Love & Sex
Men are simple creatures and, it turns out, women are too.
Scientists have unlocked one of the secrets to sexual attraction - and it's as easy as wearing red.
According to research, women are more likely to wear the come-hither colour when they are at their most fertile. The study, presented at the Association for Psychological Science conference in May, asked 124 women aged 18 to 47, what colour shirt they were wearing and when their last menstrual cycle was. Scientists found a link between the peak of fertility and the choice to wear red.
Like mammals looking to attract a mate, wearing red clothing can be seen as an attempt to draw attention - be it conscious or subconscious, experts say. Clare Hetzel, a psycho-sexologist at Psychology Melbourne says red signals sexual readiness in women.
"Given women's brief fertile window, wearing red can be explained as an adaptive mechanism, dressing in a way that increases sexual attractiveness to men specifically during this period.
"Plus, the hormones associated with ovulation make women feel sexier during peak fertility, resulting in an inclination to wear clothing with attention-grabbing properties."
Rather than fashion, it seems your outfit choice may come down to biology.
"In some ape species, females in estrus have coloured sexual swellings in the genital area that signal to males their sexual receptivity and that they can be fertilised," says Hetzel.
While the animalistic impulse to wear red isn't new, it does still work. Studies have shown men are more attracted to women wearing red compared to other colours because they believe they are less likely to be rejected. Red carries subtle but powerful messages about how receptive a woman might be to romantic advances.
Victoria Patrinos, 33, a media sales advisor from Kirribilli in Sydney, says wearing red guarantees a reaction from the opposite sex.
"I own three red dresses which I wear when I want to stand out. Like most women, I usually wear black as it's a safe colour, but if I am looking to make a statement, nothing works better than red, especially being blonde."
Patrinos, who is currently single, says she is approached by more men when wearing the fiery hue.
"There's definitely a type of guy who chats me up when I'm in the colour. He's confident and masculine. It might also have something to do with the way I carry myself. I definitely feel sexier in red and whenever I wear one of my dresses, I'm sure to have an adventurous night.
"When I was about 25, I wore one to an engagement on a Saturday. One party led to another and I didn't get home until Monday - wearing the same red dress."
Mother of two Kylie Mote, 34, from Kenthurst in Sydney, was wearing red the night her now three-month-old son, Thomas, was conceived.
"It wasn't planned. I had dressed up for a date with my husband," she says. "Since having our daughter, Jessica, four, we hadn't had a lot of time for just the two of us. So last year, we designated one night a month to date night, just for us. No kids allowed.
"We weren't trying for another baby, but when I went to the doctors, the test showed we fell pregnant on our June date night - and I was wearing a red blouse and lipstick. I've always thought of red as the colour of romance but not anything more than that. Maybe throwing out all red clothing could be a cheaper form of contraception," she jokes.
If you're still searching for romance and your red dress is in the wash, don't despair. Researchers found that hot pink works as well. But the most powerful colour when it comes to lovemaking is what we've long believed: red.
- FFX Aus
Do long-distance relationships work?Related story: (See story)