Do Human Pheromones Exist? The Latest Research


Imagine attracting the opposite sex by wearing a magical love potion. As far-fetched as this sounds, scientists suspect that humans release odorless signals that influence behavior. In this article, I investigate whether human pheromones exist. I explore their implications for sex, love, and dating.

These naturally occurring molecules are intriguing. They invite us to think about ourselves in new ways. They tempt us with tales of instant attraction, of chemical communication, and falling in love with someone. They’re based on chemistry instead of common sense. It was not until the late 1950s that the first pheromone was identified and isolated in the lab.

First Study on Human Pheromones

The first study on human pheromones was published in 1986. There was an avalanche of publicity with respected media bodies throughout the world reporting the study. Implications were known for the development of some kind of commercial human pheromone. Dr. Cutler would later claim to have created this with Athena Pheromones. This was the first study. There were many variables that would inevitably be discovered to affect the production of human pheromones if they even existed.

By 1974, pheromones as sex attractants were understood to exist in nature. They 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.

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How Human Pheromones Work

human pheromonesBody scents and sweat can be highly attractive to our sexual partners. Pheromones are detected by the vomeronasal organ (VNO) and regular olfactory membranes. The VNO lies at the base of the nasal septum between the nose and mouth.

These days, opening a fashion magazine 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 for 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. Unlike the odors from food, we’re only subject to pheromones through circumstances that involve other people.

It’s the unconscious association with other sensory input that allows pheromones to determine our perception. After conditioning to the pheromones, we behave differently than we otherwise would. That is, your sexual preferences may be different than somebody else’s.

ABC 20/20 Pheromone Experiment

During the next few years from 1986 to 1993, Dr. Cutler worked on copying the human pheromones she identified in her earlier work. She isolated the active compounds that had led to the effects in those studies. This resulted in the development of two different odorless and colorless pheromones by the Athena Institute in 1990. They were available for 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. And whilst the results are far from scientific proof, they’re anecdotally compelling. The first involved a speed dating event with 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 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 number 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.

Recommended: How Pheromone Signals Work 

Human Pheromone Colognes/Perfumes

Pheromones have become the darlings of the perfume industry. Scent lovers can purchase perfumes and colognes that feature pheromones and make claims ranging from the believable to the ridiculous. Whether it comes in an expensive bottle from a boutique, fragrance engages us in a subtle exchange.

Two studies suggest that pheromone cologne increases sexual activity when worn by the opposite sex. In other words, you could wear these colognes to increase your chances of having sex.

However, these studies are insignificant. Their statistics fail to 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 it’s a coincidence.

If you want to read about pheromone colognes that actually work then check out my reviews.

Type of Pheromones

The following pheromones are 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.  You can find androstenol inside fresh male sweat. It’s a known sexual attractant.


Shown to cause sexual arousal in women, Androstenone is the primary ingredient added in sexual pheromone colognes. When women smell androstenone it causes sexual arousal. It works best in social settings. A lot of pheromone users use it to find a date or hook-up for sex.


Increase affect from women, and uplifting, while boosting comfort. Women feel more protected under its influence. It’s in commercial pheromone products and popular personal hygiene products such as body wash. Androstadienone occurs in the sweat of humans. It has profound effects on the emotions of men and women.


Similar to Androstenone, it elevates sexual tension and boosts alpha male status. Users of androstanone have reported positive results, including increased friendliness from both men and women. They receive greater attention and an increased social “closeness” with others. They even reported 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 influences sexual arousal. A variety of experiments suggest that androstadienone makes both men and women more sensitive to social information. It would be a good idea to pay attention to the emotions of those around you. And of course, people sweat during sex

Learn More: Different Types of Pheromones You Need to Know.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions regarding human pheromones.

Can you increase pheromone output naturally without a spray?

There are some interesting theories about pheromones including some crazy ways to boost natural production. Things like masturbation, abstaining from showering and taking steroids are all reported to have an effect on pheromone production. Remember these claims need scientific validation.

Taking steroids is dangerous. You may not be able to increase pheromones naturally, but there are other solutions. If you are having a hard time meeting women, try pheromone-laden colognes. As mentioned earlier studies are showing promising results.

Some will say that the effect is a placebo. In other words. you believe the pheromone is working to attract females. Therefore, you’re more confident and easy to talk to. Let’s think about that for a moment, setting aside the research data above. What if it were a placebo effect? The end result is your meeting, talking to and dating women!

What are the benefits of pheromones?

Are you sick of slinking around the outskirts of normal life? Men and women naturally gravitate toward relationships. But if all the women are gravitating toward someone else, it could be time to take action. Adding pheromones to your cologne collection is definitely a great place to start.

These hormones send out messages to the opposite sex stating you are all man, alpha, provider, protector and much more! All of this could be yours without learning cheesy pickup lines or going on 50 blind dates. Get back in the saddle effortlessly with pheromones for men.

Most pheromone colognes and perfumes come in a spray bottle with an atomizer. It’s a refillable spray device consisting of a cap, removable top, sprayer, and bottle. Smaller atomizers are convenient for carrying in a purse. They’re useful on trips when you don’t want to carry your regular-sized bottle.

Does deodorant inhibit pheromones?

In a culture where deodorants are so common, it is reasonable to wonder whether they inhibit our pheromones. I suspect that deodorants are irrelevant to the power of pheromones. In the pheromone experiments of Dr. McClinktock, many of the participants wore deodorants and thus was odor free and still experienced an increase in intimacy.


When men think about human pheromones their primary thought is being more attractive in the eyes of women. They want to gain an attraction and reproductive advantage. Smooth talking sales people have proven to be adept at making false claims regarding pheromones. No pheromone will allow you to effortlessly 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 sex tonight, you’ll have to make an effort.

Even if you are using the best pheromone money can buy.

Human Pheromones Won’t Work for Everyone

Many myths abound regarding the use of pheromones. Among those myths would be the notion that you can have any person you desire. This is a bit of marketing hyperbole. It detracts from the 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.


If something seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. If somebody invents some magical spray that makes it possible for guys to bed any woman it would be banned. However, you do get some pheromone sprays which have an effect on women. You still need to put in effort in meeting women. You’ll need to build rapport and work on your inner game to be successful. Pheromones are an accessory to dating and not a silver bullet.

Fake Science

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 perfume were sued for their misleading ads. They claimed their product contains real pheromones that cause a sexual response signal to the brain. The problem here is two-fold, there is no proof they’re using real pheromones, and they cite a fabricated study.  It 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 sales.  No scientific study ever backed up the product’s claimed success rate.


Di-dehydroepiandrosterone is not a known chemical. This is according to pheromone researcher Martha McClintock, a psychology professor at Chicago University.  Long story short: It doesn’t do anything.

Pheromone Forums

Perhaps the most popular forum on human pheromones are run by Androtics Direct, a pheromone supplier. The forum, called Pherotalk is a place where people discuss the pheromones they purchase. It’s a treasure trove of information about how to wear pheromones. They discuss what to expect in social situations when you have them on. And there’s 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 reports of pheromones working.

“Working” can mean anything from men using pheromones to attract women or women using pheromones to attract men. Either gender can experience overt flirtation and sexual approaches. Some people use pheromones to make themselves seem more friendly and approachable.

Finally, there are reports of “self-effects” in which wearing pheromones affects one’s own mood, and “overdosing”. Overdosing typically occurs when one wears too much of an “androstenone based product”. 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. Androtics Direct is the pheromone company that runs the forum. Therefore, you have no idea if a post is an actual user or a company employee. As for the pheromone stories reported, the overt effects often take place in situations involving alcohol. This is a huge confounding variable.


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 haven’t even begun 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. At the end of the day, it’s really up to the user to try pheromones and draw their own conclusions.

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Do Human Pheromones Exist? The Latest Research
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Do Human Pheromones Exist? The Latest Research
Human pheromones are detected by the vomeronasal organ (VNO). Body scents and sweat can be highly attractive to our sexual partners. 
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About Mark Alexander 84 Articles
My obsession with pheromone began when I chosen as a subject for a study on how effective pheromones were. I was shocked with the results.

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