It’s believed that men are more attracted to women wearing red than other colours.
Now, researchers have found the real reason behind the red effect – its because men think a woman wearing red is more likely to sleep with them on a first date.
Psychologists at the University of South Brittany in France, who studied 120 male students aged 18 to 21, discovered most thought choosing to wear red meant a woman had ‘greater sexual intent’ and was more likely to jump into bed with a man than someone who opted for more neutral colours, such as green, blue or white.
And the item in question does not need to be a revealing top, or a sexy short skirt, researchers found.
Volunteers were asked to judge a woman’s sexual intent based only on the colour of an ordinary tee-shirt.
The findings confirm the powerful influence that the colour of clothing can have on how men perceive a member of the opposite sex.
Previous studies have shown that men will ask more intimate questions of a woman and sit closer to her if she is wearing a red rather than green blouse.
Other research suggests female hitch hikers who choose a red top get more lifts from male drivers but not from female ones.
To establish exactly how red affects a man’s perception of a woman, University of South Brittany psychologists enlisted 120 male undergraduates and split them into four groups.
Each volunteer spent 30 seconds looking at an image of the same 20-year-old woman but with the colour of her top altered for each group to red, blue, green or white.
The students then completed a questionnaire, which asked them to rate, on a scale of one to nine, how attractive they thought the woman was.
They also had to rate her in terms of how likely they thought it was that she would have sex with a man on the first date.
The woman was judged to be most attractive when she was wearing the red top, followed by white, blue and finally green.
She was also judged, by some considerable margin, to be most likely to agree to sex when she wore red, followed by blue, green and finally white.
In a report on their findings, published in the latest Journal of Social Psychology, the researchers said the results supported their hypothesis that men see red as an invitation for sex.