Women may be better at sniffing out biologically relevant information from underarm sweat, a US study suggests.
Researchers found it was difficult to mask underarm odour when a woman was doing the smelling, but quite easy to do so when it was a man.
— From Women pick up body odour better at BBC News.
I’ve always wondered if women were (generally) more aware of odors, not just body odors: something burning, gas leaks, a chemical in the atmosphere. A gas-company representative once told me that the vast majority of gas leaks are reported by women rather than men. Obviously, there may be other factors involved; maybe it’s just that women are (even now) home more than men and report more residential gas leaks. It would be nice to have more than anecdotal evidence, though.
Despite the fact that I’m sure I’ve posted news snippets on this subject in the past, I don’t know if women are supposed to be generally better at detecting odors than men…hope someone else will chime in.
I just read the entire article — very interesting (site visitors, go and read it if you’re not rushed, it’s pretty short).
Briefly, the study was focused on sweat and whether a “blocking scent” masked the sweaty odor. To about half the men tested, it did, and to about 80% of the women tested, it didn’t. The researchers are concluding that women get DNA information from male sweat, probably for the reason of determining mate suitability.
For the record, my husband smells pretty great to me, scented or not (unless he’s been anywhere near burnt hydraulic fluid, my #1 Nasty Farm Smell). But he’ll frequently hold out a used shirt to me and ask if he could wear it again, because he can’t tell whether it smells sweaty or not. And I mention that in order to tell this story:
Years ago, when my father-in-law was attending the tiny local one-room school, he had an older classmate who rarely washed. The teacher, an unmarried woman in her 40’s, sent home a note to the boy’s parents, which stated that Billy’s body odor was offensive and requested that he bathe before coming to school. The next day, Billy’s mother stormed into the schoolhouse and proceeded to chew out the teacher, ending with this declamation: “Billy smells just like his pa. And you just a old maid schoolteacher who don’t know what a man smells like!”
LOL — great story, thanks for posting!
I am glad to know that it is not only my husband who asks me to sniff shirts to determine re-wearability.
Then there are the times when he digs a jersey out of his closet, goes to put it on and I have to drag it out of his hands declaring “NO! not that one! Smelly!”. I have to admit that there have been a few occasions in the last 24 years where I have asked him (in all sincerity) if his nose is, indeed, dead.
Oh, so that’s why the women in my office give me funny looks.
LOL…yeah, that’s it!
Interesting that this article came out right now. Last night we happened across a show on PBS that dealt with this very same sort of study—I did not catch the scientists name but she was British (I believe) anyhow, another thing they discovered was that women found male perspiration (on t-shirts worn during exercise then sealed in containers which the women would open, sniff then answer questionaires) less offensive, even ‘good’ smelling during the time of their menstrual cycle when they were most fertile ….they had other interesting findings but my hubby kept turning the station back to basketball.
Interesting, I missed that!
yeah, well…it would have been even more interesting if I had gotten to see more than just a bit here and there. I realized after I posted that it wasn’t last night it was Saturday night —DH did his undergrad at Michigan State so the basketball tournament was close to his heart. And truthfully, I could have watched the sciencey show on a different TV , but he needed emotional support during the games.
The idea was that women are biologically programmed to find men more attractive when we’re fertile…also, women found the sweat smells of males with very similar genetics to be very UNAPPEALING (ie. relative males) –biology keeping the gene pool varied! When fertile women exude more pheromones that make males find them more attractive…but not just the fertile female but all the females in the vicinity… interesting stuff. If I ever am able to find the info for the show, I’ll let you know. We’re suckers for all that science and discovery channel stuff.