I am currently in a queue related not to having someone process my grocery shopping or for delivery of the newest hot tech but for the validation of pheromones; both my brain, and that of the gentleman in question, share cognition of this mysterious 15 seconds of ‘sniffing’ and how important it is to our further mutual discovery though 6000km currently separates us. For our nascent relationship (and everyone else’s) everything rides on how our brains process the first smell of the other – did you not know this? I swear. It’s true!
For those who doubt I beg you to really think about that first encounter with the person who is currently your mate – if you are honest you will recall a fragment of a moment when the two of you interrupted the three feet of personal space we all claim as our right (a very American formula and each culture will define their own differently) and felt completely drawn to close the space even further. Not everyone is so lucky because pheromones are powerful ‘ecto-hormones’ – chemical messengers just as compelling as dilated pupils between lovers – which are emitted by the body where they activate speciﬁc physiological or behavioral responses in other individuals of the same species. It’s the Poker equivalent of a Royal Flush when we find an appealing potential mate – and flush we often do when it’s “just right” to quote Goldilocks.
Case in point, research from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden attempted to unravel the mysteries of women’s sexual attraction based upon the olfactory responses and subsequent brain segmentation activity of both lesbian and straight women. Karl Grammer, Bernhard Fink, and Nick Neave of the University of Vienna set out to understand the impact of sense of smell on human reproduction in their paper published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology and the exhaustive and intensely researched piece from Macalester College pulls it all together.
Of course perfume and cologne companies have been trying to drive sales for their products since the 1980s with the addition of synthesized pheromones which (in certain studies) realised an increase in sexual activity but in no way dispel our natural approval process so critical to sustaining long term compatibility – something like the (scent) bloom being off the rose.
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