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Why bad boys are sexy

Why do women find bad boys sexy? Harmful behaviors like smoking and drinking make guys attractive as short-term sex partners, according to new research.

We all know that smoking cigarettes and drinking to get drunk have serious short-term and long-term health consequence. But plenty of young men continue to do both. Why do they do it? Belgian researcher Eveline Vincke had what may seem like a surprising hunch: for sex.

Risky is sexy

Past research had shown that when it comes to short-term sex, women are into risk-taking guys. So Vincke came up with two studies to see if the very fact that cigarettes and drinking are risky is what makes the young men appealing. In other words, she tested out the hypothesis that guys are smoking and drinking because they think women will find them more attractive for short-term sex if they do.

To find out whether women actually prefer short-term partners who smoke and drink, Vincke tracked down 239 female participants between the ages of 17 and 30.

Short-term fling

Each woman read short descriptions of different guys’ interests and behaviours. Two of them were related to smoking and drinking. Some of the women read about guys who never touched cigarettes or booze, while others read about occasional or heavy smokers or drinkers.

Afterward, the women filled in surveys, rating how attractive they thought the guys were for a short-term fling and for a long-term relationship. The women also told Vincke whether they thought each guy was into short-term sex and if they believed his behaviour to be risky and unhealthy.

Were the smokers and drinkers rated as more attractive? Definitely not when it came to long-term romance! Women were not into heavy smokers and drinkers, the study found. The women knew these behaviours were bad for a guy’s health, so they weren’t interested in long-term mates who liked their cigarettes and booze.

Sexually unrestricted

Non-smokers and guys who steered clear of alcohol were equally attractive as short-term or long-term partners, the results also showed.

But when it came to a short-term fling, puffing away on a cigarette or drinking, especially if we’re talking the occasional beverage, upped a guy’s sex appeal for these women. They figured that bad guys who smoked and drank would be more sexually unrestricted and into short-term sex.

But was this all a figment of these women’s imaginations? Or are smokers and drinkers actually more interested in non-committed sex? To find some answers, Vincke turned to data on 171 guys aged 17 to 30. First, the guys were asked how often they smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol. Then they filled in surveys that revealed whether one-night stands were their thing or if they preferred sex with a long-term partner.

Sure enough, the women’s perceptions were bang on. Guys who drank more and those who smoked were sexually unrestricted and tended to prefer short flings over long-term sexual relationships, the surveys showed.

One-night stand vs. Long-term love

When it comes to both short-term and long-term relationships, research has shown that in general women tend to be pickier – and that guys will show off whatever it is they think girls want in order to outcompete their mates. And other studies back up the fact that women dig physically risky behaviour in short-term partners.

But when it comes to finding a long-term relationship, research has shown that women are generally after a guy who will protect and look after them and their kids – not one who’s willing to take risks with their health. Wild and risky might be hot for a one-night stand, but for long-term love, kind men with lots of resources win out.

Source: The Young Male Cigarette and Alcohol Syndrome: Smoking and Drinking as a Short-Term Mating Strategy. (2016). Evolutionary Psychology. Jan-Mar:1-13. 

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Recent Comments (25)

  1. I dont smoke or drink…i’m
    I dont smoke or drink…i’m 19 bt whenever i enter into a relationship i dont feel comfortable…i feel what i am doing is not right…this has hapenned on my last 2 relationships with beautiful,cool and respectful ladies…what could be my problem?

    1. Hi Pipi what is it that yo
      Hi Pipi what is it that yo feel is not right in the relationship? think about that.

  2. If I use p2 pills within
    If I use p2 pills within 12hrs after unprotected sex, can I still do unprotected sex within the next 48 hrs n I still don’t become PG?

  3. I feel lyk that love has
    I feel lyk that love has faded already…i hav not sexed any of them bt the relationship doesnt work

    1. Thanks for sharing Pipi.
      Thanks for sharing Pipi.

    2. Always, advise, tell, him,…
      Always, advise, tell, him, or, her, aboutlovestoriesandbefaithfultoyourpattern

  4. How can start to cone my
    How can start to cone my friend
    She is just friend to me but me i want to move in relationship with her
    Help me, i want to loss her.

    1. Hi Blesser, Kindly explain
      Hi Blesser, Kindly explain more. What do you mean b cone?

  5. Bad boys are double trouble.
    Bad boys are double trouble. Its always fun while it lasts though.

    1. Thanks for the input.
      Thanks for the input.

  6. i have a boyfriend who drinks
    i have a boyfriend who drinks. Am deeply in love with him and we have spent 2years together. i have tried my best to see that he stops drinking but he hasn’t. what should i do for him to stop drinking. it is too much i cant bare t anymore

    1. (No subject)
      Hi Ella,

      I am not sure you can make him stop. He would have to see the need to stop for him to take action and perhaps stop or even seek help to enable him stop. Perhaps you could begin by helping him see the need for change. Change is easier when the person who needs to change sees the need. We wish you well.

  7. If I use p2 within 3 hrs…
    If I use p2 within 3 hrs after unprotected sex can I be pregnant??

  8. Im really treated to boy…
    Im really treated to boy boys they turn me on I really don’t now way. But.I’ve been in love with my guy friend for the pass three year and then he end up getting out and we start to be in a relationship after now each for so long. The begin of the relationship we was together everyday. Then he start say out later and not even come back home when he said he is.it making me feel like I did something wrong and I always end up stay up all night wake for him to come home…

    1. (No subject)
      Hi Candy,

      Have you talked to your partner about this?

      You really can blame yourself for the choices and decisions your partner takes, he has to take responsibility for his choices and decisions. Find a good time to talk to him about this, let him know how it makes you feel and how it affects the relationship you have with him.

  9. Hi Guy’s I think it’s…
    Hi Guy’s I think it’s because of there mind’s NT normal at that time so they spend more time while they’re doing each other. Thanks that’s my opinion

    1. We appreciate the feedback…
      We appreciate the feedback Jimmy.

  10. I have a girl I love her…
    I have a girl I love her most I do everything to show love buh she loves someone else men.I have tried ma best to leave her but can’t make it men.

    1. Kelvin, we do appreciate how…
      Kelvin, we do appreciate how frustrating this is for you. You however need to come to terms with the fact that she doesn’t love you, she loves someone else. No matter what you do, it may never change this fact. It is just a matter of time this will hurt. Make up your mind and walk away. Take steps to move on, occupy yourself with other things like a new hobby, cut all contact and communication as much as you can and focus on moving on.

  11. Whenever I have sex,i…
    Whenever I have sex,i usually release early. What can I do to last long in the sex .help pliz

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