Hot dads are having a moment. It feels as though the recent, widespread surge of hot dad-related content has fetishized paternity in a way that is peculiar but not totally unwelcome. Whether people all over the world just opened their eyes and realized that there’s something singularly alluring about men who haven’t slept, are a little fatter, and have spit-up on their shirts, or women are expressing a hard-wired desire for the sort of male constancy that seems hard to come by these days, it’s clear that, sexually speaking, hot dads are in.
Curious about the appeal of the newly sexualized and objectified father, we spoke to a variety of women who professed to be very interested in dads, asking what about testosterone loss, exhaustion, and nervousness they found so undeniably sexy. Their answers were varied but seemed to circle around the idea that dads, unlike single dudes swiping away on Tinder, act selflessly and with purpose. Whether or not that’s true is a whole different matter.
Reason Dads Are Hot #1: Dad Bods Rock.
It’s interesting. I have always had this thing for older men. My ex-husband was a lot older than me. I don’t know if it’s just something about dads. I’m very much into dad-bods. I’m not into the fit, muscular six-packs, biceps kinda guy. I like the little chub! And their caring nature, their persona of wanting to take care of people. It’s very attractive. —Brook, 33, California
Reason Dads Are Hot #2: Dads Are No-Nonsense.
The qualities that good dads have are qualities that I look for in a relationship. They’re responsible, and of course, it’s an ideal, this is not everyone, but also nurturing, caring. Those are very attractive qualities. I dated a dad before. He was so caring and attentive. He was more empathetic and sensitive, and more sensitive to me. We broke up for completely different reasons — travel and schedules — but I realized that he was a no-nonsense type of guy. He was more careful about the people he brings into his life. I thought that was awesome. There’s more seriousness there. And I want something serious. Knowing that he will be protective of his children, and the dynamics that come with that, adds a level of more seriousness to the situation. To me, I think that’s a really good thing. Things are a little bit more straightforward. This is a guy who mostly knows what he wants, and what he’s looking for. —Angela, 35, New Jersey
Reason Dads Are Hot #3: Caregiving Is a Turn-On.
I think there’s a human quality to them — maybe the process of loving a child makes them more attractive. I love the whole persona of the “dad” we have going in pop culture today — like, kind of goofy, and a little soft — including physically. A sense of needing to care about someone greater. I think in my own relationships, I ended up being in that role more than the men I’ve chosen to date. The idea of not having to be that caretaker is totally appealing and sorta sexy to me.
I also feel like children make dudes way more into crying, and I’m into that. —Audrey, 25, New York
Reason Dads Are Hot #4: Kids Are Fun If They’re Not Yours.
For me, it’s like — and we’re talking about good dads, involved dads — they just seem very caring, and more empathetic. And generally, they’re just good people. Dads have more of a purpose in life, they’re a little more caring and attentive. Even if the kids are full-time living with their dad, you get all the fun stuff but none of the responsibility. I’m not the one who has to yell at them about homework or cleaning their rooms, but we can go out for ice cream and go to the amusement park.
I was very close with my dad. That relationship was really important to me growing up. Seeing those qualities in a guy, that sort of mirror my own dad, it’s great. I love it. It just makes me really happy to see someone who is really involved with their kids, or who really wants and loves to expose kids to new opportunities and teach them new things.
There’s a level of care and commitment. Seeing that level of love, expressed for somebody who needs them, who relies on them, it’s really heartening. You don’t always get that with guys who have never had to have that sort of relationship in their lives. —Melanie, 35, Pennsylvania
Reason Dads Are Hot #5: Dads Are Effeminate.
I don’t frequently think dads are hot, or have a real romantic preference, but when I do … it all depends. If a young dad is taking care of a baby or interacting with a young child on his own, it reflects their ability to be nurturing, which is not commonly associated with masculinity. I like when young men take equal ownership in being affectionate with their children because it shows where their priorities are.
There’s also a confidence and experience that older dads carry in their gait. They probably know how to satisfy a woman. And being a parent reveals another perspective of their wisdom, a level of responsibility and stability. An attractive older man who also takes care of his kids well might just be a window for what an aspirational partner should be like. —Dash, 26, New York
Reason Dads Are Hot #6: Dads Are the Forbidden Fruit.
If a man is already hot, and they’re a dad, it makes them hotter because dads aren’t supposed to be hot. It’s in shocking relief. And they’re nurturing — which is sweet and makes them hotter.
It feels a little “forbidden.” You’re not supposed to want dads, or have sex with them. It’s very “off-limits.” If they’re a dad, they’re likely older, which is also a thing. I don’t think a ton of people my age actually do hook up with dads — so even though the idea may be more mainstream and acceptable, if you were to actually accomplish it, people would be like, “Ohhh, shiiiiit.” —Claire, 24, New York