Aphrodisiac perfumes likely fake: study

March 8, 2017
Scientists still debate whether pheromones used in aphrodisiac perfumes actually play any role in human mating

Many animal species are known to give off chemical signals to attract sexual partners, but scientists still debate whether pheromones used in aphrodisiac perfumes actually play any role in human mating.

On Wednesday, Australian researchers added fuel to the fire by stating that two naturally occurring steroids widely thought to be appeal-boosting human pheromones have no impact on "mate perception".

The chemicals—estratetraenol (EST) or androstadienone (AND)—are already a component of perfumes that promise to leave the opposite sex weak at the knees.

But the titillating effect may be all in the mind, researchers wrote in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

"AND and EST are unlikely to be human pheromones," said a research quartet from the University of Western Australia.

They tested whether those chemicals—the lead contenders for human pheromone status—had any effect on 94 heterosexual men and women in two lab experiments.

In the first stage, participants were asked to indicate whether a "gender neutral" face, created by computer-fusing photos of people from both sexes, belonged to a man or a woman.

In the second, they had to rate faces for attractiveness, and whether they thought the person had an adulterous nature or not—part of what makes up "mate perception".

Being exposed to either AND or EST during the experiments made no difference to the participants' choices as they would have done if they truly were pheromones, the researchers found.

In previous research, men and women reported that a person's scent affected their sexual interest, and women often say they place more importance on a man's smell than his looks.

Yet no human sex pheromones have been identified with any certainty, and previous studies on AND and EST's aphrodisiac effects have yielded contradictory findings.

Despite a lack of scientific proof, AND is marketed as a male pheromone, and EST a female one—often in pricey perfumes.

"We recommend a return to first principles in the search for human pheromones," said the team—referring to the fundamental assumptions on which any theory is based.

They called for trials run by scientists rather than perfume labs in the quest for actual .

Explore further: Video: The search for human pheromones

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8 comments

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RobertKarlStonjek
5 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2017
In our hunter-gatherer days women would put a little something behind their ears to attract a male...their ankles...
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Mar 09, 2017
Many animal species are known to give off chemical signals to attract sexual partners, but scientists still debate whether pheromones used in aphrodisiac perfumes actually play any role in human mating.

On Wednesday, Australian researchers added fuel to the fire by stating that two naturally occurring steroids widely thought to be appeal-boosting human pheromones have no impact on "mate perception"

wow... i bet this article pissed of jvk!
LMFAO
Macrocompassion
1 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2017
As a young man I met a girl at a party and her fragrance was so powerful that my erection stopped me from being able to properly dance with her! So don't tell me that there is no such effect on humans! I only wish I could get more information about what the substance was affected me so much.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2017
As a young man I met a girl at a party and her fragrance was so powerful that my erection stopped me from being able to properly dance with her!
@Macrocompassion
1- the human sense of smell is crappy, for the most part, but it is also capable of anchoring/recalling strong memories

2- your attraction was likely visual (first), then your emotional & internal chemical dump made anything related to the person a strong memory (like the smell) and you were willing to ignore almost anything negative because your biological chem-dump wanted you to fornicate - that is not stimulation of attraction due to smell/pheromones from the woman, but from your own internal desires

3- even if there were a limited ability for pheromones to attract (in humans) then you should ask why the nose isn't tuned to it like it is to smells from rotten flesh and certain other poisons

4- correlation does not equal causation - nor does anecdote equal scientific evidence
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (2) Mar 09, 2017
As a young man I met a girl at a party and her fragrance was so powerful that my erection stopped me from being able to properly dance with her! So don't tell me that there is no such effect on humans! I only wish I could get more information about what the substance was affected me so much.

The effect would not have been the same had you been blind.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Mar 09, 2017
@Zzzz
thank you for pointing that out!
i forgot to add that

.

I only wish I could get more information about what the substance was affected me so much
@Macrocompassion

I need to piggyback on this some more, to help you understand the problem we have determining pheromones and what they do to us
for starters: what are pheromones?
now, what are "human" pheromones?
read this before you answer that last one: http://rspb.royal...full.pdf

that is not to say this is the final word, mind you - that is not how science works
however, if you are looking at anyone saying there is a scientific evidence based study or anything of the sort that proves [insert name] pheromone perfume works, you can now say they're lying sacks of sh*t

especially given that most of the "studies" in this area don't have the necessary controls to provide an objective answer to the topic

Macrocompassion
not rated yet Mar 12, 2017
I deliberately wrote "fragrance" and not "scent", because it was not necessarily of the animal kind to which I referred. I am convinced that some perfumes are aphrodisiac in their nature, although I do admit that conditioning is possible from past experience. But I have never experienced such a strong response before nor since! No I am not blind, nor insensitive.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Mar 12, 2017
I am convinced that some perfumes are aphrodisiac in their nature, although I do admit that conditioning is possible from past experience
@Macrocompassion
not so sure aphrodisiac is a correct term... i would have gone more with fetish or sexual fetish than aphrodisiac
But I have never experienced such a strong response before nor since! No I am not blind, nor insensitive
the sense of smell is a strong stimulant for memory, it is also capable of anchoring/recalling strong memories, as noted above... so that is not really surprising

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