Psychology of Smells and Attraction – Why They’re So Connected

When it comes to attraction, many factors come into play, from the physical to the mental. But there’s one crucial element that could be a game-changer with your partner that you probably haven’t thought of: their scent. Although, yes, someone can mask their natural smell with deodorant, perfume or cologne – and even seduce you with them – we are talking about their pheromones, their Natural smell. A great deal of research supports the idea that someone’s scent can trigger everything from emotions and memories to romantic attraction.

“Smell plays a bigger role in how we make decisions about what we enjoy than we think,” said Dr. Joanne Frederick, licensed mental health counselor and author of Copeology, tells TZR in an e-mail. “Perceiving a potential mate’s body odor can subconsciously help someone decide whether they are attracted to them or not. When you are attracted to someone, you are more likely to be attracted to their Some say we release pheromones (oxytocin), also known as “love hormones,” when there’s an attraction — causing someone to be attracted to someone’s smell, she explains.

Jennifer Stelter, psychologist and CEO of NeuroEssence at Dementia Connection Institute, elaborates. “Olfactory stimuli have a direct impact on a person’s limbic system which houses the amygdala, responsible for generating emotions, and the hippocampus, responsible for forming memories,” she told TZR. in an email. “Therefore, if the stimuli are positive or attractive to the person feeling them, it may influence the person to experience and associate positive feelings and memories with that person.”

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In fact, a 2018 study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology asked participants to smell three scents — that of their romantic partner, that of a stranger, and a neutral scent — after which they were then exposed to a acute stressor. Their perceived levels of stress and cortisol (also known as the “stress hormone”) were then measured throughout the study. Perceived stress was lower in women exposed to their partner’s scent, while cortisol levels were increased in women exposed to a stranger’s scent. So, on a subconscious level, women were more attracted to the scent of their partner, the one they found familiar and safe.

But what exactly triggers these responses in our brains and bodies? Read on to discover the science and reasoning behind the strong connection between perfume and the Laws of Attraction.

The science behind perfume

Amy Galper, certified aromatherapist and author, agrees that aroma triggers how our limbic system (the unconscious part of our brain) responds to external stressors. “So if we smell something nice, our body responds by producing hormones and chemicals in our body that tell our body to rest and relax,” she told TZR in a E-mail. “The molecules that make up a volatile aroma (a scent) actually trigger a response in our olfactory nerve cells in our nose which then sends a signal to the emotional part of our brain.”

In action, think when you smell a delicious cooking smell. “The molecules that make up this aroma trigger a signal in our unconscious brain to produce the chemicals that prepare our digestive system to eat and digest food,” she says. “We, in turn, experience this by ‘being hungry’, producing saliva and triggering other hormonal responses that prepare us to eat. So the same thing happens when we feel somebody that wakes us up – it triggers responses (the release of hormones) in our reproductive organs to prepare us to ‘mate’. That’s why we can “smell someone” and feel immediately drawn to them without knowing anything about them – the scent triggers a reaction in our subconscious, she adds.

Scientifically, we are programmed to look for partners who have a different genetic configuration than ours. “Our nose can serve as a compass for finding suitable mates for two reasons: pheromones and MHC, the genes that make up an important part of our immune system,” Frederick explains. These genes then produce certain molecules, she explains, that define our tacit and unconscious attraction to others. So while a person’s natural smell definitely plays a role in how they smell, it can be masked by perfumes, body washes, colognes, and more.

Speaking of external scents, Frederick says Someone’s “smell” can sometimes be a combination of everyday things – like the aforementioned deodorant, body wash, laundry detergent and/or perfume/cologne. “It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if you don’t like the smell of your partner,” she says. “It can be as simple as suggesting they try another soap, body spray, or change detergent and fabric softener — and see what happens next.”

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How to Change Someone’s Perfume (or Yours)

So, as you can see, all hope is not lost if you don’t like or respond positively to the smell of your date or your partner. But how to approach the subject in a non-insulting way? “Different people find different things attractive; I’ve always had memories of a good cologne and even now smelling it brings back memories of old boyfriends,” matchmaker and dating coach Stef Safran told TZR in an email. . “If someone has bad breath or body odor, you need to say something rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. The better you communicate with people about your needs, the better the chance your attraction to them can grow. a relationship.

She goes on to explain that if you can’t express your feelings — even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable — how are you going to handle situations that involve other areas, like intimacy? “There seems to be a reason why deodorants, perfumes, colognes, mouthwashes, breath mints, and even feminine products are constantly telling us to smell good,” she adds. While you may “accidentally” walk into a cologne or body wash section of a store with your date and choose products for each other, it’s best to be open and honest. You can start by telling the person everything you love and appreciate about them before broaching the subject of their scent. This way you won’t hurt their feelings.

Galper adds that if it’s a naturally emitted scent, the person can try using essential oils to mask the natural scent, which will trigger more arousing feelings in you. She recommends oils like jasmine, ylang-ylang, patchouli or sandalwood. Alison Angold, founder of aromatherapy platform Beauty Taming The Beast, also suggests using essential oils — not necessarily wearing them. “You can create a massage oil using aromas such as bergamot, rosemary, orange or lavender, and suggest giving yourself a massage or using it in the bath,” she said. to TZR in an email. “The aromas, while powerful, are natural and will linger on the skin, so they will help a person smell better – these oils act as natural deodorants.” (Plus, it can be a romantic experience too!)

In the end, it all comes down to how those little things, like scent, make you feel and react to your partner. So trust your instincts and let your nose guide you.

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