Why Men Are Drawn To Rebellious Women


It appears that many people assume men are attracted to submissive and traditional women who fall in line and play by the rules, but it turns out that assumption is quite untrue.

Matthew Hornsey, a University of Queensland psychologist, has conducted the research to prove it.

“Nonconformity is more attractive than conformity for women and men. People think that men prefer conformist women, but this impression is discrepant from reality.”

Published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Hornsey  and a team of researchers document an experiment of five separate studies on a group of undergraduate students to test how they respond to conformist and nonconformist members of the opposite sex.

One study tested 115 students who were asked to rate profiles of 20 people to measure their level of attraction to the opposite sex as well as how they presume the opposite sex would find them.

The profiles given to subjects to evaluate were fitted to imply either statements of conformity, “She is quite happy to go along with what others are doing,” or statements of nonconformity, “She often does her own thing rather than fit in with the group.”

The results of studies 1 and 2 show evidence that “both men and women preferred nonconformist romantic partners, but women overestimated the extent to which men prefer conformist partners.”

Hornsey and his colleagues believe this mindset may still be a hangover from when “women were expected to be submissive, modest, subdued, agreeable.”

What do we mean by nonconformity?

The failure or refusal to conform.

It is individualist behavior or thinking that deviates from an established rule or standard.

In other words, nonconformity implies independent thinking – a refusal to submit to a prevailing expectation.

Nonconformists are lone wolves. Originals. Rebels.

Considering this information, the question then becomes – why exactly are men more attracted to nonconformist women?

Do they love the maverick type of woman just for the fact that they refuse to go along to get alone, or is there more to the the idea?

Further research (published in Social Psychological and Personality Science) indicates that breaking rules gives the appearance of status and power, which may explain part of why nonconformity is appealing to so many people.

It makes sense, seeing as how humans are naturally drawn to personalities of unique ability and strength. It is these characteristics that make someone stand out.

To put it simply, nonconformist women are are viewed as striking, influential, a bit risky, and that makes them exciting.

What’s also interesting, in an additional study, “people who displayed nonconformist personality traits also reported higher levels of romantic achievement and satisfaction.”

Most men don’t passionately desire the basic cookie-cutter type of woman. They want someone real who dares to be unapologetically different.

The underlying quality of someone who isn’t afraid to be different? Confidence. And we all know that confidence is the key ingredient to irresistible sex appeal.

To explore this topic further, I decided to raise the question on Instagram and a couple of other social platforms.

One follower on Twitter by the name of Tia claims: “We all have this image of what the “perfect: person would be like for us, I think the truth is we usually end up with someone who stands out to us because of who they are as a person. The whole package. Often nonconformists express who they are more readily. Less guesswork.”

Another male forum user who wishes to be anonymous says that he like non-conformist girls because “they are willing to think for themselves and not let their committee of friends decide how they feel about everything (including how they should think about their men.”)

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to be a little bit weird, have a mind of your own, break a few rules, and follow your own path.

It’s part of what makes you more distinctive, alluring, and happier.

Never let anyone tell you that you need to be a conforming, compliant, good girl in order to be attractive.

Being my sassy, unconventional, authentic self has always worked out pretty well for me.


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Until next time,

Ash Pariseau


  1. I think that there are two dynamics involved here: 1) Men like women who are unique and special; women who are outliers in general are going to get attention. 2) Men like a challenge; and Conquest and Submission from a high-spirited female is more exciting than one who gives in without a struggle,

  2. It seems to come down to what is it about a woman that excites a man. I think that can be different things too. For one instance, if you are too available and approachable, he may go into the relationship with the perception that you are already putty in his hands, and that’s not exciting to him in the least. Presenting yourself as a bit out of reach (but still attainable with effort) will evoke that excitement within him.

  3. I realize that I’m way late to this blog but…

    My target demographic is an attractive, intelligent, charming, self-sufficient woman with a good sense of humor and who’s comfortable in her own skin. I like genuine women.

    But, there’s more to an LTR than those. A lot more.

    In college, I dated a woman with all the characteristics I mentioned. She was the first woman that I ever loved. She was cheating on her boyfriend with me and she was heavily into recreational drugs and booze. That was a long time ago and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that she’s dead. However, she was one of the most genuine people I ever met.

    I was going into the Navy after graduation. I could overlook things as a college student that I couldn’t overlook as a Naval Officer. I let the woman borrow my car once in college. 3 months after graduation, I found a roach in it. If one of those cute little drug-sniffing beagles would have found it, they’d have courts-martialed me and kicked me out of the Navy, I was going to be on long deployments. If she could cheat with me, she could cheat on me. My best buddy in training learned that lesson.

    Submarines have small crews. The skipper’s wife is the mother hen and junior officers are judged by the company they keep. I dated a woman for 4 years before we split. My superior officers’ wives positively loved her. She was a professional asset to me. Other professions are similar,

    So, yeah, men can be very attracted to nonconformity. Just don’t be surprised if the attraction doesn’t translate into action.

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