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24 Gee Whiz Facts About Your Sense of Smell

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Scent and Sex

A collection of facts, folklore and customs on the vital role our sense of smell plays in our sexuality.


We would all agree that the most important sex organ is the brain. That's where our sex drive and reproductive behavior are programmed.

When it comes to our senses, we tend to think that sight, touch, and sound are the most important sensual cues for humans. After all, we're obsessed with how we look, how our partner looks, how they stroke us, how we hold them and how their voice - both seductive and commanding – affects our response.

But when it comes to sex and mating, most important sensory organ may be our sense of smell. Decades of research demonstrates that in our mating behavior, humans tend to follow their noses.

We know that odors and subliminal scents influence how animals develop, mate, bond, and nurture their offspring. Humans are no exception. Odors can accelerate puberty, control a woman's menstrual cycles, affects her moods, alter men's hormone levels and even influence sexual orientation.

Odors help us to distinguish lovers and family members, how often we have sex and with whom. Just as the chemical appeal of food influences our food preferences, the scent of other people influences our people preferences.

Odors are the spice of life. Tall, dark, and handsome is a visual description of a masculine scent signature. Men prefer the natural scent of young women, who send chemical signals of maximum fertility levels. Many aspects of physical appeal in others are simply conditioned responses to pheromones and scents.

Aromas, fragrances and scents have been used for centuries to enhance the experience of seduction and lovemaking. This collection of facts, folklore and tips will give the reader a peak into the enticing world of how our sense of smell enhances the wonderful world of sex.

  • The sense of smell in the body is actually linked to a part of the brain that handles emotions and feelings. So, when you associate a smell with an erotic feeling, that smell can stimulate a sexual response.
  • The male pheromone, androstenone and the female, androstenol are subtle, undetectable scents that cause some men and women to feel attracted to each other, while other match ups are repelled by these same scents. Because Western culture is overly focused on being hygienic, many of the sexually charged pheromones are washed off, causing this innate power of sexual attraction to be muted.
  • Pheromones are activated at puberty and produced by glands in the armpit and around the genitals. These scent messages are delivered by our sense of smell to the limbic part of the brain which governs the most basic human emotions such as anger, joy, love, hate and sexual arousal.
  • Colognes and perfumes have been used since ancient times to increase the attraction between men and women. The ancient Egyptians used oils and flowers to create perfumes to increase sexual magnetism. If you have a good experience with a lover who wears a certain kind of cologne or perfume, you may associate that scent with happy feelings and unknowingly seek out a partner that smells the same way.
  • While we aren't consciously aware of another person's pheromones – we can't "smell" them in the traditional sense – they do have a major impact on us. They ignite the sex drive, increase fertility and help regulate women's menstrual cycles.
  • Legends have it that Cleopatra used a special blend of rose, cardamom, and cinnamon to seduce Marc Anthony to her boudoir. This spicy blend is often replicated in perfumes and colognes. Ancient Arabic books on sex often refer to the scent of black pepper for its sensual qualities.
  • Sandalwood oils are used in Tantric sexual practices as they stimulate the second chakra and a sexual response. Lovers that light sandalwood incense and use scented oils are thought to have more powerful orgasms.
  • Sexual pheromones aren't just good for helping attract the opposite sex – they can also help with increasing the amount of attention you receive from anyone that you come into contact with.
  • Women respond to pheromones more strongly than men do – they seem to favor men that have a musky and natural scent.
  • For the cattle-raising Dassanetch of Ethiopia, no scent is more beautiful than the odor of cows. The association of this scent with social status and fertility is such that the men wash their hands in cattle urine and smear their bodies with manure, while the women rub butter into their heads, shoulders and breasts to make themselves smell more attractive.
  • According to Harvard research, scents seem to be responsible for sexual responses more than any other sense in the body. That means that you might look good, but what you smell like is even more important.
  • Aphrodisiacs are named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite that ruled over matters of love and sex. These sexual enhancers are often scent-related.
  • Arab men may also wear perfumes: they use rose and aloe wood behind their ears, on their nostrils, in their beards and on the palms of their hands.
  • Pheromones can't make someone become attracted to you if they are not interested but if a person is attracted to that certain kind of pheromone, it increases your chances of finding the right sexual partner.
  • Women may receive free health benefits from certain scents of their sexual partner. These pheromones will increase her fertility, regulate the menstrual cycles and even increase her libido.
  • Because things like chili peppers, garlic, and pepper can cause a physical reaction – sweating, increased heart rate, etc. – when you smell them, your body can interpret these scents as sexual because the bodily reactions are similar to sex.
  • Like a man who whips his head around to follow a whiff of perfume, sperm cells turn their heads when they detect even the faintest of sexy female scents, according to a recent study. The study determined sperm cells can find ovarian scents even when the scents are diluted 100,000 times. The results confirm prior research on chemotaxis, the process by which sperm "sniff" sex chemicals and orient themselves in response.
  • On standard tests of smelling ability – including odor detection, discrimination and identification – women consistently score significantly higher than men. This superior  olfactory ability of females is evident even in babies.
  • At weddings in Northern Sudan, both the bride and the other women attending the ceremony are ritually perfumed with fragrant incense containing a blend of 'cold', masculine scents and 'hot', feminine aromas, to symbolize unity and promote fertility.
  • Having more sex may actually improve your sense of smell, which can lead to increased sexual response and more sex because you're more sensitive to smells that trigger your libido.
  • Eating sweeter foods will make you smell sweeter and more appealing to the opposite sex. And what you eat also affects the scent of your genitals and the taste of sperm – making sex all the more appealing.
  • Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the gay men respond in the same way as women.
  • Folklore says that the basil plant oil was used by younger Italian women to charm and bewitch potential lovers.
  • Pleasant fragrances on post-menopausal women have been shown to have a beneficial effect on their emotional well-being. Feeling good about one’s sexuality despite any physical changes in turn may make them more attractive to their partners.
  • The scent of a good meal can create sexual feelings. Men seem to be turned on by the scents of lavender and pumpkin pie, while women are turned on by cucumbers and certain candies. Vanilla is the scent that causes men and women to go ga-ga for each other. The scent of vanilla liqueur and vanilla perfumes can drive both sexes wild.
  • Nostalgia can create a strong connection between scent and sexual response. If your partner wears the same cologne or perfume that he or she did when you first began to date, it will remind you of how you felt for each other in the beginning.
  • Adding scents to sex can change the overall experience. Burning scented candles with exotic fragrances and oils can impact mood and receptivity. By blindfolding a partner and having them smell different fruits, candles, incense, etc, you can create a more intense orgasmic response.
  • The reason why men and women respond so strongly to the scent of the opposite sex is because that is generally considered to be a sign of attractiveness as well as fertility. Men and women that smell good are subconsciously thought of as more sexual.
  • Musk is a potent scent that can increase sexual response in both men and women. It recalls the scent of sweat and unwashed bodies … but without the stink.
  • Both men and women have reported more intense orgasms when they've worn a favorite cologne or perfume. It helps them relax and feel attractive, which then allows their partner to feel attractive to them.
  • Tests have shown that both men and women are able to recognize their spouses by scent. In one well-known experiment, women and men were able to distinguish t-shirts worn by their marriage partners, from among dozens of others, by scent alone.
  • Even if you aren't with someone that wears a scent that you particularly like their body chemistry and natural pheromones can cause it to be appealing sexually. This means that if your partner's body chemicals don't work well with a favorite scent, you might not like that cologne or perfume.
  • The neurons in our nose that allow us to smell regenerate throughout our lifetime. Although these cells are continually dying, they maintain the same connections as their ancestors. The result is that once we learn a smell, it always smells the same – despite the fact that there are always new neurons smelling it!
  • In India, the traditional affectionate greeting – equivalent to a hug or kiss – is to smell the person’s head. An ancient Indian text declares, “I will smell thee on the head, that is the greatest sign of tender love.”
  • Humans have the ability to smell over 10,000 distinct and different scents. Of course, animals are much better at this than us and use scent for attraction.
  • Certain aromatic plants exude oils similar to our own sexual secretions or pheromones. Wearing cinnamon and vanilla blends increases the presence of pheromone-like substances and dramatically increases attraction.
  • No two people smell the same scent the same way. This just might mean that there is one person (and one smell) for everyone – a smell mate instead of a soul mate?
  • When you smell something favorable (or not), that message is sent directly to the limbic system that control feelings of sexual pleasure and happiness. Anything you smell directly affects your levels of arousal because of this instant messaging system.
  • If genital odors are a turn-off when making love, keep some of your saliva in your mouth and breathe through your mouth. This reduces your sense of smell. Disagreeable odors are also much easier to tolerate when people are aroused.
  • The scent of a woman? Women, according to a recent study, are attracted to a black licorice scent.
  • People can recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year, while the visual recall is only about 50% after just three months. This is why the feeling of a lover can linger, even if you can not remember what they looked like.
  • Our sense of smell plateaus at around the age of eight and begins to slowly decline as early as our twenties, which seems to make sense, given our genetic tendency to want to reproduce around that age. Our sense of smell needs to be at or around its peak to find the perfect mate.
  • Wearing a pleasant perfume or cologne has been proven to increase your overall attractiveness to the opposite sex. Even those that were considered 'average' in terms of their looks have scored higher in tests when given a pleasing scent to wear.
  • A woman's sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger during ovulation, which allows her to find the perfect partner in order to reproduce – or at least, that's what the response was intended for.
  • The daily use of colognes or perfumes is also linked with lifting depression which can make you all the more attractive to the opposite sex. People report having higher spirits when they're wearing or smelling something pleasant, so they're happier and more fun to be with – and that is sexy.
  • Strong odors have a stimulating effect on the body, which results in increased blood flow to the penis as well as to the clitoris which heightens arousal.
  • Women's sensitivity to musk, an ingredient commonly used in perfumes, is 1000 times greater than men's. Sexy perfumes containing musk are therefore much more likely to arouse the woman wearing them than any potential male partners. But by making a woman feel more sensual, the perfume may affect her behavior and thus indirectly increase her attractiveness.

Note: Wearing a Scentuelle libido patch for women and men is a helpful way to renew your feelings of intimacy and desire. Each sexual libido enhancing patch contains a complex scent formula that subtly enhances sexual thoughts, feelings and desire.

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