Women's Scent Triggers Hormone Surge in Men
Scent of an Ovulating Woman Prompts Testosterone Rise in Men
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 15, 2010 -- Forget the pricey perfume. The natural scent of a woman at
her most fertile may be enough to attract a mate.
A new study shows that when men smell T-shirts worn by women while
ovulating, it triggers a surge in the sex hormone testosterone.
Researchers say it's the first study to show that olfactory cues to a
woman's ovulation stimulate a biological response in men that may affect mating
"Men who smelled a T-shirt worn by a woman on her estimated day of ovulation
responded with higher testosterone levels than men who smelled a T-shirt worn
by a woman earlier or later in her cycle," write researchers Saul L. Miller and
Jon K. Maner of Florida State University in Psychological Science.
"Additionally, consistent with previous findings, our results showed that men
perceived women's odors to be most pleasant right around the time of
In two separate experiments, men smelled T-shirts worn by women for three
nights when they were near or far from ovulation according to their menstrual
cycle, as well as T-shirts that hadn't been worn by anyone.
In addition, researchers collected saliva samples from the men and measured
their testosterone levels before and after smelling each of the shirts.
The results of both experiments showed that not only did men prefer the
scent of the T-shirts worn by the women close to ovulation but they also had
higher testosterone levels than men who smelled T-shirts of non-ovulating women
or unworn T-shirts.
Researchers say the findings confirm that human mating behavior may be
influenced by some of the same sensory triggers found among animals from
rodents to primates. For example, the scents released by many species of
animals can have a significant impact on their mating behavior.