Color and Sexual Attraction: The Clothes that People Wear

Proposed Research Topic

The investigation as to the role of color in sexual attraction and to understand why certain colors worn by members of the opposite may influence sexual attractiveness.

Background

Human beings crave knowledge in the same way that they crave for nourishment. Knowledge is important from a human development point of view. Knowledge is a crucial ingredient when it comes to survival, especially in ancient times when communities are at the mercy of the elements.

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The family, tribe, and people group that have access to information have higher chances of success. In this present age the information that is considered of prime importance is related to sexual attraction. This is an important piece of information for many reasons. First of all, men and women are eager to know what can attract the opposite sex or what do they find desirable in a person.

Secondly, this information can be used by businesspeople in terms of marketing products. Think of how advertising agencies can really profit from a clear understanding of how sexual attraction really works. For example a product for men can be marketed using a woman holding that product and yet at the same time wearing something that would catch the eye of the target audience. The whole advertising campaign should be done correctly but knowledge about color and fashion sense can enhance its effectiveness.

There a great deal of material that can be accessed to increase the proponent’s understanding with regards to the role that color plays in sexual attraction. It has to be pointed out that this is not a new concept (Delamater, 2006, p.344). There are many psychologists and sociologists in the past who were interested about the same subject matter and invested so much to know more about the science behind human interaction, specifically the attraction between man and woman (Folk & Gibson, 2001, p.61).

On the other hand the information gathered with regards to the role that color play in sexual attraction comes from different streams. It is important to focus only on color as it is used in clothing and accessories. The study should be limited only on the use of color on things that are worn by men and women.

Sexual attraction is indeed an important topic. If someone has a clear understanding of how attraction works then that person has not only discovered something that many people are interested to know more about but it also means that others can now have the capability to enhance the attraction between man and woman.

The impact of the discovery of how color enhances the attraction between male and female can be seen as a much-coveted piece of information. It is crucial for those who are selling products and services related to men and women and the most important thing for both of them. Advertising agencies would love to know more about the nature of sexual attraction between male and female. Advertisers would then be able to develop a marketing campaign that is more effective than what was done previously.

It seems obvious that color plays a role. But there is no specific explanation as to the root cause of the effect. Nevertheless, it is clear from observing human behavior that color plays an important role in daily life. If this is not true then why is it that color is an important ingredient when it comes to decoration and fashion?

Houses, cars, clothes, and accessories are being designed with color in the mind of the designer and manufacturer. If color doe not play a major role in human psychology then why is it that items are being constructed and then painted on? Colors are indeed needed to send a message to a target audience.

Color is part of the environment. A tree is green but a carrot is orange. An apple can be red but the grapes are purple. Without colors this would be a dull world. But instead of passively enjoying color human beings are known to use and manipulate color. The best example is the paint that has been painted on a particular house. A house can be constructed and then left without any decoration or any paint job. But as long as the owner can afford it a paint job is made sooner or later.

This means that the strong emotional link to color is most likely the reason why people would invest in the design and construction of a house with a definite color pattern in mind. The same thing can be said about clothes and other material things that can be found in a typical home. Nothing is made without a touch of color given to it.

Color is not only a source of enjoyment, making people happy and interested in using particular object or owning a particular thing. If indeed it is true that color can have this effect on man then it is also possible that it can be manipulated to generate sexual attraction. The ability to attract the opposite sex is something that many researchers and scientists are very much interested to know. It is therefore important to find the link between color and sexual attraction.

Scope

The proponent of this study would have to look into how color and sexual attraction has been studied in the fields of sociology, psychology and anthropology. By comparing and contrasting the observations and conclusions made by scientists, sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists the researcher would then be able to understand why color plays an important role when it comes to the attraction between man and woman.

Theoretical Framework

It is obvious to many people that attraction to the opposite sex is something that is based on many factors (Nevid & Rathus, 2010, p.3). Researches done in the past suggest that people are attracted to a particular body type, shape of the face and other factors (Abramson & Pinkerton, 1995, p.86).

However, aside from the physical attributes of the opposite sex it has also been observed that someone’s perception of how attractive another person is can be “inflated or deflated by various circumstances” (Kassin, Fein & Markus, 2011, p.349).

This is known as the “context factor” (Kassin, Fein & Markus, 2011). There is also evidence to show that color plays an important role when it comes to the sexual attraction between man and woman (Nevid & Rathus, 2010, p.221). In other words color is an important context factor. Thus, a particular color of the dress or shirt can send a message that in turn would generate a strong response (Williams, 1999, p.4).

The color red is routinely associated with sex (Kauth, 2001, p.194). In many species of primates, females display red swelling on their genitals, chest, or face as they near ovulation. In human rituals that date back thousands of years, girls painted red ochre on their face and body at the emergence of puberty and fertility.

Today, women use red lipstick and rouge to enhance their appeal, red hearts symbolize Valentine’s Day, red lingerie worn to entice, and red-light districts signal the availability of sex through prostitution (Kassin, Fein & Markus, 2011).

There are numerous studies that suggest that although it is true that men and women are attracted to the opposite sex through the help of color, it was also revealed in the same study that men and women use colors in two different ways. Women have diverse color choices in to attract the male and beat the competition (Fors, 2006, p.100). Women had to stand out in the crowd and this can be achieved by being colorful and get noticed (Fors, 2006, p.100). However, men react strongly to the color red.

The men interpret the color red as an enticement or a signal coming from the female (Fors, 2006, p.100). It is believed that when men sees women wearing a red dress it sends the message that she is receptive. It can therefore be argued that the color is one of the most important colors to consider and observer when it comes to sexual attraction.

Nevertheless, it must be made clear that there are other colors that play a part when it comes to how men and women use colors to make signals towards the opposite sex. Anthropologists were able to identify a so-called color triad consisting of black, white and red (Nassau, 1998, p.200).

The reason for the importance and utilization of this particular triad is linked to the fact that these colors symbolized so many facets of human life.

Consider for instance that whiteness stands for life and goodness. It also depicts purity and health. It can also symbolize maturity and leadership. It can be argued that the color white can be interpreted by men as symbols of purity and therefore a woman wearing white can be seen as someone innocent and pure. This can be the message that this color sends out to the opposite sex.

Black on the other hand can be interpreted as a source of power. This is probably the reason why men prefer black cars, black suits, black leather jackets. On the other hand this can be a reason why it repels the opposite sex because black could also mean death and darkness. Death and darkness is the opposite of happiness and life.

If one follows the earlier discussion with regards to the theoretical framework of sexual attraction due to color there is a strong relation to attraction and the need to reproduce. Thus, it is important to have a particular color that communicates a clear message that the person is ready to build a family or at least is fertile or willing to have sexual relations.

The color black seems to be an anti-thesis for life and starting a family. On the other hand if this color sends the message of power and control then it may be interpreted by the opposite sex to mean stability. A woman is attracted to men that have the capability to protect their young.

This is the case in the animal world but the same instinct can be seen evident in human interactions. It is therefore important to consider the idea that black symbolizes power. In this case it is still makes sense why men invest in the things that have the color of black.

While the colors black and white are important in ancient communities, tribes, and communities that have a clear understanding of how to use colors as symbols to profound meanings and attributes that hold together a group of people, when it comes to sexual attraction there is nothing that comes close to the color of red. The color red as a symbol or as a form of signal can be interpreted in different ways.

The symbolism for the color red is rich because it can mean so many different things. Consider for instance that red is associated with red clay. This is something that resonates deep in the hearts and minds of people. There is something very natural about the color. Consider also the fact that the color red is the same color as blood. Blood symbolizes life and therefore when red is used as part of an accessory or clothing it immediately sends the signal of life, fertility and perhaps passion.

Blood is life and the rush of blood is the sign of excitement and energy. It is therefore not surprising that this color can generate a strong response from both male and female. The man seems to interpret the signal sent by a woman wearing red that she is ready and willing to connect with the opposite sex. This is perhaps the same reason why women prefer to wear red lipstick if she is inclined to meet a man and ready to commit to a relationship with him.

Based on an overview of related literature it can already be ascertained that color plays a crucial role when it comes to sexual attraction between man and woman. The most interesting revelation is the fact that woman uses multiple colors to attract the male. The use of color is done in such a way that the male has to focus on one female and none other. This is not only a process of attraction but also of competition.

Interestingly it is the color red that stands out. It has been discussed that black and white can have an impact but nothing comes close to the color of red. There is so many things that can connect the color red to the way a person behaves. Blood and fertility are two of the main things that are heavily associated with the color red.

It is also important to note that the reaction of the opposite sex with regards to the use of stimulus suggests that men and women are making decisions based on something that they have no idea about. The judgment made based on the use of color is done sub-consciously.

The reaction happens in an instinctive kind of way. The man or woman does not really know that it is the color of an object that is the reason for their chosen course of action. It is therefore important to know more about this phenomenon. This can be achieved by using secondary research methods. An experiment may be highly recommended but it may not be effective because of the numerous constraints.

Method

The best way to gather pertinent information for this study is to do secondary research such as books and journals regarding the said subject matter.

The books must come from three different and yet related fields. Some of the books and journals must be the byproduct of research done by sociologists. Others must come from the work of psychologists. The rest of the published materials must be the output of anthropologists.

It is important to glean information coming from three different perspectives. It provides a more nuanced understanding of how color plays a role in sexual attraction (Ellis, 2008, p.6). When it comes to sociologists this phenomenon is understood through human interactions. When it comes to psychology this phenomenon is understood by knowing how the human mind deals with stimulus such as color.

When it comes to anthropology the researcher would have access to information with regards to the evolution of the human species and realize that attraction is not just a matter of preference but a practical way to choose a mate that ensures the survival of the group or species.

It can be seen even this early that the reaction of human beings with regards to a particular color when worn by the opposite sex is something that is not very clear yet. Additional investigation is needed to have a clear understanding why a particular color can provoke a particular response. It must be made clear that the results of the studies are not based on assumptions and generalizations.

Books and journals must be consulted for this research problem. The published materials pertaining to this project must be analyzed with the eye towards understanding why color is such an important aspect of life. It is therefore interesting to find out that many people are beginning to use the concepts with regards to sexual attraction.

This is indeed a crucial topic that is of primary importance not only to the marketers that would obviously benefit from the correct understanding of the phenomenon but also to other people that are genuinely interested in the explanation as to how color plays a role when it comes to sexual attraction.

Limitations

There are so many ways to deal with the research problem. The information regarding how color plays a role in sexual attraction can be gathered using questionnaires. It can be argued that with this type of research problem it would be best to conduct an experiment. But time and other constraints does not allow for the design and implementation of an experiment that could measure the impact of color on sexual attraction. With these limitations in mind it would be more practical to do secondary research instead.

Delimitations

The research design must only use published materials such as books and journals. In addition it must be made clear that the focus of the study pertains to color that is worn by the opposite sex; hence this is applicable only to clothing and accessories. It has to be made clear that the research design must only focus on the physical things and not the biological makeup of the person. In other words the color of the skin of the person is not part of the study.

References

Abramson, P. & S. Pinkerton. (1995). Sexual Nature, Sexual Culture. IL: University of Chicago Press.

Delamater, J. (2006). Handbook of Social Psychology. New York: Springer.

Ellis. H. (2008). Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Vol. 2. UK: Echo Library.

Folk, C. & B. Gibson. (2001). Attraction, Distraction and Action: Multiple Perspectives On Attentional Capture. MA: Elsevier Science.

Fors, C. (2006). Hens: Why Women are Different. PA: Infinity Publishing.

Kassin, S., S. Fein, & H. Markus. (2011). Social Psychology. CA: Wadsworth.

Kauth, M. (2001). True Nature: A Theory of Sexual Attraction. New York: Springer.

Nassau, K. (1998). Color for Science, Art and Technology. MA: Elsevier Science.

Nevid, J. & S. Rathus. (2010). Psychology and the Challenges of Life. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Williams, M. (1999). Sexual Pathways: Adapting to Dual Sexual Attraction. CA: Greenwood Press.