How color impacts our sex lives.
When you think “aphrodisiac,” you likely picture oysters on the half shell, or maybe a salty bar of dark chocolate. But consumable goods are not the only form of non-sexual stimuli that can help us get in the mood. In fact, of all the world’s many aphrodisiac fixtures, perhaps the most psychologically fascinating is also unavoidable: Color.
This is not a new concept, per se. It’s long been maintained that red has sultry undertones (think: fiery lipstick and valentine’s day cards), or that black hints at things like seduction and mystery. But beyond the cultural tropes, there’s more to it. There’s a whole field of study behind it: Chromatherapy—the notion that specific colors can elicit different neural reactions. So, while certain colors may help us unwind or relax, others can help us stay focused or alert. And others, still, can...light our fires. So, before you get to painting that accent wall, or replacing your sheets, perhaps it’d be worth your while to brush on up the relationship between color and sensuality.
At the most basic level, here’s what you need to know:
Cliché as it may be, red is firmly regarded as the *color of passion.* It’s said to increase your heart rate and your energy levels—while also implying intensity. That said, it may not be the ideal color for bedroom walls—being that you likely also intend to use that particular room for sleep. Instead, incorporate the hue with accents: throw pillows, lingerie, even flowers.
While your traditional valentine’s day palette might have you believe red and pink are fairly aligned in their romantic subtexts, let it be known that this is not always the case. In reality, soft pinks can hint at tender or nurturing sentiments—which are not fundamentally anti-sexual, exactly—but are often more associated with a sense of calm than they are sheet-shaking.
You may be shocked to learn that folks with walls painted a caramel brown reportedly have the most sex. Strange, we know—but apparently, the shade is deeply reminiscent of chocolate, which is a scientifically substantiated aphrodisiac. And if brown walls don’t call to you, per se, maybe consider a T-shirt or a pajama set as your caramel gateway.
Grays and silvers, on the other hand, seem to have the opposite effect. These colors are processed as notably cold, austere, even scientific or clinical. It’s the robot hue. And the last thing you want when things are heating up is a recurring mental image of your doctor’s office.
Purple is a complicated one. Historically, the Pantone corresponds with opulence or royalty. It exudes richness or luxury, but it’s also famously emotional. So if you’re one to make love rather than get laid, perhaps you ought to consider adding some more purple shades to your rotation (better yet, lighter shades like violet are notably soothing, making them excellent bedroom colors).
While an excellent choice for a home office, yellow may not be the color you wanna wear into bed at night. Psychologists have found that partners are more likely to fight in yellow rooms, and babies, too, are more likely to cry. Because light reflects at a higher intensity off of brighter colors, yellow can act as an irritant...which will not serve you particularly well on the romantic front.
Blue is a strange one. Studies have shown that it’s an excellent color to wear to a job interview, because it may help you appear stable, professional, and trustworthy. While these are also things you’d like your partner to feel about you, they’re not necessarily the essential prerequisites for great sex. So when it comes to matters of kink, we’d advise opting for a warmer hue.
There’s a reason most hospitals outfit their waiting rooms in shades of green: it’s famously healing. Most colors we associate deeply with nature are good for our brains—and green is, of course, the most potent. So, while not uniquely erotic, a little extra green around the house will certainly not do you any harm.
Ok, so black isn’t technically a color—but when it comes to selecting lingerie, it certainly is. And according to a 2010 survey, most folks prefer their partners in black undergarments (over red, even). It’s alluring, mysterious, guarded. It’s the shade we associate with villains or elicit behavior—which is, of course, sexy. So yeah, black is the new black.