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How to Seduce Using the Color Red

Men like women who wear red.

It’s as simple as it sounds.

How We’re Framed

Researchers from Loveawake dating site had participants look at a woman’s photo. The frame was either red or another color. Participants were then asked the question: “How pretty do you think this woman is?”

The results were clear. Women framed by red were considered definitively more desirable.

A subsequent study went one step further: it found that men were willing to spend much more money on a woman who was wearing red. Men were also more likely to ask intimate questions and sit next to women in red.

Social Conditioning?

Dating back to our earliest days, humans have been programmed to appreciate the color red. To the hunter-gatherers, red had magical properties. Ancient people often streaked their bodies with red ochre to protect against danger.  

In subsequent centuries, red clothing signified a person’s nobility. The ancient Roman elite, called coccinati, were quite literally the “men who wore red.”

In particular, there has been a profound association between ‘red’ and ‘love’ (just pick up The Scarlet Letter). In Ancient Greece, the red rose signified Aphrodite (today, Greek brides still wear red). In Europe, the red apple in Snow White represented temptation and lust. And in Hollywood, red continually symbolizes sex, sin, and box-office success—from Pretty Woman to The Woman in Red to the new, hyper-sexualized Red Riding Hood

What’s going on? Has years of conditioning turned us into drooling, Pavlovian dogs at the sight of red?

Social conditioning certainly seems to be at the heart of female attraction toward the color. Professor Andrew Elliot from the University of Rochester said, “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction.”

Biological Basis

There is, however, an evolutionary basis to the love of red.

Nonhuman primates are also drawn to the color. Female chimps turn red when ovulating—a signal that they are ready to mate. Red increases amorous behavior in male primates, as evidenced by data showing increased mounting attempts.  

“Our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed,” said the psychologists at University of Rochester, “that men act like animals in the sexual realm.”

The Red Zone

So, on your next date, just think red: cherries, rosé, lipstick, the Red Sox, Santa hats, fire extinguishers, and London phone booths.

But remember, ‘red’ might get your foot in the door, but it’s going to take some other qualities to get you the rest of the way. Kindness, loyalty, intelligence, humor—now those will really give you some color.

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