Years ago, when my wife was reading Harlequin romance novels, I read a few to see what the appeal was. I found out, fantasy! After reading a few, it was apparent that there was little deviation in the characters, settings changed, but the characters were fairly consistent. The male hero is a man in his late 20's - 40's. He is an individualist, handsome to ruggedly handsome, with a charming smile. Usually he owns property, has had his heart broken by another woman some time in the not too distant past. Above all, his most enduring trait is wealth, which translates to evident power of some kind or other. These are extremely popular pieces of fiction. Women like these characters and dream of them, but settle for realism.
Sometime ago I took an unofficial poll. I asked at least a dozen men and women the same question. "Many women and girls appear to be attracted to the Bad Boys, what is the attraction?" Most of the answers fell into the expected catagories, she can save him, rebellion against parents, etc. The answer that I believe is the most accurate is "It's the sex, if anyone tells you anything different, she is lying". I think my friend was being honest and what I believe she meant by that is that no matter what the Bad Boys are or are not, they are confident in their maleness. They exude a sensual sexuality that most women find attractive. Women are supposed to be attracted to maleness, just as men are attracted to femaleness; we are created that way. Our culture has essentially emasculated the image of manhood. Boys are not encouraged to behave as boys when they are little.
Most women today (some secretly) desire men that are masculine in their attitudes. He looks like responsibility, leadership, a measure of success, glad he is a man, and secure in who he is. He will take charge, but still be concerned for her welfare. He will stand up for what he believes and fight to protect what he is responsible for. He is not usually a good candidate to accept female leadership and will respect integrity, strength and courage.
My opinion, for what it's worth. Am I wrong?