• Germany's news in English

'Cuddle hormone' could keep men faithful

The Local · 15 Nov 2012, 14:18

Published: 15 Nov 2012 14:18 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Rather than making men look out for a new woman, the hormone oxytocin, known for its importance in bonding between romantic partners, seemed to steer those already in a relationship away from a potential rival, the researchers found.

But not all men reacted the same way. "For the singles, there was no significant effect," Dirk Scheele from the University of Bonn's Department of Psychiatry, told The Local.

The study conducted by scientists from the University of Bonn, Ruhr University, and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, was published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience.

To put the powers of oxytocin to the test, the scientists turned to a good-looking woman for help. She may not have been a "top model," Scheele said, but the men in the study rated her attractiveness level above 60 on a scale of 100.

A group of single guys and men in monogamous relationships were given a nasal spray of oxytocin and then put face-to-face with the foxy female, whom none of them had met before.

The study found that those men in relationships kept a "much greater distance" of about 10 to 15 centimetres from the woman than their single counterparts - much to the scientists' surprise.

"We were expecting that oxytocin - because it enhances trust and curbs social anxiety - would make for less distance," Scheele said.

The result was similar in a second experiment, which confronted the men with photographs of attractive women. Unlike the singles, the men in monogamous relationships approached those images more slowly.

Still, women hoping that drug companies will start marketing a cure for the male wandering eye are in for disappointment: Scheele told The Local that although oxytocin was a promising substance from a psychiatric standpoint, the idea of a "monogamy spray" made little sense.

Story continues below…

Indeed, there are other ways that women can stimulate oxytocin in their male partners; Scheele said massages and positive conversations have also been shown to boost the body's own stores of the hormone.

The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:02 November 15, 2012 by Omufu
I assume they used a control group? i.e. singles and guys with partners who haven't been sprayed. Is there a difference between non-sprayed people? Would be helpful to mention that in the article.
16:46 November 15, 2012 by grinners
Hahaha. I bet the antidote is a few beers
17:20 November 15, 2012 by frankiep
A more conclusive study might suggest that women nagging less and putting out more is the best prevention.

Seriously though, I love how when men cheat it is their fault, and when women cheat....it is also their fault.
20:06 November 15, 2012 by Staticjumper
@Omufu, my thoughts exactly. When I was single guy and saw an attractive woman I'd think, "yeah, I'd hit that". Now as a married man I think about all of the other factors that go into a relationship.
10:40 November 16, 2012 by raandy
What about those cheating home diva's ?
15:38 November 16, 2012 by tadchem
Oxytocin affects women in many ways, inducing lactation, labor, erotic excitation, and reducing inflammation. I believe in a transdermal patch it could stimulate interest and fidelity.
18:15 November 17, 2012 by Martin Doyle
I would prefer the massages and positive conversations rather than having to take any hormone pill.
13:18 November 18, 2012 by roundabout321
How sexist is society? Does a specifically negative word for a man having an affair even exist?
Today's headlines
Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd