Can a Married Man Resist a Beautiful Woman?

Via Dr. John Douillard
on Nov 19, 2012
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A new study published in Journal of Neuroscience measured the effects of the hormone oxytocin on men who were approached by an attractive woman.

Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone. At birth, this hormone is released by the mother and it literally bonds the parents and child for life.

Oxytocin is increased during acts of appreciation, generosity, service, touch, hugging, massage, gratitude, and emotional connections with others.

Oxytocin is sometimes called the “Hugging Hormone” or “Trust Hormone,” because it naturally increases during physical touch, hugging or cuddling. Interestingly, research has shown that while oxytocin levels will rise sharply during an orgasm, they also fall very quickly. Hugging will also raise oxytocin levels sharply, but the levels will stay up for hours after a good hug.

In this study conducted by Dr. Rene Hurlemann at the University of Bonn, a group of men inhaled an oxytocin nasal spray. Some men were single and others in a committed relationship. Forty-five minutes later they were approached by a beautiful woman.

As the women moved closer and closer, the men were asked, at what point the space between themselves and the woman was “ideal,” and when the space between them became “slightly uncomfortable.”

Interestingly, the single men who got the oxytocin allowed the women to come closer and actually moved toward the women. But the men in committed relationships who got the oxytocin kept their distance and did not feel comfortable letting the women come close.

The researchers concluded that when a trusting bond has been made in a relationship, oxytocin reinforces that bond, indicated by the fact that committed men who got the oxytocin were made uncomfortable by the approach of a new beautiful woman. The single men had no previous relationship bond and felt comfortable with a closer proximity.

Oxytocin increases the feelings of trust between family, friends, and loved ones. In rodents, oxytocin is involved in pair bonding and mating for life. In humans, researchers believe oxytocin may support healthy monogamous relationships in humans. They think it could impact fidelity in a good way and act as a love potion, keeping those in committed relationships committed to each other.

In addition to oxytocin being the “bonding hormone” it has one more unique property. The more you trust, hug, give, appreciate, touch and bond with others, the more oxytocin is produced and the more easily it is produced thereafter.

With oxytocin, the more you give, the more you get!

So, to build lasting and trusting relationships —keep hugging. Every hug “seals the bond.”


Relephant bonus:

Journal of Neuroscience. Nov 14, 2012


Ed: Kate B.

For more: Oxytocin: Why Women “can’t have Affairs.”

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About Dr. John Douillard

Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda and sports medicine. Over the past 30 years, he’s helped over 100,000 patients repair their digestive system and eat wheat and dairy again. He is the creator of, a leading Ayurvedic health and wellness resource on the web with over 6 million views on YouTube. LifeSpa is evolving the way Ayurveda is understood around the world with over 1000 articles and videos proving ancient wisdom backed by modern science. Dr. John is the former Director of Player Development and nutrition advisor for the New Jersey Nets NBA team, author of six books, a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz show, and has been featured in Woman’s World Magazine, Yoga Journal, the Huffington Post and dozens of other publications. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Receive his valuable health reports in your inbox - sign up for free! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For information on Dr. John's newest book, Eat Wheat, please visit, and connect with Dr. Douillard on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eat Wheat is now available in bookstores. It can be ordered from Amazon, and all major booksellers.


36 Responses to “Can a Married Man Resist a Beautiful Woman?”

  1. inesmiamor says:

    Before you get too excited read this:
    The science is not yet confirmed or conclusive.

  2. JohnN says:

    As one my astute anthropology students immediately pointed out, what if the married participants felt the same level of arousal, but felt guilty about it and backed off? A the risk of sounding elitist, easy media access to science publication is often problematic, especially in this over-wrought area of sex and brain biology.

  3. Andy says:

    Regardless of the to-ing and fro-ing of research on how hormones have a strong influence over us. To say that our fidelity is up to the hormones is like saying that every man is a rapist waiting to happen… It takes away responsibility for the conscious mind to make a decision.

    That is really the point. I KNOW that when I am in a relationship I 'consciously' focus on the one woman in my life.
    Glancing at an attractive woman if she passes into my immediate proximity has no charge on it when i'm in a relationship.
    When I am in a relationship a glance at another woman is simply an admiration for nature's beauty. In the same way that glancing at a beautiful coastal vista doesn't mean I want to make babies with it.

    There is great enjoyment to be found in the quietness of mind that comes from being able to consciously close off to the 'noise' of the sexual attraction game. Give your affection to a special one and get on with the many other rewarding aspects of life.

    And yes, I've been 'tested' by the universe in outrageous ways by what society would class as attractive female acquaintances… After passing with flying colours there was a feeling that neither of the attractive women was used to the polite rejection of her charms.

    Unfortunately in both of my serious relationships the other partner did not afford me the same conscious relationship decisions… Any articles about the oxytocin/estrogen and the shift in gender roles?

  4. Lorena says:

    You sound like a very special, and intelligent man. I hope you are with, or find, a lady that appreciates you.

  5. ann says:

    whole-heartedly agree with lorena. what a thoughtful response.

  6. MatBoy says:

    Not sure on the science here, in fact I'm not sure anyone is, but I do recognize the feelings of attraction and desire that come up when I see a beautiful woman. I think it as part of being alive, a gift even. I never try to contain the feelings; if it is very strong it can be also be very enjoyable, it feels very natural and can trigger some pretty exciting fantasies – wow!

    There doesn't have to be a next step and I am not compelled to act on my urges other than recognize that they come up. I know they will also pass. I might hang onto them for a while, maybe even days, but they will fade if I don't feed them and try to make them into something more than feelings and urges.

    If I were less secure in my present lifestyle I might try to respond to the feelings, to try to meet the woman and see where it leads but that is another choice I do not feel compelled to follow these days.

  7. leslie r crockett says:

    It would be interesting to see how this would work with those of us who are Aspergers. My Asperger son is very touchy/feely ( he's 23) and my Aspergers daughter and I usually find closeness and touch very uncomfortable. I endure more than I want of closeness for the emotional sake of others but it costs me! My daughter is 24 and has a non-Aspergers twin.

  8. Robin Turner says:

    That's why there is a control group. The married men who got the placebo didn't back off so much as the ones who got oxytocin.

  9. Robin Turner says:

    If this is true, it would be interesting to see what the effects of being hugged by an attractive woman were. Does the oxytocin released strengthen the existing relationship or make the man more likely to bond to the new woman?

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  14. grawp says:

    "The eye of the beholder", and the eye can be trained; well, the brain can be trained to stay aware of the bigger picture.

  15. Keith Kennedy says:


    The only married men who have not committed adultery, are the men who have not been approached and seduced by a beautiful woman.

    Otherwise, only a small fraction are immune.


  16. Rick Henderson says:

    The analogy between women and coastal vistas is good, ( Andy's comment above) but of course, you CAN'T make babies with a beach. There is some considerable science about men being "visual" creatures, and beauty is always worth appreciating in all forms. However, when I have been with insecure partners, noticing other women is often interpreted as desiring them and somehow making the statement that "Oh, look, there's something BETTER than what I have". Only evolution of self-worth and emotional confidence can counter that mental trap, assuming you are showing that partner regular and definitive expressions of love and appreciation. Commitment gives us future purpose that, much like oxytocin, generates a positive emotional and comfort response and can make us responsible, really, in all circumstances. I'm not sure about the science of hugging, but it sure as hell feels good with ANY gender!

  17. Rick Henderson says:

    From my semantic interpretation, your first statement seems an absolute and the second refutes it? In my experience, partners don't cheat based on what is appearing outside them but, rather, what is lacking within them.

  18. mat pee says:

    got em.
    everyone else… go home.

  19. Ann says:

    Sometimes what you see is not what you get. Simply, people can be cons, male AND female. Anitdote? Keep eyes wide open, and don't bond with someone until you truly know their character – sometimes this can take years.

  20. Ann says:

    Or even semi beautiful women, it matters not, if the married man is a narcissist there will be perpetual problems because fundamentally, these men are unable to bond.

  21. klaus haas says:

    thanks for that man!!

  22. Shieldmaiden says:

    Interesting that the graphic shows only part of a woman — high heels, short skirt, legs and backside. Certainly reinforces the stereotype of "beauty" and the societal objectification of women even if the text isays something altogether different.

  23. Jennifer says:

    Who cares if they are aroused as long as they don't act on it.

  24. Nina says:

    I feel this research is missing out a lot of variables….first of all guilt and fear of commited cuples….values that have been imposed bz generations, economz, status and so on…..strange thse scientists come to such conclusions without questionning more.

  25. Suneil says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. This ignores things like social stigmas which are ingrained into our minds. Even logic is susceptible to emotional and cultural bias.

  26. Rick Williams says:

    What about "emotional affairs"? I think an emotional affair even with no sex is much more damaging than a purely physical affair aka "hookup", one night stand.To say that no man is capable of not ctheating is total bs.

  27. Jess says:

    First of all, the bonding occurs when there is touch involved. If these women touched the men it might be a different story.

    Second, in a controlled environment men are more likely to accept the challenge, and not act on normal instincts.

    Third, why is it that the more than of divorces are because of infidelity? Where's you're control then, Oxytocin or not?!

  28. Ellen says:

    I agree!

  29. Jill says:

    Oxytocin spray? Would this be helpful for attachment parenting of abused & adopted children?

  30. Robyn says:

    This experiment is has SO MANY FLAWS.
    A) Maybe they didn't let the 'beautiful woman' come closer because they were married. Everything doesn't have to be complicated.
    B) Wouldn't it make more sense to have two groups of SINGLE men—>Administer oxytocin to group 1 and not group 2—>Then test both groups with the 'beautiful woman' men?—>Then see how they react?? Do I have to do all the work? lol.
    C) Hawthorne Effect- Obviously these men know they are apart of an experiment and that they experimenters know their married/single so they may be acting the way they think they are suppose to act.
    D) Beauty is subjective. That being said, it in the eye of the participant what is beautiful and what is not. How did the researchers determine she was a "beautiful woman"??? Was she rated on some beauty scale by experts?? Was race/hair color/physic a factor???
    In short, this experiment is attempting to justify why (married) men cheat. They are seriously trying to say they need this "bonding hormone", lol. No.You need better researchers. This research has so many flaws that I saw reading it once.

  31. Frank Scovill says:

    Beauty… Physical, intellectual, emotional… All of the above!
    If your commitment to the person you are in relationship with is the complete package, a single attribute of attraction is never enough to cause one to ‘stray’; there is no need to, a reason to exercise resistance.

  32. Red Barron says:

    Speak for yourself! You are VERY wrong with both of your generalizations. Perhaps it is guilt I detect. Many times it feels better to make a statement that "anyone in that situation would have done the same", rather than to just own your guilt and take responsibility for your actions.

  33. Mobile says:

    A man can resizt. Depends on how much he loves his wife.

  34. Music says:

    Only a strong man can resizt to a beautiful woman. I couldn.t. I might be a weak man 🙂

  35. YIT32 says:

    The woman is Gisele Bundchen, she's Brazilian & German.