On the ragged path of seduction we often forget the power of scent. It’s not a surprise that the elusive olfactory senses get neglected when competing with the heavy hitters of visuals, taste, touch and wordery.
Scent doesn’t just come down to which Eau de Parfum you’ve splashed on your way out the door, it’s deeper than that, and of course linked to science. Pheromones, which are a dynamic cocktail of Androstenone, Androstadienone and Androstenol* and behave in a similar way to hormones, provide the link between scent and attractiveness, allowing us to subconsciously smell hormones based on our own biochemical mapping.
Due to their mutable nature, pheromones and their effects are hard to trace in humans. The simplest definition is that they are a set of chemicals, individually unique, which imitate hormones and are capable of influencing the perceived level of attraction to another human.
Women are so influenced by pheromones that they can (subconsciously) smell symmetry, which is a key factor in perceived attractiveness. Men, on the other hand, can gauge the level of fertility of a woman via scent (or, more specifically via pheromones). This isn’t really a surprise, given that pheromones are largely influenced by (fluctuating levels of) hormones.
For the empaths among us, an alternate explanation as to why certain scents arouse attraction is that the area of the brain that processes scent also processes emotions, ipso facto scent influences you to feel something. And is often the reason that scent ignites nostalgia.
I’ve always linked Tom Ford’s seductively musky (and quite androgynous scent) to a dark sensuality; sweaty, intertwined limbs, tangled sheets, wild hair and depths of unrelinquished desire. I never knew why, but traditionally musk notes have highly sensuous properties making it the right choice of fragrance for any carnal pleasure.
On the subtle side of scent, Jasmine is noted for its seductive duality. As a flower, Jasmine is demure and pretty with a sweet smell and a good girl rep. Unknown to most, Jasmine is one of the most sensual scents recognised by the human nose because it contains an “aromatic” compound called indole. Indole isn’t exactly pleasant as a scent alone, but contributes to the unique aroma secreted through our own ummm pleasure chests. Not so innocent now, Jasmine.
Androstenol is the scent produced by fresh male sweat.
Androstenone is produced by male sweat after exposure to oxygen – i.e. when less fresh. Both play a significant role in influencing attraction via pheromones.
Androstadienone is related to the androgen sex hormones, and has been reported to significantly affect the mood of heterosexual women and homosexual men. Androgens are commonly assumed to be male hormones, but, we both have them, just in varying levels. They influence testosterone in men, and libido and sexual arousal in women.