Women In Red Symbolize ‘Love And Lust’, But Are They Predators?

According to new research from University of Rochester social psychologist Adam Pazda, women who dress in red are perceived by other woman to be more sexually receptive and unfaithful than women wearing other colors.

Pazda told Today that red evokes sex because it symbolizes love and lust, “The color of a woman’s shirt affects how men and women think about her. Women don’t want other women in red near their boyfriends,” He added that there is a biological reason that might be interpreted as sexual: “When women become sexually excited, they blush.”

His research showed that viewing another woman in red increases perceptions of sexual receptivity, derogation, and intentions to mate-guard. Women participants were firstly asked to look at pictures of women in white; they were then shown the same women, but now dressed in red.

The overwhelming majority of respondents said those in red looked more promiscuous or “receptive to sex.” They also thought that the women in red would cheat on their partners. The participants were then shown pictures of women dressed in green, to remove the “purity” connotations of the white dresses. They then said that they would be quite willing to introduce their partners to those women.

Mr. Pazda concluded, “Women are more likely to say that women in red are less faithful. They do pick up on the [sexually] receptive cue and what that leads to is some sort of defensiveness.”

Even Hollywood understood the effect of a red dress on men, as epitomized in the the Gene Wilder movie The Woman in Red. Kelly LeBrock, who co-starred in the film, is the woman in the red dress in our featured image.

Which is probably not fair to the research, since Ms. LeBrock would be “hot” in any color.