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Study Finds Women's Tears Dampen Men's Sex Drive

A new study in Israel finds that a woman's tears have a physical and psychological effect on men. The scientists involved in the study say they were surprised that tears lower a man's sex drive. Some women here in Washington are surprised with the findings, too.

A woman's tears not only invoke romance in Hollywood, Mamie Parker says she's experienced first hand what her tears can do to a man. "If I cry they just seem to be more affectionate or touchy-feely and in some cases more sexy," she said.

But a recent study found just the opposite is true when a man is close enough to smell a woman's tears.

"The most surprising part is that it reduces sexual arousal, might be intuitive but this really surprised us," said researcher Idan Frumin at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He said he and his collegues found that after men sniff women's tears their testosterone level drops 10 to 15 percent. "We use some kind of chemical communication, probably through our noses," he said.

Researcher Yaara Yeshurun is one of six women who donated her tears for this study by watching Terms of Endearment and other sad movies. She says the effect of women's tears on men could be another way to lower testosterone as a treatment for prostate cancer. "This is a very non-invasive way of doing it," she said.

Weizmann Institute scientists say they would also like to study how the chemicals in the tears of children and men may affect others.

From former U.S. President George H.W. Bush to the new Speaker of the House John Boehner, many people say men's tears may have a very different effect on women.

"A woman sees a man cry, she probably will like him more," said Jeff Toliver.

"I find them sweeter. because I feel like I'm finally seeing a softer side of them," said Anna Liang.

"When we get together and know that emotion is there, it makes it more special," said Saundra McClary.

These women say the tears are special enough to give their men plenty of sex appeal.