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Do Women Really Love Psychopaths?

There is a relatively common belief that women are attracted to psychopaths.

During my research to write the "Analysis of The Red Pill", I realized that many men there believe that dark triad traits allow men to sleep with a lot of women.

There is a certain "dark pull" even from men.
Some of the men in the manosphere research dark traids to incorporate some.
And the mass murderer Nikolas Cruz asked on Quora how he could "pretend to be a psychopath" (apparently his answer might have been to kill a lot of people :S).

Ultimately, most men are interested in what gets them laid.
So let's quickly review this topic.

The Attractive Traits of Psychopaths

As for many things in life and as for most things human, there is some truth in general statements.

And Psychopaths do have some traits that can enhance their effectiveness with women.
Some of the highest functioning psychopaths can even get good at seducing and have women maintain their lifestyle of do-nothing and spend money (albeit it's almost never high-quality women that bankroll their debauchery).

Here are some of their attractive traits:

  • Going for what they want
  • Fearless, confident-looking approaches and initial stages of seduction
  • Gib and charm (at least superficially)
  • Effective game-playing, for example:
    • Initial overload of whirlwind romance called "love bombing", followed by emotional unavailability that leaves the victim desperate and need
    • Triangulation
  • Power and dominance over women

The last one is possibly the most important trait that makes psychopaths effective in seduction.
Psychopathy, as much as sociopathy, is all about seeking power and control and maneuvering the people around as in a chessboard. And women like powerful men.

Psychopaths are attractive because men who approach women from a position of power, dominance, confidence and leadership are all attractive, whether it comes from a position of positive leadership or from a destructive one.

Indeed, Women are also initially attracted to non-psychopathic power-hungry men for the same reason they attracted psychopaths. And, as well, they are also attracted to otherwise moral and ethical leaders: these men all show power and dominance over them.

The psychopath destructive approach might even have the edge in the beginning of seduction because he is willing to do whatever it takes and to take shortcuts. And it's always easier to bring home the reward if it's "dead or alive" instead of "alive only".

The other side of the coin, of course, is that the psychopathic destructive approach loses out in the long run as true colors of their character starts dawning on women.
That's why psychopaths target easier, more isolated targets and mostly hold onto lower quality women.

Finally, the "edgy" and dangerous side of psychopaths definitely appeals to women.
Some more than others of course, like the groupies who chase serial killers, but a softer version of "edge" and risk is appealing to most women.
The vacuously-intense stare of the psychopaths, for example, can stoke fear and excitement, which heightens and/or is confused with "butterflies love" and sexual excitement.
Adelyn Birch, author of "30 Covert Manipulation Tatctics" says that the psychopath stare is scary and unattractive from a stranger, but it makes women weak at the knees when the two are already close and gazing at each other in an intimate setting (the expression "weak at the knees" is my own, she writes more formally).

Why Psychopaths Are Not Always Attractive

Of course, the statement that "women love psychopaths" is a huge generalization.

People who jump to that conclusion are falling prey of self-selection bias.
They see a famous serial killer and a few women who want to fuck them, and from "some women are attracted to some psychopaths", they generalize to the whole population with the wrong conclusions that "women are attracted to psychopaths".

Rollo Tomassi, author of the popular manosphere book "The Rational Male", falls for this bias in this interview:

(..) every time a new violent criminal like Nikolas Cruz the guy who shot up the school in Florida, or Chris Watts the guy who killed his pregnant wife and their two daughters, and these are just some examples of guys who are violent and murderous criminals, as soon as they get convicted almost immediately they get female fan clubs.

This is the typical poor understanding of the phenomenon that leads to the wrong generalization.

To begin with, as psychopathy researcher Kent Kiehl explains, mass murderers are committed by men suffering from psychosis, not psychopathy (Kiehl, 2014).

Second, even if we only consider serial killers only, not all psychopaths are serial killers. And not all women go wild over them.
And, finally, women tend to be attracted to attractive psychopaths, and, of course, not all psychopaths are attractive.

Many psychopaths have NO gib and charm, are ugly or completely socially retarded.
As a matter of fact, the more violent they are are, the less likely it is they are socially intelligent and successful with people. The smart ones tend to do less violent crimes and more white-collar crimes (see "Snakes in Suits").

And, of course, there are also psychopaths who are total losers.
Dr. Hare, a leading expert on psychopathy, explains that some psychopaths go on a killing spree because they had no success with people and women whatsoever and feel rejected and "wronged" by society (ie.: the definition of a loser).

This is a bit like we've seen for the different roles of lover or provider that men take in seduction: it's more about quality than role (see: lovers VS providers).
Even here, quality makes a bigger difference than "psychopath" or "non-psychopath".

Evolutionary Psychopathy Explains Psychopaths

The self-selection bias we saw above is one of the reasons why there is a certain misunderstanding around the sexual success of psychopaths.

The second reason stems from a misunderstanding of evolutionary psychology.

Rollo Tomassi says in the same interview as above:

"(dark triad triad) were survival traits in the past.
Those were the guys who got things done. Those were the guys who took care of their own. Those were the guys who were volatile enough to be fun in bed. Those were the guys who had the capacity to kill off a rival, to defend the woman with his life.

This is a major failure of understanding psychopathy.

The idea that psychopaths can be heroes is a common one, but that doesn't make it correct.

It's a popular, romanticized view of the "bad guy who's actually good".
You know, the guy everyone thinks he's bad but that he truly has a heart of gold and defends people with his life?
Yeah, that's good for a Hollywood script, but it's wrong 99 times out of 100.
I have addressed that fallacy in "do good and evil overlap" but, in short, here it is: psychopaths lack empathy and are extremely selfish. They would not defend anyone with their lives.
And they don't really get things done, either: psychopaths can't stick to things. They are volatile enough that they rarely manage to reach the top of any organization.

Still, it's true that in the short run they can manage some impressive feat of sexual seduction, social seduction, or organizational climbing.

Some men respect psychopaths and some women are attracted to psychopaths because they are stronger than fearful and lower quality men. A woman's genetic inheritance might indeed be better off mating with a psychopath than a weak man with little to no status. But that is not the same as saying that psychopaths make the top pick.
Psychopaths don't look nearly as good by comparison when pitted against equally strong, empathic leaders. Top quality women tend to pair up with the top quality men who are near the top of the social hierarchy. And these tend to be "normal" empaths much more frequently than they are psychopaths.
Many psychopaths spend too much time pissing off people (or in prison) to build the social support that leaders use to get to the top of social hierarchies.

That is why, from an evolutionary point of view, moral leadership is more likely to trump and defeat the "psychopath" amoral approach to power, social dominance and sexual rewards.
Writes Geoffrey F. Miller, an American evolutionary psychologist:

One could imagine a primate species in which females happened to develop a sexual preference for psychopaths, and males could obligingly evolve into violent bullies.
But groups playing that psychopathic equilibrium would go extinct in competition with efficient, peaceful groups playing the good-leadership equilibrium.

Geoffrey Miller is one of those researchers who hates political correctness as much as I do.

When he writes that he is not trying to promote ethical leadership VS "bad behavior".
He is bringing psychology and science -game theory, to be precise- to explain what worked in human evolution.


Psychopathy can provide advantages in mating and dominance hierarchies under some circumstances and in the short term.

However, its advantages are most obvious pitted against low quality, fearful men rather than with other high-quality, strong and empathic leaders.

A psychopath strategy was particularly bad in small tribes and fares relatively better in larger societies, albeit it's still not the best strategy available.
It works better in the short term and more poorly in the long run.

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Thank you for sharing Lucio.
Do you think that it might be good for a man to acquire some dark triad traits, for some occasions?

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Thanks mate.

Yeah, this might be an unpopular answer, but I think it can be helpful.
I often repeat that you can't be a strong leader without the capacity of coping with evil. And to cope with evil sometimes it's very helpful being able to switch off your moral and ethical side.
If you don't, then you will always be at a (slight) disadvantage, and evil will always be at a (slight) advantage.

Anyway, I thought this post was getting too long, so in the end I turned into a post.

There would be much more to say on this topic, but I tried to make a slightly shorter post and possibly I will revisit it again in the future.

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