The 'cuddle spray' that makes men more affectionate

Forget Viagra - scientists claim to have invented a spray to make men more sensitive.

The new spray uses the hormone oxytocin, known as the 'cuddle chemical' as it stimulates affectionate feelings in humans.

In the experiments, 24 men took nasal sprays containing oxytocin, while 24 others were given a placebo. Afterwards they were shown emotional photographs including a crying child and a man in mourning. Researchers explain the men who were given oxytocin showed higher emotional empathy levels than those on the placebo.

The researchers in Bonn, Germany, worked with Cambridge's Babraham Institute and their results are published today in the Journal of Neuroscience. Dr Rene Hurlemann, in Bonn, said: 'The oxytocin group showed significantly higher emotional empathy levels,' while the Babraham's Dr Keith Kendrick said the drug may also help in the treatment of schizophrenia which is often linked to an inability to connect with others.

So just what is the 'cuddle chemical'? The Daily Mail explains that oxytocin is a mammalian hormone which evokes feelings of contentment and reduces anxiety. It is best known for its roles in female reproduction and is released in large amounts during labour and breastfeeding. It also helps mothers to bond with their offspring.

The same hormone is even reported to help alleviate some symptoms of autism by encouraging sufferers to initiate social encounters.

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