What a Man’s Scent Says About His Mate Potential

September 25, 2012
What a Man’s Scent Says About His Mate Potential

This news might seem a bit surprising — Your nose may be a better boyfriend detector than your eyes and ears combined. According to researchers, a whiff of a lover’s pheromones sends biological data to the brain that indicates if you two could be a good long-term match. And, unlike your eyes and ears, your nose can’t be tricked.

Look no further than the famous Swiss T-Shirt study to understand how biology sometimes trumps culture.

In the study, women were asked to smell some very fragrant T-shirts that men had slept in every night for a week. The women were asked to determine which body odor was most attractive.

When blood work was compared, it was determined that women were most attracted to the pheromones that signaled the most different immune system from themselves. Apparently, when sperm marries egg, certain features are taken from each partner, blue eyes from one, brown hair from another, etc.

The exception is immune systems. When two people procreate, their immune systems combine and become stronger. And healthy babies need the strongest immune system.

There is one big exception that disrupts this theory.

The birth control pill, which seems to gum up nature’s intelligent process.

Back in our hunter-gatherer days, birth control wasn’t around to interfere with mating systems. Women were evolutionary programmed to be attracted to men who would help them produce strong, healthy offspring.

But today, more than 100 million women worldwide take a birth control pill, whether it’s to fight off acne or to prevent unwanted pregnancy. And the downside is that hormones in birth control pills alter a woman’s ability to sniff out the right mate.

Since the pill suppresses ovulation and tricks a woman’s body into thinking she’s pregnant, her hormones are reflected by that. These artificial hormones from the pill often lead women to crave “nurturing men” rather than those who have the ability to produce strong, fit offspring.

Plus, men actually find fertile women (pill users are technically “infertile”) more attractive, especially while a woman is ovulating.

Another study found that women who paired with men whose immune systems were similar to their own had a less satisfying sex life and were more likely to cheat than women who paired with men whose immune systems were dissimilar to their own.

My advice to women: Avoid the pill when trying to attract a potential mate so your pheromones don’t confuse Mr. Right with Mr. Wrong.

It will weed out the relationships with mates that could potentially result in infidelity and kids who have a rough time fighting off the common cold. There are plenty of other methods of birth control that will put pheromones to work and allow women to sniff out the right dude while also providing some protection from STDs.

Dr. Wendy Walsh is the author of "The 30-Day Love Detox"" (April 2013). Connect with her on Google+.

Related Topics:
Studies Types of Daters

4 Responses

    I don’t know if it’s just because I read this that I’m comparing all of my boyfriends but I’d say I like to date guys who are both nurturing and strong…

    That’s an interesting theory, but htere’s way more to a long-lasting relationship than pheromones and smells.

      Dr. Wendy Walsh
      Dr. Wendy Walsh (DatingAdvice.com)

      Absolutely there is. And pheromones don’t help you have a long-lasting relationship. But they do help you choose a fit mate who can help you create fit offspring.

    maybe men should offer to send samples of their t-shirts on dating websites

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