“She was the most beautiful creature on Earth - her hair said so in that language only hair can speak.” - Gabriel Bá, "Daytripper"
The Call of Color: Hair and Attraction
Hair can, indeed speak a language. More so, it is a call and response. People have long held fascinations with specific hair colors and keep deep attractions based on them. Someone passing by can be otherwise unassuming, until their follicles attract our focus. Then, they speak that language and call. Does every hair color receive sexual attention?
We’ve all heard the stereotypes when it comes to hair: mousy brunette, fiery redhead, silver fox, dumb blonde, raven-haired beauty, and so many more. Somewhere along the line, the hue on our heads became a marker for our personalities - in both positive and negative ways. As with many things, those presumed traits have become causes for attraction.
Hair color can be, much like eye color, height, weight, and more, a defining characteristic of appeal for many. The phrase “Gentlemen prefer blondes” is embedded in our sexual culture. When you ask someone what their type is, there is a good chance they’re going to include their ideal partner’s hair color.
What's the Deal With Hair Color Attraction?
There are many different factors that come into play when looking at the hair colors that get the most attention. Online dating app AYI.com analyzed the data provided by their users’ interactions to produce a rather telling interactive. Well, telling on the part of which women are preferred and fairly surprising on which men are the choice. The most interactions for women were: blonde, brown, red, black, silver, and grey. This result is not surprising given both the cultural emphasis we’ve placed on blondes as the epitome of sexual desire and the ageism and lack of sexual currency older women unjustly have.
On the men’s side, however, the results are more interesting. No hot Ken doll blonde at the top, but watch out for those silver foxes. The most interactions for men were: silver, grey, bald, brown, blonde, black, and red.
Age and Hair Color Correlation
To see these two lists, with their tops and bottoms in reverse order, is telling of our society. A woman loses status as sexy when she ages, but a man gains it. The idea of a sophisticated, older man seems to be appealing. While there are ways to interpret baldness (it can be natural or a choice), that lack of hair ranks seems to signal another desire for an older fella.
Hair Color in the Real World
In an online world, it is easy to pick and choose by character trait, but when you get into real life, having people approach you - or not - based on your hair color is a whole different story. Scott Dagostino, writer and manager of Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop and “Ginger and Proud” has experienced both the good and the bad of hair color preference. “I like to think that I'm a fully evolved person, free of prejudice or vapid preferences, who can happily interact with people of all types (and has) but then a blonde guy walks by and I lose control of whatever I'm doing. It's a weakness but not an entirely unpleasant one.”
Another recent study notes that redheads rank last on the list of desirable hair colors, with stereotypes playing into that choice, particularly for women. Scott has felt this perception and notes his own beliefs people have about ginger men. “When I was younger, I was jealous that the ginger stereotype for women was fiery and tempestuous, like Rita Hayworth, while the ginger stereotype for men was dorky and agreeable, like Ron Howard. Happily, we've since had more hot ginger dudes like Damien Lewis who are unafraid to let a bit of that famous temper out, because every stereotype has a kernel of truth.”
At the same time, Scott has experienced both being picked and rejected for his red locks, and found the positive interest in his hair the more “insulting” of the two. “Of any given reason to sleep with me, I'd hope curiosity about the color of my pubes would be WAY down the list, but perhaps not.”
As it turns out, there are a lot of people interested in pube color along with head hair color. A quick glimpse through most porn sites will reveal the usual sub-categories based on hair color. Porn can be where people go to indulge their fantasies about a particular hair color, while their real lives might take a different course.
“I always loved tall dark and handsome,” relates Alicia ‘The Sexual Intellectual’ of RAW SEX Radio. “Something about dark hair always gave me this idea of dominance and strength, even as a child; maybe it was because my dad was a "manly man" and he had dark hair. But oddly enough I ended up marrying and having a child with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed man. Go figure!”
Alicia, as far as she knows, has never had someone reject her because of her hair color, although she has had men tell her they do like women, like herself, with dark hair. That is something she wouldn’t change just for someone else. With the litany of hair products on the market, it is possible to become any color we want on any whim.
While Alicia does like that we’re seeing more people with non-natural hair colors - will blue top the list of preferences some day? - she really hopes people think twice about changing their hair to attract someone in particular. “I personally, would never change anything about me for someone else. I think that being true to yourself and doing what makes you happy for yourself is very important. Plus, it's important to remember that you can't please everyone, so the color you may be choosing to impress one person, could be displeasing to another.”
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.