I’m sure you’ve seen those “Axe” commercials where girls attack men who use axe hair products because it smells so “hot!” Part of their branding is for guys to try to “Get Girl Approved”. Is there any truth behind the concept portrayed in these commercials for men’s scented sprays?
The truth is that what you see is based on good marketing rather than good science according to Susan Kellogg-Speak, PhD, CRNP. This perceived relationship between sex and sweat dates back to Ancient times when the sweat of Roman gladiators was used as a powerful aphrodisiac. These guys actually scraped the sweat off their bodies and bottled it. Yuk! The scent would increase women’s sexual arousal.
These chemical scents, or pheromones can be found in human sweat, and to a lesser degree in saliva and semen. The armpits and pubic area are the most prominent body areas for the production of pheromones.
Pheromones are considered primers, modulators, releasers or signalers. Primer pheromones causes slow physiologic, endocrine responses including hormonal changes that alter reproductive function, such as the beginning of a girl’s menstrual cycle. Releaser pheromones give off primarily behavioral responses in oneself and in another person, and it’s these chemicals that are thought to cause sexual arousal in the opposite sex. Then there’s the modulator pheromones that have the potential to affect the state or mood of the person receiving these chemicals. Last but not least, the signaler pheromones are thought to emit actual genetic information about that person and determine the suitability of one’s potential mate. It also contains information about ones immune system and susceptibility of disease. WOW!
So the bottom line is that deodorant-type body sprays and hair products actually turn OFF the sexual arousal instinct by covering up the person’s natural scent. Of course there are some people that like synthetic scents and may be attracted to partners that wear them. But you can go ‘al natural’ and attract the opposite sex with your own body scent and it may actually help you choose the right mate.
Kellog-Speak, S. Sex, Scents, and Sensibility. Women’s health Care. 2008, 7(6);48-49.