The color red is a symbol of courage and sexuality, of power and passion – and new research suggests it also makes men more alluring to women. The new study, appearing in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that women from the United States, England, Germany and China, found men more appealing when they were either pictured wearing red or framed in red.
“Red is typically thought of as a sexy color for women only,” said researcher Andrew Elliot, of the University of Rochester. “Our findings suggest that the link between red and sex also applies to men.”
The study involved more than 50 subjects who viewed photographs of men in different clothes and with different colored backgrounds. They rated the photos by 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.”
Elliot said that red warmed up women only. 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.
In the case of a red shirt, the subjects thought the man in the photo was more desirable and it increased the likelihood that they’d want to have sex with him. Interestingly, although red means different things in different cultures, the finding of women (but not men) drawn to men in red was consistent across countries.
The researchers conclude that 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 behavior and in turn may impress women.”
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