Pheromone Increases Sexual Attractiveness

ByABC News
March 19, 2002, 6:43 PM

March 21 -- When it comes to sexual attraction, new research provides evidence that the nose knows.

Women who wore perfume with synthesized female pheromone were more attractive to their male partners, conclude scientists at San Francisco State University.

Pheromones are odorless chemicals excreted from the body that affect reproductive interactions among both animals and humans. They are picked up by a special organs or tissues in the nose, and then conveyed to regions higher up in the brain.

The new study, appearing in the journal Physiology and Behavior, found that women who had pheromone added to their perfume reported a more than 50 percent increase in sexual attention from men: they were involved in more sexual intercourse, kissing, heavy petting, affection, and slept closer to their partner or date.

Women wearing perfume with a placebo also experienced an increase in these activities, though not as great as the pheromone group. The authors say this increase can be explained by the effect that results from "just thinking" you are wearing a sexy pheromone.

"The most highly significant difference between the placebo and the pheromone group was actually sexual intercourse," says Norma McCoy, lead author and professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. "It is clear that there is something that is odorless and is being exuded from reproductive age women that affects male behavior that makes the women attractive."

Pheromones and Attraction

The pheromone used in the study is what its maker, Athena Institute for Women's Wellness Research, believes is a generic substrate, a substance that when put on someone's skin reacts with that person's own chemistry to achieve its effect.

Adds Winnifred Cutler, institute founder and president and a reproductive biologist and co-discoverer of pheromones in humans, "When it works for a woman, it doesn't seem to matter what perfume she wears."

Research has also shown that significantly more men who wore aftershave with a synthetic version of a male-excreted pheromone engaged in sexual intercourse and sleeping next to their partner than those who wore aftershave with placebo.