Lust Life: Red Hot Redheads

11 Nov 2014 | 01:10

    When I arrived at college, I was a Bible-studying virgin with long blonde hair. Halfway through the first semester, I had my hair cut to my ears and dyed it. For the rest of the year I flirted up a storm and lost my virginity the following summer. I continued coloring my hair and by the end of sophomore year I had traded in Jesus for an atheist lover. I felt more naturally myself than ever before, and I am certain that changing my hair color had something to do with it.

    I may be an interesting case for German sex researcher Dr. Werner Habermehl, who conducted a study comparing the sex lives of hundreds of women with their hair color. He concluded, “The sex lives of women with red hair were clearly more active than those with other hair colors, with more partners and having sex more often than the average. The research shows that the fiery redhead certainly lives up to her reputation.”

    Does “red in the head, fire in the hole” generally ring true for redheaded women, even if her carpet does not match her drapes? According to Habermehl, women who change their hair color to red are sending a message that they are on the prowl. He added that women in relationships who dye their hair red are subliminally communicating to their partners that they are unhappy and looking for something better. When I was 18, I wasn’t looking for a relationship so much as I was in search of a new self. But I did have a boyfriend and I remember him not being crazy about my new hair.

    Dr. Habermehl may be enlightened to know that I did my own study and found, not surprisingly, that red hair is a turn-on for many guys. “There is some sort of hot sexual energy that comes out of a redhead,” says one associate we’ll call “Ed,” who has been intimately involved with a few. “There is always an added lust that goes with them. I think that they know it too.” Where does this energy come from? It probably has to do with the fact that red hair is scarce. Anything that is rare has an exotic allure, which inspires myths. Red hair has its origins in the Picts, an ancient race that inhabited Caledonia, now known as Scotland. The Picts had a reputation as great warriors and artists, and although their civilization disappeared, the red hair gene survived along with their blazing characteristics, which bled into the legends of Celtic, Scottish and Irish culture.

    History leads me to believe that the fiery nature of redheads is more a consequence of ancestry than actual hair-color. (Incidentally, I am of Scottish descent, so this theory makes sense to me.) It’s in the blood, not the dye. Yet the power of color on the senses, the symbolic impact of red as a passionate hue, cannot be ignored. The fact that my hair is red (and looks natural) does make a difference in how people perceive me and how I perceive myself. Natural redhead Christine agrees: “It has been assumed by every single man I have ever dated that I am some wild cat hellion that needs to be tamed. Every man had this ‘taming of the shrew fantasy’ and each of them thought they were going to be the tamer.” Christine is an actress and her hair has also caused a stir in her professional life. “I have been called ‘fiery’ so many times that even if I played Laura in the ‘Glass Menagerie’ someone would find a way to throw that into the review.”

    Cultural association is just as important as ancient history. Many famous female redheads are sex symbols: Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ann-Margret, Rita Hayworth and Tina Louise (Ginger on Gilligan’s Island), to name a few. Ed says, “You never really think of a redhead as a bimbo or ho. But if she were blonde it would be easier for her to pick up one of those labels. Even if they had the same sexual experience.” Interestingly enough, Rita Hayworth was not a natural redhead, yet she was one of the hottest sex symbols that graced the 20th century silver screen.

    You can argue the reasons for the feminine redhead mystique, but most people agree that the auburn aura doesn’t seem to apply to redheaded men. Carrot Top, Danny Bonaduce, Ron Howard, Chuck Norris: not exactly a list of sex symbols. Eric Stoltz and Ewan McGregor are sexy, but what does it have to do with their hair? Jonathan adds, “Redheaded men are at a distinct disadvantage as they are often viewed as dorky and unattractive.” Sorry, redhead guys, follicle psychology is obviously gender biased.

    Back to women: whether it’s the hair color that influences personality or the personality that matches the hair, there must be something to it, or the stereotypes wouldn’t exist. Christine says, “I wonder if we do not become that which we are labeled. I do apparently have a large libido and like to have as much sex as possible…but then doesn’t everybody?” One guy said that all the redheads he slept with climaxed faster and more often than the blondes or brunettes. “Is this coincidence?” he asks. “Is it because redheads inspire some sort of primal, animal sex drive in me that other hair-colors don’t? Maybe.” I’ve never once regretted going from Goldilocks to Jessica Rabbit. And when people ask me if I’m a natural redhead, I tell them yes. If I feel compelled to elaborate, I say, “I’m a natural redhead. I just wasn’t born with red hair.”