Ask any woman for her most desirable trait in a man.
She might say a kind heart, a charming smile or even good looks.
Dig a little deeper and you'll hear women admitting that a man's scent makes them weak in their knees.
Smell – or a man's scent – has been proven through experiments to be the #1 factor for women when it comes to selecting a potential partner.
What causes instant attraction between a man and a woman? According to a group of researchers in Europe:
– A man sees but a woman smells.
The research study they published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal showed that men are visual while women rate olfactory (fancy Latin for smell) cues as more important in mate choice.
Taking the results a step further – the study proved that women valued olfactory cues significantly more than men even in non-sexual contexts.
The researchers worked with over 700 European students and asked questions about what senses were most important in these areas:
- Choosing a potential lover.
- What causes sexual arousal outside sexual activity.
- What causes sexual arousal during and after sexual activity.
- What affects the meal choices made by men and women.
- Things that attract attention – like a beautiful landscape.
- Stimulating memories and what senses are important in remembering them.
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#1 Scent Helps in Selecting Potential Lovers
The participants were asked to make their selection in these different areas by choosing one of these 6 senses – visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, touch and imagination.
The researchers did a number of analyses on what senses had the biggest impact for men and women. The results showed that men and women differed in the following ways.
For men, visual was most important. For women – olfactory was most important.
Women seem to be more driven by scent while attraction for men was driven by what they saw.
That's really no surprise because men are naturally attracted to the shape, body proportions, skin and face of a woman. However, women rate a man's body smell as most important when choosing a potential partner.
Researchers studying the human brain suggest that women are able to detect a man's biological compatibility through signals in their odor.
A majority of the male population do not wear a fragrance. Why would you want to spend $50-$100 on a bottle of perfume?
Does it make any difference? Yes, it does.
#2 Sexual Arousal During Non-Sexual Activity
For men – it was visual again. No surprises there.
Women rated imagination (fantasy/thoughts) as the most important sense that causes arousal during non-sexual activity.
The main point here is that men are visual – the data proves it. With women it could be a lot more about the smell, the touch and the imagination.
When asked whether they found perfume arousing during non-sexual activity – women were more likely to say yes than men!
#3 Scent Also Plays Role in Sexual Arousal During Sexual Activity
For men, again visual was most important. For women – touch was most important, followed by body smell, imaginary and sexual sounds. Visual wasn’t even in their top four.
You’ve heard that women need more romance – they need a story. It's more about their mind and not so much about the visual – which is good news for anyone who doesn't have a fantastic body.
Women rated visual, non-body smell and music as not important in arousal during sexual activity.
That doesn't mean you have to drop the Barry White playlist, skip the gym workouts and trash the aroma candles. It means you need to first pay attention to the scent you choose – is it complementing your natural body odor?
#4 Meal Choice Selection For Men & Women
Men and women weren’t significantly different in this area – they both rated taste as most the important criteria for meal choices.
The other senses listed in order were smell, visual and touch (the texture of the food).
#5 Landscape Attention – Scent Grabs Attention In A New Place
Both men and women rated visual as the most important sense in observing a landscape for the first time. Men and women are attracted to the visual beauty of natural landscapes.
However, women rated the olfactory more than men. Women process multiple sensory perceptions of a landscape while men are focused on the visual.
#6 Landscape Memory – Men & Women Remember A Place Using Scent
In revisiting the memory of a landscape – both men and women rated visual as the most important sense. The first sense that is activated through memory is the visual landscape.
Olfactory was still high for women.
What Can We Learn From These Results?
Women were more likely to say smell was important in other ways – such as choosing a flower or keeping their attention in an unfamiliar landscape.
The analysis indicated that women had more complex senses of smell. They responded very differently to a man's body smell compared with object, environmental and even animal smells.
Men responded to all sources of smell in the same way – something either smells good or bad.
Women tend to develop a better understanding of smell. Their noses are trained to pick subtle cues that men are often unable to detect.
The results proved that men and women have a different seletion criteria. In other words – what’s important to men may not be important to women.
Being a good person will certainly help you get and keep a date. But there is a complex set of factors that go into whether women will find you desirable. How you smell could be a big factor in who you attract.
You may have improved how you dress but if you want to attract a woman and keep her attention after courting her – pay attention to your smell.
Q: The purpose of perfume is to completely cover up a person's body odor, right?
A: No. In fact, research has shown that perfume can increase a person's attractiveness, pleasantness, and intensity not by covering up their own body scent, but by enhancing and interacting with their natural body scent. Knowing this scientific fact can help men choose the right perfume for their own bodies.
In an article published in the open-source journal PLoS ONE in 2012 (Link: https://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033810), a group of researchers used a series of three studies to test two hypotheses:
- The first hypothesis suggested that perfume works because it masks or covers up a person's body odor.
- The second hypothesis suggested that perfume works because it enhances and blends with a person's body odor.
The researchers suggested that a man's natural body scent is not all bad. In fact, previous research has shown that women use a man's body scent as part of their mate selection.
- Women can detect slight differences in a man's DNA from their body odor.
- Women are more likely to be attracted to men who smell differently than they do – it's a way of Nature ensuring that the gene pool stays diverse.
- Women are also more likely to say that their mate's scent is an important factor in their attractiveness.
STUDY 1 and STUDY 2
These two studies were relatively similar.
In both, a group of men were instructed to apply a fragrance to one armpit and apply nothing to the other armpit.
Then, the men kept cotton pads in their armpits for 24 hours.
- In order to reduce the effect of other variables, the men were put on a strict diet to avoid the interaction of strong food odors (e.g. garlic, peppers, vinegar)
- The men were also instructed not to use any perfume or deodorant during the 24 hours.
Then, the cotton pads were put into jars and a team of brave women volunteers smelled the open jars and rated them on:
As you can expect, women rated the perfumed jars (vs. the plain body odor jars) as more attractive and more pleasant.
But the most important finding is that this effect differed according to the individual donor.
In other words, the perfume worked better for some men and worse for others.
For some men, the particular perfume enhanced their body odor a great deal, and for some men, it had a relatively weak effect.
If the purpose of perfume is simply to MASK a man's odor, then it shouldn't matter which man the women were smelling – the perfume should just cover the man's scent.
But that's not what happened. There was some kind of blending interaction going on.
This means men should find a perfume that enhances their own personal scent, rather than one that simply covers it up.
But how does a man go about doing this? The answer is coming up in Study 3.
In this study, the same procedure was followed as above, with one major difference:
- The men used a perfume that they already use on a regular basis in one armpit, and an assigned perfume in the other armpit.
- The men were instructed to choose a perfume that they use pretty often, and that they find personally pleasant.
- None of the men in the study (there were 12 total) chose the same perfume.
The men still wore the assigned perfume in one armpit and their own chosen perfume under the other, and collected an “odor sample” using cotton pads for 24 hours.
Once again, the women smelled the jars and rated them on attractiveness, pleasantness, and intensity.
Additionally, the women rated the perfumes on their own, without being blended with the smell of a man's underarm.
Here's the kicker. The females rated the men's own chosen perfume/armpit blend as significantly more attractive and more pleasant than the assigned perfume/armpit blend.
However, when women rated the actual unblended perfumes, they did not prefer one over the other.
In other words, the men were naturally able to select a scent that compliments their own body odor – and that's what they used on a regular basis.
You cannot let someone choose your perfume for you.
In order to truly reap the benefits of a perfume, you must wear it and determine whether you like it yourself.
Your nose “knows” what scents will enhance your own body's odor and which scents won't.
Lenochova, P., Vohnoutova, P., Roberts, S. C., Oberzaucher, E., Grammer, K., et al. (2012). Psychology of fragrance use: Perception of individual odor and perfume blends reveals a mechanism for idiosyncratic effects on fragrance choice. PLoS ONE, 7(3), e33810. Link: https://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033810
Click here for the scientific study referenced in this article.
Click below to watch – How Scent Affects Women Choosing A Lover