Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Forces of Attraction- scent of desire

We all give our heroes and heroines attributes that make them attractive to each other. One of them being the way they smell. I always love a scene where the heroine rests her head at the crook of the hero’s neck and breaths him in. But little did I know how key that scent truly was to their attraction.

We all have lists of who we think will be our ideal partner. Appearances, likes and dislikes, hobbies, careers Etc. And yes they are factors in initial attraction too. But a lot of the time when we meet them or date them, they are lacking “Something” and the people we do end up with possess only a few of the traits we wanted. Some researchers believe the missing factor that explains our choices is the subconscious analysis of their scent. The so-called “Chemistry” or “Electricity” we feel actually exists.

Though we are usually only partially aware of how people’s scent affects us, research suggests that we come equipped to choose romantic partners and the choice has biological implications. Scent based cues triggered in our brains help us focus on optimal partners…the ones likely to stay faithful and create healthy children with us. And when we tend to ignore what our noses tell us, or alter our chemistry, then the relationships might have a precarious future…including sexual discontent, infertility, and in extreme cases unhealthy children.

In a Study conducted at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland…When asked to sniff various t-shirts that had been worn by 44 men for two straight nights, only using scent-free soaps. Women specified which shirts had scents they found attractive. It was found that women preferred shirts worn by men immunologically (MHC factor) dissimilar to them…Long explaination short…the scents attracted them to men whose genes would contribute to offspring that were more disease resistant. The women also said the smell of their favorite shirts reminded them of their husbands or boyfriends indicating that the scent selection occurs outside the study too.

MHC profiles are as distinct as fingerprints. It is difficult to predict who is MCH compatible with whom. There are thousands of possible gene combinations. It varies across the human race, not particular to skin color, ethnicity, one that attracts one woman may completely repel another.

Some think that wearing perfumes and using scented soaps and deodorants inhibit us finding a “true” match. But another study showed compatible MHC men and women were attracted to similar fragrances. So if you choose your perfume by what you like and not what’s the “In Thing” then it might improve your chances of finding your mate.

And if you think this is tied to heterosexuals … nope it seems gaydar is real. Gay men strongly preferred shirts with the odor of other gay men… the same for lesbians. Straight women rated the odor of straight men higher than gay men.

Yes Scent does play a key factor in finding a “soulmate” but after we meet several that are appealing, that’s when the personality and the appearance come into play and we narrow it down to the one we can love. Factors of attraction just opens the door


Blogger FeyRhi said...

I think it starts when we are babies. The quickest way to settle a fussy child is to give them back to a parent, it's not a visual recognition from the child it's taht mommy and daddy smell right.

I am usually up before my hubby and after I get out of bed he rolls over and hugs my pillow. Usually he doesn't even wake up when he does it.

I've always thought it was romantic in a wierd kinda way. LOL

4/02/2008 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Joy Roett said...

That's amazing!

4/03/2008 6:06 AM  
Blogger Mechele Armstrong said...

What an interesting post Mari. You always find the most amazing studies.

Feyrhi, yep babies know what Mom or Dad smell like even before they can see them well enough. And that is romantic *G*.

4/03/2008 4:14 PM  
Blogger NIna Nash said...

What a super blog post! I learned so much by reading this, thank you. :)

I'm a sucker for a man who smells like he's been working outside. Trees and grass, leaves...they really do it for me, LOL.

4/04/2008 6:38 AM  
Blogger Amy Ruttan said...

VINDICATED! No one believed me.

I always add scent to my emotional scenes. VINDICATION!!!

4/04/2008 1:05 PM  
Blogger Kassie Burns said...

I wrote a whole book based on this idea and it's called -- coincidentally -- Scent of Desire. You can find it at Loose Id. Usually books focus primarily on other senses like sight and sound so it was both fun and a challenge to write about scent.

BTW, I'm a pillow smeller too, LOL.

4/04/2008 4:38 PM  
Blogger Melissa Lopez said...

I'm in complete agreement feyrhi. :)

Pillow snuggling is romantic.

Thanks Joy!

*Nodding* at Mechele. Mari always does interesting blog topics. :)

Oh, me too, Nina! *Dreamy sigh* for outdoorsmen. :)

^5 to Amy!

Thanks for stopping by!
~Mel aka Rissa

4/05/2008 3:44 PM  
Blogger Shelley Munro said...

Wow, that's interesting. Great post! It's funny how we all perfume ourselves and hide our true scents. Natural scents are actually quite nice.

4/16/2008 3:36 AM  

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