According to a recently published paper in the scientific journal – ‘Archives of Sexual Behavior‘ – researchers have found that ‘men process olfactory signals of women’s sexual arousal’. Or to put it in plainer language – men can smell when a woman is turned on.
The research group, from the University of Kent in England, conducted a series of experiments involving young heterosexual men and women in order to determine if a female mating cue – such as sexual arousal – could be transmitted to potential male partners via ‘chemosignals’ (more commonly referred to in this context as pheromones) .
Young heterosexual women with an average age of 19, none of them taking hormonal contraceptives, were shown an erotic (for women) film, and then samples of their sweat were taken using cotton swabs wiped under their armpits when they reported being sexually aroused by the film. Sweat samples were also taken when the young women were not in a state of sexual arousal.
Both types of sweaty scent were then sniffed at by the male volunteers participating in the experiment, all heterosexual men with an average age of 21. It was indeed found that the men rated the scent of the women in a sexually aroused state as being more attractive.
In a further twist to the experiment, the men were then shown pictures of various women in either sexual or non-sexual poses, whilst they were either exposed or not exposed to the scent of the sexually aroused women. The researchers found that the men inhaling the scent would increase their attention and declare themselves more likely to pursue the women in sexual poses, but would not show any greater attention than the placebo group when it came to the photos of women in non-sexual poses.
In three experiments, axillary perspiration samples were collected from female donors while they were sexually aroused and (at a diferent time) while they were non-sexually aroused; then,
male recipients were exposed to each of these scent samples. Experiment 1 tested the hypothesis that males would evaluate the scent samples of sexually aroused females as more attractive than the non-sexual scents. Experiment 2 tested whether exposure to the sexual scent samples would increase males’
sexual arousal. Finally, Experiment 3 explored whether female sexual chemosignals augmented men’s attention to female sexual cues in a subsequent task. Specifcally, in Experiment
3 it was examined whether exposure to sexual arousal scents would lead males to spend more time viewing photographs of scantily dressed women in seductive poses and report a greater
motivation to pursue these women.
The researchers concluded that their initial hypothesis, which appears to have been based upon evolutionary psychology, that men (who have less mating choices than women) would have an evolutionary advantage in being able to pick up olfactory cues as to a female’s willingness to mate, was confirmed by the experiments.
Note that the research paper uses the term ‘chemosignals’, which is a general word used to describe purported molecules that can transmit emotional information about one individual to another. The word for these molecules when in the context of sexual signals is pheromones, but this term is still unfortunately highly contentious at this time in the scientific community.
The experiments made no attempt to determine what the particular ‘chemosignals’ or pheromones, which were present in the sweat of the sexually aroused females, and responsible for the men’s greater sexual attention were. Undoubtedly, though, it serves as further proof that pheromones are a real thing in humans, just as they are with virtually all other animals, even if the precise mechanism in which they work in humans is yet to be established.
One purported female pheromone that is likely secreted through sweat glands is estratetraenol. Known to be produced via the ovaries, it is suspected to be also found in female urine and sweat, and long been considered the most likely candidate for a female pheromone. Many of the top pheromone sprays for women contain it, including my best rated female pheromone spray ‘True Sexiness‘.