Fact vs. Myth
There are many myths about Redheads, both positive and negative, but there are also many interesting facts as well.
- Pain, bleeding and bruising: Two studies have demonstrated that people with red hair have different sensitivity to pain compared to people with other hair colors. One study found that people with red hair are more sensitive to thermal pain (associated with naturally occurring low vitamin K levels), while another study concluded that redheads are less sensitive to pain from multiple modalities, including noxious stimuli such as electrically induced pain. Researchers have found that people with red hair require greater amounts of anesthetic.
Other research publications have concluded that women with naturally red hair require less of the painkiller pentazocine than do either women of other hair colors or men of any hair color. A study showed women with red hair had a greater analgesic response to that particular pain medication than men. A follow-up study by the same group showed that men and women with red hair had a greater analgesic response to morphine-6-glucuronide.
- Redheads as Highly Sexed: One belief about redheads is that they are highly sexed; for example, Jonathan Swift satirizes redhead stereotypes in part four of Gulliver's Travels, "A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms," when he writes that: "It is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity." Swift goes on to write that: "...neither was the hair of this brute [a Yahoo] of a red color (which might have been some excuse for an appetite a little irregular) but black as a sloe..." In the novel and film Red-Headed Woman, the titular protagonist is a sexually aggressive home-wrecker who frequently throws violent temper tantrums.
Interestingly enough, in self reported studies, redheads have been shown to have more active and satisfying sex lives. In addition it has also been shown that many women who cheat on their husbands or boyfriends dye their hair red before doing so.
- Celebrities and Haircolor Sales: It has been shown that there is a relationship between the sales of red hair dye and the Popularity of redheaded Celebrities. In modern times, red hair is subject to fashion trends; celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Alyson Hannigan, Marcia Cross, Christina Hendricks and Geri Halliwell can boost sales of red hair dye. As an example, Queen Elizabeth I of England was a redhead, and during the Elizabethan era in England, red hair was fashionable for women.
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