Yes it’s true. A study published recently by University of Kent researchers in the ‘Archives of Sexual Behavior‘ determined that men rated the scent of sexually aroused women more attractive than that of non aroused women. Even more intriguingly perhaps, the study further found that men were more ‘interested’ in pictures of young women in sexual poses and attire while inhaling the scent, but were NOT any more interested in pictures of young women dressed normally and in non-sexual poses.
The ‘scent’ of the sexually aroused women was taken from their armpits. Whatever molecules the men detect in that female sweat, the researchers refer to ‘chemosignals’. In more popular jargon, the word is ‘pheromones’.
I’ve always been a tad sceptical about the idea of pheromones, and the fact is that science has never conclusively proved that they do exist in humans and exert an influence on sexual attraction. However, it’s equally true that there is a steady drip of studies, like the one above, that do tantalizingly point to the real existence of human pheromones and their influence on sexual behaviors.
Human Pheromones and future sex tech
If pheromones do exist in humans, and can be conclusively identified (or even created from scratch), the possibilities for pheromones to transform and enhance the sexual experience – which is what future sex tech is all about – are endless.
For example, they could act as a safer, more convenient, and potentially much more effective viagra, for both males and females (depending on whether pheromones are found in both males and females). The likelihood is that the pheromone effect would not require a pill, would have no side effects, and the enhanced effects on sexual desire would be temporary (all of which, of course, the sellers of pheromone products currently on the market claim).
If human pheromones really are a thing, then it might also be possible to create a ‘pheromone blocker’. Not simply in a crude way, such as using drugs to block the production of the pheromone, but rather in the probability that if pheromones exist in humans, there are likely to be ‘anti-pheromoenes’ that exist alongside them. These would be produced by a individual’s body when it is not in the reproductive interests of that person to reproduce (or rather, have sex at a given time). That this is indeed the case was tantalizingly pointed to in 2011, when a team of Israeli researchers reported that smelling women’s tears reduced both testosterone levels and feelings of arousal in men. So not only might odorless molecules switch on sexual desire in others, other kinds might switch them off.
Perhaps in the distant future, VR headsets will be able to produce certain pheromones in order enhance porn and sex games. I wonder if they could even potentially make sex dolls and robots more ‘alive’ and attractive to their owners? Maybe the ‘Uncanny Valley’ is as much to do with the lack of female sex pheromones as it is with the non-perfect approximation to a flesh and blood woman?