Have you ever found comfort in smelling a piece of clothing that has been worn by your loved one? This week’s fascinating insight suggests that actually smelling your partner’s clothes can have a really big impact in one particular area- specifically if you’re a woman.

This week’s rather light-hearted insight comes from the University of British Columbia in Canada who found that womens’ stress levels were reduced when they smelt a piece of clothing that their partner had worn and which had their scent on it.

The only frustrating thing about the research is that it only investigated women smelling men’s clothing and not the other way around, but certainly the research is fascinating nevertheless.

In it, 96 heterosexual couples were asked to partake and the women involved were asked to undertake stressful events – a mock job interview & maths tests – whilst their cortisol levels from saliva were measured.

Before the event in question the women were given one of 3 t-shirts: a t-shirt worn by their loved one, a t-shirt worn by a stranger or a t-shirt that hadn’t been worn by anybody. And, both before and after the stressful event, women who had smelt their partner’s smell (t-shirt) were shown to have lower cortisol levels. Interestingly, the stress levels of those women who had smelt a stranger’s shirt actually increased.

So, if you’re a man in a heterosexual relationship, and your loved one asks to sleep in your t-shirt when you’re away, then here is some science behind the benefits of her doing so.

I’ll be back in a week’s time with some more meetology – exploring the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.

See you next week, until then take care,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


“Olfactory cues from romantic partners and strangers influence women’s responses to stress” by Hofer, Marlise K.; Collins, Hanne K.; Whillans, Ashley V.; and Chen, Frances S. in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.