Strong sense of smell is the key to a happy and lasting relationship, scientists say Men without sense of smell have far fewer relationshipsWomen who can't smell lack confidence in their partnersOdour more important than looks for women
10:55 GMT, 2 December 2012
Research has found men with no sense of smell have far fewer partners than those with, while women are said to place more importance on odour than looks when it comes to finding a soulmate
It is said love is blind, but it seems the key to finding 'the one' lies not in the eyes but in your nostrils.
New research suggests the way to a happy long-term union could be a good sense of smell, after a study looked for the first time at the importance of a healthy nose on our relationships.
Analysing men and women born without a sense of smell, the journal, Biological Psychology, compared data on people aged between 18 and 46 with and without the ability to smell.
The results showed men and women unable to smell were more insecure, with men particularly affected when it comes to finding love.
Men with a malfunctioning sense of smell averaged just two partners compared to 10 with those with fully functioning nostrils.
Scientists believe this is because men with with a poor sense of smell become less adventurous and have problems assessing and communicating with the opposite sex.
It is thought this could be down to concerns about their body odour and how they are perceived by others.
Women in both categories had on average the same number of partners – four – but those who couldn't smell lacked confidence in their partners and were on average 20 per cent less secure than females who could.
Significantly, a woman's lack of smell had no impact on her friendships, suggesting smell is only key for females when it comes to relationships.
Smelling, or olfaction, is generally the least understood of the senses but it is increasingly recognised as having an important role in a large number of areas.
According to the Independent on Sunday, one study says women are more concerned about the way a potential date smells than looks, while another report found 13 per cent of men and 52 per cent of women have slept in the clothing of a partner because of the aroma.
Al Pacino in the film Scent of a Woman, where he played Colonel Frank Slade, who was blind but could tell a woman's name from the smell of her perfume
'The sense of smell provides social information about others,' according to researchers from the University of Dresden.
'Its abscence is related with reduced social security in men and women, and affects partnerships.
'Men exhibit much less explorative sexual behaviour and women are affected in a way that they feel less secure about their partner. Our results show the importance of the sense of smell for social behaviour.'
Smell has long been portrayed as a trigger for arousal in men in a number of films, including Al Pacino's Scent of a Woman, where lead character Colonel Frank Slade can name or describe the appearance of women by their perfume alone.