Having an impaired sense of smell can cause trouble when maintaining a relationship because it can cause people to be insecure, according to a new study by European scientists.
“It may well be that we are exchanging much more information through body odors than we are aware of,” study co-author Thomas Hummel, from the University of Dresden in Germany, said in an interview with Livescience.com.
He added people are “governed by our noses in some ways.”
Researchers analyzed data from the people suffering from anosmia, the inability to smell, and found that both being smell-challenged spells trouble for both men and women.
Men with olfactory disabilities had far fewer sexual partners than men with normal sense of smells, by nine to three. Women suffering from same problems were reported to be more insecure in their relationships than their healthy-nosed counterparts.
Although the link between sense of smell and love life is unclear, it may be because people who cannot smell have missed emotional signals from their partners, according to lead author Ilona Croy, a psychologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Croy suspected anosmiac men may be missing social signals emitted by women, making them less confident in seeking potential new partners. For anosmiac women, such a lack of confidence can lead to insecure relationships.
Researchers added that a person with anosmia would constantly wonder whether he or she smelled, making the person more insecure in life and in relationships.
The findings were published Nov. 22 in the journal Biological Psychology.