SMELLING the tears of a woman can quell a man's sexual desire, according to a study that determined female crying can have a direct chemical impact on male libido.
Scientists have found evidence to suggest that tears from a weeping woman contain a chemical signal that can have a subconscious effect on a man's sexual desire, even if he is not a witness to the crying.
The findings suggest a functional role for crying in humans, who are unique in the animal kingdom by expressing emotion with weeping eyes. Crying among women may be a way of controlling male desire and sexual aggression.
Biologists have never been able to come up with a satisfactory reason for the emotional tears produced during crying.
Although tears were obviously being used as an emotional signal, there was no obvious function attached to them, said the scientists, from the Weissmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
"Despite psychological theories on the meaning of tears, the functional significance of emotional tears remains unknown," the scientists say in a report to be published in the journal 'Science'.
However, following a series of experiments involving men who were asked to sniff tissues soaked in the tears of weeping women, the researchers now believe that they have found convincing evidence to support the idea that female emotional tears contain some kind of chemical signal.
One of the studies involved asking men to rate a series of photographs of women's faces.
Sometimes the men were exposed to the tears of weeping women, and sometimes they were given tissues soaked in saline solution that had been carefully collected after being dribbled down the women's cheeks. None of the men said they were able to detect any difference in smell.
Professor Noam Sobel said that a significant decline in the men's estimation of the women's sexual attractiveness only occurred after they had been exposed to the tears. (© Independent News Service)