Men Are Sexually Turned Off By Women's Tears
If you thought that crying was a way to a man's heart, you may want to try another tact, because it is surely not the way to his body. In fact, in a series of studies performed at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, indicate that women's tears are a pretty big turnoff to men.
Emotional tears, as opposed to tears provoked by a physical irritant to one's eyes, is still pretty much thought to be a uniquely human behavior, one that even Charles Darwin could find no explanation for. Unlike other body fluids like perspiration, which communicates an array of signals to other humans, tears have no perceived odor. And researchers from Weizmann Institute tested that assumption with a group of volunteers.
This experiment involved obtaining tear samples from a group of women watching sad movies in a secluded room. The men volunteers were then asked to differentiate the odor of tears and the odor of saline solution and they could not.
Next, male volunteers were randomly given either saline solution or tear soaked swabs which held in place under their noses while the men watched images of women's faces on computer screens. The men made various judgements about the women based on their images. On the following day, the test was repeated, except each man received a different swab than the day before.
What the researchers found was that the tear swabs did not appear to influence the men's judgements of sadness or empathy, but that sniffing the tears negatively influenced their judgments of sex appeal in the female faces.
This round involved the male participants watching an emotional movie after sniffing a saline pad or women's tears. In the pursuant self rating, participants showed no more or less empathy, but the tear-sniffers rated themselves lower than the saline-sniffers on sexual arousal.
Further investigation involved physiological monitoring of various measures of arousal, including testosterone, a hormone related to sexual arousal, and a 'tear-induced' drop in those measures was found.
Finally, the male participants had a type of brain scan, an fMRI, which actually can follow changes in the brain in live action rather than still images. And, as you may have guessed, the fMRIs of the participants who sniffed tears showed a subsequent decline in brain activity in the sexual arousal areas.
Well, with this very thorough round of experiments, we know that women's emotional tears carry some chemical that is sexually unappealing to a man, even if we are unaware of the 'odor.'
What about men's tears and children's tears? Do they send different chemical signals? Professor Noam Sobel in the Weizmann Institutes's Neurobiology Department, who led these experiments, noted that further research needs to be conducted in those areas.
But he also found that some rodent tears contain similar chemosignals. "The uniquely human behavior of emotional tearing may not be so uniquely human after all," he said.