Un-showered, un-shaven, and weirdly more attractive then ever. Why is it that one sweaty person repulses you and yet another attracts you? When you like someone, like really like someone, it's almost impossible for them to smell bad. Even after an hour long gym session and your partner comes home dripping with sweat, all you want to do is snuggle up to them and bathe in their fragrant glory. It all boils down to pheromones, baby.
It’s the same science behind why someone who appears to tick all your boxes (successful, driven, attractive, confident) can somehow still not spark up that elusive flame inside you. We are animalistic beings who are often driven by forces outside of our control. Though we like to think we know the reasons as to why we are attracted to a certain person over another, and often we can identify most of them, sometimes there are deeper, instinctual forces at play that dictate what we deem to be 'attractive' beyond physical appeal, career paths, money or aspirations.
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it, let’s…excrete sexy pheromones to make someone fall in love with us…who knew it was that easy!
Almost all species of animals and insects excrete scents to attract potential mates. Ever wondered why every male dog in the neighbourhood seems to be freaking out around your female pooch? If she’s on heat it’s because she literally smells like sex on legs… and science suggests we might be the same.
According to a study attempting to pinpoint the human “sex pheromone” we can actually sniff out who we are sexually attracted to without any other factors coming into the equation. When given samples of sweat, heterosexual men would always choose the scent of a woman, *Al Pacino eat your heart out* while homosexual males would identify the male scent, and interestingly often it was other homosexual males that they chose. Without any other outside influences, our bodies can instinctively identify the scent, and gender of who we are more attracted to. Pretty nifty, huh?
So if you’re rushing off to a hot date after a sweaty gym sesh… perhaps you’re actually better off showing up un-showered and praying your pheromones send off some serious sexy vibes...
"Let’s do it, let’s…excrete sexy pheromones to make someone fall in love with us…who knew it was that easy!"
For a woman the act of smelling that 'perfect person' happens on an instinctually evolutionary level. Without us being aware we are actually more likely to choose a mate that will provide for us and make the best babies. And here I was thinking he just looked hot in his sweaty gym gear…
When studying women’s reactions to different male odours on T-shirts, women will almost always choose the man whose DNA was the most different to their own, which on a genetic level means any babies made would have a stronger immune system and genetic characteristics. This instinctual attraction is less to do with what we think is attractive, and apparently more to do with creating the strongest mini-me possible. So while this instinctual and unconscious act of sniffing out the perfect mate is going on, what modern day factors are affecting us? Is that Lynx Africa actually masking a pheromone genetically similar to our own and making you a bad mix in the breeding arena? Maybe, maybe not, but regardless, that shit has got to go, we aren't teenagers anymore kids.
Though studies mention briefly that factors such as perfumes, past experiences and other social considerations may affect our ability to pick up on someones scent, they say the impact is not drastic. However the one crucial modern day impact that they say may be affecting the way we pick “Mr or Mrs Right” is the wonderful little contraceptive pill. According to the study women on the pill, whose oestrogen levels are peaked, are more likely to choose a softer more sensitive partner with similar genetics to their own, someone whom they may not be typically attracted to. So be cautious if you suddenly stop taking the pill or you may have a serious “what the fuck was I thinking” effects as your theoretical pill-goggles are removed.
Now, I am in no way advocating you throw your prescription away in fear it’s hindering your search, rest assured you will not be alone with ten cats just because you’re full of oestrogen! The evolutionary decisions our bodies are apparently making are extremely interesting however it is impossible to boil down the complex process of finding “the one” to pheromones alone.
There are so many complex factors that go into making a relationship work and though these studies are interesting to consider, they miss out some pretty major points. They make only small reference to same sex couples, only touch briefly on modern day factors such as perfumes and colognes and don’t consider the idea that perhaps the “softer, sensitive” choice of partner may actually be the modern equivalent to the 'better provider.'
Sniff away humans! Your one true love is merely a sweaty gym sesh away!
Image: Alex Jack
Anna Wall is a self-confessed hedonist and self-appointed travel expert. She drinks coffee until its appropriate to move on to wine and believes that there is nothing more satisfying in life than good wine and a good book. She's scared of balloons, the dark and of growing up.