Women who have always wanted their husband or boyfriend to show his caring side more often, have had their prayers answered as scientists have come up with a spray that makes men more affectionate and in tune with the feeling of others.
German researchers have found a substance many women said they have always wanted: a spray to make men more emotionally sensitive. They claim just a puff or two of the ‘cuddle chemical’ will make even the most masculine of men as sensitive as a woman.
The spray has been based on oxytocin, a hormone naturally produced in the body and related to sex, sexual attraction, trust and confidence.
Its release during labour triggers the production of breast milk, and by flooding the brain during breastfeeding, it helps mother and baby bond.
The chemical in its spray form makes a man as empathetic as a woman.
For the study, Cambridge and German scientists gave nasal sprays containing oxytocin to 24 healthy men, while 24 others were given placebos.
Afterwards, they were shown heart-wrenching photographs of a little girl in floods of tears, a child embracing a cat and a man in mourning, and asked to describe the level of empathy they felt with those in the photographs.
Dr. Rene Hurlemann of the Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn showed the group that received the oxytocin spray, showed significantly higher emotional empathy levels than those who received placebos.
A mammalian hormone, oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment and reduces anxiety, and is best know for its roles in female reproduction, released in large amounts during labour and breastfeeding, helping mothers to bond with their offspring.
It has also been reported to help alleviate some autistic symptoms by encouraging sufferers to initiate social encounters, reaching the ‘levels of sensitivity usually found in females’, he said.
The finding raises the tantalising possibility of women using oxytocin sprays to help chauvinistic boyfriends and husbands get in touch with their feminine side, happy to watch chick lit and critique outfits during shopping trips.
On the other hand, while the effects of the spray last men may no longer be relied on to put up shelves, remove spiders and change fuses.
However, researchers believe the hormone will prove invaluable in treating autism, schizophrenia and other conditions characterised by emotional difficulties, and frequently associated with reduced social approachability and social withdrawal.
Oxytocin sprays are available on the internet, though experts question whether all brands are equally effective.
In addition, the use of oxytocin in hospitals for inducing labour means pregnant women should refrain from using the sprays.