Do Human Pheromones Work?

Pheromone researchers found that if a person relocates, his or her attitude and demeanor will adapt to meet the social environment of the new home. This means that a happy-go-lucky southerner might experience a change in personality with a move to the north, and vice versa.

In searching for a reason behind climate-controlled personality differences, Pennebaker points to the fact that northerners wear more clothing and are less able to display body language or read the body language of their friends and neighbors, which may lead to hindered social skills. He also posits that because people living in cold places are forced to stay indoors more often than their warm-weather peers, they naturally become less social.

What Are Pheromones

Pheromones, which are chemical factors secreted by both men and women from their genital regions, armpits and navels, are available as scented or unscented products for both sexes. These products are touted to provide benefits like increased sexual attraction, romantic passion, and confidence in one’s self and in the relationship. The questions then are: Is the existence of human pheromones a proven scientific fact in the first place? Are the claims related to these chemical factors true?

How Pheromones Work

While entomologists may find all of this fascinating, for the rest of the world the interest in pheromones is on their impact between humans. While most advertisements involving pheromones focus on sexual attraction, it is not beyond reason to say that people are interested in pheromones for all of the ways in which they can be used to influence behaviors, feelings, and actions.

From the first studies on pheromones and mammals through modern day findings it was initially thought that pheromones work through the vomeronasal organ. The vomeronasal organ is a chemosensory organ that is found within the nasal septum, at its base. There is some debate about the interaction of the vomeronasal organ in adults, but its mere existence has formed the foundation for much of the human pheromone research. Other researchers have determined that they do not need an operable vomeronasal organ to verify findings that pheromones have an affect on humans. For these researchers, observing the affect is enough to justify their publishing study findings. Understanding how the affects are formed, that is to them, the subject for future studies.

Do Pheromones Work in Humans?

Many people come to this website looking for information on women attracting pheromones. There are many questions to be asked about these chemical love scents; do they really work? Will people know I am wearing them? Are all women attracted to men wearing these pheromones? This article aims to answer some of these questions surrounding the mysterious attractant pheromones.

According to scientists there is no doubt whether pheromones play a large role in attracting members of the opposite sex. Pheromones exist in almost all animals on the planet but the ones we are particularly interested in are the so called sex pheromones. These pheromones are said to drive women mad with lust but is there any merit to this statement?

In order to answer this question we must turn to science. For something to be true it must be proven in an empirical manner. Scientists have shown that women that have been put in an environment containing a large amount of pheromones go through physical and mental changes. Upon careful analysis the scientists showed that the changes they went through were almost identical to the changes a woman has when she is attracted to a man, some reactions showed women almost reaching what could be called an orgasmic state merely by being in contact with pheromones.

It must be noted that the existence of these chemical factors in animals like bees, pigs and dogs was an established fact in the scientific community as early as the 1970s. These were categorized into alarm, aggregation, sex and territorial factors, to name a few examples, with each one playing different yet complementary roles in the animal’s life. Many industries even used animal factors for several purposes such as in the case of pest control.

Studies in the 1980s

It was only in the 1980s, however, when the existence of human pheromones was established through several scientific studies. Many of these studies were made under the co-direction of Dr. Winnifred Cutler, a well-known biologist and the president/founder of the Athena Institute, a biomedical research facility. To this day, Dr. Cutler is an active researcher into the science, applications and benefits of pheromones in human sexual attraction, among other areas affected by these chemical factors.

At the time of the discovery of these chemical factors in humans, Dr. Cutler was a research scholar working for the University of Pennsylvania Medical School’s Ob/Gynecology Department. She was part of a team of researchers looking into the existence of human pheromones and how these influence human behavior.

Findings from these scientific studies were subsequently published in mainstream publications, both in the conventional media like newspapers and in online sites. These publications included Tome Magazine, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN Online, USA Today and BBC News, all in the year 1986. In the same year, Dr. Cutler established the Athena Institute to further explore the science behind pheromones and their practical applications in the real world.

Dr. Cutler’s Discovery

Until the present day, Dr. Cutler publishes her research studies on a wide variety of topics including but not limited to sexual attraction and sexual behaviors between the sexes, female fertility, and reproductive health. Her studies have been replicated by other researchers with similar results.

It must also be noted that Dr. Cutler was instrumental in synthesizing female pheromones. The results were released in 1993, which resulted in the pheromone-infused products being sold in the site.
Feature on ABC News

With the publication of the results of the studies conducted by the Athena Institute, mainstream publications expectedly had reservations about human pheromones. One of these publications – ABC News – conducted their own informal study on the effects of the Athena Pheromones in relation to physical attraction.

In the ABC program 20/20, the staff wanted to test the efficacy of the pheromone-infused potions in helping individuals find romance. Two sets of twins – male and female – in their 20s were sent to a speed-dating event with one twin in each set receiving a good spray of Dr. Cutler’s Athena Pheromones while the other twin had plain witch hazel. No one knew what he/she received, thus, making it a blind test.

The staff, however, knew that Sarah and Dave were sprayed with the chemical factors while Bridget and Paul were provided with the plain witch hazel. Both sets of twins then went on the dates with each one lasting 5 minutes. At the end of the date, these daters filled out a form stating who they would like to see again after the speed-dating event.

The results: Nine men wanted to date Sarah again while only five men wanted the same thing with Bridget. As for Dave, ten women were interested in him while only six stated their interest in Paul.
The conclusion: Athena Pheromones does work!

Secondary Pheromone Studies

Subsequent to the above referenced studies a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2007 connected the smelling of androstadienone, a pheromone found in male sweat, a direct effect on producing and maintaining higher levels of cortisol in women. While increases cortisol levels are not directly associated with attraction of arousal, it does show the interrelationship between the male pheromone and the female response. This response has now been proven to have an impact on the endocrine balance of others, which can lead to enhanced or elevated mood.

This connection between the smell of a pheromone and the hormonal affects on the opposite sex has lead researchers to further validate the connections between pheromones and attraction, intimacy, and arousal. There has been additional research that has made preliminary connections between sexual attraction and the linkages between that attraction within same sex and opposite sex relationships. These finding are preliminary, but because the study was able to isolate variables as distinct as homo and heterosexual attraction the researchers were in fact able to isolate pheromones and prove their impact on attraction between all types of relationships, hetero and homosexual alike.

Harvard Studies

Studies done at Harvard University showed that electrical impulses did occur at the area where the VNO is located in humans upon been administered pheromones. In women these reactions where strongest when the pheromone androstadienone was introduced. Androstadienone is a testosterone related pheromone found in male sweat. A calming effect was also noted in almost all participants of the study.

Although humans do not a fully functioning VNO in the classical sense recent evidence shows that pheromones are being processed by the normal olfactory channels. Many pheromones have been found in nature that do not depend on a VNO to function and there have been documented cases of definite reactions to pheromones in animals without a VNO. In one study it was found that mice detect a certain pheromone through a dense cluster of nerves at the tip of the nose and not the VNO.

This behaviour though is not unique to animals. Ivanka Savic a neuroscientist from Sweden recently showed in a brain imaging scan experiment that androstadienone directly stimulates an area of the brain that is a controller of sexual stimulation.

Many scientists are now saying that even though you can generate the symptoms of sexual excitement in humans that it does not necessarily mean they will become sexually excited. Whether or not pheromones actually work in humans is still debatable and the truth will not be known until the scientific community embrace the project objectively. leaving aside long standing bias and preconceptions.

The Scents of Attraction

It has long been established that scents have an impact on mood and feelings. Sometimes these scents bring back anchored memories from our pasts locked in our subconscious and other times these scents bring about a new response that has not roots in our psyche but simply interacts with our brain in a particular way. Perfume and cologne manufacturers have known this for decades as have aromatherapists If you have ever had a particular scented perfume or cologne that absolutely draws you in or makes you have feelings of sexual desire, then you know the power a scent can have over your mind and body.

This is the same theory behind the science of pheromones. The sense of smell represents 20% of the ways in which we interact with the outside world. While some of us rely on our sense of vision, touch, and hearing; it is the sense of smell that circumvents our conscious mind and directly stimulates feelings within our subconscious. Consider food as an example. Were it not for your sense of smell, most food would taste the same. The smell is a major part of taste. This is how pheromones work. They are a natural by product of individuals and they trigger natural responses. Just as sensual touch and physical attraction can stimulate arousal and intimacy so can the sense of smell. Especially when those smells trigger a reaction that is within our deep down psychological and genetic memory, a scent of a pheromone that triggers a response that is beyond conscious analysis and yet it is a response that our primitive nature has kept with itself for thousands of years. It is this sort of primitive animal attraction that is deeply seated in our subconscious that is brought out with pheromones.

Benefits of Pheromones

With that being said, it is safe to assume the following benefits when using pheromone-infused personal grooming products like body sprays and colognes:

• Increased level of sexual attraction where the opposite sex is concerned
• Enhanced passion in the romance department such as in the case of married couples
• Improved self-confidence in the knowledge that, indeed, you are attractive
Well, of course, all of these touted benefits will only be words. You must try the Athena Pheromones and see for yourself.

Pheromones In Context

If we look at these differences in the context of pheromones, we arrive at an intriguing thought: Could it be that the friendly attitude of southerners has something to do with their pheromones, which are free to float around in the warm air, unrestricted by heavy winter clothing? Are northerners cooler because they aren’t getting enough of their fellow humans’ pheromones?

Pheromone researcher Louis Monti-Bloch shared with us his theory about that perennial human affliction, spring fever: “We release pheromones constantly. In the spring and summer, people wear less clothing as the weather warms up, therefore more skin is exposed and people are receiving chemical inputs they are not aware of.” The way Monti-Bloch describes it, spring fever could herald the arrival of a pheromone army into the air we breathe, which could explain why many of us drift around in a state of bliss as the months advance toward summer. When we cover our skin with clothing, we block the pheromones secreted through the skin from circulating through the air.

This fact seems to validate our desire—however embarrassed we might be by its acknowledgment—to show some skin. Go ahead and wear that slightly risque’ dress or tank top. Men and women are designed to communicate with one another in ways that go beyond the trappings of words and other sensory signals.

Further Research

Research into how a person’s address can affect his or her personality and moods reveals that people living in the southern regions of the United States and in similar latitudes in other countries are often friendlier and more open than northerners, who are characteristically cooler, less ebullient. One study in particular illustrates the behavioral characteristics that occur across cultures and in countries that have markedly different weather patterns. It was conducted by psychologist James Pennebaker and his colleagues at Southern Methodist University, in conjunction with Bernard Rime of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

The researchers interviewed three thousand college students in twenty-six countries, asking them to describe their own levels of emotional expressiveness and what they perceived to be the expressiveness—or taciturnity—of people living in other regions of the countries they called home. In eighteen out of twenty-six countries, students’ responses meshed with the personality traits that seem to define certain geographic regions: Students living in warmer climates described themselves as more outgoing, friendly, cheerful, and social than did the students from more frigid northern regions. Such differences surfaced among others.


Although the existence of pheromones has been known for many years, there have not been any conclusive studies into their actual consequences in humans. This has been due to badly thought out experiments and trials or dubious biases by the people carrying out the study. This coupled with the shady advertising of some pheromone products have left the entire field in a state of disrepute.

However this could all be about to change with new research and trials that are emerging. Recent evidence from brain imaging scans shows that humans do actually respond to pheromones and as more evidence amounts more and more scientists are starting to come around to the idea that humans do use and respond to the effects of pheromones.

The ticking point in this whole discussion is when will we stop arguing over whether or not pheromones affect our behaviour but instead pin pointing exactly how they affect us.

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