Still need a reason to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections? While some men carrying STDs may think that they can keep symptoms under control in order to woo new partners, a study from Russia finds that women may be able to detect the scent of one common infection, gonorrhea, simply by smelling their potential partner.
A group of 34 Russian men between the ages of 17 and 25 donated samples of their armpit sweat for the study. The majority of the men were healthy, but 13 had gonorrhea and five had contracted the disease but been successfully treated. After collecting the samples, 18 women between the ages of 17 to 20 smelled the sweat samples.
You may be wondering how one goes about collecting armpit sweat samples. Researchers dressed the men in tight-fitting t-shirts that had cotton pads sewn into the armpits. After a few hours spent sweating away, the cotton pads were collected to continue the research.
After the women smelled the armpit sweat, researchers found that on average, the women found the infected men to smell worse than the healthy men. Based on a rating system, the participants declared half of the men with gonorrhea to smell “putrid.” While some healthy or treated men received the same scoring, the rates of those with gonorrhea that had been untreated received a markedly lower rating, according to the news source.
“We can conclude that unpleasant body odor of infected persons can reduce the probability of a dangerous partnership,” the scientists wrote, according to MSNBC.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea each year in the U.S. Men who wear condoms can protect themselves from the illness – and may even make their body odor more attractive to female partners.