MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2011 (STAR) DE RERUM NATURA By Maria Isabel Garcia - Ladies, if you are looking for a way to tame the overexcited men in your life, science thinks it just found a solution. It is not from a pharmaceutical company but from you. Yes, from women, specifically, crying women.

The study came out in the journal Science last Jan. 6 and is entitled “Human Tears Contain a Chemosignal” done by Shani Gelstein, Yaara Yeshurun, Liron Rozenkrantz, Sagit Shushan, Idan Frumin, Yehudah Roth and Noam Sobel.

What the researchers did was to have women who easily cry, watch very cathartic films like “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Tears of Endearment.” This would make this kind of tears “emotional tears” and not the ones simply caused by eye irritation. Then, they collected those tears and daubed those tears on a pad and placed the pads on the upper lip of 50 male volunteers where the men can sniff them. As a control, they also subjected the men to smears of saline solutions.

The results sort of led “downhill.” The men who smelled the emotional tears not only reported themselves less sexually aroused when shown images of women but actual tests on their testosterone levels showed that these have decreased. Also, their MRI showed that the brain parts that report fireworks during sexual arousal experienced a dimming of those lights when the men smelled the tears. Apparently ladies, a very effective way to say “Down boy” is to cry your heart out.

It is scientifically known that crying releases chemicals within your body that calms you, sort of an emotional car wash when you need it. The last thing you probably need when in that state is to force it to another emotional upheaval right away such as what normally accompanies sex.

I think this makes a lot of sense to have our bodies come out with signals that are non-verbal but chemical. There should really be a more fundamental way to express the state of your mind/body if you are, for one reason or another, unable to verbally say “no.” Just like scientists have found chemicals in many animals known as pheromones to signal sexual intent or readiness, it does make sense to have chemicals to signal the opposite. But just to be clear, pheromones (the exact protein that sends sexual signals) have not yet been identified in humans so please do not be fooled by those claiming to sell potions claiming to contain human pheromones. While previous researches have revealed that smelling sweat or armpits does have an effect on sexual attractiveness, they have NOT been able to identify which component of sweat or armpit odor exactly holds cupid’s bow and arrow. Selling sweat and armpit stains per se, I think, would be the ultimate measure of marketing oomph, not to mention an indication of a buying public with a serious science-deficit. And as for this teary antidote to Viagra, scientists are still at work isolating the culprit compound.

I also think this work could be made to bear on something more serious — one that has probably gone awry in men who force their sexual desires on women. Aside from moral violations, these men, willingly or not, ignore these chemical signals coming from women who shed tears from mixed feelings of repulsion, violation and physical pain. This experiment on tears showed that rape need not only be proven when a woman clearly screams “no” but also perhaps when she cries which also signals the same message.

On the lighter, everyday drama between the sexes, I can now think of dates where couples watch an emotional movie that could make the women cry (am not saying a man could not cry over a movie but this study is not about crying men). Gentlemen, if your dates go as the experiments did, as you unconsciously smell her tears, you will feel a sudden draining of your sexual thermometer. I do not know what could overcome that and cause instead the kind that “bursts thermometers!” as Anaïs Nin wrote. That is something way beyond my scope as a science writer but I think your best bet would be to ask Dr. Margie Holmes or Dr. Agnes Bueno. When you do and they give you an answer, do let us know. All of course, in the name of science. Meanwhile, does anyone have a strong and quick antidote to all the spam emails offering me Viagra at prices they say I would be a fool to refuse?

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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