Why Women Are So Attracted to Middle-Aged Dads
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Sex & Relationships

Why Women Are So Attracted to Middle-Aged Dads

The science behind why fathers are sexually irresistible

Dads modeling on a runway
Chris O’Riley/Shutterstock/Getty

During a trip to New York City, I went to meet my friend Scott at a bar and took my 6-month-old son. All night, young women walked over and gawked at Laszlo in his stroller. Several told me what a great dad I was. For bringing a baby to a bar.

It wasn’t just bars. Women approached me whenever I pushed a stroller. Based on my experience, a baby is worth about 10 television appearances, six dogs or one-fiftieth of a pro basketball player.

Being a dad is hot in a way that being a mom isn’t. Studies have found that MILFs are desired, not because they have kids but in spite of it. Men are attracted to MILFs because of their age — which is shorthand for sexual experience, sexual openness and well-developed bosoms. Men, however, only get the DILF bonus when our kids are around.

The reasons dadding is hot have now been studied. And the reasons for it are complicated, subtle and awesome.

Dads are responsible

A sexual partner is someone that you might, intentionally or otherwise, have a baby with. And women like to know they won’t be doing it alone. 

A study done by sociologists at Georgia State University showed that as a dad’s share of childcare went up, he not only had sex more often, but he had better sex. The only reason there isn’t a cologne called Eau de Spit Up is because fragrance companies don’t read sociology journals.

Dad bod is a thing

Thanks to the male gaze, women are most turned on when they feel attractive. Being with a guy in worse shape than they are boosts that feeling. 

Sure, younger women like a guy with muscles and 10 percent body fat. But women who are looking to settle down want a softer guy. And dads are as soft as they come.

Dads emote

Before I had a kid, I rarely cried. Now I can’t make it through the part of Under Pressure when David Bowie says that love is an old-fashioned word that dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night.

Cory Pedersen, a psychologist who works for a Canadian sex research lab that is called — honestly — Observations and Research in Gender and Sexuality Matters (ORGASM), studied why chicks dig dads. He learned that women were attracted to dads within four years of their age. 

Dads weren’t pursued because they were fertile — women who wanted kids, as well as those who absolutely didn’t, all preferred dads. In fact, women found dads more attractive than childless dudes, not just for long-term relationships but for short-term ones, too. Very short term. As in “Hey, dad with a baby at the bar, want to come back to my place?” short term.

In Pedersen’s study, “The Appeal of the DILF,” women were shown a photo of a good-looking 45-year-old guy. He was described to half the study subjects as having two kids and to the other half as childless. The dad version was seen as much more warm, empathetic, nurturing, kind and funny. The barren guy was seen as a little more spontaneous and into travel, but not as bangable overall. 

We dads are aware of the cruel irony: We are most attractive when we are no longer available. It’s an unusable superpower, not only because most dads are in a relationship, but also because we no longer have time to go out. 

But it’s still rewarding to finally be considered attractive. Although a lot less so if you make the mistake of telling your wife about it.

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