Science is at it again, with a new study featuring our favorite hormone (is it weird we have a favorite?)… oxytocin. Oxytocin has been nicknamed everything from the “cuddle hormone” to the “trust hormone”—it’s a brain chemical released during everything from a hug to a roll in the hay that bolds bonds and makes people feel closer to each other.
And it seems it might be responsible for keeping eyes (and hands) from wandering too. A study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that when men in relationships were given a nasal spray of oxytocin, they were more likely to keep their distance from attractive strangers.
The study was a small one, so feel free to take the results with a grain of salt—researchers gave 86 heterosexual men either a placebo nasal spray or an oxytocin nasal spray. Soon after, researchers had an attractive experimenter come up to the man, and each man was asked to report on when their distance from the woman was either an ideal distance or made them feel slightly uncomfortable.
Single men and those who got placebos preferred a distance of 20-24 inches, while coupled men who were given oxytocin preferred to keep a distance of 28-30 inches, even if they hadn’t made eye contact with the woman. Seems the so-called trust hormone is choosy—men already bonded to a partner won’t go off and trust a stranger all willy-nilly after a hit of oxytocin.
Of course, oxytocin nasal spray is yet to be available in bulk at Costco, so you can’t try this study at home on your boyfriend/husband/cute neighbor you have a thing for. Guess we’ll have to stick to good old fashioned cuddling in the meantime.