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Why disliking a partner’s smell can end a relationship

Vaseline 1 month ago

Scent provides familiarity and comfort, except when it doesn’t.

Source: Vera Arsic / Pexels

Love at first sight… or should that be love at first sight?

Previous studies have shown that scent is important to people when choosing a mate. Body odor plays a major role in attraction, especially for women. If she doesn’t like the way you smell, you might be out of luck.

But can scent also contribute to the end of romance? Research says this is possible.

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Smells of dedication

Psychologists from the University of Sydney and Macquarie University in Australia recruited 80 students, 41 women and 39 men, for a study on the link between scent and relationship commitment. Seventy-two of the participants identified as straight, four as gay or lesbian, and four as bisexual.

The researchers tested the students on their sense of smell – in other words, how skilled they were at detecting, distinguishing and identifying odors – assessed them on their reactions to smelling clothes soaked in strangers’ sweat, and questioned them on their current or, if they were single, most recent romantic relationships. Not only were participants asked about the length of their relationships, whether they lived with their partners, and their level of relationship satisfaction, but they were also asked about their reactions to their partners’ body odor and how often they deliberately indulged in comfort scents. smell’ did. sniffing clothing or bedding to smell their partner’s scent.

The study found that the more participants liked their partner’s body odor in general, the more committed they were to their relationships. The researchers also noticed that after smelling an unpleasant odor from their partner, participants were more likely to report wanting to break up.

These results suggest that regardless of relationship length, sexual activity, and other factors, greater exposure to and enjoyment of a partner’s scent predicts a stronger desire to stay in the relationship. Interestingly, although scent has been shown to be more important to women than men when choosing a mate, gender made no difference in these results.

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Why do we care what our partner smells like?

Body odor can encourage or discourage physical intimacy, and olfactory sensitivity has even been linked to greater pleasure during sex in all genders and more frequent orgasms in women. Sexual satisfaction is strongly associated with relationship commitment, so if disliking a partner’s body odor results in less enjoyable and less frequent sex, it increases the likelihood of a breakup.

In addition to sex, appreciating a partner’s scent can help maintain a relationship by providing familiarity and comfort. We know that smell is closely linked to memory, and the smell of a partner can be a reminder of all the wonderful experiences we have had with him or her.

From an evolutionary perspective, we may be primed to respond to smell because of its role as an indicator of physical health. Evolutionary pressures have conditioned us to prefer physically healthy partners who are more likely to produce healthy offspring and who can help raise them. Since poor diet and illness can cause bad odors, kicking bad body odor can keep us from choosing an unhealthy partner.

Ultimately, disliking a partner’s scent can signal a loss of compatibility and cause problems in the relationship. This information could be used to improve relationship therapy by emphasizing interventions that specifically target scent, such as treating health conditions that affect body odor or selecting perfumes or colognes that improve scent.

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Facebook image: Dikushin Dmitry/Shutterstock