The Chemistry of Love
Do pheromones and smelly T shirts really have the power to trigger sexual attraction? Here's Primer
Time Magzine - February 18, 2002 -- You can't make someone love you, even on Valentine's Day, no matter what Hallmark, Godiva and FTD may say. But how much do we really know about how love works? What is it that attracts a particular man to a particular woman and (with any luck) vice versa?
To see what light science could shed on the subject, I called Professor Martha McClintock at the University of Chicago. McClintock is an expert on odor and behavior who published a famous study in the early 1970s that showed that the menstrual cycles of college women living in dorms became synchronized through exposure to one another's pheromones, those faint chemical signals released from the skin that control the mating rituals of much of the animal kingdom.
McClintock has a new study, published in the February issue of Nature Genetics, that makes an even more provocative link between sex and odor--specifically, the odor of a T shirt worn by a man on two consecutive days.
The experiment was simple. The T shirts were carefully prepared (no cologne, no cigarettes, no sex) and then placed in boxes where they could be smelled but not seen. Forty-nine unmarried women were asked to sniff the boxes and choose which box they would prefer "if they had to smell it all the time."
The results would have made Sigmund Freud proud. The women were attracted to the smell of a man who was genetically similar--but not too similar--to their dads. McClintock thinks there's an evolutionary explanation. "Mating with someone too similar might lead to inbreeding," she says. Mating with someone too different "leads to the loss of desirable gene combinations."
McClintock isn't suggesting you can attract a mate by smell alone, but that hasn't discouraged companies like Erox from bottling pheromones and stopping just short of calling them aphrodisiacs. Marketing websites feature links to scientific papers on the power of pheromones. I spoke to Dr. David Berliner, CEO of Pherin Pharmaceuticals, who did some of the initial research.
While working at the University of Utah with natural compounds produced by human skin, he noticed a surprising change in the behavior of his male and female colleagues. "They developed an increased level of camaraderie that was hard to explain," he says. There were smiles, eye contact and increased approachability until the skin extracts were removed, at which point the group reverted to normal behavior.
Thus far, three human pheromones have been detected: androstenol, androstenone, and copulins.
Found exclusively in human vaginal secretions, this odor has been shown to raise male testosterone levels (sex drive), and positively affect perceptions of female attractiveness in targeted males. So watch yourself.
But i already have them... Although all of us have naturally occurring pheromones, as aforementioned, bathing and cologne, as well as age and clothing, severely hinder emissions.
Androstenone & Androstenol
These two pheromones, which surface on the skin of men (and women), occur when chemicals in one's sweat interact with common bacteria. And yes, both of them are believed to influence human attraction.
The difference between them is that androstenol can affect people's impressions of a man's sexual attractiveness, intelligence and confidence.
Androstenone is believed to be the scent of male aggression and dominance. Women are attracted to men who naturally secrete large quantities of these pheromones, and other men tend to avoid them.
By spraying our PherX cologne all over yourself, it is believed that you will obtain:
An increase in communication from women (eye contact, smiles, etc.)
An increase in sexual partners and/or sex with your current partner
An increase in passionate sex
More respect from men
Better professional relationships
Amplification in self-confidence
So spray some on, head on out and get your groove on (or stay in with your woman if that's your game instead). The product will remain on your skin for 24 to 48 hours, so long as you don't bathe, thus removing it.
Now you can finally discover if the only thing you're missing is that secret scent that unknowingly attracts people to you. Enjoy the smell of sex.