Your Jerky Ovaries Are Tricking You Into Picking Bad Boys

Illustration for article titled Your Jerky Ovaries Are Tricking You Into Picking Bad Boys

Oh, bad boys, with their leather jackets, their greased back hair, their fear of commitment, and their ways of thrilling us while simultaneously making us feel shitty about ourselves. We just can't get enough of them! We've spent an eternity beating ourselves up over our perverse attraction to these cads, but now it turns out it might not even be our fault. Yes, that's right, we may be victims of our very own conniving ovaries, which release some kind of crazy hormones that make us think it's a good idea to attach ourselves to selfish jerks by having their babies. Come on, ovaries, stop playin' games with our hearts.


Apparently, according to a new study, in the week around when we ovulate, our ovaries release hormones that affect who we see as being good potential fathers. During that period, we tend to pick sexier men over more dependable men. In other words, if the menstrual cycle were a romantic comedy, ovulation would be the beginning, when Kate Hudson can't stop flirting with the hot banker whose sunglasses reveal that he'll do nothing but break her heart.

To determine this sad fact, researchers showed women online dating profiles that depicted either a sexy guy or a reliable guy (because apparently there's no such thing as a sexy and reliable guy) during times of high and low fertility. They were asked to rate how they'd expect the man to contribute as a father if they had a kid together (including doing things like caring for the baby, shopping for food, and doing household chores). When they were near ovulation and highly fertile, the women said they thought the sexy man would contribute more. As researcher Kristina Durante, of The University of Texas at San Antonio, put it,

Under the hormonal influence of ovulation, women delude themselves into thinking that the sexy bad boys will become devoted partners and better dads. When looking at the sexy cad through ovulation goggles, Mr. Wrong looked exactly like Mr. Right.

Ovulation goggles? Those sound dangerous. (Umm, where can I buy a pair?) Anyway, these findings were confirmed by a second experiment, where women interacted with male actors who played either a sexy jerk or a reliable dad. Yet again, fertile women picked the dick over the dependable guy to be a better father. Was the dependable dude wearing dad jeans? Because that might have had something to do with it. Interestingly, women in this experiment said the sexy guy would contribute more to childcare only if he was her baby daddy, but not if he was shacked up with some other lady. According to Durante,

When asked about what kind of father the sexy bad boy would make if he were to have children with another woman, women were quick to point out the bad boy's shortcomings. But when it came to their own child, ovulating women believed that the charismatic and adventurous cad would be a great father to their kids.

Apparently ovulation goggles only work when looking in the mirror? Okay, so while there may be a hormonal explanation for how we delude ourselves on a monthly basis, that doesn't exactly explain why we'd do this to ourselves. Perhaps this is a super foresighted move by our ovaries to get us to procreate with a charming, sexy person so that our future sons will take after their bad boy fathers and continue spreading their seeds far and wide? Who knew glands could be so crafty? Still, this whole thing seems a bit dubious. After all, just because a dude is sexy doesn't mean he'll make a terrible father. So maybe this is just our bodies trying to hook us up with the most handsome possible breeding partner and hoping, however naively, that he'll settle down once we've popped out a baby. Or our ovaries might just be parasitic assholes who hate themselves and are on a mission to make life as difficult as possible for their host. Either way, now you know that it's probably smart to remove those ovulation goggles and look at any potential mates in the harsh light of day before deciding to have like 10,000 of his babies.

Why Women Choose Bad Boys [Live Science]

Image via Ondine Goldswain/Shutterstock.



Also: the thing that drives me nuts about the 'girls like bad boys' stereotype is that it represents all women as completely innocent blank slates with no characteristics of their own. It's this image of a wide-eyed virgin searching for a Good Man To Give Her Babies and picking the Evil Bad Man instead. Maybe I'm more into 'sexy bad boys' because I'm kind of a bad girl? I'm more likely to go for the dude with tattoos who drinks a lot because I'm a punk kid with piercings who drinks a lot too. I'm not interested in a 'reliable dad' type because that's not what I want, not because my ovaries are telling me what to do.