Why Teen Girls Love Bad Boys

Although we live in a world where women are responsible for many great achievements, young women dating bad boys remains a common occurrence. Why does this happen?
Why Teen Girls Love Bad Boys
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 10 February, 2022

It’s still relatively common for teen girls to be fascinated with bad boys. Consequently, this means that there are many young men willing to take on the role, as it apparently makes them more interesting to girls and can also give them a sense of authority within their peer group.

Several studies have been conducted regarding the increase in violence in teenage couples. Unfortunately, it’s a phenomenon that’s on the rise. It also often includes the stereotype of a bad boy and the teenage girl that’s in love with him.

We should also note that there are other studies, like this one from the University of Huelva, that indicate that girls are more prone to instigate physical and verbal violence, while boys tend to instigate sexual and relational violence.

The bad boy phenomenon

Bad boys embody a model of masculinity characterized by bravery, audacity, self-confidence, and an aura of invulnerability. This stereotype has the air of the literary epic hero who seems invincible and also appears to lack certain emotions. It’s almost as if nothing can move them.

In fact, this figure represents a classic model of masculinity that’s imbued with erotic qualities in certain cultures. Furthermore, the bad boy seems solid, which is attractive in adolescence when, often, everything can feel rather shaky.

As a result, there are many teen girls who go for bad boys simply because they represent a form of security and a seemingly safe place, just as they’re starting to detach themselves from their parents. Indeed, this type of boy often embodies a protective fatherly figure.

Violence between young couples

Bad boys are frequently the perpetrators of gender-based violence. As we mentioned above, there’s currently a growing number of violent girls in these types of relationships as well, but we’re going to focus on the males.

The way in which violence occurs in these couples is varied. It usually begins with possessiveness and sexual demands. For example, it’s extremely common for young women who are dating these types of boys to frequently take the morning-after pill. That’s because they probably don’t have control over the timing of their sexual encounters and the boys refuse to wear condoms. However, the overuse of this pill can have important health consequences for women.

Young women prone to establishing these types of relationships also tend to become dependent on their partners. In fact, it’s somewhat common that, even after an assault or a restraining order, they return to the boy and resume the relationship.

Nevertheless, available studies indicate that it isn’t a good idea for parents to prohibit these types of relationships, as this often has counterproductive effects. Commonly, the teenage girl interprets this prohibition as an obstacle that she must overcome for love. Indeed, often, these bans only make the relationship even more obsessive.

A bad boy can led to a violent relationship.

Educate teen girls to avoid gender violence

Most girls who end up in these types of relationships are aware of what domestic violence is. However, they don’t understand that they’re a victim of it in their own relationship. If asked, many of them say they’re firmly against violence toward women and deeply value their rights. Nonetheless, what they say doesn’t always match their actions.

As a matter of fact, girls who fall in love with bad boys often require formal psychological intervention. A two-hour workshop at school or a lecture from their parents isn’t enough. These girls tend to feel insecure or perhaps have unresolved trauma or internalization of inappropriate role models. Therefore, they need more than just a brief conversation.

In addition, it’s common for these girls to come from homes marked by gender violence. While they reject this violence, in theory, they end up repeating learned patterns. In these cases, it’s best to consult a psychologist. Parents should only attempt to directly prohibit the relationship if the girl is in danger of serious harm.

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  • Rossi, C. P. (1999). El amor es una droga dura. Editorial Seix Barral.


The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.