The Science Behind Pheromones & Attraction

The Science Behind Pheromones & Attraction

Human attraction is a hard one to crack. Millions of years of evolution and still, no one has a definitive answer. You might have heard a sorry mate say in passing, “If only I was tall”… “If only I was rich”… or maybe even “If only I knew how to keep a girl’s attention other than just buying her drinks all night”. 

Science would tell your sorry mate, “If only you smelt better”. Because pheromones matter.

Where we once assumed that attraction is more visual than anything, it’s now becoming increasingly apparent that scents and smells also play a large role in sociosexual relations.

But surely we can tell if someone is attractive just by the way they look? Otherwise, apps like Instagram and Tinder simply would not exist. Unfortunately, technology has yet to develop a scent function, but when it does – best believe it’ll go far.

According to the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pheromones are defined as:

In layman’s terms, the physical manifestation of attraction. The same journal also claims that humans are mainly visual in our attraction due to our poor sense of smell. 

However, there’s a case to be made that it does just fine. We receive pheromones through our nasal cavity, and therefore can only muster up the desire to become truly intimate with someone who we perceive to ‘smell good’.

Is this revelation a wild one? Nonsense, perhaps? I’ll be the first to step forward and claim that my attraction to potential partners has screeched to a grinding halt due to a lack of hygiene. If a person has BO, of course, it’s going to slow the night down. But smell tells us more than just cleanliness. According to recent scientific discovery, not only does smell indicate if a potential partner is healthy (and therefore prime for reproduction), but also whether they are compatible with you. 

A study in Frontiers in Psychology determined that while males tend to focus heavily on the visual, females rely on pheromones to distinguish between a man who can support them and a man who cannot.

Pheromones subconsciously communicate the following:

  • Male pheromones communicate his status among other men (is he ‘alpha’ or ‘beta’?)
  • Female pheromones communicate fertility

As for the BH prescription? Shower regularly, leave the Lynx Africa at home and read up on the beginner’s guide to fragrances. ‘Nuff said. 

RELATED: 10 Fascinating Facts About Scents & Smells