Human Pheromones Are Not Really Real

We’ve all heard that one about how you can buy perfume or soap that contains pheromones, and lure in a man based on his subliminal response to your smell, right?

Well, guess what? According to Slate, the whole idea is hooey. At their Double X blog, author Randi Hutter Epstein explains how pheromones became a marketing ploy, based on research conducted on insects and animals but never proven in humans.

The idea of a scent being used to attract a mate started with what we know about silkworm moths. The female of that species does indeed have an aromatic trick up her…wing. She can get a male to mate with her by simply emitting a certain scent — called a pheromone — which he then follows until he can hop on it.

No such scent, though, has ever been found in humans.

What has been found, and what some of the pheromone marketing craze is based on, writes Hunter, is a disproved theory about monkeys. The theory once went that vaginal secretions emitted by rhesus monkeys caused their males to become attracted to them. Based on that — and here’s where it all gets fun — chemicals mimicking the vaginal secretions were created, and now form the basis of many of the so-called pheromone perfumes and soaps on the market today.

In other words, of you’re spritzing them on, you’re basically wearing a monkey’s vagina.

Sadly, it’s a monkey’s vagina that doesn’t work — subsequent studies showed that neither male monkeys nor male humans were affected at all by females who wore the chemical compound. They were more affected, if you’re curious, by pushy chicks — male monkeys went for dominant female monkeys that literally cock-blocked them, physically preventing them from getting to the other monkey ladies. (Sound like anyone you know?)

At any rate, ladies, here’s the takeaway: pheromones…not so much.

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    • Maris


      Actually, I think they do work. I get turned on when I wear pheromones. Call it a placebo effect. I become more confident, thus pushy, AND IT WORKS ANYWAY!

    • Magda

      I totally agree. I think that even if the product doesnt work, then the way it makes you feel does. Like it makes you feel sexy and confident and puts a little strut in your step. Its kind of like when you were you good, sexy lace underwear versus your plain cotton panties.

    • Sally

      This title is misleading and has false information. Human pheromones do in fact exist as there are multiple research studies that prove so, especially ones that have found connections between scents from female perspiration and menstrual cycle regularity in other women. Whether or not cosmetics that claim to have pheromones that attract the opposite sex actually work however, is a different story.