give them tools to attract and seduce. However, in the medium and long term this success would be very questionable, since they would be incapable of establishing medium and long-term relationships.

The hypothesis of the bad boy's appeal

Carter and his companions offered two hypotheses about this phenomenon. On the one hand, considered that sexual selection can play an important role . This would indicate that women detect the signs of these "masculine qualities" that offer good indicators of reproduction. Regarding one-off relationships, this would explain the attraction that women feel toward that personality profile; Self-assured, reckless, irreverent.

In his second hypothesis, They exposed the factor of sexual conflict . Women could respond to man's ability to show his qualities, thus differentiating himself from the rest. The men of the Dark Triad are very skillful manipulators and seducers, which would make it easy for them to offer a suitable image of themselves to a potential couple. Another thing is that women also chose 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 for their long-term conjugal relationships .

Bibliographic references:

  • Asquith, D., Lyons, M., Watson, H., & Jonason, P. (2014). Birds of feather flock together - Evidence for assortative mating for the Dark Triad traits Personality and Individual Differences
  • Carter, G., Campbell, A., & Muncer, S. (2014). The Dark Triad personality: Attractiveness to women Personality and Individual Differences
  • Carter, G., Campbell, A., & Muncer, S. (2014). The Dark Triad: Beyond a - 'male' mating strategy Personality and Individual Differences

Black Men & White Men on Dating | Dirty Data | Cut (July 2024).

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