Women May Literally be Able to Sniff Out Men with STDs

December 13, 2011  |  

Some women pride themselves on being able to sniff out a liar in two seconds flat, but can they also sniff out a man who’s infected with a sexually transmitted disease?

Scientists say it’s possible. A small study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women sniffing a potential partner’s scent could tell whether a guy had a sexually transmitted disease, as evidenced by the “putrid” smell the ladies reported when they came across men infected with gonorrhea.

“Our research revealed that infection disease reduces odor attractiveness in humans …” Mikhail Moshkin, lead author of the study and a professor at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia, wrote.

Researchers obtained sweat samples from 13 men with gonorrhea, 16 who were healthy, and five who had the disease but were successfully treated by dressing them in tight-fitting T-shirts with cotton pads sewn into the armpits.

When 18 women smelled the samples, they said nearly 50% of the infected men’s sweat smelled “putrid.” They also said 30% of the sweat from healthy men, and less than 40% of sweat from treated men smelled putrid, but the unpleasant scent was significantly higher for the gonorrhea group.

The researchers concluded that “unpleasant body odor of infected persons can reduce the probability of a dangerous partnership,” but with those stats, ladies are much better off asking about sexual history and demanding test results. I can already see the “I just came from the gym” excuse winning over women 99% of the time—and how would you really know the difference?

What do you think about the idea of sniffing out a partner with an STD?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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