SEOUL, April 10 — Debates surrounding hair discrimination have put women’s locks back in the spotlight. Because hair, particularly women’s hair, is loaded with symbolism. A study out of South Korea published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology shows the extent to which heterosexual men attach importance to their partner’s haircut.

The authors of this study, affiliated with Yonsei University in Seoul, conducted an experiment involving 204 heterosexual married couples. They asked them to estimate the monthly frequency with which they had sexual intercourse. The aim? To determine whether there was a correlation between couples’ sexual activity and the hair of the female half of the couple.

Because, if this research is to be believed, hair plays a role in “sexual selection,” a notion briefly defined by Charles Darwin in his book, The Origin of Species. The English naturalist (1809-1882) hypothesised that women with beautiful hair would arouse more desire in men, guaranteeing them greater reproductive success.


The academics tested this theory by asking study participants to evaluate their partners’ hair both in terms of length and quality. It turned out that women with hair that is long and perceived as “high-quality,” had more sexual intercourse with their partners than those without. “This indicates that wives’ long and high-quality hair may arouse positive evaluation as well as sexual desire in husbands, thereby promoting pair bonding in couples” the researchers wrote.

Obviously, these findings should be taken with a grain of salt. The co-authors of this research stress the fact that the influence of hair on sexual dynamics within couples was “relatively modest.” Other factors clearly influence marital sexual relations more than the wives’ hair — however, they were not measured in this study.

Nevertheless, the alleged sexual power of hair could explain the growing interest of consumers — and especially female consumers — in hair products. While advertisers have long played on associations of sexual attractiveness and “good hair,” this sector has been booming since the pandemic, driven by an incalculable number of hair micro-trends born on social networks. What do they have in common? Placing the hair, and the scalp, at the heart of the beauty routine. Was Darwin onto something after all? — ETX Studio