A Crying Shame
Women's Tears Reduce Sexual Arousal in Men
Well, here's some shocking news: apparently, there's no crying in baseball AND flirting. According to a new study from the Weismann Institute's Neurobiology Department, women's emotional tears can actually squash guys' sexual arousal.
In the study's first experiment, women watched sad movies in a secluded room. Researchers collected their tears and then tested whether men could distinguish tears from saline based on smell. They couldn't.
In the next experiment, men sniffed either tears or saline solution (as a control) while looking at images of women's faces on a computer screen. The result of this experiment was that sniffing tears did not affect the amount of sadness or empathy the men found in the women's faces. This explains a lot about why men only ask once if "something is wrong" before they forget and go make a sandwich.
There was another finding, however, that surprised researchers: The men found women's faces less sexually appealing after they sniffed women's tears. (We think sniffing tears before looking at pictures of boobs could produce shakier results, but that'll have to be another study altogether.)
For the next part of this awesome study, men watched emotional movies after sniffing tears or saline. They had to self-rate their moods throughout the movies and were monitored for physiological measures of arousal, such as skin temperature, heart rate, etc.
The men reported that exposure to women's tears didn't make their emotional reactions more negative, but it did lower their sexual arousal a bit. The tears' effect was even more pronounced in the physiological measures, which showed a drop in arousal and a significant dip in testosterone level.
The researchers repeated this last experiment, this time with an fMRI machine to measure brain activity. They found that those who sniffed women's tears experienced a significant reduction of brain activity in areas associated with sexual arousal.
The study doesn't explain how train wrecks always seem to have the most sex; but, it does make us consider adding "being emotional" to the list of dating don'ts (right behind mentioning that you have a doll collection and/or more than one cat).
Weizmann Institute of Science (2011, January 7). Emotional signals are chemically encoded in tears, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106144741.htm