Smell and Attraction

smell and atraction

Layers to attraction

There are many layers to attraction between humans and I think smell is quite strong (’scuse the pun)! I really mean that smell plays a major role in whether two people will be attracted to each other or not. Recently I came across a few articles on the net that spoke about various studies that are focused on the issue of smell between people.

The key to any good relationship, on-screen and off, is communication, respect, and I guess you have to like the way the other person smells — and he smelled real nice.
Sandra Bullock


Science Daily had an interesting post Male Body Odor Can Stink Like Urine Or Have A Pleasant Vanilla Smell, Depending On One Gene discussing androstenone in male body odor as per below:

To many, urine smells like urine and vanilla smells like vanilla. But androstenone, a derivative of testosterone that is a potent ingredient in male body odor, can smell like either – depending on your genes. While many people perceive a foul odor from androstenone, usually that of stale urine or strong sweat, others find the scent sweet and pleasant. Still others cannot smell it at all.

New research from Rockefeller University, performed in collaboration with scientists at Duke University in North Carolina, reveals for the first time that this extreme variability in people’s perception of androstenone is due in large part to genetic variations in a single odorant receptor called OR7D4.

Androstenone, found in higher concentrations in the urine and sweat of men than of women, is used by some mammals to convey social and sexual information, and the ability to perceive androstenone’s scent may have far-reaching behavioral implications for humans.

With their Duke collaborators, Vosshall and Keller identified two point mutations called single nucleotide polymorphisms along the gene, which gave rise to two variants of the odorant receptor: RT and WM, which differ by two amino acids. As a group, participants with the RT/RT genotype perceive androstenone’s odor as foul and intense. Those with the RT/WM genotype, on the other hand, are more likely to perceive androstenone as less unpleasant. Many cannot smell androstenone at all. Although some participants with the RT/WM genotype can smell androstenone, they experience the smell very differently than those with two copies of the fully functional receptor: To them, androstenone doesn’t smell like urine; it has a vanilla scent.

Since some mammals clearly use androstenone to communicate sexuality and dominance within a social hierarchy, it’s intriguing to think whether the same thing may happen in humans,” Vosshall says. “If so, what happens to humans who can’t get the signal because they have the nonfunctional copy of the gene? Or the hyperfunctional one? What could be the social and sexual implications of this on one’s perception of the smell of fellow humans?

I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.
Margaret Thatcher

Another Science Daily article Women May Be Sniffing Out Biologically-relevant Information From Underarm Sweat talks about women’s ability to smell male body odor, superceding men’s ability to sniff out ours.

It is quite difficult to block a woman’s awareness of body odor. In contrast, it seems rather easy to do so in men.
Charles J. Wysocki, PhD, a behavioral neuroscientist at Monell.

Women Smell Better

The researchers speculate that females are more attuned to biologically relevant information in sweat that may guide women when choosing a mate.

Not only were women better smellers the men, but male odors were harder to block than female odors. Even though underarm odors from the two sexes didn’t differ in how strong they smelled, only 19 percent of the fragrances successfully reduced the strength of male underarm odor; in contrast, over 50 percent decreased intensity of female underarm odor.

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
Benjamin Franklin

BoingBoing also has a post Women’s sense of smell evolved to sniff out bad mates which again identifies women’s ability to smell out mates.

Women have a larger interest in reproductive events because they have fewer opportunities for passing on their genes than men said George Preti, a Monell Chemical Senses Center organic chemist…

Preti and other pheromone researchers suspect that mammalian olfactory systems actually evolved to detect chemical traces of genetic incompatibility in the odors of potential mates.

The lovesick, the betrayed, and the jealous all smell alike.
Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Helen Fisher from was interviewed in a Wired Science post Pharmaceutical Love Potion: Not Yet???

The alterations required to manipulate love, she said, are likely so complex and far-reaching as to be unattainable in a pill. There are cognitive processes and limbic reactions associated with basic emotions said Fisher. And you can change brain chemistry, but you???re still not going to change memories and experiences in a human being.

smells and relationships

And the feeling of trust in somebody by having them sniff some oxytocin is fleeting, she said. “You need to alter brain chemistry on an absolutely regular schedule in order to sustain any kind of feeling,” she said.

Success is like a fart — only your own smells nice.
James P. Hogan

Yet another post from Wired Science An Evolutionary Explanation for Sexual Smell Differences elaborates on the sense of smell

Men produce thousands of gametes every day, women just one every month Preti said. Their investment in a reproductive event is higher than men???s, so they???re more biologically attuned to who they???re mating with.

Preti and other pheromone researchers suspect that mammalian olfactory systems actually evolved to detect chemical traces of genetic incompatibility in the odors of potential mates.

Of the odor-masking compounds used in the study, said Preti, the most effective were eventually used in two brands of commercial deodorant.

Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.
Eric Hoffer

Astrology and Senses

In Astrology, the senses are ruled by Taurus & Venus & possibly also the Moon. Dependent upon aspects and signs in which Venus is located would determine our personal senses and therefore preferences. Of course astrology is a wonderful gauge of the invisible in ourselves & also in our relationships. So even if not mentioned specifically, it will be covered by the compatibility astrology of a couple.

Feelings are like chemicals, the more you analyze them the worse they smell.
Charles Kingsley

I’ve always had a heightened sense of smell, in fact more than other women that I know. I would hasten to add that it appears to be my strongest sense apart from intuition. As a result I find it hard to ignore any kind of smell & its one of the first thing I experience when meeting people. Some men’s odor can almost make me feel ill, I can smell it so strongly. After reading all these articles I’m not sure what that is saying about myself? Maybe I’ll have to wait to read further research in the future.

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

I would love to get your feedback about how smell affects you or doesn’t in your relationships & meetings with people.