Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Body Odor and Sexual Attraction

The nose knows. We saw it when Joe Biden was indulging his hair sniffing fetish. Men are more attracted to women who have the right smell. Which smell would that be? Why, it would be a smell that resembles theirs. And you didn't think that they were narcissists.

One supposes that looks still matter. But, that smell matters more. Think of it, when you meet someone online through a dating app, one thing you cannot know is what they smell like. But then he meets her and he discovers that there is no chemistry. Now we know, it’s the olfactory chemistry that matters. Among the conclusions we will draw is this one: that dating apps are an economically inefficient way to find a proper mate.

And yes, I recognize that no one really wants to find a proper mate any more, but still, if the olfactory chemistry is not there, all those plaintive text messages and pornographic images you sent… are for nothing.

It’s the latest in scientific research. It comes from the journal Physiology and Behavior, through, you guessed it, The Daily Mail:

Forget the age-old idiom that opposites attract as researchers discover that people are more romantically interested in those who naturally smell like us.

Couples from Scotland gave body odour samples both with and without fragranced deodorant, with other participants then ranking pairs of smells by similarity.

Researchers not only found that we are attracted to people with similar odours to ourselves, but that certain contraceptives can alter this perception.

Unlike natural body odour, however, the use of similarly fragranced deodorants did not appear to play a role in partner selection. 

Note the last salient point: deodorants do not influence your nasal sensations. It’s the body’s odor, not the odor you put on after the shower.

How did the researchers construct their experiment? They submitted odor samples to random individuals and asked them to predict which pair would be a couple and which would not.

Different participants were then asked to smell pairs of the donated odour samples — both from genuine couples and randomised pairings — and how similar the samples smelt to each other.

Researchers found that the natural body odours of real partners were reported to be more similar that samples taken from random pairs. 

'Our results suggest an affinity for partners with similar rather than dissimilar odours,' Dr Allen and her colleagues wrote in their paper.

Researchers who study attraction refer to preferences for similar partners as being 'assortative'.

For whatever reason, men seem more easily influenced by odor:

The researchers also investigated how content with their relationship each of the couples appeared to be, finding that unlike the women, men reported being more happy with their relationship the more similar their partner smelt to them.

As it happens, when women are on the contraceptive pill, the hormones change how she smells. Thus, a man who would have found a woman attractive when she was off the pill might feel differently when she is on it. Or vice versa.

Additionally, the researchers selected the participating couples such that half of the pairs had met while the woman had been using hormonal contraceptives like the pill, or the implant.

The team were able to validate the suggestion made be previous studies that such contraceptives can alter initial perceptions of smell and therefore potentially impact partner choice — with couples using such contraceptives likely to smell less similar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someday we will begin to have a civilized conversation about the impact of pharmaceutical contraceptives. It seems that we may be on the cusp of a mature dialogue about the realities of abortion. With all neuroscience, homeopathy, organic products and evolution being in vogue these days, perhaps we will get back to actual reproduction and the real laws of attraction in getting us there. Like odor. The Western world’s birth rates (survival) depend on it. We live in a hyper-sexualized culture with declining procreative results. What is rarely discussed regarding Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” is how things got to be that way in Gilead. It’s like a late-night college dorm room hypothetical: “If the survival of the human race depended on you, would you ___”