Everything You Need to Know About Fuckboys

Yes, the modern Fuckboy – the social pinnacle of misogyny and all around flaming male garbage. Easily identified on dating apps by their superfluous employment of “thirst traps,” fish pics (you know the ones), and hyper-masculine (read: sexist) physical and linguistic posturing, these creatures of the night can cause a lot of harm to people who fall prey to their devious (and ever-evolving) machinations.

Ladies (and all my lovely male-attracted friends), let’s clear up what a Fuckboy is, how to spot one, and the language to use to describe their behavior when you ultimately call them out on their fuckery!

What Is A Fuckboy?

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The word “fuckboy” has a very interesting past, and has played various roles throughout different histories and communities. It’s been used as prison slang, and within the gay male community to attach meaning to different men and their behaviors. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that it came into the mainstream via rap and hip-hop, though this usage was more specifically an expression of homophobia and toxic masculinity. 

The most modern, mainstream definition of a “fuckboy” posits him as one who will play with a woman’s heart by leading her on, doing all he can to coax her into bed with him, then drop her when she is no longer of use or entertaining to him – because he never had any intention of starting a relationship and will definitely make that more her problem than his own. The keystones of a fuckboy are his willingness to manipulate a woman for his own pleasure, his blatant disregard for their feelings and emotions, and his raging misogyny. 

Look For These Signs

Thirst Traps

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If his online and/or dating profile contains a disproportionate number of suggestive photos (usually of his own body, often at the gym or in a shitty bathroom mirror) this should immediately signal to you that he is only interested in getting you in bed. These pics are only meant to reel you in with promises of six-packs, broad shoulders, and get your hopes up for a wild romp in the hay. If that’s all you’re looking for, get it girl! But if you’re looking for something more serious, this should be a red flag. 

Breadcrumbing

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Does he send only brief or sporadic messages, short text messages, or only post, comment, or like on social media occasionally in order to keep your attention? If so, he’s probably just dropping breadcrumbs to keep you guessing if he likes you and wants to keep up the interactions in hope of getting some on the regular. In reality, it’s unlikely that he’ll ever respond to direct engagements; he just wants to keep a foot in the door in case he ever needs you (for sex, attention, or emotional support) again.

Negging

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The penultimate of sleazy pick-up tactics, negging is an insidious practice whereby someone appears to be paying you a compliment but is actually insulting you. At the end of the day, it’s emotional manipulation. They want to unbalance you, keep you feeling down, and undermine your confidence to make you more vulnerable to their advances. Some classic, backhanded compliments that you might get are:

  • “Wow, you’re way too pretty to even be on a dating app!”
  • “Your dress is gorgeous, most girls would never have the confidence to pull off something like that
  • “My ex was a total gym-babe, but I’m glad you’re different”

Negging also includes always needing to one-up you. No matter what kind of interesting story you might have, they will bend over backwards to one-up you, and make you and your experiences always second best. 

Gaslighting

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Gaslighting is a classic move made by people to undermine your reality by denying facts, experiences, and feelings. Often this can make you question your own reality, making you emotionally dependent on them since they are suddenly more reliable narrators to your expériences than you are. 

Full disclosure: The Bachelorette is one of my biggest guilty pleasures, and the only thing I could think of when I set out to write about gaslighting was Luke from last summer — that was the basis of his entire (TOO LONG) run on the show. But it just goes to show how insidious this kind of psychological manipulation can be. 

Remember how all the other guys called Luke out on his shit, but as soon as Hannah confronted him about it, he would deny it and say that they (and she) were making it up to make him seem like a horrible person?!?! Remember how she kept giving him second chances, so much so that she began to question her own emotions and experiences?!?! 

Making you feel “crazy” and like you’re not in control of your emotions allows them to control your reality and make you seem like the bad guy! 

Ghosting

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We’ve all been left on read before, right? This certainly isn’t a practice exclusive to fuckboys, but it is one of their MOs! Suddenly cutting off all communication (probably after doing all of the above) is their way of exiting whatever you had going on. After all the emotional turmoil they’ve likely wreaked by this point, ghosting is the ultimate middle finger — to you, the time you spent together, and all the destruction they’ve left in their wake.

If you get ghosted, the best thing to do is take a step back, take a deep breath, and do your best to move on and not dwell on them. 

What Now? 

Fuckboys are constantly changing tactics — perhaps by shifting between those identified here, perhaps by creating new and innovative ways to fuck us over. Being familiar with the actions above is a good start towards being able to recognize a Fuckboy in the wild, and will help you put a face and name to red flags that pop up along the way. That being said, stay vigilant because they’re tricky bastards and we’re all susceptible to falling time and time again. 

In the aftermath, just remember: they weren’t worth your time while they were in your DMs, and they most certainly aren’t worth your time now. What is worth your time? Giving yourself the space to unpack and digest what happened and – as Lovability designed it’s Fuckboy Repellent – to remind yourself that you are NEVER obligated to entertain advances from anyone who doesn’t fully respect you.

Have a personal Fuckboy story to share or reco’s for how to recognize or deal with one? Let us know in the comments below or at our Instagram account @lovabilityinc.


About The Author

A graduate of UC Berkeley, Elizabeth Mason earned her degree in Gender and Women’s Studies. Currently, she is looking towards graduate school, and hopes to continue to focus her studies on womxn’s health and sexual wellness. Her main interests include identity politics and their relation to issues surrounding womxn’s healthcare and sexual liberation. She looks forward to the day when all womxn are empowered socially, politically, and – most importantly – sexually. She can be found on Instagram @elizabeth.mason.


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