Things generally get a little grosser when a long-term couple moves in with each other; all of a sudden, you’re sharing so little space with this one same person. And now the New York Times has reported on a study that claims that you actually totally are picking up your partner’s germs when you live together.
The study only tracked ten heterosexual couples, but it confirmed what most folks who’ve lived together can attest to; traditional physical boundaries kind of fall apart when you’re regularly getting it on with your roommate. With that, researchers’ algorithms relying on a healthy sample size of an individual’s microbial data could match the person with their other half with an 86% success rate.
So, where did these couples’ “microbiomes” match up best? Besides the feet, which literally covers the most ground, partner sets also tended to share microbes around their torso, navel, and eyelids – the side effect of holding each other close and staring into each other’s eyes, apparently.
There was also another area that, sampled solely, yielded a 100% accuracy rate: the inner thigh area, which was also gender-specific. Of course, this was a study with only ten cases, and examined only heterosexual couples. However, as the tech evolves toward a stated goal of “practical applications for the design of public and shared spaces to reduce the spread of pathogens between individuals,” it’ll be interesting what findings researchers discover along the way.
Read the whole article here.