Some men like the lady in red. She arouses them. But why?


Women dressed in red are more sexually attractive to men as the colour transmits “powerful” messages about how interested they might be, scientists have found. They call it the red dress effect. It is a phenomenon in which people wearing red clothing, are perceived to be more sexually attractive than they are when wearing other colours.

Likely origin

The origin of the phenomenon is not very clear, but it has been suggested it is evolutionary instinct, passed on from prehistoric times. The men observed that when primate female animals became fertile their blood vessels opened up, causing redness of the skin, especially near the face, chest and genitalia.


This increase in redness affected male counterparts and drew attention towards the females.

In humans

In humans too, it would seem that the woman in red is a hot favourite among men. It has been observed that men are more attracted to women wearing red compared to other colours. But the reason may vary a little from the primate male animals. Men believe that the women in red are less likely to reject their advances.


The studies found that the colour red carries subtle but powerful messages about how receptive a woman might be to romantic advances and so men find it more alluring. The findings might explain why women in red dresses have become such a provocative image in modern culture.

Men who were shown photographs of women wearing a red shirt found them more attractive compared to when they saw the same women wearing green or white garments.

The study in the United States and Austria, also found that the men felt the women would respond positively to their advances.

Adam Pazda, who led the research along with colleagues at the University of Innsbruck, said the response may be hangover from humans’ evolutionary past, as animals such as female baboons display patches of bright red skin to indicate they are ready to mate.


He said: “We find it fascinating that merely changing the colour of a woman’s shirt can have such a strong influence on how she is perceived by men.

“It is possible that women actually wear red clothing more when they are interested in sexual encounters. We are currently investigating this possibility, and preliminary evidence suggests that this is indeed happening.”

However, in a more recent study in New York, it was found that wearing red made women more attractive, but only to men who already fancied them a bit.

Wearing a red dress isn’t like spraying Viagra from a crop-duster, in other words – but for women wanting to boost what God gave them, it’s perfect, the experts said.


The lead author Steven Young wrote in the European Journal of Social Psychology, “Recent evidence suggests that coloration may serve a purpose in human mating, as female sexual excitement is associated with reddening of the cheeks, neck, and chest.

“Women are more likely to wear red than other colors when they anticipate meeting attractive, but not unattractive, men.”

Women likely to wear red when fertile

Study finds women prefer red or pink clothes at their most fertile time of the month. For one thing, studies have not consistently found that women dress more sexily when they are more fertile.


But according to a new study, apparently women do provide a clue about their fertility: women at high conception risk were more than 3 times more likely to wear a red or pink shirt than were women at low conception risk, and 77 per cent of women who wore red or pink were found to be at high, rather than low, risk.”

And red works to attract men: “Individuals across cultures associate red with love and passion. Studies using a range of methods and populations have demonstrated that women’s use of red is linked to sex and romance  and that men find women wearing or surrounded by red particularly attractive and sexually desirable.

What they say

Some men I have spoken to believe the studies. ‘It is like the lady in red is more daring, and likely to be wild behind closed doors,” Dare said.

“And you know some men like wild women,” Abiodun, Dare’s friend, added.

For the women, some agreed they wear read to clubs for fun, but particularly when they are in the “killer mood.”
“You stand out easily in red, and when you have the curves, men find you irresistible,” one of the women explained.

The one obvious thing about the power of red is in the words of the researchers: “More generally, our finding that female red carries sexual meaning will likely be of considerable interest to fashion designers, marketers, and advertisers.”

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