All animals use the sense of smell to tell them a lot of information about other members of their species. The only exception to this rule is with dolphins and whales. Their specific ‘noses’ migrated to the top of their heads as blowholes and thus they don’t have the benefit of smell that they once had eons ago. They do have, however, a very sophisticated system based on pheromones, as do the other animals in our fair kingdom.
It turns out that when researchers turn off the nerve in rats that connects the brain to the small, specialized area of the olfactory bulb that understands the signals that pheromones send, the rats don’t mate.
Rats have much better olfactory systems than humans do. Humans, in fact, have lost a lot of their sense of smell to other organs like the eyes. We just don’t need it as much as other animals, or do we? In small studies there is evidence that women on birth control pills have less response to pheromones. These women may be missing some of the important features of sensual attraction. And in a study of erotic dancers it was discovered that tips increased by up to 70% on nights when the women dancers were ovulating. There isn’t anything else that points to why this might be than the presents of pheromones.
If you’d like to discover the more subtle world of pheromones take a sniff behind your lover’s ear or underarms after they’ve been working in a warm environment for a few hours. Make sure they don’t have cologne on – it covers up scent and pheromones (so don’t wear it guys!). Does the scent turn you on? In a blind study women who, unbeknownst to them, either smelled a man’s pheromones or a more neutral scent, while trying to assess the attractiveness of pictures of different men always rated the men higher in attractiveness when they smelled the pheromones. It just turned them on more!
So, how do you get some of those pheromones? Don’t wear cologne or perfume. It interferes with our olfactory senses. Kiss more. Nose to nose gets us up close and intimate with the pheromones that are near our necks, ears, hair and nose. Those little chemical messengers don’t have to travel as far to reach their goal, either. Take more time to use your nose, even if you don’t think you smell anything while cuddling. Keep doing it because they are there. Treat your lover to a non-visual sensual date sometime. Blindfold them and bring out different pleasant scents that you can gently wave in front of their noses to tempt and mystify them. Suzie Heumann