Ladies: has a man ever told you he hates it when you cry? You might think it’s because he dislikes seeing you in pain. And that might be true. But that’s not the whole story.
A team of neuroscientists in Israel recently found that female tears actually reduce a man’s sex drive.
The research finds that tears may contain pheromones—chemicals that influence our behavior because of their smell. Normal tears (from allergies, dust, or onions) will not affect a man’s level of attraction; it is only emotional tears that turn men off.
Take a look at the science.
1.) First, a group of women watched classic Hollywood tear-jerkers, such as When A Man Loves A Woman. They cried. A lot.
2.) Next, researchers collected their tears in jars.
3.) Finally, a group of men sat down and rated both the level of sadness and the level of attractiveness of a series of female faces. The men had a pad right above their upper lip which contained either the woman’s tears, or a simple saline solution. Both pads were odorless.
The results of the experiment were decisive: a woman’s tears reduced a man’s sexual attraction to her.
1.) 17 out of 24 participants (all men in their late 20s) thought that the female faces were less sexually alluring after sniffing the pad drenched with female tears.
2.) Most men who had been exposed to the women’s tears demonstrated telltale signs of reduced sexual arousal: their breathing rate decreased, as did their testosterone levels.
What about the reverse situation? Do women find men’s tears sexually off-putting? That was a question left unanswered by this study—the research team apparently could not find enough men who would cry during a sad film.
What’s Going On?
What is the scientific reason why tears might decrease a woman’s sexual appeal? Below are some recent theories.
1.) If a man is less attracted to a crying woman, he will be more able to focus on comforting her instead—which, after all, is what she might need at the moment. Tears contain prolactin, a hormone that is related to exhibiting nurturing behavior. When women cry, they are therefore subconsciously triggering the caring response they want from their partner.
2.) Tears may actually indicate the best and worst time for sex—from a purely biological standpoint. Dr. Noam Sobel, one of the architects of the study, states: “Women cry much more during menstruation, which indeed from an evolutionary standpoint is not a beneficial time for sexual interaction.”
Moral of the Story
So, if tears are unattractive to men, what’s the take-away? Try to avoid crying? Bottle up your emotions and join the cast of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?
No. Humans developed tears for a reason—to indicate emotional distress. As far as anyone knows, we are the only species that exhibit tears of sadness. Tears inspire people to show each other comfort and tenderness. Without those qualities, the basis of human society – and all romantic relationships—would be on unstable ground.
Furthermore, sexual attraction will always have its ups and down in any relationship, whether you cry or not. If a man ditches you because you’re crying—or going through a tough time—he’s probably not worth crying over. Find the man who will love you in spite of your tears.
All of that said, don’t take this advice too far in the opposite direction. Manipulating someone through tears is never a good idea. We all know a fake crier when we see one.