A hormone that keeps guys faithful?

A hormone that keeps guys faithful?

By asandil Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 07:30
The hormone oxytocin could cause guys in a steady relationship to keep their distance from attractive women. Oxytocin has a got a reputation for being a ‘love potion’. But that doesn’t means it turns guys into a Casanova.

In fact it makes them more likely to resist temptation and stay faithful to their partner, a new study found.

You’re in a bar and a cute girl catches your eye. You work up the nerve to talk to her and walk towards her. But how close do you get without invading her or your personal space? That’s just what the researchers of a recent That’s just what the researchers of a recent German study wanted to find out, only with a twist.

Committed guys keep their distance 

In the study, 57 guys who were either single or in a committed relationship were given a dose of the hormone oxytocin before going up to or being approached by a hot woman researcher. Since oxytocin is known for being involved in sex and love, researchers thought these men would get right up into the space of the woman they were flirting with, compared to men who weren’t given the hormone.

Instead, the men who were in a committed relationship kept their distance from the hot researcher – they stayed a full 10-15 centimetres farther from her than single men did.

Oxytocin has got a lot of play in the media for being a ‘love potion’ and Love Matters reported on how it revved up one man's sex drive and it’s possible role as a love drug. But that doesn’t mean it’s just like a sort of aphrodisiac. This study was the first to show that it may have a powerful role in keeping men faithful to the woman they love.

Real-life oxytocin boosters

The men in the study were given a nasal spray containing oxytocin 45 minutes before the experiment. But what boosts oxytocin levels in real life and how can that affect how faithful a man is?

The simple physical presence and touch of his partner in a healthy relationship might be enough to increase oxytocin and it’s faithfulness effects, according to the study’s researchers. And of course there’s sex, since oxytocin levels also shoot up during intercourse for both men and women.

Up close and personal

But what about when a couple first meets? How close a guy and girl are comfortable standing when they flirt depends on a number of factors. If the girl makes the first move and goes up to a guy, and if she makes eye contact with him, chances are he’ll feel the need to keep a greater distance from her, the study found.

Personal space is considered to be the physical distance between two people, whether it’s a guy and a girl flirting for the first time, a mother and her child, or two friends. A small and intimate space is common and comfortable for lovers. But when it comes to flirting and other interactions, it’s a fine line, since an unfamiliar person can easily get too close for comfort.

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