you're a bad man...and I want you.

I don’t know what category this falls into, but I think it’s a general psychology question.

Mr. Jarbaby and I watched three consecutive episodes of The Sopranos last night. And when it was over, I jumped Mr. Jarbaby with the horny lust strength of an Ibex in Heat.

And afterwards, when I had time to reflect, I just had to question what the hell was wrong with me. From probably the age of 12 on, I’ve been utterly consumed with villains, criminals and general ‘bad boys’ with power. Stories of the Mob are like an aphrodisiac.

What really surprises me about this is that I’ve dated a bonafide bad boy, drug addict, chain smoker, physical and mental abuser, made me cry on a daily basis. I dropped him and married an angel. A real, honest to god angel, who makes me laugh and loves me and is sweet and cuddly and a friend of all mankind.

But then I see evil in books, or on screen and I just get all lusty. When I get turned on by watching Anthony Soprano bitchslap someone, is that a freaking disorder or what? I don’t want him to bitchslap me, certainly. But I love to see men angry, swearing, yelling, fighting. My favorite characters in books or movies are always the bad ones, the ones I’m not supposed to like. I love the men in the book Justine, I love Javert, I love Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, Gary Sinise in Ransom, and since we’re on the subject, Gary Sinise in Streetcar Named Desire, as a cruel, abusive, horrible Stanley was like watching two hours of porn for me.

I’m a relatively good girl I think, but my mother told me when I was fifteen that my constant attraction to darkness, evil and violence was going to end up being my downfall.

I know this is a common phenomena, (good girls loving bad boys) but I really want to know what the appeal is. We’ve discussed this before in this thread, but that was more of a listing of names than delving into the psychology of the attraction.

What do you think is the heart of this issue?


Well, just a WAG, but it could be that you’re attracted to that which you know you cannot have or be.

If you’re an all-around good person, you might find yourself somewhat attracted to badness - not evil, hateful stuff, but just overall bad-boy behavior. In this line of reasoning, you’re attracted to it because you’ll never be it. You’ll never be a bad person, jarbabyj, as far as I know. So that could be what you like about it.

Christ, I wish I knew. This particular habit some of you ladies have has been the bane of my lovelife since I was twelve. Every time I start to get close to some beautiful, loving creature who seems to dig me, she runs off with Gus the Neighborhood Speedball Salesman. What is it? The barbed-wire tattoos? The track marks? The illiteracy? The lack of teeth and personal hygiene? It’s enough to make a guy WANT a prison record.

But seriously, it’s the-bird-with-broken-wings syndrome. You see someone who’s hurting, and you want to fix it. And that’s admirable. Trouble is, what no one realizes is that most of the time the people who are really, really bad for you can’t be fixed. And they’re going to drag you down with them. It’s sad but true. And then the cuddly, friend to mankind types go down in flames and start to wonder just how much time they’d do if they robbed a liquor store just to keep up appearances. With an unloaded gun. Y’know, just in case it goes off by accident…

Sounds like you’re doing fine though, Jarbaby. You married a great guy who you’re happy with. Gives guys like me a reason to hope…

Read the works of Catherine MacKinnon. You may not agree with her take on it, but you should familiarize yourself with it at least.

Well, I think there’s something to this. I’ve posted here before that my one flaw in life (only one! wow! that must be a record.) is that I’m thoroughly consumed with what other people think or say about me. I want everyone to approve of everything I do, I want to look, act, feel acceptable. I don’t like confrontation and I’m easily swayed away from an opinion if I sense someone’s getting mad at me. A perfect example is in my BBQ Pit thread regarding my love of 'N Sync. It was a fun excursion for me until Dr. Paprika posted ‘you suck’. I was crushed. Absolutely crushed. And why should I be? What the hell do I care what Dr. Paprika thinks of me?

Bad boys, criminals, mafia bosses, they don’t care what anyone else thinks, they don’t care about doing the right thing, they live for themselves. And to a certain extent I envy that I suppose.

AHunter, I’ll look into those books. That name sounds familiar, is she someone I should know already?


I think the power thing probably has a lot to do with it, too, but I know nothing about phychology (but I listen to LoveLine, constantly, that makes me an expert).

Is trés sexy, no? I think that’s the issue for me. Did you ever wonder why it’s so easy for butt ugly rock stars to get fashion models? Sure, it’s partly because the fashion models likely have the brains of a water chestnut. But it’s also because there’s something unbelievably attractive about someone who can hold an audience of thousands captive. There’s no doubt that even though these men you’re talking about are evil, villainous, abusive, and what-have-you, they are first and formost POWERFUL. And they generally exert that power unapologetically, without hesitation.

Yum :slight_smile:

I think it is an evolutionary adaptation. Females are attracted to the “bad man” because they are often also promiscuous. A woman whose sons inherit a genetic tendency towards male promiscuity will spread the female’s DNA faster than if the sons are monogamous.

I used to, umm, “date” a bastard. He wasn’t abusive – that I do not find attractive – but he was arrogant, aggressively confident, and rather unemotional, apart from hostility. We were total opposites. It was clear he was just using me physically. But that was okay, because I was only using him physically, too. We had an intense dislike for each other during the day, but at night (with a little help from Jack) the passion and chemistry swung in completely the opposite direction. It was by far the most unhealthy, bipolar relationship I’ve ever been in, and I loved every minute of it. (But I’d never want to be in a long-term relationship like that; this one lasted off and on for a few months and that was enough turmoil for me!)

As for the psychology behind it, Fear Itself made a good point. It’s probably an evolved psychological mechanism that women are sexually attracted to aggressive, sexy “bad boys” as per the “Sexy Son Hypothesis”, but marry the “nice guys” who are there to help raise and take care of the children.

If it’s any consolation, jarbabyj, I don’t think any more or less of you because you listen to 'N Sync. You would be very foolish to care what I think of you anyway. You shouldn’t post a thread like that in the Pit if you don’t want ranting you may find hurtful. What do I care what music you listen to? If you listened to only to Rammstein and the good Metallica, it wouldn’t say anything about your personality regardless of what else you listen to too.

The problem here is that you are a walking dichotomy. This is shown in your music, of course, but also in this thread… since you like both the bad boys and lovin’ Lance. People will try to pigeon hole you into something since it makes them feel like they know you better or they can act accordingly superior. But people can’t be pigeon-holed so easily. Get over it. Maybe I’d like karaoke more if I could sing. There is nothing wrong with being a walking dichotomy, the smartest people are.

Was it Walkt Whitman who said?

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well, I contradict myself.
(I am large. I contasin multitudes.)”

Feminist author, radical, an attorney. Bad reputation in many civil-lib quarters for close association with Andrea Dworkin, with whom she co-wrote a city ordinance once that would have allowed women to sue purveyors of porn for dissing them collectively and advocating violence against them and so on.

Unlike Dworkin, though, not way far out there. She makes sense and you may find yourself agreeing with her about a lot that she has to say.

Try Feminism Unmodified, one of her best writings.

As much as I hear that theory - it simply isn’t true for any of my friends (me included) who even occasionally go for that type. No one wants to fix anyone. That would be idiotic. They wouldn’t be fun anymore if they were “fixed.” ((Not to mention that there’s also something extremely icky about trying to change another person in the first place.))

I’d go more the excitement/adrenaline rush. Both in the fact that things happen around them, and if you’re there, you’re part of the mess. And also in the part where you calculate at exactly what point you need to get the hell out of the relationship before things get too bad.

I’ll see if I can find some. Sherri S. Tepper makes some good arguments/explanations in her science fiction novel, Six Moon Dance. Plus it’s an enjoyable read.

First of all, I have to agree with the feeling watching The Sopranos can give! Whew! But then, I think James Gandolfini is one of the sexiest men alive! Mmmm…Tony Soprano…

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, I think that power has more to do with it than just “bad”. I think many women have been raised to be strong and be responsible. We are raised to always demand to be equal to men and are always striving for that, even unconsciously. I think the lust for powerful men helps counteract that struggle. It feels good to just surrender to someone else calling all the shots. It just so happens that often along with that unchecked power comes an ego and thus, a “bad” guy.

The attraction? Alpha males. It’s just that simple.

Hey jar, would you believe that I am… a kennedy in the mafia who is controlling all masonic temples in an effort to overthrow the illuminati and use the president as a puppet?

Oh MERCUTIO, you can’t fool me. [pinching your cheek] You’re a sweetheart and you know it [/pinching your cheek]

And Evilbeth, Tony Soprano, yummy. My husband wishes that show was on every night :wink:

Power is definitely the biggest factor I think. A big dumb bad guy who just breaks kneecaps doesn’t qualify for me…Tony Soprano is a good example because he’s a smooth talker, wears nice suits, is smart, calculating, rich, filled with seething anger and passion…and…and…

hold on, I’ve got to go find my husband…


Signing in as a wannabe romance writer.

Badboy heroes are very popular in romance novels. Women love them. Part alpha male, sure. But I think it has to do with wanting “the horse no one else can ride”. He’s sooo bad. But he’s good to me. I can tame him, even if no one else can. Of course a tamed badboy or reformed rake is of no use as a romantic hero.

As romantic fantasy, there’s nothing wrong with this. But wise women marry the salt of the earth guys. Then they get to keep the Soprano fantasies, and their sanity, too.