Anyone got a Kleenex?

Tears are unlikely at the best of times to drive your partner into a mood of sexual frenzy. But now a study has found that female tears contain a chemical that make her less attractive to men.

Researchers asked six women, selected from 60 volunteers, to make repeated visits to a laboratory where they cried into a test tube while watching a very sad film.

Those tears were then trickled back down the women’s faces while a group of men were asked to lean close. Salty water was used as a substitute in a second group of women.

When asked, the men could find no difference in the tears of the women, but then, on seeing pictures of women, the men exposed to the real tears found the pictures less attractive. Then the men were made to watch the same weepy, to expose them to the feelings of sadness that had accompanied the women’s tears. It was found that levels of the male sex hormone testosterone fell in those exposed to real tears but not in the men exposed to fake ones.

The researchers believe the findings have direct relevance to real life.

They said: ‘These effects materialised despite that the subjects did not see the women cry. Moreover, in Western culture, exposure to tears is usually in close proximity. We hug a crying loved one, often placing our nose near teary cheeks, typically generating a pronounced nasal inhalation as we embrace.

‘Such typical behaviour entails exposure equal to or greater than that experienced here, hence the effects we observed in the laboratory are relevant to human behaviour.'

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