Can Perfume Pheromones Pose A Threat To My Good Judgment?
The pheromone phenomenon came bursting onto the scene in the early nineties and has been hovering just below the pop culture radar ever since. But what are they anyway?
Pheromones are invisible odorless sex attractant chemicals that both male and female mammals produce naturally.
They can also be synthesized in a laboratory and incorporated into a variety of cosmetics, although they are used primarily in fragrances that are marketed as scented aphrodisiacs (without using that term of course).
Pheromones exist in several classes. The first and most talked about class is the opposite sex attractants. These exist primarily to aid in the mating process of most mammals and are the ones that are used in cosmetics.
The second class is the opposite sex repellents – think about dogs “marking their territory” and you’ll have an idea how those work.
Then there are the infant bonding attractants – these help young identify their mothers in the wild and play apart in the mother-infant bonding process in humans as well. For those of you taking notes, this third class is also the class of pheromones responsible for syncing your menstrual cycle up with your roommates or other women you spend a lot of time with.
Of course the opposite attractant pheromones are the ones people are selling in fragrances. The basic sales pitch is something along the lines of helping your natural sex appeal reach out and touch someone – boosting the attractiveness of the wearer to the opposite sex.
Do they work?
A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania indicates that pheromones actually work as they are advertised under the right conditions. For instance, if you’re out at a club and you bump into a hot guy, there is a certain probability that you will find a way to talk to him. If he is wearing one of the pheromone fragrances, that probability increases. As far as your body chemistry is concerned, he went form an 8 to an 8.5 in one breath.
But this guy was already an 8 – if he was a 4, he might get a boost to a 4.5, but he’s still going to be below average. The point is that the pheromones aren’t a mind control drug or even an aphrodisiac – they just boost sex appeal – like a good haircut, a nice suit, a body that spends hours at the gym instead of on the couch.
So if the sleazy guy at work who always seems just a little too interested in you starts wearing a pheromone cologne, you don’t have anything to worry about – he’s still going to seem sleazy. Maybe slightly less so, but certainly not date material. Where the
University of Pennsylvania study found the most significant results of pheromone use was in married couples. With these couples, the pheromones helped rekindle the passionate physical attraction that had once been present, but had faded over time.
So will pheromones cloud your good judgment? Not likely. And they probably won’t turn your husband into Brad Pitt either. But they just might heat things up in the bedroom.