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The 'do girls like jerks'-debate

  1. Jul 25, 2010 #1
    Since it was apparently off topic in the other thread and ''ve been dragging it', but it's not against the rules to discuss this subject on its own per se..

    The case is ostensibly quite simple, the hypothesis that though many women say they like a caring male as a partner, they simply do not and lie to themselves and for the most part are subconsciously attracted to jerks.

    The main argument is the argument of sexual selection. Say that you're a jerk who objectifies women, gets them pregnant, then dumps them to go after another female. It's an effective way to spread your genes, you'll have a lot of babies that share them and you need to invest little energy to raise them. It's not too unreasonable to assume that these kind of males have a certain viable evolutionary strategy and are thus plentifully there.

    From the other side of the story, say you're a female that gets subconsciously drawn to these males, you will have their babies, some of them will be males who might inherit this behaviour and themselves have more daughters, who will carry your genes. Therefore, women who are, consciously or subconsciously, attracted to jerks that objectify them have more granddaughters, and thus the meme that causes this behaviour can be reasonably be expected to multiply. This is the theory behind it, the empirical information that corroborates it is:

    For a start:

    Herold & Milhausen (1999) found that 56% of 165 university women claimed to agree with the statement: "You may have heard the expression, 'Nice guys finish last.' In terms of dating, and sex, do you think women are less likely to have sex with men who are 'nice' than men who are 'not nice'?" A third view is that while "nice guys" may not be as successful at attracting women sexually, they may be sought after by women looking for long-term romantic relationships.

    It's hard to call this theory obscure or fringe, it's at the very least some-what 'common knowledge' in the university women population. Another thing:

    Another study indicates that "for brief affairs, women tend to prefer a dominating, powerful and promiscuous man". Further evidence appears in a 2005 study in Prague - "Since women can always get a man for a one-night stand, they gain an advantage if they find partners for child-rearing" [link]

    Which corroborates the theory behind the hypothesis that this is due to evolved sexual selection. Indeed, women seem to have evolved to use the best of both worlds strategy in some aspect, use a jerkier guy to get the superior genetic material which will ensure them of a plentiful amount of granddaughters, and then get a nicer guy to invest his resources and energy into raising a child that doesn't carry his genetic material at all. In a sense, woman have evolved a certain capacity to cheat. Of course, monogamy is not a universal human value and as far as I know there is no evidence for or against that Cro Magnons were monogamous. (I did read an interesting thing lately that they had dreadlocks, makes kind of sense)

    Sadalla, Kenrick, & Vershure (1985) found that women were sexually attracted to dominance in men (though dominance did not make men likable to women), and that dominance in women had no effect on men.

    This one seems to imply that it indeed works on the subconscious level.

    Bogaert & Fisher (1995) studied the relationships between the personalities of university men and their number of sexual partners. They found a correlation between a man's number of sexual partners, and the traits of sensation-seeking, hypermasculinity, physical attractiveness, and testosterone levels. They also discovered a correlation between maximum monthly number of partners, and the traits of dominance and psychoticism. Bogaert & Fisher suggest that an underlying construct labelled "disinhibition" could be used to explain most of these differences. They suggest that disinhibition would correlate negatively with "agreeableness" and "conscientiousness" from the Big Five personality model.: Sadalla, E.K., Kenrick, D.T., & Venshure, B. (1987). Dominance and heterosexual attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 730–738.

    Which seems to affirm a vital cog in our reasoning that jerks have more sexual intercourse.

    At the very least, the hypothesis can't be dismissed without some counter arguments I'd reckon. There has been empirical observation and it is encompassed by the theory of sexual selection. Of course, it's simply not a pleasant thing to have as a fact that women have been evolved to cheat and men to objectify and then dump them. But oh well, science waits for no moral values. Discuss.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2010 #2
    Women are attracted to men who display mastery over their environment. You can then map whatever you like onto this. Does a jerk dominate the nice guy? Does he get the higher pay? Is he socially outgoing? If so he gets the girl.
  4. Jul 25, 2010 #3


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    Yes! Finally someone puts it perfectly. If you are a jerk to everyone else BUT not to the girl, then you are awesome
  5. Jul 25, 2010 #4
    Your model fails to explain the abundance of girls who in hindsight say that their boyfriend was kind of an arse. How many times have we read 'I really don't understand what I saw in that guy? He neglected me the entire time, what was I thinking to like him?'

    The model that girls like jerks and then get rose coloured glasses to mask up the fact that he's a jerk and only realize this once he's gone does explain this.
  6. Jul 25, 2010 #5

    Math Is Hard

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    Well, if he's an ex, then there was a breakup. Breakups are usually unpleasant. It might even cause you to think of someone as more of an 'arse' than they actually were.

    It also makes a good defense mechanism. "He was a jerk, so I am better off without him".
  7. Jul 25, 2010 #6
    That's quite true, this addition does offer an alternative explanation I must concede.

    However, it is worth noting that the stereotypical 'nice guy' has a reputation of staying in contact with his ex and undergoing a healthy breakup.

    My guess on this though is that the vast majority of problems are formed by people entering a relationship when they barely know each other. I think not knowing the other party could be a prerequisite for 'being in love', not knowing the other party that well just gives you that much more space to fill things in as in idealized picture in your mind.
  8. Jul 25, 2010 #7
    I think it's a new phenomena mostly caused by popular culture especially rap music. Actually I think music, movies and television might be entirely responsible. I think it is basically based on the females value system. She probably is indoctrinated through peer interaction music, her parents, what she observes growing up, when it comes to how men are valued.

    For example, I notice that country girls who listed to country music, are often attracted to hard workers, muscles, good manners, trucks etc. Basically what is "cool".
  9. Jul 25, 2010 #8


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    The latest 'research' shows that women prefer kind men, overruling older polls taken of young college girls that were simply asked a question. This study actually gave women "profiles" of men to read and base thier judgements on the actions of the men.


    Also published in the US Department of Health and Human services

    SOURCES: Pat Barclay, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada; and Stan Treger, psychology graduate student, Illinois State University, Normal, Ill.; February 2010, British Journal of Psychology

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/english/635989.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Jul 25, 2010 #9


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    My two grandmothers and my mother married nice guys. My parents have been married 53 years and are still going strong. My grandparents were married 50+ years, but unfortunately both grandmothers predeceased their husbands. I think my wife feels she married a nice guy - probably because nice guys care and try to the best of their abilities. :smile:
  11. Jul 25, 2010 #10
    Maybe when it comes to just sex, they prefer jerks, so that they don't risk actually liking the guy, and they don't have to feel bad when they break it off.
  12. Jul 25, 2010 #11
    "One hundred and fifty women were asked to read short profiles accompanying photographs of men, then asked how willing they would be to have short-term or long-term relationships with them, and to rate their physical and sexual attractiveness. 155 men did the same for photos of women. "

    No further comment required I suppose. No one here doubts that women claim they like nice men, there have been various people that pointed towards this either being lying to oneself or simply saying what is socially acceptable due to peer pressure. The thing we're debating is the hypothesis that while women claim they like nice men, in reality they go for jerks.
  13. Jul 25, 2010 #12
    Niceness doesn't necessarily mean monogamist. There are jerks who are obsessive and don't cheat, then their are nice guys who just love girls. Of coarse cheating might imply jerk in a way, but that depends on your definition.
  14. Jul 25, 2010 #13


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    So, you are agreeing that the stuff you posted, being even less as rigorous as this new study, is completely meaningless. You continue to make up derogatory scenarios and comments towards women that simply do not apply to the general population.

    Thread closed.
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