Tears and sexual arousal

January 8, 2011 BY danariely

A fascinating new study just came out, showing that tears that were produced by women under negative emotions reduce the sex drive of men!  This gives men yet another reason not to upset women.

Here is the abstract:

Emotional tearing is a poorly understood behavior that is considered uniquely human. In mice, tears serve as a chemosignal. We therefore hypothesized that human tears may similarly serve a chemosignaling function. We found that merely sniffing negative-emotion-related odorless tears obtained from women donors, induced reductions in sexual appeal attributed by men to pictures of women’s faces. Moreover, after sniffing such tears, men experienced reduced self-rated sexual arousal, reduced physiological measures of arousal, and reduced levels of testosterone. Finally, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that sniffing women’s tears selectively reduced activity in brain-substrates of sexual arousal in men.

The full paper is here: