Pheromones are chemicals released by both humans and animals, though pheromones have proven to play a more predominant role in the lives of animals than in the lives of humans. The study of pheromones began in in the 1960s when a scientist discovered that certain chemicals were used by animals for the purpose of mating. Studies have discovered that pheromones are used by a number of animals and by humans as well, thus leading researchers to look for practical applications for the chemicals produced by the human body.
The Role of Pheromones
Pheromones are basically chemicals scents that are produced by the body for the purpose of attracting mates. Animals produce pheromones for mating, and have been linked to human attraction. The pheromones are created by the body, and they are secreted in different ways. Animal hormones are usually released from special hormone glands that create the hormones and secrete them into the air for mating purposes. Men release pheromones through sweat, and woman release the chemicals that are created in their vagina.
The pheromones are detected by the VNO, and organ inside the nasal cavity. The VNO is the only organ that can detect the pheromones, as the chemicals have no perceptible scent that can be detected by the hairs in the nose. Not every human has a VNO, however, meaning that not everyone in the world is able to detect the chemicals in the air.
Nearly every animal in the world can detect pheromones, and they are used by different animals in different ways:
- Mice detect pheromones with their VNO, and these pheromones play an important role in the mating of mice
- Cats detect nepetalactone with their VNO, thus obtaining the “high” associated with catnip.
- Snakes sense their prey by sticking out and withdrawing their forked tongue, which touches the VNO as the tongue flicks in an out.
- Elephants are stimulated as the transfer the chemicals that stimulate their sense to the tip of their trunks, and the chemicals are detected by the VNO.
How Do They Affect Humans?
When the human VNO picks up the chemical scent of the pheromones, the VNO sends a signal to the hypothalamus section of the human brain. This section of the brain is the part that is responsible for moods, including happiness, sadness, anger, and sexual arousal. The signals sent by the VNO to the brain tell the hypothalamus that it is picking up a chemical stimulant scent, and the brain reacts accordingly.
The hypothalamus will usually respond to the chemical stimulant of the pheromones by causing the brain to feel good, create a pleasant sensation, speed up breathing, and cause the heart to beat faster. Many people automatically associate these sensations with sexual arousal, as these things are usually the effects that indicate arousal. However, the VNO doesn’t send signals that cause sexual arousal, but the signals sent to the hypothalamus are usually misinterpreted as being sexual stimulation.
The reaction to the chemicals that are pheromones is entirely subconscious, as there is no smell that can be detected by the human nose. The subconscious effect is sufficient to stimulate the person’s mind and cause them to feel better, along with the symptoms that they mistake to be sexual arousal. The fact that the pheromones stimulate the body subconsciously is one of the things that have made them the subject of such interest.
Why Do They Work?
So, why do pheromones work? The answer is that these substances evoke a strong desire for mating. They work on a completely natural level. They were meant to be secreted so that men could attract women so that both sexes could fulfill their sexual desires. Nature meant it to be that way.
What proves that these pheromones work as a female magnet is the presence of extra dollops of the androstenone family of pheromones in alpha males. Males who score high with females are nicked as Alpha Males. So, when this nick-naming went on for far too long, scientists got together and conducted a study on a bunch of alpha males, and they found one thing in common – that all the alpha males being researched upon secreted high levels of androstenone pheromones!
The studies went a little further and roped in women who had had sexual encounters with alpha males. These women said they preferred to have sexual intercourse with alpha males because they felt an amazing sex appeal emitting from the men. The studies dug deeper and it was discovered that men with extra androstenone were more confident while dealing with their male business associates, friends and employees.
A number of different studies have been conducted in recent years, with the results varying:
- Up to 91% of the people tested experienced increased eye contact with women
- As many as 80% of test subjects were approached by women within the first week of trying the pheromones
- Up to 75% of the test subjects felt more masculine and had improved confidence in their sexual abilities
- As many as 68% of the male subjects had more sex as a result of the pheromones
Pheromones are a subject of continued interest for scientists from around the world, as many researchers are finding that the interesting and unique chemical effects the pheromones are different for every person.
Facts and Myths
Pheromones have become increasingly popular over the years with manufacturers infusing them into colognes, perfumes, oils, and even candles. Some of the claims have been overzealous and, as a result, has been a multitude of inaccurate statements and myths pertaining to what they do.
Fact: The Los Angeles Times further explains that, “Scientific studies have actually shown that subjects who used synthesized pheromones had intercourse more often.”
Fact: ABC News reported a study where human pheromones increased the attention female participants received from men by a whooping 50%.