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The Science Behind Love, Sex, and Scent

From pheromones to that post-coitus funk, we investigate the relationship between sexual attraction and your olfactory organ.

by Gareth May
Feb 17 2017, 3:20pm

Have you ever wondered why some people smell so good? Why you can't help but nuzzle up to them when they're straight out the shower, and even after they haven't washed for a while, when others would think, "Fucking hell, take a bath"?

Clean, unclean, even that little kick of sweaty pits, can be sexy as hell. But some people, it's like they've been rolled in monosodium glutamate and sprinkled with Pringles—you just can't get enough.

I've always thought that's when I've really liked someone: When I've purposefully face planted their dirty laundry and put my nostrils to work like a Dyson. And I blame pheromones.

Pheromones are an odorless chemical that plants, fungi, insects, and animals secrete, specifically in the case of humans through our sweat, tears and urine. In the animal and plant kingdoms, it's widely accepted that pheromones are released to communicate a message, to signal to others of the same species sexual desire and "optimal fecundity" (hot). Pheromones aren't actually smelt by the nose but instead are detected by the vomeronasal organ in the nasal cavity, which links to the olfactory bulb and in turn pings a memo up to the brain.

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