The ‘bad girls’ diary: What is their allure?

While bad girls are exciting to watch, they are scary to touch.

While bad girls are exciting to watch, they are scary to touch.

What you need to know:

  • Like their male counterparts, bad girls tend to have an edge when it comes to dating and general social life.
  • Women who choose to be bad girls may do it because of the pleasure of being defiant to existing cultural expectations about what a woman should be and do.
  • Bad girls may very well be women who have had unfortunate experiences in their lives, and as a result, have very manipulative and conniving ways of going about their relationships and surviving.

Bad boys seem to have it all.  They are appealing, charming, confident, and daring. This scenario is what is replicated when it comes to bad girls. Like their male counterparts, bad girls tend to have an edge when it comes to dating and general social life. Just the way bad boys appear to get all the good girls, bad girls have an allure that attracts all the good guys.

The pleasures

According to Dr. Leslie Bell, a psychotherapist, and sociologist who specializes in women’s development and sexuality, women who choose to be bad girls may do because of the pleasure of being defiant to existing cultural expectations about what a woman should be and do. “There is the appeal and pleasure of defying other people’s expectations, breaking the rules and going against traditions, having zero emotional attachments and consequences, and zero guilt over sexual engagements,” she says.

The signs

These pleasures come with downsides. For example, psychologist Dr. Chris Hart says that bad girls are most likely to be untrustworthy and may never be loyal. Ironically, while men pursue them, they’re usually aware of advances before they are initiated. “Every man wants her – and she knows it,” he says. They tend to have common traits. “She probably became sexually active too soon, laughs and flirts excessively with your friends, and will be with anyone who catches her eye.”

Bad girls do not always have bad behaviours. According to Varkha Chulani, a psychologist and author of For the Thinking Woman, bad girls may very well be women who have had unfortunate experiences in their lives, and as a result, have very manipulative and conniving ways of going about their relationships and surviving. “They don’t have a bad moral sense, but rather, poor role models who shaped their world view, and made them cunningly domineering and controlling,” she says.

The other side of the coin

The ability of a bad girl to emotionally disconnect herself from sexual attachments or relationships means that she can easily get into and out of casual, sexual relationships without much heartbreak. According to Dr. Leslie, this ability protects the woman from investing in a relationship emotionally. In turn, she is able to keep and maintain her own identity in her relationships. The bad girl nature has allowed many women to develop themselves and their sexuality outside of intimate relationships. However, Dr. Leslie cautions that the downside to this is in the woman being left feeling vulnerable, alone and incapable of getting into a normal relationship where she will feel protected and valued.

The background

Girls usually turn ‘bad’ after being heartbroken by men close to them. These include fathers and brothers. “A bad girl is likely to have taken her heart off her sleeve and hardened. She doesn’t risk much emotionally, doesn’t get discouraged by rejection because she already believes she’s unlovable, and will only pursue other interests such as luxurious, fun-filled lifestyles and not genuine romance,” says Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them and How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. At the same time, the men who fall for bad girls are likely to have had absentee fathers. “Lack of physical or emotional presence of a father or father figure betrays that these men never had suitable persons to teach them the difference between good girls and bad girls,” says Lieberman.

The breakups

Although relationships with bad girls may appear fun, they often end just as quickly as they started. According to Ms. Chulani, after the starting phase that is fun-filled, dating is subjected to tremendous upheavals that cause intense fatigue in the relationship, speeding the inevitable breakups. Dr. Hart adds that while bad girls are exciting to watch, they are scary to touch. “There is no way a bad girl is ever going to be good. You have to start with someone who is faithful and fun then teach her how to be sexually uninhibited,” she says. This is echoed by Dr. Leslie who says that it is common for young women to use the bad girl's ‘don’t care strategy’ to avoid the hurt and vulnerability in relationships. However, many of them end up feeling numb, isolated, and scared, despite achieving their strategy’s aim.

The good in the bad

Whereas bad girls have different strategies for manipulating nice guys, Lieberman says they share certain alluring traits; they’re irresistibly exciting, clever, flirtatious, and seductive, they make their man feel like the biggest stud on the planet. They have certain tricks which good girls can adopt. One of these is their adventurous nature. “Become a little more adventurous, intimately mischievous, a little more open to new ideas, radiate the bad girl’s confidence, take initiative, and have more sex appeal,” says Dr. Hart.

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