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Women can smell men who are single

Tom Wood

Published 
| Last updated 

Women can smell men who are single

Featured Image Credit: Aycan AYKAN / Ivan Chiosea / Alamy Stock Photo

Women can smell if a man is single, because they give off a different – and more powerful – odor than men in relationships, according to scientists.

Yes, once again those brave boffins are out there doing the hard yards for us, solving the big questions that we all need answered.

OK, so they’ve done pretty well with the nuclear fusion stuff recently, and that interplanetary travel thing is pretty impressive too, but who smells more – single men or men in relationships?

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That truly is the question on all of our lips.

Well, wonder no more, because the lads have only gone and conducted an experiment, publishing their findings in a journal called Frontiers in Psychology.

Ladies, he's single. Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Alamy Stock Photo
Ladies, he's single. Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Alamy Stock Photo

It has previously been claimed that testosterone – believed to be a strong factor in body odor amount – is higher in single males because of the competition for partners that they face, whereas those in relationships tend to have lower testosterone in order to maintain their bond with their partner.

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That all seems pretty logical, right?

Now, the scientists have tested that out by giving 91 blokes – 46 singletons and 45 partnered males – an ordinary white t-shirt, before sending them off about their day.

They told them to do a bit of exercise too, not least because it’s always a good thing, but also to get them working up some steam.

They wanted to ensure that ‘a significant amount of sweat was absorbed onto the underarm of the t-shirt.’

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The glamorous world of scientific research, folks.

After that, the shirts were given to 82 heterosexual women for a sniff, with each one smelling six blokes’ scent.

A man judging his relationship chances. Credit: Serhiy Stakhnyk/Alamy Stock Photo
A man judging his relationship chances. Credit: Serhiy Stakhnyk/Alamy Stock Photo

The women were also presented with a picture of the man behind the musk, before they made a judgement call.

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The study authors wrote: “Consistent with our hypothesis, single men’s BO was rated as smelling stronger than the BO of partnered men,

“We also found that single men’s faces were rated as more masculine than partnered men’s faces, but only among partnered women.”

But – I hear you cry – what does it all mean?

Well, it could be that the body odor helps lead women towards more suitable partners, although they are keen to point out that strong BO won’t help you find love, as it wasn’t rated as sexier or more attractive than that of those in relationships.

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However, the authors said: “From an evolutionary perspective, it may be advantageous for women to be able to detect the chemosignals that connote coupledom and ultimately avoid courting partnered males (especially with offspring) due to the relatively reduced resources they can offer.”

Some amateur research taking place here. Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Alamy Stock Photo
Some amateur research taking place here. Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Alamy Stock Photo

There could also be another reason for it – simply that single men are less hygienic than those in relationships.

“Evidence for this assertion comes from research showing single men have poorer physical and mental health outcomes than partnered men which may manifest as poorer hygiene and therefore BO,” they wrote.

It’s sort of a chicken and egg situation really, isn’t it?

Do single men smell more because they’re single, or are they single because they smell more?

Come on boffins, get cracking on that one.

Topics: News, Health, Science, Weird, Sex and Relationships

Tom Wood
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