Research on chemical signals in human tears recently found that when women cry, it acts as a biological cold shower for men. The study, published today in the journal Science, found that when men smell women’s tears, they became less sexually aroused and were less attracted to women than when they smelled a saline solution dribbled on women’s cheeks.
Scientists who’ve long been baffled by the purpose of emotional tears are calling the study a scientific breakthrough, indicating that there’s a chemical signal at work, and crying isn’t purposeless, after all. Exactly what the epurpose of turning off men with our tears is has yet to be determined: “There’s several lines of evidence that women cry much more during menstruation, and from a biological standpoint that is not a very effective time to have sex, so reducing sexual arousal in your mate at that time is really convenient,” said Dr. Noam Sobel, one of the psychologists behind the study. But Dr. Martha McClintock, a psychologist at the University of Chicago who studies pheromones and behavior, doesn’t think highly of that theory: “Oh, please — do we know that women cry more often during menstruation?” she told the New York Times, adding that it’s “premature to speculate about [their] evolutionary function. I have no doubt that it affected sexuality as they report, but I would be very surprised if it doesn’t turn out to affect other emotions in other contexts.”
We’re sure the answer is complicated, but we have to think that there are enough other things going on during our periods to repel men that making our tears a turn-off isn’t really necessary.
via New York Times