Trying to Find a Mate? Wear Red!

Trying to Find a Mate? Wear Red!

Throughout many cultures, the color red is connected with feelings of love and passion.  Studies have shown that there is a link between love, sex and romance, and a woman’s use of red.  This has been demonstrated by using a range of populations and methods.  In one particular study, it was found that women reported that they preferred to wear red clothing when imagining they might potentially meet a new mate.  Based on this, it was concluded by authors that the wearing of red by women might be used as a sexual signal to attract potential mates.

In separate studies, there were findings that men believe women who are surrounded by or wearing red to be especially sexually desirable and attractive.  This has been shown in both Western industrialized cultures and with members who are non-Western in very isolated, traditional, small-scale societies, where red has negative and divergent cultural associations.  This suggested that a male’s tendency to find reddish colors sexually attractive could be universal among humans.

Many possible explanations have been suggested regarding men’s attraction to this color on or around women.  Suggestions are that red has attention-grabbing perceptual qualities, a reddish skin tone frequently indicates that women are sexually aroused, and males of other species show attraction in similar ways.  This indicates that cognitions might have first come about in a shared ancestor and then continued in humans.

This major tendency among men leads to an intriguing prediction regarding women, regardless of the mechanism that underlies the effect.  Since women have a brief fertile window, it could be beneficial and adaptive for them to dress in order to increase their level of sexual attractiveness during this time.

It was predicted that women would take advantage of a chance to dress in red or pink during times of peak fertility with the drive to appear more sexually appealing during this time of the cycle.  And, if the hormones associated with ovulation make women feel more sexually attractive during peak fertility, they might be inclined to wear clothing that draws more attention to them, such as red colored, even if they’re not necessarily looking to attract men.

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