It’s an emotional response that women often try to hide—because for some men, crying just ain’t cute.
A man’s testosterone level may be temporarily lowered if he is in sniffing range of a chemical signal that is released in a crying woman’s tears, researches from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and the Wolfson Hospital near Tel Aviv claim.
The study examined women because according to the Associated Press, Weizmann neurobiologist Noam Sobel said that “It’s hard to get men to volunteer to cry.”
The team of researchers asked women volunteers to sit and watch a sad movie in a lab and then collected their tears in a vial. They also dipped saline on the women’s cheeks and collected those droplets as a comparison and to serve as a control.
During the experiment, men were given women’s photographs to rate. When they sniffed actual tears, they found the women less sexually attractive than when they sniffed saline. Researchers were surprised by the fact that when the men actually sniffed the tears, they did not feel sad or sympathetic.
Dr. Esen Akpek of Johns Hopkins University’s Wilmer Eye Institute told AP that the findings make sense because the glands that secrete tears in eyes have receptors for sex hormones. This is connected to dry eyes, which is often found in postmenopausal women.
“The signal is serving to time sexual behavior. It is a signal that allows its user to say, ‘Now is not the right time, ‘” Sobel said. “I predict there are other signals that say, ‘Now it is’. This is just one of many chemo-signals.”