Study Says Sniffing Your Partner Relieves Stress

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says that sniffing men can relieve stress.

The study, by researchers at the University of British Columbia, involved 100 male/female couples. The men were given a clean t-shirt to wear for 24-hours without any deodorant, cologne, or anything else that could take away from their own natural scent.

After that, the women were given random t-shirts to smell. The shirts given were either belonging to their hubby, a random dude from the study, or were completely clean.

From there, the women went through stress tests. The results found that the subjects who smell their men’s shirts were less stressed and some could even tell their lover’s smell.

Marlise Hofer, the lead author on the study and a grad student at the University of British Columbia’s department of psychology, came up with some of her own guesses as to why the results came out this way.

“Many people wear their partner’s shirt or sleep on their partner’s side of the bed when their partner is away, but may not realize why they engage in these behaviors.”

“Our findings suggest that a partner’s scent alone, even without their physical presence, can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress.”

Plus, Frances Chen, an assistant professor at the school and a partner on the study, said:

 “Our research suggests that something as simple as taking an article of clothing that was worn by your loved one could help lower stress levels when you’re far from home.”

But that’s not the end of the story. You see, this is just the follow-up of another study from the early 2000s.

The first study was conducted the same way as this one, with white t-shirts and 24-hours of sweat, but this study was based on relationships in a family.

What they found out was that the parents preferred the smells of their partners. In addition, the fathers were often disgusted by their daughter’s smell (and vice versa). Meanwhile, neither son/daughter or mother felt anything for the other’s smell.

All this research into smelling men is well and good, but we wonder if the results would change if two men were the subjects. Now, all we need is for a third study to do some smell tests for gay partners, and we’d be pretty happy.

h/t: GayPopBuzz

Researchers Say They’re Halfway There To Artificially Producing Sperm

Scientist Azim Surani talked to the Progress Educational Trust annual conference in London this past month to share the results of his latest study.

The study, which is currently being reviewed for publication in a journal, followed Surani’s research team as they tried to produce an artificial sperm and eggs.

Surani was also pleased to share that the study went well and that they have progressed farther than anyone else in the process of making a sperm and egg.

As The Guardian reports, Surani says that his team was able to make it to the halfway point on the path of human stem cells turning into immature sperm/eggs. In order to do this, Surani’s team has tracked that path of human cells starting out the same and then branching off into sperm and eggs at around eight weeks.

“With this goal in mind, the team has developed miniature artificial testicles, called gonadal organoids, which comprise a blob of gonadal cells (also grown in the lab) suspended in gel. The mixture of cell types seems to be providing some of the right biochemical cues to propel the cells further down the path to becoming sperm.”

Despite being about halfway through the path process and understanding the complexities of it more than anyone else before, Surani says that they still have a long way to go.

On top of that, the extreme risks that any real life application of these artificial eggs and sperm is making Surani’s team continue on as slowly and carefully as possible.

“If this was ever going to be used in a clinical setting we have to be sure that it has gone through all the right stages – all of these steps are incredibly important,” said Surani, “You can make an egg that looks like an egg, but it might not be the right cell in molecular detail. You could get a lot of problems with that. You don’t want something that’s going to grow into some kind of abnormal structure.”

As for those real life applications, the eventual completion of this artificial sperm and egg process could mean a lot for people who can’t have children on their own.

Straight men and women who are infertile can produce using this science, but more importantly (for this site) the same can be said for same-sex couples.

“Two men could potentially have a baby that was genetically related to both by using skin cells from one to make an egg and cells from the other to make the sperm.”

With gay divorcees losing custody battles because the children aren’t biologically related to them, this could turn the tide towards building a firmer structure for gay parents.

That said, Surani says that they are at least ten years away from completing the research, so we all still have some time to wait on it.

Survey Says It Doesn't Matter If Refusing Service To Gay Couples Is Religious Based

A study by Indiana University, Bloomington researchers says that anti-gay discrimination might not have to do with “religious freedom.”

The study (which is actually more of a survey) was published in Science Advances recently and written by Brian Powell, Landon Schnabel, and Lauren Apgar.

Due to the ever increasing amount of gay couples being refused service by businesses with the excuse of “religious freedoms” these three researchers wanted to know the public’s true opinions on the matter. As such, they used original data from a US national survey to answer the questions below:

  1. “Does support for service refusal apply only to religious beliefs or extend to other opinions?”
  2. “Does support for service refusal apply only to self-employed individuals or extend to closely held corporations?”
  3. “Does support for service refusal apply only to same-sex couples or extend to interracial couples?”

The 2035 respondents, who filled out the survey between March 11 and March 19 of 2015, were shown examples of a couple being denied a service but with varying scenarios in order to gauge opinions on each different situation.

“[Michael and Jason, a gay couple/Michael and Jennifer, a black man and a white woman] are getting married and want to have photos taken to send out with their wedding invitations. They went to a [self-employed photographer/photography studio in a large chain store] because they heard [he was the best photographer/it was the best place] in the area for engagement portraits. The photographer refused to take their picture. He explained that [(because he is religious/although he is not religious)/(because the corporate chain owner is religious/although the corporate chain owner isn’t religious)] [he/the owner] doesn’t approve of [gay/interracial] marriage.”

Respondents were then asked to give their opinions on whether the service provider should be allowed to refuse services to the couple (in whichever situation they had just read).

The results found that 53% of respondents support the refusal of services to the gay couple and 39% are ok with the refusal of interracial couples.

In addition, the respondents are more in favor of a self-employed photographer rejecting a couple than a big corporation. In fact, the number was twice in favor of a self-employed photographer (61% to 31%).

And then, the researchers say that respondents support the refusal on religious bases just slightly more than nonreligious ones (47% to 45%). As such, they say that the reasons of refusal are basically inconsequential.

"In marked contrast to the couple-type and business-type manipulations, whether the service refusal is for explicitly religious or explicitly nonreligious reasons appears inconsequential."

That said, they also found that while their respondents didn’t care for the reason that gay couples were rejected service, more people cared to distinguish the reasoning for rejecting an interracial couple.

Lastly, each respondent had the choice to elaborate on their opinions. While each response couldn’t be laid out for us, the researchers shared the general consensus of these elaborated thoughts.

"Several people who read the same-sex couple vignettes—and thus were unaware of the parallel interracial couple vignettes—explicitly equated service refusal to gay couples with historical denial of services to African Americans."

"In contrast, the plurality of respondents who supported the businesses’ right to refuse services framed their support in terms of individual rights and libertarianism. Others who endorsed refusal expressly said they supported the businesses’ right to refuse because of their own opposition to same-sex relationships."

"Some people supported the businesses’ right to refuse, although they disapproved of the refusal. This view was common among those who support same-sex marriage, who often assumed that customers would boycott discriminatory businesses. To them, the free market will penalize discriminatory businesses to the extent that they will either eventually provide services or be put out of business."

Study Predicts The Australia's "Yes" Vote Will Have A Narrow Loss

An academic study is using Twitter opinions to gauge the results of the public vote for or against same-sex marriage in Australian.

While many opinion polls say that the yes vote will win and be around 60 percent of the vote, this Twitter opinion study says the opposite.

The study, by Academics David Tuffley and Bela Stantic, looked at over 458,565 tweets through the month of October.

At face value, the two found that there was an overwhelming amount of support for marriage equality. Specifically, they found that there was 72 percent support for the yes vote.

That said, they also found that only 15% of the yeses came from people over the age of 55. With that in mind, they adjusted the numbers and ended up with 57 percent support.

But that’s not all, they then adjusted the numbers again to make up for the low amount of tweets coming from people older than 55 (a voter pool that will show up in the actual vote). This ended up with a 49 percent yes rate for the vote.

Tuffley and Stantic are known for being surprisingly accurate when it comes to tough call votes and polls. For instance, they predicted the Trump win for the 2016 US presidential election.

And as they told Australian News Agency 9 News:

“It is likely to be a close-run result, much closer than the earlier polls suggested, and leaning in the direction of 'no.”

That said, the two do note that predications can have complications that get in the way of coming up with a true and fair answer.

"One of the problems with predicting poll outcomes is that people are often reluctant to say out loud what they really think about issues.”

"What people say online can often be more accurate than what they say to each other in this age of political correctness."