Have you ever been attracted to someone that was not your typical choice, where you find yourself strangely mesmerised by someone unconventional to you? You can blame the pheromones. Our bodies emit natural odours that your sense of smell, an extremely powerful sense, picks up- not on a conscious level where you can say what ingredients are in a person’s perfume, but your brain receptors smell that person in an entirely different way. Then, depending on whether your chemistry reacts or not with the other person’s (your body odour and the other person’s), you are attracted to the person. In your brain, there exists this tiny little nerve called the cranial nerve. It is a nerve that sprouts from the base of your brain, and whose exact function is a bit misunderstood. But now, scientists are beginning to explore what it might in fact do: subliminal sexual attraction.
Pheromones, the silent chemical messages you exchange to a member of the opposite sex in search for a mate, relay subconscious signals to the brain through this cranial nerve. Of course, the problem with evidence of pheromones is actually quite shocking. Why? Because it means our choice of a partner has nothing to do with free will or rational thinking, but odours! Pheromones excite these nerve endings that send signals to the brain’s areas that control sexual reproduction. On the way they pass your cerebral cortex (this is where your consciousness is) essentially acting like an unseen smelling cupid, putting a romantic twinkle in the eye of a mate… and you don’t even know it!
The pheromones we emit are shockingly powerful. Scientists even suggest that these pheromones send messages of health suggesting that the partner we choose will complement of our immune systems. For example, men who have no idea what they were smelling preferred the sweat on t-shirts worn by women who were ovulating than those who were not. Why? Ovulation sends signals of fertility, and this pheromone sends a signal of a “healthy woman” to a man who unconsciously smells the scent. Ovulation has a smell, that smell is healthy, ergo a man is attracted to healthy woman who will then carry his offspring. Strange huh, that attraction can boil down to this. How these chemical messages are deciphered by our brains is not completely known, but increasingly scientists are confirming that human pheromone communication can impact your choice of partner.
Likewise, women will unknowingly rate male odour as more attractive if the odour shares fewer of her immune-system genes because this means he is less likely to be close kin, and more likely to be a good mate. In a nutshell… chemistry works! Human pheromones will also send information about identity, age, kinship, health, happiness, fertility and arousal. And studies also show that exposure to some human emanations can boost mood, tweak hormones, and inspire aggression or attraction in others. Consider this: in another study, people exposed to cotton underarm pads worn by moviegoers can tell whether the viewers were scared or amused!