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Do Pheromones Work Like a Love Potion, or Is It All Hype?

Pheromones are scents that our bodies send out to attract the opposite sex. So do pheromones work and really drive us wild, or is it all just hype?

do pheromones work

Love is a mysterious thing. There are so many emotions that can run the gamut, but there’s no denying that electric charge when you meet certain members of the opposite sex. Science has credited that electrification to something called pheromones. These are chemicals that our bodies givs off to attract the opposite sex. Many species carry these “magic potion” scents, humans included. This begs the question, do pheromones work in today’s modern society to attract a partner?

To begin to answer this, we need to first understand how smell is, at least in part, determined by our genetics. Women smell differently than men. The way that a woman smells when she has her period may not smell desirable to other women, but it does to men. It’s the body’s way of telling the male species that a woman is able to procreate. In the same respect, men who are sweaty after a workout don’t attract other men the way that they do women. Women smell sweat as a sign of fitness, which can be a very attractive trait to them.

Those who question whether or not the scents that we give off are predetermined should take note of a 2005 study in which homosexual and heterosexual men were given samples of sweat. The results showed that homosexual men preferred the scent of other homosexual men’s sweat, while heterosexual men preferred the scent of women.

Also, a study of human odors was used to prove that people involuntarily decipher scents to increase the likelihood that they will choose more genetically compatible mates. T-shirts with odors worn by men were ranked by women. What they found was that women preferred the odors from men whose DNA was most different from their own. When genetic makeup is most dissimilar in nature, the likelihood that a healthy offspring will be conceived is greatly increased. [Read: How to increase your sex appeal instantly]

What are pheromones?

Pheromones are scents that elicit a hormonal sexual response in the brain signaling attraction. They are the way that our bodies work to attract people of the opposite sex using glands in specific areas such as the genital area, the armpits, and the clear liquid of the bellybutton. I know that it doesn’t sound very attractive, but it is.

These areas produce a specific smell that works on the olfactory system by releasing information into the subconscious areas of the brain. For evolutionary purposes, pheromones were built into the species to help it procreate and survive. If the scent given off is positive, it tells the person that a potential mate is healthy and that they would make a good mate for procreation.

Overriding emotions, it is the chemical pull that makes you want to have sex with someone you barely know or have just met. That’s because pheromones trigger the libido to elicit a sexual response that’s responsible for sexual desire, arousal, and attraction.

There is no doubt that some people are more attractive than others. But, there is also no doubt that some men and women just exude sex more than others. Is it the scent they carry, something about their personality, or their confidence? Likely, there are a lot of various things at play when it comes to being attractive. [Read: 13 physical attraction tips to look way hotter]

We lose pheromones as we age

When you’re younger, you have more pheromones. That would make sense, as they’re the way that a body tells another that procreation will be successful. Studies have even shown that older women who wear pheromone perfume are more attractive than those who don’t wear them. The problem is that there is no telling if the reason that they’re more attractive is that, in general, they take better care of themselves or if it’s the pheromones working. [Read: Cougar dating: 10 rules about dating an older woman]

Do pheromones work to manipulate people of the opposite sex?

Since pheromones were first discovered, there have been many who have insisted that they can be replicated and used to manipulate people of the opposite sex to be attracted to one another. Many companies claim to have synthetic pheromones built in to their products that will drive women or men “crazy” just by smelling them.

The science behind the use of synthetic pheromones is skeptical at best, but there is no doubt that there are scents that make you take a second look. Anyone who walks into an Abercrombie and Fitch store can tell you that it isn’t just about the scantily-clad models displaying the clothes and waiting on you. The way that they pump their cologne into the air, it smells like prepubescent desire and sexuality. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being manipulated by your lover]

What does the science say about pheromones?

There are some colognes and perfumes that are using more than just theory to prove that their products work. Using scientific research to study whether pheromones work is still a hotbed of debate. But researchers have found that the effect pheromones seemed to have on how attractive someone is was very minuscule at best. Although pheromones may have a primal, natural side to them, it is not the case that a synthetic pheromone is a magic potion of some sort.

In addition, finding the exact chemistry of pheromones is nearly impossible. To date, scientists have not been able to get to the heart of what exactly makes up pheromones, how they are created, or how to emulate them. They have found odors that are more attractive than others and may make you want to be around someone, but that is about the extent of what they can do. They can’t convince someone that you are the right one for them, nor can they make you want to have sex immediately. [Read: 13 lusty signs of sexual attraction to keep an eye on]

So do pheromones work? For now, there’s no such thing as a scent that can drive anyone wild with desire. If you want to be attractive, it’s about being the total package. That means you have to take care of yourself, care about someone else, be personable, and have that chemical attraction that just comes naturally.

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Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

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