February 17th, 2012 11:07 EST
Pheromone Fever: Sex is in the Air Literally!
Have you ever dated someone and you couldn`t get enough of their scent? Just one whiff made your pulse soar and your temperature rises. And I`m not referring to their buckets of Axe spray or Chanel No. 5, I`m talking their natural scent, their potent primal musk if you will.
Sex is in the air literally. What if I told you could literally smell out a perspective lover? Yes, scientific studies are indicating that you can. Now, I`m not suggesting that on your next date you begin huffing your would-be lover right off the bat (unless that`s something you`re into- and if so, good on you and your higher than average kink factor). But personally I`m big on smell and when I would hug a possible beau goodbye I would take in a deep whiff of their `man musk`. Sometimes that means I get to ingest an indecent amount of Drakkar Noir (which is to say, any amount of Drakkar Noir) but sometimes it means I got to inhale some insanely hot n` sexually compatible pheromones.
The Science of Smell
So how does it work? Despite the fact that the human olfactory sense is considered weak when compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, scientists are finding that pheromones do play a crucial role in our romance department. Studies show that every person has their own unique odorprint that is determined by their MHC or major histocompatibility complex, which is an important set of immune system genes. Think of your odorprint like a pungent fingerprint. And like finger prints, no odorprint is the same. And two people with dramatically different MHCs are genetically different individuals so individuals with differing MHCs are more likely to have fitter offspring. But how does one determine who has a suitable MHC? A study at the University of Liverpool gave women shirts worn by various men and the women were able to sniff out men with dissimilar MHCs. Therefore you can literally huff out your ideal mate. AWESOME.
But it has also been determined that the hormones in birth control pills can distort a woman`s ability to get a good whiff of a prospective mate`s REAL pheromones. The same set of women from the study above were given oral contraceptives and were asked to sniff shirts from the same set of men. Researchers found the women were now more likely to be attracted to men with a similar MHC which also meant they were genetically similar men. Yep, so theoretically there is a chance you could meet a dude, fall in love, get married and decide to go off birth control to make a baby only to realize you can`t STAND the way he smells. He repulses you. His musk is like a mix of rotting ox meat and burnt radishes `mixed with boiled brussel sprouts and cat feces. He absolutely stinks! His natural musk is reminiscent of your creepy uncle Ed`s aftershave. Oh yeah, that`s because he`s really your long lost brother. yikes.
Radical Honesty Corner
My boyfriend is also an anthropologist; therefore he also appreciates the power and mystique of pheromones. We met through our two best friends who had a feeling we`d hit it off. But it took five years for us to finally meet. Yep, for those five years I was told that we were perfect " for each other but we kept missing each other. I`d either show up to an event a half an hour after he help or vice versa. This went on for eons until the last time we missed each other. This time my friend called and insisted I come back to meet him. I was hesitant, but relented. A hot anthropologist? I thought, I gotta see where this goes. We ended up spending hours talking and sipping wine by the outdoor fire pit. And finally when it became apparent our fondness went beyond the point of being mere friends, this hot anthropologist leaned in and sniffed me. This man was literally huffing me! And I, feeling an uncontrollable primal urge, returned the favor. Yes, no kiss, just an olfactory exploration that led us to believe our attraction was more than just a fleeting fickle feeling. Lucky for us we both smelled like our idea of home " and the rest is, as they say, history. So yes, it`s true- the nose truly knows.
So, maybe it`s time to rethink our idea of grooming in hopes to land that perfect match. Is drenching yourself in pungent cologne or perfume the way to go? And is a little body odor really that bad? Perhaps masking your true musk with all these body sprays and antiperspirants is doing you the disservice of hiding your incredibly attractive, sexually charged pheromones from your perfect match. I`m not saying forgo showering all together, but maybe try a few days of going au natural and maybe, just maybe, you`ll find that genetically compatible odorprint and even true love.
Natalia Reagan is an anthropologist and comedienne. For her thesis fieldwork she conducted a survey of the critically endangered species, the Azuero spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyii azurensis) in rural Panama. As an actor and comedienne Natalia has appeared in My Name is Earl, Better off Ted, and Sex Drive. Natalia`s goal is to meld her two passions and educate people about human behavior and morphology using humor, evolutionary biology, and nonhuman primates (monkeys and apes) as models. Humans are faced with serious environmental consequences (climate change, mass extinctions, super bugs) due to our irresponsible behavior, and she believes knowledge about our origins will help us find a way to live in harmony with nature.
Natalia Reagan and Judyth Piazza Discuss The Obsession of Breasts, Butt Week, and Anthopology on The American Perspective