Are redheads more emotionally sensitive?

Are redheads more emotionally sensitive?

We already know that redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold, and need more anesthesia, and have a higher pain tolerance.

But could redheads also be more emotionally sensitive? At some point, I realized that I noticed a lot of autistic people happen to be redheads. And as we know, people with autism tend to be very sensitive! I’ve even heard that it’s often a misconception they that don’t have empathy; instead they are profoundly empathetic and feel way more than us normies do — they actually can’t handle how much they’re feeling on many, many different sensory and emotional levels.

Anyway, several months ago, I was listening to one of the How to be a Redhead sisters’ podcasts, and they happened to mention that they had noticed that along with having sensitive skin, redheads also tend to be more emotionally sensitive.

I felt like it was a breakthrough moment for me. I’m a redhead, and I’ve also always been told I’m too sensitive. I’ve found ways to explain it — I identify as an HSP, or highly sensitive person, an actual biological trait that is meant to be a genetic advantage for the tribe (and is also found in animals). And if you’re into astrology, I just happen to have a Pisces moon (and the majority of my chart is water).

I’ve spent years trying to work on “not being so sensitive” until finally I realized that’s just who I am, and that it’s actually a gift. Even if nearly everyone in America and the rest of the Western world tells me differently. Cue Jewel’s 1996 hit, “I’m sensitive, and I’d like to stay that way…”

But the thing is, we live in this world, in America at least, where sensitivity isn’t valued. So I often carried this shame and what felt like a burden alone, trying to hide it and pretend I was tougher, until I met my friend Rita. Rita’s a psychology PhD, and one day mentioned that she loved this one woman’s research on love and sensitivity.

And that’s when I discovered that I now knew another HSP, for certain! But…

The most interesting thing about all this is that…

Rita also happens to have red hair! So I started noticed this, and then other redheads started to notice this and…

I’m thinking that we’re onto something! But the question is…why!?!? What, praytell, was the genetic advantage, when homo sapiens started moving north out of Africa, to evolving to have tons of allergies, super sensitive skin and even more sensitive emotions???

I know that the HSP research says that in the tribal sense, those blessed with sensitivity are the ones meant to spot the predators, to see them before they are coming, while the other 80 percent of the population are meant to be the warriors who go into battle with the lions.

But why would redheads need to evolve to be like this? If most redheads are in Scotland, where we know we evolved to need less melanin for obvious reasons (less sun), then, why did we need more sensitivity? Emotionally and physically?

And…on another, more NSFW note…I’ve had many a men tell me that one of the main reasons they “had a thing” for redheads was because it felt like redheads had more of a spiritual type of experience during sex and were more reactive to what was happening in the moment.

So what do you think? Are redheads more emotionally sensitive? Why do you think that might be? Why did we evolve to be this way? Also…could this partially be why redheads get bullied more often? Besides obviously having something different about us, the those perceived as “weak” get picked on the most…


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  • I'm a fellow HSP, and looking up my high-school-senior picture reminded me how much my blond hair used to have red highlights. (Now it's plain old blahnd, with gray streaks.) I like your theories about being able to spot predators and other threats. That's definitely a different job than going hunting, as I've seen at the zoo over the years. Maybe it's how we're both writers. Thanks for a very good post.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks! It's not my theory though - it's Elaine Aron's! She talks about it in her book about HSPs!!

  • I am a redhead. Strawberry-blonde when I was young. The older I get, the darker the red my hair is. I'm 43 and my hair is now an auburn. I'm very fair skinned and covered in freckles. I have been highly sensitive, physically and emotionally, my entire life. And the past few years, so sensitive that I've begun to suspect that I'm an Empath. I think we are this way because human beings are unpredictable and sometimes temperamental. I think we are the buffers. That we absorb the overflowing emotions around us so humanity doesn't self-destruct. I also think that we have to rid ourselves of these emotions. So we are viewed as over-emotional and over-sensitive. Have you noticed that your mood changes when you are in close proximity
    to someone with high running emotions? That your mood suddenly matches theirs and strongly? It happens to me all the time. I feel other people's emotions almost physically. I can feel a difference in air pressure depending on the mood of a room. I know itvmay sound crazy, but it's just a theory. I'm curious to know if any other redheads feel this way.

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