Healthy living * Sexual health

Women attracted to men in red

Women attracted to men in red Look out ladies

Forget the flowers guys, just wear red if you want to seduce the woman of your dreams.

Researchers have found that men pictured wearing red or framed in red are more appealing to women, as compared to other colours.

"Red is typically thought of as a sexy colour for women only," said Andrew Elliot from the University of Rochester.

"Our findings suggest that the link between red and sex also applies to men."

In the study, 25 men and 32 women briefly viewed a black-and-white photo of a man in a polo shirt, surrounded by a red or white background.

Using a nine-point scale, they answered three questions: "How attractive do you think this person is?", "How pleasant is this person to look at?", and "If I were to meet the person in this picture face to face, I would think he is attractive."

Women who looked at a man surrounded by red or white rated the man surrounded by red a little over one point higher on a nine-point scale of attractiveness, a statistically significant bump.

The effect was limited to women.

Another experiment featured a man in a colour photo, dressed in either a red or a green shirt.

A pool of 55 women rated the man in red as significantly more attractive - on average, nearly one point higher on the same nine-point scale.

They also thought he was more desirable, according to a second, five-item measure that asked viewers to rate, for example, the likelihood that they'd want to have sex with him.

Although the colour red means different things in different cultures, the finding of women (but not men) attracted to men in red was consistent across countries.

Women in a follow-up study perceived men wearing red T-shirts to be significantly more likely to be high in status than men wearing blue T-shirts. The men in red also seemed more generally and sexually attractive.

Red may enhance sexual attractiveness because it is a status symbol, according to the authors of the study, which is published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

The power of red holds throughout the primate world. Female primates (including women) are "extremely adept at detecting and decoding blood flow changes in the face," the authors said, "and women have been shown to be more sensitive to the perception of red stimuli than are men."

Are men aware that red may work in the bedroom as well as the boardroom? The authors suggest red might make men more likely to strut their stuff.

"A man who wears red may feel dominant," they added, "which influences his self-confidence and behaviour and in turn may impress women."

This article was published on Tue 3 August 2010

Image © zimmytws -

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