Got Pheromones? Get Affection

Medically Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD
From the WebMD Archives

March 20, 2002 -- Forget the expensive French perfumes. If a woman really wants to reel a man in, all she needs to do is dab a dose of odorless pheromones strategically to her pulse points, and men will shower her with affection. At least that's what the results of one small study show.

The study, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, found lacing a woman's perfume with a synthetic pheromone dramatically increases a woman's sex appeal to the opposite sex.

Pheromones are body secretions that cause a change in the reproductive behavior of the opposite sex. They're processed by one of two areas in the nose that convey messages to the brain and can stimulate sexual behavior. The pheromone used in the study was artificial.

The study found 74% of women who wore their regular perfume with the added pheromone saw a significant increase in three or more of the following types of intimate behaviors with men:

  • Frequency of kissing
  • Heavy petting and affection
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Sleeping next to their partner
  • Formal dates with men

Only 23% of women who had a placebo added to their perfume reported an increase in these factors. Researchers say those results show it was the pheromones that made the women more sexually attractive to men.

"This is a biological signal to a man that suggests that this woman can reproduce and he responds with romantic behavior related to securing intimate relations with her," says study author Norma McCoy, a psychology professor at San Francisco State University, in a news release. "This is not a smell one can detect, neither the man nor the woman is aware of it, but it is very powerful. The chemical appears to influence a man's desire to have sexual intercourse."

For the study, 19 women wore the pheromone-laced perfumes for 14 weeks, and researchers compared their activities with the opposite sex to 17 women who used plain perfume. Only intimate activities that required a male partner were affected by the use of pheromones. There were no significant changes recorded between the two groups in the categories of informal dates, the number of times a male approached the woman, and masturbation.

Some perfume makers claim to put pheromones in their heady concoctions, but researchers say this is the first study of its kind to independently test a synthetic pheromone for women, created specifically to attract a man by the Athena Institute for Women's Wellness.

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