In this article, we will investigate whether human pheromones really exist and explore the implications in sex, love, and dating.
Imagine attracting the opposite sex just by wearing a special cologne or perfume mixed with a magical love potion. As far fetched as this sounds, scientists suspect that humans could be releasing odorless chemical signals that influence behavior; otherwise known as pheromones.
These naturally occurring molecules are intriguing because they invite us to think about ourselves in new and unexploring ways. They tempt us with tales of instant attraction, of chemical communication, of falling in love with someone based on chemistry instead of common sense.
At the beginning of this century, a number of scientists were investigating the chemical signals that pass betwneen some animals yet it was not until the late 1950s that the first pheromone was identified and isolated in the lab.
- 1 First Study on Human Pheromones
- 2 ABC 20/20 Pheromone Experiment
- 3 Speed Dating Experiment & Results
- 4 How Human Pheromones Are Detected
- 5 Pheromones In Sweat
- 6 How Pheromones Affect Attraction
- 7 Type of Pheromones
- 8 Pheromones In Colognes/Perfumes
- 9 Pheromones and Deodorants
- 10 Pheromones and the Media
- 11 Misconceptions
- 12 Fake Science
- 13 Pheromone Forums
- 14 Pheromones in Nature
- 15 Studies In Animals
- 16 The Future of Human Pheromones
First Study on Human Pheromones
The first study on human pheromones was published in 1986 and there was immediately an avalanche of publicity with respected media bodies throughout the world reporting the study and its possible implications for the development of some kind of commercial human pheromone (such as Dr. Cutler would later claim to have created with Athena Pheromones).
Since this was the first prospective study ever done on human sexual pheromones, there were many variables that would inevitably be discovered to affect the production of human pheromones, if they even existed.
Double-Blind Pheromone Experiments
By 1974, pheromones as sex attractants were well understood to exist in nature. Pheromones were discovered to function as sex primers, priming the reproductive system to be ready for fertile mating. The studies showed that females who received female pheromones showed a timing change in the onset of their menstrual cycles.
ABC 20/20 Pheromone Experiment
It was during the next few years from 1986 to 1993 that Dr. Cutler worked on copying the human pheromones she had identified in her earlier work, and on isolating the active compounds that had led to the effects in those studies.
This work then led to the development of two different odorless and colorless pheromones by the Athena Institute in the 1990’s aimed at both men and women.
In December 2005 the respected media outlet ABC carried out its own informal study into whether the Athena Pheromone products produced the desired outcomes, namely an increase in attraction from the opposite sex.
There were two tests that were carried out, and whilst the results are very far from scientific proof, they are anecdotally compelling. The first involved a speed dating event.
Two sets of twins, one female set and one male set, both in their twenties were sent to a speed dating event.
Speed Dating Experiment & Results
One of each of the twins applied the Athena Pheromones, whilst the other had a placebo, but neither knew which was being applied. They then each went on 10, five minute dates, and at the end of the time their “Meet Me Again!” statistics were compiled.
In each case the twin who had used the Athena Pheromone got considerably more requests to see them again.
In the case of the women it was almost double the amount of men who wanted to see them again, 9 positive response for the pheromone wearer, and 5 for the non-wearer.
And in the men’s case it was 10 out of 10 for the twin wearing the pheromone, and only 6 out of 10 for the non-wearer.
In the second case two women in their 40’s were asked to wear the Athena Pheromones regularly for three months and keep a video diary.
Both became convinced that they were getting more male attention. The area of human attraction is clearly always going to be complicated, but the role that human pheromones play in the love game may just be worth another look.
How Human Pheromones Are Detected
Pheromones are detected by the vomeronasal organ. In reptiles, amphibia and non-primate mammals pheromones are detected by regular olfactory membranes, and also by the vomeronasal organ (VNO), or Jacobson’s organ, which lies at the base of the nasal septum between the nose and mouth and is the first stage of the accessory olfactory system.
Pheromones In Sweat
Body scents and sweat can be highly attractive to our sexual partners. DHEAS, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, is found in female sweat in about one third the concentration it is in the male.
It’s believed that DHEAS is the responsible agent in sexual-behavior physiological relationships. This is believed because scientists already know that regualr weekly sex with a man seems to increase the fertility of a woman.
How Pheromones Affect Attraction
These days, opening a fashion magazine usually becomes an unplanned journey into the world of scent: pockets of fragrance lie tucked within the pages, their molecules sneaking out to tickle your nostrils. Pheromones can act as powerful catalysts of sexual attraction.
Anything that is attractive in females basically comes down to hormones; estrogen and testosterone ratio. The same occurs with pheromone production and distribution. Masculine features in men are associated with testosterone. Preferences for food and sexual preferences are determined from the day were born. Unlike the odors from food, were only introduced to sex difference from species specific pheromones through social circumstances that involve other people.
It’s the unconscious association with other sensory input that allows the pheromones of other people to determine who or what we prefer, see, hear, or touch, or taste. After conditioning to the pheromones we behave differently then we otherwise would. That’s your sexual preferences may be very different than somebody else’s.
Type of Pheromones
The following pheromones are used in colognes and perfumes and responsible for the majority of reported effects in humans. However, not all pheromones are equally attractive and some of the misconceptions stem from a misunderstanding over their names. For example, the male pheromone androstenone is not the same as androstenol. Androstenol is the scent produced by fresh male sweat, and is attractive to females.
Shown to cause sexual arousal in women, Androstenone is the primary ingredient added in sexual pheromone colognes. When women smell androstenone, a sexy signal is detected which can cause sexual arousal.
It works best in social settings such as clubs and a lot of pheromone users use it to land a date or hook-up for sex.
Increase affect from women, and uplifting, while boosting comfort. Women feel more protected under its influence. It is used in most commercial pheromone products, as well as popular personal hygiene products such as body wash.
Androstadienone is naturally found in the sweat of human males, and has been shown to have a profound effect on the emotions of both men and women.
Users of androSTANone have reported many positive results, including: increased friendliness from both men and women, more attention from men and women, an increased social “closeness” with others, and even a slightly enhanced sense of smell.
Makes the wearer more charismatic, reliable, mature, and trustworthy. Women are reported to develop crushes on the wearer. AndrosteRONE is a human sex pheromone that can impart “alpha” qualities to the user.
Smelling androstadienone increases salivary cortisol in women which is associated with sexual arousal. A variety of experiments suggest that androstadienone makes both men and women more sensitive to social information. This would be adaptive; if people are sweating an important event is going on, so it would be a good idea to pay attention to the emotions of those around you. And of course people also sweat during sex
Pheromones In Colognes/Perfumes
Pheromones have become the darlings of the perfume industry. Scent lovers can purchase perfumes and colognes that feature pheromones on the label and make claims ranging from the believable to the ridiculous. Whether it comes in an expensive bottle from a boutique or finds form in a dab of simple rose water to the wrist, fragrance engages us in a subtle exchange between scent molecule and factory cell.
Two studies suggest that pheromone cologne, whose ingredients I am not fully informed of, increases the sexual activity of both men and women when worn by the opposite sex. In other words, you could wear these colognes to increase your chances of having sex.
However, these studies were small and their statistics have been shown to not actually demonstrate any increase in sexual activity. In short, these studies are crap. But if you need more convincing, one of the authors later started a company to sell pheromone colognes. I’m sure that is just a coincidence though ….
If you want to read about pheromone colognes that actually work then check out my reviews.
Pheromones and Deodorants
In a culture where deodorants are so common, it is reasonable to wonder whether they would inhibit the influence of pheromones. I suspect that deodorants are irrelevant to the power of pheromones. In the pheromone experiments of Dr. McClinktock, many of the participants did wear deodorants and thus were odor free and still experienced an increase in intimacy.
Pheromones and the Media
When the ABC news pheromones story hit the airwaves, the popularity in pheromone perfumes and colognes took off. Pheromone stories were featured in major newspapers, magazines, radio and talk shows. Pheromone advertisements and marketing campaigns soon followed with a flood of new products hitting the internet.
When men think about human pheromones their primary thought is about appearing to be more attractive in the eyes of those women, and possibly gaining an attraction and reproductive advantage.
Smooth talking sales people have proven to be very adept at cheating people and taking their money by making false claims and promises regarding pheromone based products. No pheromone based product has ever been produced that will allow you to effortless bed any woman you choose, and this also applies to the top-rated pheromone colognes.
What they can do is boost your confidence and sex appeal which gives you a competitive edge in attracting women. Sorry guys, but if you want to get laid tonight, you will still have to put in some amount of effort, even if you are using the best pheromone product money can buy.
They Won’t Work on Everyone
Many myths abound regarding the use of pheromones. Among those myths would be the notion that you can have any person you desire through purchasing a pheromone cologne or perfume. This is a bit of marketing hyperbole that detracts from the many valued and legitimate aspects of what real pheromone products have to offer.
The truth is that pheromones can help with attraction levels and they can do so in a realistic way. Understanding how pheromones work is the key to being able to harness them and the value that supplement forms of these chemicals can provide.
If something seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. If somebody invented some sort of magical spray that made it possible for guys to bed any woman they chose, governments around the world would ban it because it would be considered to be a form of rape.
However, you do get some pheromone sprays which do in fact have an effect on women, just like you can get pheromone sprays which have the same sort of effect on men.
You still need to put in effort in meeting women, building rapport, and work on your inner game to be successful. Pheromones are an accessory to dating, and not a silver bullet.
There have been several pheromone companies using fake studies to promote their products and some of them have even been sued.
Pherlure, a pheromone cologne and perfumes, was sued for their ad claims which claims that there product contains real pheromones that cause a sexual response signal to the brain. The problem here is two-fold, there is no proof they are using real pheromones, and they cite a fabricated study that says Pherlure has “a proven success rate of over 98.8 percent with a test group of 10,000 guys.”
Obviously, that claim is completely made-up to push product sales. No scientific study ever backed up the product’s claimed proven success rate.
Di-dehydroepiandrosterone is not a known chemica according to pheromone reseacher Martha McClintock, a psychology professor from Chicago University, yet it’s been used in Pherlure’s dirty marketing. Long story short: It doesn’t do anything.
Perhaps the most popular forum on pheromone products is run by Androtics Direct, a pheromone supplier. The forum, called Pherotalk is a place where people discuss how to best use the pheromones they purchase. It’s a treasure trove of information about how to wear pheromones, what to expect in social situations when you have them on, and specific information for each Androtics product.
So, what does the forum suggest about the likelihood of the Andrtocis products actually containing pheromones that affect behavior? On the positive side, there are many, many reports of pheromones working.
“Working” can mean anything from men using pheromones to attract women, women using pheromones to attract men, and either gender experiencing overt ﬂirtatious and sexual approaches. Some people also use pheromones to make themselves seem more friendly and approachable.
Finally, there are also reports of “self effects” in which wearing pheromones affects one’s own mood, and “overdosing”. Over dosing typically occurs when one wears too much of an “androstenone based product”, and it results in people being overtly hostile to you or ignoring you completely.
This all sounds promising, but there are reasons to doubt that the effects reported on the forum are real. Let’s start with the obvious: since it is a forum managed by a company that sells pheromones you have no idea if a post is from an actual pheromone user or a company employee. As for the pheromone stories reported, the overt effects often take place in situations involving alcohol, which is a huge confounding variable.
Pheromones in Nature
Research has shown that the glands of a variety of animals secrete substances through urine, sweat, and external openings that attract other animals of the opposite sex within the same species. Consider, for example, dogs.
When a female dog is in heat, she emits pheromones as airborne chemicals that produce an odor that attracts male dogs to her for mating. A built-in “maintenance of the species” system broadcasts her availability for a fertile mating whenever her body is ready. And the males get the message. Somehow through the nose, the brain is activated, and the males come running.
Studies In Animals
Researchers found that removing the VNO of a male mouse left him unable to respond to pheromones as he would normally to the sexual cues of a female of his species. If he doesn’t have a VNO with which to process the female’s chemical sex signals, or pheromones, his reproductive behavior and ability to procreate are either greatly diminished or halted.
Another study found that male guinea pigs whose VNOs had been removed stopped exhibiting a common behavior: wagging and bobbing their heads in response to the pheromone-laden urine of the female.
The Future of Human Pheromones
After decades of research, the mystery of pheromones continues. Pheromone research is a relatively new area of science. These substances may have profound effects that we have not even begin to understand.
Humans are complex creatures and it’s not so simple to isolate the effects of pheromones in humans. However, experiments show that people may be influenced by these molecules we call pheromones subconsciously. Science is beginning to unravel the relationships and with that knowledge, comes the power to live more richly. At the end of the day, it’s really up to the user to try pheromones and draw their own conclusions.
It may well be that the scientiﬁc method is not well suited to uncovering the overall impact of chemistry on the body when it dissects it into small enough pieces to see ‘an effect’. Maybe it’s like trying to comprehend the genius and beauty of say, the Mona Lisa, by putting one square mm of it’s surface under a microscope. Something’s lost in the process. The scientiﬁc method fails to take into consideration the whole context in spite of great intentions.