This is not the news a long-suffering wife or partner wants to hear, but scientists have proven men really do need nights out with their mates.

According to research from Germany's University of Gottingen, male bonding is more likely to lower a man's stress levels than if he were to spend an evening with his partner or family.

When out with a group of male friends, the study found men also suffer less anxiety.

Based on monitoring groups of Barbary macaques, an ape with exceptionally similar social behaviours to humans, researchers noted levels of male stress hormone soared when the apes were with their partner or other family members.


But when placed with other males in a group, they became far more relaxed and exhibited a tendency to look after each other.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also revealed stress-related illnesses only seemed to be present in females or males in a coupling.

Researcher Christopher Young from the university's Primate Social Evolution Group said: "If male primates live in multimale groups they usually fight fiercely over access to females, but males can develop friendly relationships with a few group mates.

He concluded that male macaques form social bonds "similar to human friendships that buffer them against day-to-day stressors."