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Women Enticed by Men in Red

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Women who were asked to rate the attractiveness of men wearing various colors of clothing were consistently enticed by men in red. Psychologists found that women from all countries are attracted by the color that may be a symbol of confidence, power, passion and sexuality. The study also found women would be more likely to have sex with men dressed in or framed in red in photographs.

Women from the United States, England, Germany and China were asked to look at photographs of men wearing red or framed in the color. Women consistently rated men dressed in red as more attractive than those in black and white photos or those surrounded by red. Compared to black and white photos, women were more attracted to men when the color red appeared in the photo.

Andrew Elliot, PhD, of the University of Rochester and University of Munich says "Red is typically thought of as a sexy color for women only. Our findings suggest that the link between red and sex also applies to men."

Why Men in Red Attract Women. Is red a symbol of power?

The psychologists say it's true that red is a symbol of power. Red is a primal color associated with confidence. Women studied were more inclined to rate men in red as having a higher status in addition to finding them more desirable and attractive.

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"A man who wears red may feel dominant, which influences his self-confidence and behavior and in turn may impress women", according to the authors who also point out red is also appealing to females in the primate world.

The authors say female primates are "extremely adept at detecting and decoding blood flow changes in the face, and women have been shown to be more sensitive to the perception of red stimuli than are men."

Red could also work for men in the business world. Wearing red conveys a sense of confidence that could lead to more dominant behaviors in the boardroom.

The women rated men on a nine point scale, answering 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." A second five point scale revealed women would be more likely to have sex with men wearing or surrounded by red that they rated as more desirable.

The study shows that women are not just attracted to a man's physical features. The authors found that the color red induces feeling of love and passion that has implications not yet understood. Color may influence the way people behave and have psychological implications that should be further explored.

Red attracts women to men, found in seven separate experiments. The study only affected women - men were immune to the color when rating a man's attractiveness. The authors say the color red is a "sexual signal" for women that might also influence psychological function for men. Color has meaning that goes beyond aesthetics that the researchers say is "provactive" and should be further studied. There is something about the enticement of the color red that draws women to men, regardless of physical features.

This page is updated on May 12, 2013.