Scent & Sexual Attraction

Attractive young woman hugging her partner from behind and smelling his neck

While the Lynx effect promised to make men irresistible to women, there is actual science behind the claim that your sense of smell can influence your choice of sexual partners. Sometimes the smell is imperceptible but being near someone can feel intoxicating because we are subsconsciously aware of their scent. So, can you actually sniff your way to love, or good sex? 

Why does someone’s smell turn us on?

I’ve often heard friends talking about a new lover say “He smells so good”. Basically if we like the smell of someone it triggers a response in the olfactory nerve cells which, in turn, triggers a signal to the emotional part of our brain. And scent also plays a role in arousal. When we smell someone that arouses us it triggers the release of hormones in our reproductive organs and makes us ready for a bit of horizontal action. 

Isn’t it all about pheromones?

Perceivable smells do play a role in attraction but guys don’t fall into the trap of believing that your macho post-gym sweat is attractive to women. Androstenol (a steroidal pheromone) is the scent produced by fresh male sweat and is attractive to females. But after exposure to oxygen sweat oxidises and produces androstenone which is generally perceived as unpleasant (except during ovulation where a woman’s perception of smell changes). And don’t waste your money on pheromone scents – they require close proximity and, if it was in a social setting, the women would not be able to determine who was wearing the scent. 

So is she into you?

According to a study by the University of Kent men can pick up on the smell of a woman who is into them versus one who isn’t. The research paper found:

  • Men evaluate the sweat of a sexually aroused woman more attractive than a woman who is not turned on, and
  • Humans release chemosignals through their sweat and men exposed to these found they were more attracted to the women.

What scents and colognes should I wear?

Scent profiles, and what people “like” are unique to each individual and studies find that wearing a perfume or cologne may do more for your overall mood than have any tangible result in attracting a sexual partner. But if you feel more sensual it might affect your behaviour and therefore indirectly increase your attractiveness. But, there are scent profiles which men and women generally find more appealing. 

For men choose a fruity scent, something with musk, clean scents such as acquatic or mint, or warm scents such as vanilla.

For women choose light florals such as jasmine or lavender (known as the “herb of love” as it has been found to stimulate penile blood flow), musk and sandalwood, spice notes like cinnamon or vanilla, or soft citrus tones. 

Can you choose your perfect partner based on smell?

Everyone has their own scent which is as unique as a fingerprint. And studies have found that we can literally sniff out our perfect mate. Have you heard of the smelly tshirt experiment? It was first done back in 1994 by Swiss zoologist Claus Wedekind and involved men wearing tshirts for 2 days and then women being asked to rank the garment's smell by intensity, pleasantness and sexiness. The results appeared to show that women chose men whose genes were different to their own. The theory is that you use smell to subsconciously select immune compatibility in a partner. Even though there have been many similar studies it’s still a controversial theory but that hasn’t stopped some hopeful singles from enlisting the help of sites like Smell Dating or even MCH matching to find their perfect smelly partner. 

So has the law of attraction been reduced to the way someone smells? Hardly! But we’ve all had relationships or even hook ups where you wondered why you felt so damn attracted to this person given they weren’t your usual type. Maybe you were smelling your way to sexiness.


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  • Sh31sHav1ngFun


    More than a month ago

    Id have to say the sexy scent of a man dries me insane

  • Virtuosity73


    More than a month ago

    I remember working in a, cafe when I was in my early 20's and this older lady came inside to order a coffee, but it wasn't until smelling her perfume that things got interesting

    Suddenly, I was totally aroused, and my hormones went into an erratic frenzy, so much that I asked my boss for a coffee break, but he flatly refused

    I also asked him to personally come outside and smell this lady's perfume, but he exclaimed that he was way too busy

    I really wanted to ask her what the scent was, but I was soo discombobulated, that I didn't want to sound like a complete misfit, and was even tempted to just ask for her number, but I was overtly aroused, that I figured it would just come across all creepy and weird, so I didn't bother.

    Upon leaving work, I remembered reading about Pheromone cologne sprays in men's magazines, thinking they were bogus, but how wrong I was, and was literally putty in her hands, so much to the point she had me right where she wanted me, and she knew it

    The more I smelt the perfume, the more nuts it drove me, but let's just say I folded ...

  • Blue262


    More than a month ago

    Little known fact: drinking alcohol, being on the Pill or both will alter your body chemistry so Mr Definitely Wrong will smell nice to you.
    I remember people who smelled like nothing at all to me, even up close. Perfect chemical match which meant our children would have been outstanding. And that's all it's about. Have also been around wonderful people who smelled like wet hair, even when just out of the shower.
    If someone's natural scent is off-putting, don't put up with it just to have someone around. Smell is a vital indicator of compatibility, which makes all this screen-life a bit silly, we just go on looks alone these days.
    You can trick the eyes, but the smell/taste array doesn't compromise.

  • Pmdelight4u2


    More than a month ago

    When you walk into a room or lift and you can smell the cologne of a man nearby or as he walks past..

    Or being able to smell the scent of your lover on your pillow or sheets..


  • badthoughts63


    More than a month ago

    Funny how a perfume smells good on one person, and the same perfume on someone else smells awful.

  • Brenn1999


    More than a month ago

    Someone’s scent is DEFINITELY a turn on. Especially when a woman goes to the effort of a sexy scent, goodness me!

  • phoenix1323


    More than a month ago

    I actually don’t mind the smell of fresh ( not stale! 🤢 ) sweat on a man. It’s natural. I’ve also found different men like different perfumes I wear, so it’s an individual thing.

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