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Our girl’s would probably not be the best advertisement for red as these high class escorts would probably look stunning in any colour. However, there is actual research that demonstrates the colour red, as it does for women, can sway a man’s feelings of attraction.

Initial studies, conducted in 2008, showed that there was a measurable effect on perceived attraction due to the colour red. The protocol in the experiments was very similar to that conducted in the reciprocal study on women’s perception of men; male participants were shown two pictures of a woman that were identical save for the colour of shirt she was wearing:

Not surprisingly, the 100 men asked to rate the attractiveness of the women in the two pictures tended to rate the woman in red as more desirable.

Two years later the university conducted more experiments on the way men behave when faced with red ladies. In this 2010 study, participants were given a folder containing pictures of a ‘moderately attractive woman’ wearing either a red or green shirt and asked to look at the pictures for 5 seconds, then were given 24 notecards with questions of varying intimacy and asked to pick 5 questions they’d ask the lady in the picture they’d just seen.

The questions ranged from not at all intimate, “Where are you from?” to extremely intimate, “would you do it on the first date?” Again, the men who answered questions after viewing the red clad women were statistically much more likely to ask more intimate questions. They also did another experiment with pretty much the same set up that showed men chose to sit closer to a women they’d seen a picture of wearing red than that of one wearing blue.

So, in 2010, we know that men rate women in red more attractive, and that they behave in a more intimate way towards crimson lasses. Heretofore unexamined though is why; what is it about a lady in red that makes men rate her higher than if she wore any other colour.

To answer this, the university conducted a third round of experiments in 2012. This time they had three sets of men. The first were run through the same old red shirt/white shirt rate attractiveness protocol (they found red more attractive,) the second did this with red and green shirts (same results again), but the third group, and this is when it gets really interesting, where only shown pictures of women in a white shirt. The variable in this group was that the men were first asked to read one of two scenarios before viewing and rating attractiveness. In scenario 1, the woman in question was acting very promiscuous and sexually perceptive at a bar, in the second scenario, she was at the bar but acting like a prude.

Who, of the two identically chromatic ladies, do you think the men were more interested in? Bingo, the men who had read that the woman they were about to view was receptive to intimacy found her much more physically attractive than an identical woman who they’d just read was acting prudish. The illuminating bit is how much more desirable they found the perceptive woman compared to how much more the men in the colour groups found the lady in red. Yes, there is a measurable increase in perceived attraction when comparing red/non red, but it pales, vastly, to the effect of knowing beforehand that a woman is acting promiscuous.

The conclusion the researchers drew is this:

“Red leads to attractiveness precisely because it first leads to perceived sexual receptivity. It is receptivity that is ‘driving the bus’ for the red-attraction relation.”

So, men find women in red more attractive because they associate red with sexual receptiveness. If they already know a woman is receptive, the colour she wears bears little effect.

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