The Nose Knows: Women Can Sniff Out STIs

Forget cheetahs and leopards. Latest spring trend?  Gonorrhea print.

Forget cheetah and leopard prints.

“Yeah, last night, actually, but I don’t think I’m going to see him again.”

“Why?! You were just talking about how nice he is and how amazing his arms are.”

“I know, they’re super nice! But I don’t know, though, something about him just didn’t seem right.”

You’ve been in that situation before. You know – when you meet a guy who seems to totally be your type and looks great on paper… but there’s just something that doesn’t seem to be clicking, and it’s almost impossible to define what that something is with words.

There are a number of reasons potential relationships flop before they flame  — good arms aside, good chemistry is hard to come by– but sometimes the answer isn’t that complex. In fact, sometimes our senses pick up things that our brains (or hearts) don’t.

80% of our sense of taste is in our nose, which apparently includes our taste in men.

Case in point: researchers in Russia now think women can actually smell gonorrhea on men, similar to the way our noses subtly pick up on pheromones in general. Not that you can take a quick whiff of a dude, analyze his olfactory info and say “Aha! The clap!” or that gonorrhea has a smell distinctive from other bacterial infections. It has more to do with changes in the overall chemical makeup of sweat when the male body is infected with gonorrhea.

The Russians decided to study the links between sexual attraction and smell, and threw in a monkey wrench for kicks. The study, which had women rate the “pleasantness” of armpit sweat on a scale from 1-10, used 34 male research subjects, a mixture of whom: a. never had gonorrhea; b. currently did; and c. past infected. Even though gonorrhea can be an STI without symptoms, the poor fellas experiencing unpleasant heat south of the border were consistently rated lower on the scent scale than those subjects who were healthy. Weird science indeed.

As it so happens, female savviness extends beyond the tip of their noses. A research study conducted at the University of Western, Australia analyzed how accurate the sexes could be at picking cheaters out of a crowd… of photographs.

The people in the photos had been previously asked about their cheating habits, but no contact was made between the two groups.

Participants had no access to body language, mannerisms, smell, or speech patterns. All they were given was the moment and look of the person captured in a picture.

Each sex was asked to rate certain traits, like trustworthiness and faithfulness, in the faces of the opposite sex. 62% of the time female participants accurately spotted the cheaters. And while those statistics aren’t good enough odds to validate ruling out every guy at the bar you might be slightly suspicious of, male participants could only accurately determine women’s cheating habits based off their photos 23% of the time. Big difference.

Based on the above results, it’s easy to conclude that males are much less adapt at picking up female cheats. But take into mind that biological imperatives suggest that traits like fidelity and monogamy are not the top traits men look for in women. Men feel compelled to spread their seed and continue their bloodline. So maybe their noses are better equipped to sniff out fertile women?

Meanwhile, for women looking to raise families, it’s more important for women to toss out the bad apples.

Could this mean that the female sex is biologically wired for monogamy? Maybe, maybe not. Their are many who argue that our lineage never evolved to be strictly monogamous.

What we do know is that our bodies are speaking to us all the time. We need to learn to honor our instincts more, biological or otherwise.

+ Leave a Reply