Monday, June 30, 2008

Do "Bad Boys" Have Higher Testosterone?

TC over at T-Nation (the T stands for Testosterone) loves to write about "bad boys" in his weekly Atomic Dog column. While he might be rude, crude, and socially unacceptable, he also is pretty smart and reads a lot of scientific studies.

In this post, he cites a few studies about what makes men into "bad boys" and speculates that the reason women are attracted to these poor examples of masculinity may be their testosterone levels, which some women are drawn to as moths to a flame (literally).

What we find, though (and this is a generalization), is that higher testosterone correlates with more immature forms of masculinity, and women tend to know this. But they often choose the bad boys anyway. Could it be an artifact of evolutionary psychology?

Still, I think it is possible to have high testosterone (within normal ranges) and still be a mature man. It requires being a fully-developed human being and having some emotional intelligence, but it's possible.

I use supplements (legal) to keep my T levels normal-high, and I just discovered that a psychologist friend sees me as somewhat feminine, not swishy, but having a well-developed feminine side. So I guess I am proof that you can be manly in many ways, and still have a balanced feminine side.

It's worth mentioning that many gay men have higher than average testosterone levels and still have well-developed, or even overly-developed feminine aspects in their psyches. Clearly, hormones are not directly linked to emotional development, so there must be other factors at work (cultural, social, and so on).

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

There's no use being coy about it, I'm a bad boy.

I sometimes go swimming right after a big lunch. I mean, I don't even care if the ladies in my book club get all freaked out. It's called thrill seeking, baby. Danger with a capital D.

And during summer evenings, despite all the dirty looks, I cruise back and forth in front of the Piggly Wiggly with the windows of my Prius rolled down and the radio blasting out some 'Low. (In case you're some buttoned up accountant or something, 'Low is how some of us bad boys refer to our muse, Barry Manilow.)

Screw your rules, society, I don't play by 'em!

And if I get a catsup stain on my Izod sweater? I don't even try to remove it with some soda water. I just leave it there because it shows my disdain for the world.

And sometimes, when I add "Kiwi Juice" to my mom's grocery list, I don't even dot the i's with a happy face or a heart! Heck, half the time I don't even dot them with anything! Face it lady, you done raised a bad seed!

Why am I such a bad boy? Well, cuz babes dig it. They dig it and they dig me.

Yep, it's been my personal experience that bad boys get the most girls and in case there was any doubt, there are now two studies that seem to confirm it.

Apparently, there's a nasty triad of personality traits that some individuals possess that allows them to do lots of off-shore and on-shore drilling of our fleshy natural resources. These three personality traits are referred to as the "dark triad."

The traits are, according to New Scientist, "the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive thrill-seeking and callous behavior of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism."

Generally speaking, people with heavy doses of these personality traits run a pretty big risk of being shunned by society, thus leaving them without mates or any types of relationships. This would potentially leave them hungry and vulnerable to predators, in addition to having no one to go antiquing with on Sundays.

However, being just slightly twisted can pay big sexual dividends.

Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University conducted personality tests on 200 college students so he could rank them for their dark triad traits. They were also asked about their sex lives, including how many partners they'd had or whether they were seeking brief tempestuous affairs.

Those that scored higher on dark triad personality traits tended to have more sexual partners and less desire for anything long-term.

As you might guess, the correlation only held in male students.

According to Jonason, James Bond epitomizes this set of traits. "He's clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things — killing people, new women." Just as Bond boinks woman after woman, people with the dark triad traits seem to make the shotgun approach to mating work for them.


One of the potential drawbacks of hooking up with a bad boy.

Jonason makes the assumption that evolutionarily speaking, this whoring around style of reproduction works, even if the bad boys don't stick around for parenting. The very fact that these bad boys still exist seems to confirm that it's a successful trait.

Another study based on a survey of 35,000 people from 57 countries echoed Jonason's findings. David Schmitt of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, concluded, "It is universal across cultures for high dark triad scorers to be more active in short-term mating. They are more likely to try and poach other people's partners for a brief affair."

While these studies might help explain the mating habits of some males, they don't really explain why women are vulnerable to them. Even though women didn't seem to score high on the dark triad tests, why is it they're often attracted to bad boys?

How do we explain the allure of seriously-bad bad boys like Ted Bundy or Josef Fritzl? In case you don't collect serial killer bubblegum cards, Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer from the 70's who killed — depending on which police investigator you talk to — anywhere from 29 to 100 women.

Fritzl, while he apparently didn't kill anybody, kept his daughter captive in his basement for 24 years, during which time he fathered seven children by her, two of which had never seen sunlight or, ipso facto, gone to a Hannah Montana concert.

Amazingly both Bundy and Fritzl received numerous proposals of marriage after they were arrested! Some of Bundy's female suitors even sat in the courtroom, their moist, adoring eyes glued to him even as the prosecutors described his grizzly murders.

What makes these men — ultimate bad boys — attractive to women? After all, according to the studies, women themselves don't seem to rank very high on the dark triad personality traits.

Could it be the allure of Testosterone? Could the dark triad personality traits actually be tied into high levels of Testosterone? Maybe Testosterone is the ultimate aphrodisiac, causing otherwise sensible women to tattoo a bulls eye around their pudendum and then drop panties and bend over when these dark triad men walk by.

All that's missing is a carny barker pointing his stick at the hoo-hah and shouting, "Put the penis in the hole! Three tries for a sawbuck! How about you, Sport? Feeling lucky today?"

Don't get me wrong, I worship at the altar of Testosterone. I like it high-grade and unfiltered. I believe it's the inspiration for much goodness and greatness, but like all great powers, it has its dark side.

It seems clear that if you take high levels of Testosterone and mix them with just the right amounts of dark triad personality traits, you sour the mix. Let's take a look at a couple of steroid users, a group that easily constitutes the segment of society with the highest amount of Testosterone, or at least the highest amount of synthetic analogs of Testosterone.

Before I tell you about Brat, I have to shed some light on his name. We call him Brat — not Brat as in beat the brat with a baseball bat — but Brawt because he looks like the Brats you can get at the ballpark in Milwaukee, the kind they serve with onions and hot mustard.

In other words, Brat looks like he's stuffed with meat. He's hugely steroidal and his skin, aside from being paper thin, is perpetually tanned. He's a big sausage.

While we call him Brat to his face, I think "Mr. Hanky" is more appropriate. Like his South Park character namesake, this Mr. Hanky looks like he was created from eating hundreds of boxes of Colon Blow cereal, but unlike his namesake, this Mr. Hanky ate bowls filled to the brim with ego and narcissism and downright sociopathic tendencies.

Colon Blow

Yep, based partly on appearance and partly on how high he scores on the dark triad personality traits, Brat is one Herculean turd of a human being; the worst kind of bad boy.

A couple of months ago, I saw Brat sitting in-between two Ÿberbabes at a local bar. As I glanced over, I could plainly see that Brat had burrowed the first two digits of his right hand underneath the micro dress of one the girls.

And then I noticed he had the same two digits of his left hand buried in-between the other girl's legs.

Both of the girls were sitting there with silly clit-rubbing smiles on their faces. Whether or not either knew that Brat was searching for his car keys in the other girl's snatch, too, was unclear.

Now understand this: these girls were smoking hot; Brat is not. What could they possibly have seen in Brat?

Or consider the case of bad boy David Jacobs. Here's a picture of him from 2003:

hostess cupcakes

Some time soon after this picture was taken, Jacobs began importing raw ingredients from China that he used to manufacture anabolic steroids in his kitchen. He began selling his products to athletes around the country, including some NFL players.

Jacobs also started sampling his wares. Maybe he was like a chef who had to taste the bouillabaisse before serving it to patrons. Regardless, his body started to transform. Here's a picture of him just three or four years later:

hostess cupcakes

Jacobs was arrested in September of 2007 and charged as part of Operation Raw Deal, a large DEA investigation of suspected distributors of performance-enhancing drugs.

In May of this year, Jacobs was given three years of probation in exchange for cooperation with federal investigators. He resumed his life in Plano, Texas with Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell, runner-up in the 2008 Arnold Classic Figure Competition.

A few short weeks later, on June 6th, Jacobs and Earhart-Savell were found dead of gunshot wounds, victims of an apparent murder-suicide. He'd shot Amanda Jo multiple times with his Glock pistol, including in the face. Then he shot himself in the stomach, followed by a shot to the head.

The police confiscated 146 vials of steroids, a plastic jar containing suspected steroids, and three jars of clear liquid believed to contain steroids.

By most accounts, none of their friends were really surprised. Jacobs was apparently so jealous that according to an editor for Muscular Development, "If she looked the other way, he'd get into it with her."

What could this beautiful woman, apparently loved by all who knew her, been doing with an overly jealous, butt-ugly felon who, despite being on probation, still had a large stash of steroids in their home?

hostess cupcakes

Amanda Jo.

We all know that women find high-T men attractive, but most don't like their T too high. On some subconscious level, they know that really high-T men have relationship problems. They can't commit. They screw and run. They're more combative. And sometimes, they shoot you in the face.

But some women just don't seem to have their Testosterone radar, their T-dar, if you will, turned on. They seek out and revel in the bad boy antics of these men.

For some, it's actually cultural. Consider the Yanomano women of the Amazon. They romanticize violence and they welcome being brutalized by their mates as it's indicative of passion. In fact, women without scars are thought to have weak or insensitive mates.

In Shakespeare's Othello, the beautiful Desdemona falls in love with the great warrior Othello, even though he's old, ugly, and has a hairy back (I'm guessing about the back). His friends think he's "bewitched" her. He explains that she was won by the battles he fought: "She'd lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd...this is the only witchcraft I have used."

One explanation for the love of bad boys could have to do with cavewoman genes. Mates and offspring of good hunters and good fighters had the best chance of survival.

That trait persists today, but for most women, money has taken the place of physical prowess. For others, though, they still seem to be instinctively drawn to the old-fashioned definition of the bad boy: he who is physical, dynamic, and volatile.

But maybe my initial thoughts on the subject hold true, that it has to do with Testosterone itself. Sociologist Richard Udry of the Carolina Population Center found a low but statistically significant correlation between the Testosterone levels of husbands and wives.

The simple truth may be that the women who like bad boys are simply bad girls.


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