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The real reason women want ‘bad boys’

Ever wonder why that guy sitting at the end of the bar in a leather jacket downing shots of Jack while surrounded by a cloud of smoke is sending shivers down your body? No, it’s not because he’s a ghost — it’s because we ladies have an inherent attraction to “bad boys.”

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OK, that’s probably not news to you, especially if you’ve ever watched a teen drama. However, what might be news to you is the type of bad boy who’s the most titillating is the one who treats his body like crap. According to a study that was recently published in Evolutionary Psychology, women are most attracted to young men who smoke and drink, but only in the short term.

We’re not looking to set up house with these grungy guys who scoff in the face of lung and liver cancer, but we sure wouldn’t turn down the chance to get busy between the sheets with them. So what is it about these devil-may-care men who relish in such terrible habits? Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium decided to find out.

Head researcher Eveline Vincke surveyed 239 young women to find out how a man’s smoking and drinking habits affect their attraction to him. Sure enough, she learned the majority of her female participants were more into the guys who smoke and drink excessively, but again, only for a one-night stand sort of situation. When she asked them about choosing a male for the long-term, most of the women said they wanted a guy with the opposite proclivities (aka a non-smoker and non or close to non-drinker).

So why are we at all hungry for these dumb, risky behaviors? According to a 2006 study on mating preferences in the short-term, women want more “masculine” physical traits when looking for just a one-night thing. I guess we have evolution to thank for that. Our bodies tell our minds, “OK, we’re not making babies tonight, so just find me someone who can get the job done,” and thus our radars get set to “rugged.”

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You know what I’m talking about. These are those fantasy guys with jawlines for days, who can penetrate you with their eyes. They also happen to be the guys who somehow still make smoking look cool. If their bodies can handle that poison regularly and still look that hot, they can’t not be great in bed, right? Anyone else picturing Ryan Gosling from The Place Beyond the Pines?

Image: Giphy

Tattoos and smoking a cigarette? Somebody hold me up. However, there’s something this study also alluded to that might make you think twice about bumming a smoke from one of these risk-takers (even though you definitely don’t smoke). They may actually know what their risky behavior is doing to us, and they’re using it to their advantage.

Vincke’s research suggests that all this smoking and drinking is part of guys’ “short-term mating strategy.” Simply put, these guys have noticed this bad boy behavior is attracting women, so they consciously do it more often. However, it’s just the guys who are looking for a quick fix who play into this sexual manipulation, not the good guys who you’ll (hopefully) end up marrying one day.

Now before you jump on the offensive and berate these bad boys for their risky little games, remember, that’s probably all you were looking for too when you clapped eyes on your bad boy of choice. This is all just a symbiotic relationship nature created for us to get off in the interim as we look for our more long-term mates. And you thought hookups all came from Tinder…

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