It's not just his sexy little grin or that manly swagger. Scientists have figured out another telltale sign women can use to tell if a man is aroused: His sweat activates the female brain.
LiveScience.com reports that researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas have concluded that while men give off clear signs they are in the "mood," they also give off a scent of sweat and that is picked up by women, at least subconsciously.
It has long been known that animals use pheromones, which are chemical signals, to communicate sexual interest in a potential mate. Do humans also have pheromones? If so, where are they? It's not known. Enter Denise Chen, a Rice psychologist, who wanted to find out. She figured the most logical place for pheromones to hide is in sweat. So Chen and her colleagues designed an experiment to compare how women respond to two different kinds of male sweat: that which is produced in everyday situations and that which is produced when a man is sexually aroused. Assuming that humans do produce pheromones in their sweat, it's logical women would respond to a man's sexual sweat differently than the sweat he works up doing yard work on a hot summer day.
The study: Twenty heterosexual men stopped wearing deodorant or cologne for several days. At the end of this period, the men put small pads in their armpits while they watched pornographic videos and became aroused. They then exchanged those pads for fresh ones to collect sweat they produced doing normal, daily activities. Nineteen (courageous) women smelled the men's armpit pads while they underwent a brain scan using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This technique reveals the brain regions a person is using at any given time--even if the brain activity is subconscious, reports LiveScience.com.
The results: Depending on which type of sweat they sniffed, the women's brains responded very differently. Only the sexual sweat activated the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right fusiform cortex, which are areas of the brain that help us recognize emotions and perceive things, respectively. Both regions are in the right hemisphere, which is generally involved in smell, social response and emotion, explains LiveScience.com.
The takeaway: The study reinforces the idea that we humans do communicate with each other via subconscious chemical signals. That means your sexual signals could be far more clear than you ever realized--or intended.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
--From the Editors at Netscape