China: Researchers studying what spraying oxytocin up a gay man's nose does to his sexuality

Researchers at China's prestigious Zhejiang University in Hangzhou are just about wrapping up a controversial study in which they've spent the past two years spraying oxytocin up the noses of homosexual men to see how it affects their sexual orientation.

For those unfamiliar, oxytocin (not to be confused with oxycontin) is a hormone that is produced in the brain. It's involved in childbirth and breastfeeding, and is more broadly associated with things like trust, empathy, and sex. It's sometimes called the "love hormone" or the "cuddle hormone" because levels of oxytocin shoot way up during hugs and orgasms.

However, oxytocin's exact role in love and sexuality is not well understood, which has apparently inspired a team at Zhejiang University to wonder what would happen if you sprayed it regularly up gay men's noses.

Registered with the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry in May of this year, the study, which is titled "A study on the effect of oxytocin on sexual orientation in men," was pointed out recently on Twitter by Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at Yale Law School's Paul Tsai China Center.

The study began in October 2015 after being approved by an ethics committee and is set to end at the end of this year. Subjects are being measured on the Kinsey Scale, the Klein scale, through gender cognitive tests and functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, and by testing their blood pressure. 

Sup China's Jiayun Feng notes that the study generated quite a bit of controversy upon its initial posting on the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry earlier this year after it was discovered that on the space in the form for "target disease," someone had written "male homosexual." The experiment has since been redefined as a "basic study," not one intended to cure a disease, eliminating the need to fill in that blank. Read more via Shanhaiist