Your Boyfriend’s Smell Can Help Lower Your Stress, According to Research

Many girls like to take clothes from their boyfriend and enjoy the smell. Well, if you’re not a fan of wearing your man’s T-shirt, then you can just sniff it. And your actions won’t seem strange since the smell of your partner is an excellent anti-stress tool. Yes, the ability to feel less stressed was always right at your fingertips.

We at Bright Side are in a hurry to share with you the unexpected and interesting results of this study. And after reading this you can take your boyfriend’s favorite sweatshirt without any doubts. You will even be able to justify it with science.

Conducting an experiment

The study involved 96 women who sniffed shirts. The men were given them in advance and asked to wear them for 24 hours without using deodorants, perfumes, or any other products that had a smell. They were also asked to not eat anything that could change their smell and to not smoke.

There were 3 types of shirts: one worn by her partner, one worn by another person, and a neutral, unworn shirt. And each woman was blindly given and sniffed only one of them. Then they went through a test that increased their stress. Namely, a mock job interview and a mental task. They also gave saliva samples to measure the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) in their bodies and they were asked questions about how stressed they felt.

Recognition led to better results.

As a result, it turned out that the women who sniffed their partner’s shirt experienced less stress both before and after the test, than those who sniffed a stranger’s shirt. Interestingly, despite the increased cortisol in those who got the stranger’s shirt, the women themselves didn’t say that they felt stressed.

At the same time, those who recognized their partner’s smell were even less stressed. This gave researchers a reason to think that the effect from the smell of your boyfriend, even in his absence, will be stronger if you know that the clothes or things belong to him.

Possible reasons

This may happen due to an evolutionary process. People used to be afraid of strangers, especially males. And a stranger’s smell may cause the level of cortisol to become higher and a “fight-or-flight” reaction, even if we aren’t aware of it.

Does it work both ways?

It’s assumed that women have a better smell and are more affected by odors. And at the moment, no studies have been conducted on whether the smell of a girlfriend can calm a guy down. But there is a reason to think this could be true. Yes, you will probably never see a guy wearing a top or pullover that belongs to his girlfriend. However, many men like to sniff their girls’ hair and sleep on their half of the bed when they are away.

Do you like to sniff the clothes of your partner? Had you ever felt more calm or peaceful after smelling your partner? Describe your experience and thoughts about your partner’s smell in the comments.

Please note: This article was updated in March 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


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