Sunday, December 14, 2014

Smell your Way to Love – New Dating Trend

“I emitted some civetlike female stink, a distinct perfume of sexual wanting, that he had followed to find me here in the dark.”

― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

“The best smell in the world is that man that you love.”

- Jennifer Aniston

Pheromone Parties

One of the newest trends in matchmaking has little to do with physical attraction. You may be surprised but that what it is. People are being paired based on the way they smell. Here you go – you can try to find your perfect match at so-called pheromone party.

Twenty-five-year-old Judith Prays, an Atlanta-based artist, created the idea of pheromone parties to help people find love. Prays said, "It's about romance. Intellectual connection is not always the most important thing in a relationship."

Here is how it works: Singles attending the bash are instructed to sleep in the same T-shirt for three nights, and then store it in a plastic bag in the freezer to maintain the scent. Then, participants bring their shirt in the bag to the meet-up. The bags are marked with numbers and labeled pink for women and blue for men. Participants browse the shirts, take a few whiffs, and then choose the one they find most appealing. They are photographed while they do so, and then the photographs are displayed. Strangers then introduce themselves to each other based on who is pictured with their shirt.

Although pheromones do not give off an actual odor, the body is able to process them and create a chemical reaction in the brain.

Web reaction has been mostly positive. One person tweeted that this new way of biological dating is "fascinating," and another said she believes it is possible to sniff your way to love. Some people remain skeptical. One person said she is not sure if she should follow her heart or her nose.
The first pheromone party took place in New York in 2010. At another one, in Los Angeles on April 5, more than 100 people showed up. The trend is spreading around as a wildfire…

What these Pheromones actually are?

Pheromones, or chemical signals sent from one individual to another which affect behavior, are argued to influence meaningful behaviors once thought to be completely controlled by conscious personal choice, such as sexual willingness and attraction. They also introduce the possibility that we may be constantly communicating with each other and making interpersonal judgments of which we are unaware. The possible implications of this invisible sense are significant and far-reaching.

In the animal kingdom, pheromones are well-known and well-documented phenomena. In the human realm, we are still learning. We know that pheromones are released through bodily fluids – especially sweat. The effect on the opposite sex is subtle, as the almost undetectable pheromone drifts through the air and is inhaled.

Scientists are not in full agreement regarding the human Vomeronasal Organ (VNO), which – in theory – detects the scent of attraction. Some believe we scent pheromones through our standard sense of smell and that our VNO is inactive. Others feel we simply have not figured out the mechanics yet. Either way, the pheromone is “scented”, and causes the other person to “hone in” on the person secreting the scent.

History of Research

The first convincing evidence for the existence of human pheromones was presented in 1971, when Martha McClintock published a paper, documenting the synchronization of the menstrual cycles of her and her fellow female dorm mates. It seemed likely that something pheromonal was at work, as this phenomenon mirrored a similar occurrence caused by pheromones in mice, known as the Lee-Boot effect. McClintock provided further evidence for this a few years ago in a controlled experiment published in the Journal Nature. She found that secretions from the underarms of females in the follicular phase of menstruation significantly shortened the cycles of other female test subjects when applied under their noses, and secretions from the ovulatory cycle accordingly lengthened their cycles. In addition, she noticed that certain females seemed much more sensitive to the secretions than others, with responses of lengthening or shortening ranging from 1 to 14 days difference.

McClintock also predicts that pheromones of social interaction may be found to affect humans in many more of the same ways they have been found to affect rats, including age of puberty onset, interbirth intervals, age at menopause, and level of chronic estrogen exposure throughout a woman's life. Not only does this evidence point toward a type of invisible chemical communication between women, but the variable sensitivities of certain women compared to others indicates that certain women may be dominant over others in determining the cycles of the entire group. Further evidence of this invisible power structure is provided by Michael Russell, who performed a case-study on a female colleague who had observed that it was always her cycle to which other females synchronized.

Other studies provide evidence that it is not only females who communicate with each other pheromonally, but that males as well as females can influence each other sexually. Various studies have found that sexual exposure to males causes irregularly cycling women to begin cycling more regularly, which is another well-studied occurrence in mice known as the Whitten effect, and has been linked to pheromones. Dr. Alex Comfort also noted that during Victorian times the average age of the onset of menstruation was much higher than in post-Victorian times, when co-education of males and females became more acceptable. So male pheromones may play a large part in the regulation of the hormones, which cause menstruation. Women, who have sex with men at least once a week, have in fact been found to have fewer infertility problems and milder menopause than those who do not. And, sex may not be necessary, but rather just the exposure to men's pheromones which are released only at close range. The implications of these findings are that male pheromones may be necessary for women to achieve optimum health, and that this may in part explain the female attachment to men.

Other studies by Russell also found that around 6 weeks of age, almost all babies will react more favorably to a pad containing the sweat of their mother than to a stranger’s pad, and that people can identify their own sweaty shirts as well as those of a strange male and female with a relatively high rate of accuracy. These functions in humans seem similar to the identifying functions of pheromones found in many other animals.

Perhaps the most controversial human behavior, which may be influenced by pheromones, is sexual preference and mate selection. A case study by Kalogerakis found that at around the age of three years a boy named Jackie began to prefer the smells of his mother much more than those of his father, especially after she had recently had intercourse. The smells of the father at this time, until the boy reached six years old, caused aversion and some nausea. This behavior supports not only the theory of sexual attraction by pheromones but also Freud's theory of an innate "Oedipal complex" in young boys. And in addition to women's health being beneficially affected over time by exposure to male pheromones, the moods of women have been shown to improve when exposed to the male steroid androstadienone. A study also found men and women are more attracted to individuals whose genetically based immunity to disease is most different from their own. Companies have not only begun to market so-called "pheromone colognes" containing compounds meant to attract members of the opposite sex, but these colognes have been reported to have some success for both men and women.

There are still many, who are skeptical about the actual existence of a pheromone receptor in humans, which is separate from other smell receptors in the nose. The vomeronasal organ, which serves this purpose in other species, has long been considered as nonexistent in humans after a certain fetal growth stage. However, there is a distinctive pit in the human nose with nerve endings, which may still serve this purpose, if the axons of these neurons end in separate, more primitive parts of the brain than the more common nasal sensory neurons. This has yet to be definitively proven, but it seems especially unlikely that menstrual synchronization could be caused by scent alone and not specific chemical factors independent of the I-function.

How Pheromones Work

In order to understand pheromones and attraction, it is important to note that there are several hormones’ varieties - there are four separate and distinct types, which cause a different reaction in the person who scents them:

* Releaser pheromones– you see someone across a room and your physical and sexual reaction to them hits you hard and fast.

* Primer pheromones– take longer to manifest and influence hormone production, menstruation, puberty and the ability to get pregnant.

* Signaler pheromones– are “you” by scent. Some women can recognize their infants by scent due to these informational pheromones.

* Modulator pheromones– these involve sweat. Animal females in studies became calm when the sweat of their male partners was placed beneath their noses. In humans, it causes feelings of well-being and relaxation.

More studies are being done in this field but initial results are incredibly interesting. Advocates say that pheromones create a sense of personal attractiveness and relaxation that draws the opposite sex to you. Opponents insist it is all in the user’s head. Perhaps the confidence-booster of believing in yourself as an attractive being is all an applied pheromone is – but there is no denying that it works.

Two separate studies – done by the University of Chicago and Bennett Research Lab in Australia – noted measurable improvements in male/female socio-sexual interactions.

How Does Mate Selection Work?

Mate selection is a task of information processing. Evolution favors individuals who are able to quickly and reliably process information that allows them to make the appropriate mating decisions. It is often hypothesized, that since neither males nor females can adequately determine when a female is ovulating, women are able to “trick” men into staying in a relationship. Because males are unaware of females’ fertility, men are more or less forced to remain with the same mate until they are confident impregnation has occurred. If a female were to provide cues as to when she was ovulating, it could make finding a helping partner more difficult.

Some researchers and scientists believe that hidden ovulation gives women the upper hand in the mating world. Other researchers believe that women are seeking good genes during the mating process. Pheromones attribute to this theory. According to some studies, women seem to prefer the odors of immunocompatible men, meaning that each part of the couple donates immunity that the other partner does not donate. This gives the offspring more of an opportunity to survive after birth.

While the mating system of ancestral hominids is unknown, it is likely that during hominid evolution there was at least some male investment in mating and offspring upon which natural selection has shaped modern human mating behavior.


If you aren't planning on attending a Pheromone Party but want to make sure your scent is at its most alluring, tips from the event’s organizers include minimizing consumption of spices, garlic, and onions during the collection phase, limiting the use of fragrant products and not shaving under the armpits.

If you want to trick the nature and secure your higher chances of success among potential mates, you may check for pheromone products. For example, pheromone-based perfumes have long been of interest in the fragrance industry, while the website offers a guide to some of the most popular pheromone products around.

Sources and Additional Information:

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