From health to compatibility, our scent can tell us a lot about us. A new study suggests that women can tell if a man is single or in a relationship by his body odour. This is due to higher testosterone levels in bachelors than in men with partners. Previous studies have shown that men have lower testosterone levels when they are in a committed relationship. However, single men have higher levels of testosterone, which has been shown to affect the intensity of body odour.
Both of these can be identified by the female by smell. “When people judge a mate's suitability, they don't rely solely on visual cues, they use their sense of smell to draw conclusions. In particular, a potential mate's body odour (BO) is evaluated by our sense of smell, and BO data can of course inform the physical health and genetic compatibility with a potential mate, and the role and preference of BO in mate attractiveness.” situation.
To conduct the study, the researchers asked 91 men (half single and half in a relationship) to wear plain white T-shirts and exercise moderately enough to allow sweat to spread throughout the shirt. Afterward, clothes were brought to 82 heterosexual women, and each of them was asked to smell six shirts and compare the smell to a picture of a man wearing an overcoat. "According to our hypothesis, BO in single men was rated as a stronger odour than BO in partnered men," the study adds. "We also found that the faces of single men were rated as more masculine than men with partners, but only among women with partners."
While the study results supported the hypothesis, they also revealed other findings. Women were able to guess the scent of a man who is currently single, but did not state that the scent of a single man was more attractive than the scent of a man with a partner. Also, when shown pictures of all male candidates, women were more attracted to the faces of men in relationships who were described as more faithful and trustworthy than their single counterparts.