Do single men smell and look different to partnered men?

Mehmet K. Mahmut*, Richard J. Stevenson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    74 Downloads (Pure)


    Previous research indicates human body odor (BO) can signal kinship, sickness and genetic compatibility. Based on research indicating single males have higher testosterone levels than partnered males and that higher testosterone levels are associated with stronger smelling BO, the current study aimed to determine if, by extension of previous findings, single males' BO smells stronger than partnered males' BO. Eighty-two heterosexual women aged 18-35 years rated the BO and faces of six different males also aged 18-35 years. Consistent with the hypothesis, single men's BO smelled stronger than partnered men's BO and single men's faces were rated as more masculine than partnered men's faces. The possible advantages of females being able to identify single males are addressed in the Discussion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number261
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Issue numberFEB
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • mate preferences
    • mate attraction
    • masculinity
    • body odor
    • face attractiveness


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