It’s always the woman in the red dress. The one that catches your man’s eye and makes you peevishly nudge him back to reality.
Turns out it’s not completely his fault. A new study says men rate women wearing red clothing as being more interested in sex, hinting that humans may be conditioned to associate the color with fertility.
Psychologists at the University of Rochester showed 25 men a photo of a single woman doctored to look like she was wearing a red or white T-shirt. The researchers asked the volunteers to gauge, on a scale from 1 to 9, how keen the model seemed to be on romance. Men interpreted the red T-shirt as a signal that the woman was more open to sexual advances.
The color red and sex is also linked in other animals. Scientists say many primate females—from chimpanzees to types of baboons called mandrills—become fertile, their estrogen levels peak, opening up their blood vessels and turning their faces bright red. This flushed complexion seems to give males the signal that it's time to make their move.
"It doesn't have to be a red dress or a sexy outfit," Adam Pazda, the author of the survey says. "It can be a red T-shirt."