Humans and animals are unique to other species on this planet in the ways they signal each other. In fact, animals have a special mode of communication that can detect territoriality, signal an alarm and create a sexual response. Did you know that humans have it, too – or at least that is what some experts are saying?
So, what is the real scoop on the attraction power of human pheromones? Do they really exist? Is there evidence to prove that there are pheromones in humans that can elicit a response, whether sexual or behavioural? The questions are many; however, medical research is working hard to come up with the answers.
The term, “pheromone,” was first introduced by Peter Karlson and Martin Luscher in 1959. It refers to the chemical emitted by an animal, which another animal of the same species can detect and respond to, depending on the type of pheromone.
Fast forward to modern day, and the term, “pheromones,” means a chemical signal that the body naturally secretes. This can trigger a behavioural or physiological response in another organism of the same species, or in human terms, the opposite sex.
Hence, your scent can trigger a response, which can be good or bad, when the opposite sex is able to take a whiff at it.
Pheromones float around in the air, and then enter through the nose’s vomeronasal organ or VNO. The VNO links to the olfactory bulb behind your nose, then travels to the amygdala, which triggers emotion. Finally, the thalamus will distribute it to the rest of the brain.
There are different types of human pheromones, including:
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Scientists first discovered pheromones on silk moths in 1959. Since then, there have been many studies to find out whether humans have natural pheromones or not.The effects of human pheromones are visible on human babies and children. If you notice, babies know who their parents are, as well as those who take care for them, through their sense of smell. If you are a breastfeeding mom, your baby tends to move its face towards your breast to drink milk.
Based on a study made by Michael Kalogerakis and Irving Bieber, “Olfaction is related to sexual identification in young children.” This means that in the early stages of childhood, a young boy will start to dislike the smell of his father, and feel an attraction to the scent of his mother. This is a biological trigger for the Oedipus response.
In 1976, Michael J. Russell experimented on 10 mothers and their baby’s ability to respond based on smell. By six weeks, he found out that 8 out of 10 babies responded to and could identify their mother’s scent.
This shows that either the baby has imprinted on their mother’s smell, or the mother unconsciously marks a distinct smell on her baby.
Dr. Alex Comfort also made his own version of pheromone study. He said that the age of menstruation for girls had a direct correlation with the time they spent with boys. This means that the lesser time a young girl spend with someone from the opposite sex, the later her menstruation will start. On the other hand, if a young girl spends most of her time with boys, the earlier her menstruation will start. Still, we can’t deny that there are other factors to consider as to what triggers the onset of menstruation.
Chen and her colleagues asked 20 guys to stop wearing deodorant and scented products for a few days. Then small pads went in their armpits when they were and were not aroused.
Based on their experiment, 19 women who agreed to smell the pads reacted differently on the sweat they sniffed.
Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, they found out that the “sexual sweat” activated the brain areas that are involved in recognizing smell, social response and emotion. Hence, humans can communicate through subconscious chemical signals.
Aside from this study, several experts say that human pheromones exist, which men and women can use to communicate chemically.
In fact, hormone-like smells can turn on the brain’s hypothalamus – in this case, testosterone for women and estrogen for men. This explains why some of your behaviour is gender-specific and the way you chemically perceive someone from the opposite sex is different from how you view members of the same sex.
Do human pheromones really exist? Maybe yes, but maybe no. Although science is still undecided on this concept, you still cannot deny the fact that the way you smell and the sweat released by your body has its own magic in making you more appealing to women.