Researchers claim they have identified a hormone that keeps committed men from straying
According to a recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, a ‘fidelty hormone’ might have been identified. According to researchers, the direct administering of a particular hormone can ensure that men in committed relationships remain faithful to their respective partners.
The hormone in question is oxytocin, which is produced in the hypothalamus of the brain. It is known to play a vital role in triggering childbirth and facilitating nursing, apart from promoting bonding between parents and children, and between couples. It also increases trust among people. However, its role in maintaining stable sexual relationships, up until this study, hadn’t yet been ascertained.
The study, which was led by René Hurlemann of University of Bonn, found that men in committed relationships who were given oxytocin kept a greater distance when approaching or being approached by an unknown woman they found attractive compared with those given a placebo. In contrast, oxytocin had no effect on single men.
A total of 86 heterosexual men, around half of whom were single, participated in the study. Either an oxytocin or placebo nasal spray was administered to them. After 45 minutes, an attractive woman was made to walk towards them. The men themselves were instructed to walk towards the woman and say when they felt their ‘ideal distance’ was met, and at what point it made them feel ‘slightly uncomfortable’.
Those men who were in committed relationships and had received oxytocin were found to keep the largest distance. They preferred to stay 28–30 inches away from the woman, compared with the 20–24 inches preferred by those in committed relationships who had received placebos. Even single men who had received oxytocin maintained a 20-24 inches distance. The men in relationships stayed farther away from the woman than the single men, regardless of whether the woman averted her gaze or looked directly at them.
Among other findings, it also showed that oxytocin had no affect on the distance men kept from another man.