Scientists have long pondered the mystery of why humans, unlike other species, cry emotional tears. A new study provides a few answers — as well as raising a whole bunch of new questions. Basically, researchers found that men who sniffed drops of women’s emotional tears became less sexually aroused than when they sniffed a saline solution that had been dribbled down women’s cheeks. The sexual arousal was measured in a number of ways, including testosterone levels, skin responses, brain imaging and also self-reporting (i.e. this study wasn’t just a bunch of guys claiming that “teary chicks are a boner killer”). Scientists are now debating what this chemical signal in tears might mean — is it a way for women to counter men’s aggression? Or could the tears be affecting men in some as-yet-unknown way that is having a knock-on effect on the libido?
Whatever the meaning, here’s a practical tip you can take away from this, ladies: We know you may feel all warm and tingly and so connected to your partner after weeping over a film like The Notebook, but don’t expect your boyfriend’s penis to cooperate if you made him sit through the film with you.