Sex & Relationship

Sniffing out love: Secret of your partner’s allure lies in their smell and sweat

Is love literally in the air, or do we just smell it?


For all those who don’t know this, the smell is an important part of the attraction. In fact, you can’t sustain a relationship with someone who smells really bad – you just can’t!

It is not crazy because sometimes people are attracted to other people’s special kind of human smell. It sounds weird perhaps but it does happen and it won’t stop being true as every so often, a chemically compatible match comes along and you get all caught up in a phenomenon that is called body-odor attraction.

Sex is all about the senses which allow us to observe the way someone looks, feels, sounds, tastes, and smells to make us feel tempting and it works vice-versa.  The smell of our body or skin known as odors can trigger attraction, especially if it is familiar, however, that’s not the same as pheromones. So let’s start by exploring what exactly is this anyway?

The Truth about pheromones

This concept of a sexual scent of attraction has been debated and researched for years that whether humans secrete pheromones the same way animals do. This may seem strange but some fragrance brands have even tried to store synthesized pheromones in a bottle with a promise to help you to attract a mate.

However, experts say that humans don’t have a functioning vomeronasal organ like other animals which they use to detect pheromones secreted by another animal of the same species. Instead, humans’ sense smells via the olfactory system.

It can even influence or trigger memories. If your brain registers a smell at the same time as you are having a strong emotional reaction to someone, both the smell and the emotion will be archived in your brain together. So next time when you get a whiff of the same smell, there is a good chance you may feel nostalgic about the person who just popped up in your mind.

Animals and insects secrete odourless chemicals which are similar to hormones to influence other creatures of the same species. However, it’s not the nose/nostril that picks up the scent. It is an organ inside the nasal cavity that detects them and sends signals directly to the brain.

Likewise, humans also secrete pheromones through sweat, urine, and tears which may or may not seem sexy, depending on your preferences.

Sweat doesn’t smell

Do you believe the fact that sweat doesn’t stink?

It’s not like human underarms and sweaty socks don’t smell, they do, however, it’s not actually the sweat causing that smell.

Sweat itself does not contain any stinkiness however, our body develops some bacteria and fungi on the skin and when it breaks down, fluids contained in the sweat are produced by apocrine glands located in the sweaty areas in your body. Those bacteria’s & fungi are what produces the smell and over time, as more they (bacteria and fungi) grow, the smell gets worse. 

Partner’s smell

Love in the stenches: Finding your partner by sniffing them out

It’s hard, it’s fun, and it’s tempting and it may sound super-gross but finding someone by smelling their natural body odour through their skin or worn clothes is unbelievably attractive for many people; and in some cases, people just fall in love with the person as when they really notice their smell.

The scent or fragrance that we love is extremely connected with our emotional memories and experiences. Perhaps, that is why the smell or fragrance they wear no matter good or bad of our loved ones often becomes our favourite scent which is a combination of their natural body odour, fragrance products that they use like body lotion, perfume or deodorant. 

In fact, in many countries, people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s organise “pheromone parties” where you can tell a lot about a potential partner’s compatibility by smelling the scent of their dirty laundry. Weird right? This is known as smell dating.

Single people exchange their shirts they’ve worn for several days or nights and then smell each other’s dirty laundry in the hope to find love of their life and it based on that smell, means if you like the smell, you get along.

Also, there was a strange study that revealed men can apparently smell sweat when women are turned on or horny and actually sniff out the right time to make a baby. Now, how crazy is that?

As per a survey and research conducted in the United States of America, women smell different when they sweat and seem attractive when they are fertile (during ovulation), and are least attractive when women are menstruating. Additionally, the findings also suggested that men are more attracted to women who smell horny which proves our natural scent that contains pheromones may communicate sexual messages.

Read More: Love Bombing can be emotionally draining: How to spot signs?

What we eat, influences our smell

According to science, it turns out, our diet also helps in determining what we smell like. Many studies and surveys revealed that women preferred the body odour of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. 

However, men who ate a lot of junk food like refined carbohydrates gave off a smell that was less appealing.  Research also revealed that vegetarians smell different to meat-eaters as animal food or fat also affects your body’s odour.

Partner’s smell

It’s not always all about Sex

Perhaps you may not know this but newborn babies and their mothers can identify each other by their smell alone within hours of the birth which is why the baby goes straight on the mother’s breast the moment it is born. 

Research says that newborns have a strong sense of smell and know the unique scent of mother’s milk which is a beautiful thing. So perhaps, it has nothing to do with the pheromones, however, it does demonstrate that you really can’t dismiss the importance of smell in the human experience. The same thing happens with animals. 

Partner’s smell helps you feel less lonely

Have you ever found yourself sniffing your partner’s clothing when they are away?

If yes then you already know the answer because doing so can help reduce stress levels and feelings of loneliness and anxiety, according to research conducted by the University of British Columbia.

We know that sense of smell is one of the most powerful emotional bonding and several studies postulate that we human beings can literally sniff out our potential partners (not consciously). The certain kind of smell that you loved once as you were connected to triggers intense memories, so partners like to keep or sniff clothing that still has their smell to get over loneliness. 

What does sex smell like?

Between touching, kissing, licking, and moaning, sex is a pretty sense-heightening activity that includes your sense of smell. We often experience a certain smell when we indulge in some love-making. It is because it involves vaginal secretions, semen, lubricants, condoms, and of course, sweat from two bodies.

Also, when you and your partner’s smell combines, it produces an entirely different smell in a peculiar way. If the smell that you experience is not odd, weird and not bad enough to be called a ‘smell’, chances are all is okay with you and your partner’s body.

However, if you experience a fishy smell that comes after sex, it could spell bacterial vaginosis. It is a condition when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in your (both partners) intimate areas. Other symptoms may include a white, cloudy discharge, vaginal itching and pain. 

Remember, no sex smell should be bad or fishy. If that’s what you’re smelling or experiencing, both you and your partner should reach out to the doctor, as it could be a sign of a bacterial imbalance like bacterial vaginosis.

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