Russian scientists say that sniffing a potential partner’s scent could tell if Mr. Right has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Russian researchers found that gonorrhea-infected men smelt “putrid” to women, reports MSNBC.com.
“Our research revealed that infection disease reduces odor attractiveness in humans,” wrote Mikhail Moshkin, a professor at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Russia, and the lead author of research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The off-putting scent may be subtle, more a chemical warning than a stench of body odor, but it does have some effect, according to the experiment conducted by Mikhail Moshkin and his colleagues.
The scientists had already observed that certain animals, such as mice and rats, were not as attracted to the scents of those that were infected with disease, reports MSNBC.com.
They investigated if humans would also be turned off by the scent of an infected person, particularly one with an STD.
The researchers took samples of armpit sweat and spit from 34 Russian men aged between 17 and 25.
The group included 13 young men with gonorrhea, 16 who were healthy and five who had had the disease but were successfully treated.
Then 18 female students aged 17 to 20 were asked to sniff the samples.
They obtained sweat samples by dressing the men in tight-fitting T-shirts with cotton pads sewn into the armpits.
After an hour of sweating, men bagged their shirts and the pads were placed in glass vials for the women to sniff.
The women ranked the infected men less than half as high as healthy or recovered guys on a “pleasantness score” that assessed scent.
And when they were asked to describe the scent, the women said that nearly 50% of the infected men’s sweat smelt “putrid”.
The researchers said the study indicates that humans, like other animals, might use scent to sniff out appropriate mates.
“We can conclude that unpleasant body odor of infected persons can reduce the probability of a dangerous partnership,” the scientists say in the MSNBC.com report.