The Scent of a Woman

Don’t trust the hype about pheromones and sexual attraction.

Randi Hutter Epstein

Man smelling a woman. Click image to expand.Is there any truth to the pheromones craze? The notion that our body odors are potent, chemically charged mating signals—so-called pheromones—is so pervasive in women’s magazines and websites, you would think that all you need is one good sweat to lure your guy. This spring, Shape magazine proclaimed that working out together fires up a relationship, because when you’re hot and sweaty, "you continue to release attraction-boosting pheromones for an hour after you finish exercising." Want to turn an ordinary dinner date into "incredibly hot sex"? All you have to do, according YourTango, a love-advice website, is avoid putting perfume on your neck, breasts, or genitals, because that "hides the important pheromones that drive men wild." Last year, Cosmopolitan—another go-to source for medically oriented dating strategies—suggested you go panty-free so that the "odors in your pheromones—that natural chemical you emit that attracts men—may more easily waft into the air to be picked up subliminally by the primitive part of his brain."

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