Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical Editor

So what do you think happens to a guy when a woman’s tear ducts go into overdrive?

Time for some sympathy?  Support?  How about a big hug?

How about “You’re turning me off.”  At least that’s according to a new study in the Journal Science.

Researchers analyzed testosterone levels in men after they were “exposed” to either a woman’s tears or an artificial salt water solution. The real tears were collected after women in the study watched a sad love story (a/k/a  “chick flick” in guy-speak.)

The salt water, or fake stuff, produced no change in the men’s testosterone levels or for that matter, their feelings of desire. Real tears, on the other hand, caused testosterone levels to drop like a rock. It also caused some brain changes.

The men were shown “erotic pictures” after sniffing the real tears — all while undergoing an MRI of the noggin. The result: the area of the brain that lights up with desire … went dark.

Researchers say real tears from real crying contain chemicals that are subtly detected by men (you may have heard the word “pheromones”) and cause hormone changes in men to take place.

The salt water doesn’t contain these chemicals, and for that matter, neither do tears produced by non- emotional triggers, such as cutting onions or getting dust in the eyes.

The true blue tears are thought to be an evolutionary “leave me alone” or “I’ve got a headache” — at least according to the researchers.

In the world of science, it’s an interesting study since it shows the presence of active chemicals which affect the opposite sex — so it’s not all a visual thing.  More research will probably show a lot of other chemicals we didn’t know about.

In the real world, though, a woman’s tears should be an obvious sign for men to turn off the jets — guys, you sure don’t need chemicals to tell you that. And giving a hug would probably be a good idea, too.

Related Link: ScienceMag.org


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