Can You Smell “The One?”

There’s a whole lot of interesting research out there about pheromones.

I’ve read that folks are making perfumes with pheromones in them to help you attract the right partner…crazy!  Then again, I’ve also heard that all you have to do is wear the smell of vanilla or chocolate chip cookies and a parade of men will follow you down the street. LOL…wouldn’t it be fun if it were that easy? 🙂

Well, it’s true…pheromones are believed to alert both sexes to potential genetic compatibility. The genes that make-up your major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play an important role in regulating your body’s immune response — most notably in determining compatibility of donors for organ transplant. Some data have shown that the more dissimilar a man and woman’s MHC are, the more likely they are to bring a child to term — but even more interesting is that women are thought to be capable of actually smelling this genetic difference. Cool, huh?

In a study led by Claus Wedekind at the University of Bern in Switzerland, women were asked to smell T-shirts that had been worn by anonymous men for two nights and chose shirts that appealed to them. According to the researchers, the women consistently preferred the odors of shirts worn by men with dissimilar MHCs.

Even more interestingly,  in the same study, the womens’ preference for men of dissimilar MHCs was actually reversed when the women rating the odors were taking oral contraceptives. Ack!

Makes you wonder what effect birth control pills might have on choosing the right person, huh? Don’t get me wrong – I’m in favor of using birth control, but this certainly raises eyebrows.

What do you think of this research? I’d love to know…

Photo credit: AlishaV’s Flickr photostream


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Categories: Discussion


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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7 Comments on “Can You Smell “The One?””

  1. Serenity
    February 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    It does works! Ive tried it before along with others I know when I use to sell pureromance products!

  2. February 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Great post, Doll, and uniquely hitting home for me. My hubby, you see, lost his sense of smell in the Military – true story. He can’t smell – anything. Occasionally he will get a brief smell of pine the day after walking in the woods, but that is rare.
    And he stayed single – until he was 46. He’d done research and believed strongly that the sense of smell had a great deal of influence on the ability to fall in love.
    And then we met – and a week and a half later he asked me if I wore a fragrance that had a berry scent – yes! He recognized a hint of fragrance when we weren’t together, and it made him smile.
    Month later – engaged. Three months in – married – and wonderfully happy.
    Thanks for letting me share.

  3. Anna
    February 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Interesting 🙂

  4. February 24, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    I’ve heard that research regarding birth control before. I’m already against internal birth control and this isn’t helping its case. External normally does the job; if you’re worried, have both partners use it. Messing with what your body is supposed to do is not healthy.

  5. February 24, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Yes you can, sometimes 🙂

  6. drgeraldstein
    March 18, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    As a long practicing clinical psychologist, I had one particularly interesting patient who just might have illustrated how powerful pheromones can be. Many clients, of course, talk about their sex lives to some degree, but this woman claimed that she and her husband had an especially active and satisfying physical life together, without going into those details. To me, she was absolutely plain in appearance. But, both I and another male therapist who worked in an adjacent office found her particularly arousing; this, despite the fact that she was not at all provocative in her manner of dress or behavior. Since neither the other therapist nor myself tended to have this kind of reaction to our patients, we could only conclude that it must have been a “chemical reaction.”

  7. Matt
    November 10, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I know that smell attracts me far more than any other physical trait in a woman, and I knowvits not perfume or anything other than their natural body’s scent. I find that I can smell it through any fragrance, and I can smell sexual attraction, even when it’s explicitly verbally denied, is that possible? Women in their early 30s give off significantly potent amounts.

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