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.
Analyzing 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 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 odor 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% 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 recognized 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% of men and 52% of women have slept in the clothing of a partner because of the aroma.
“The sense of smell provides social information about others,” according to researchers from the University of Dresden.
“Its absence is related with reduced social security in men and women, and affects partnerships.
“Men exhibit much less explorative sexual behavior 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 behavior.”
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.