Men can smell when a woman is sexually aroused

Summary: Men evaluated the scent of sexually aroused women as more attractive and expressed an increase in their sexual motivations. Findings suggest the chemical signal of scent alone can elicit a sexual response in men.

Source: University of Kent

University of Kent research suggests that men can distinguish between the scents of sexually aroused and non-aroused women.

The detection of sexual arousal through smell may function as an additional channel in the communication of sexual interest and provide further verification of human sexual interest.

This research by Dr Arnaud Wisman, a Psychologist at the University of Kent, expands on previous studies which have concluded that humans can communicate and detect emotions such as fear or sadness through scent. Sexual arousal is also identified as an emotional physical state.

Findings were established through three different experiments where men processed the scents of axillary sweat samples from anonymous sexually aroused and non-aroused women. Men evaluated the scent of sexually aroused women as relatively more attractive and this increased their sexual motivation. This suggests that the chemical signals of scent alone can elicit a sexual response in recipients.

This shows a couple kissing
Men evaluated the scent of sexually aroused women as relatively more attractive and this increased their sexual motivation. The image is in the public domain.

Dr Arnaud Wisman said: ‘The present studies suggest that men are sensitive to the olfactory signals of sexual arousal released by women. This research suggests that these signals released along with corresponding visual and auditory expressions of sexual interest can produce a stronger overall signal that increases sexual motivation. Sexual interest may entail more than meets the eye and we hope that the current findings encourage further research to examine the role of sexual olfactory signals in human communication.’

About this neuroscience research article

Source:
University of Kent
Media Contacts:
Olivia Miller – University of Kent
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Original Research: Open access
“Sexual Chemosignals: Evidence that Men Process Olfactory Signals of Women’s Sexual Arousal”. Arnaud Wisman & Ilan Shrira.
Archives of Sexual Behavior doi:10.1007/s10508-019-01588-8.

Abstract

Sexual Chemosignals: Evidence that Men Process Olfactory Signals of Women’s Sexual Arousal

Research suggests that humans can communicate emotional states (e.g., fear, sadness) via chemosignals. However, thus far little is known about whether sexual arousal can also be conveyed through chemosignals and how these signals might influence the receiver. In three experiments, and a subsequent mini meta-analysis, support was found for the hypothesis that men can process the scent of sexually aroused women and that exposure to these sexual chemosignals affect the subsequent perceptions and sexual motivation of men. Specifically, Experiment 1 revealed that men evaluate the axillary sweat of sexually aroused women as more attractive, compared to the scent of the same women when not sexually aroused. In addition, Experiment 2 showed that exposure to sexual chemosignals increased the men’s sexual arousal. Experiment 3 found support for the thesis that exposure to sexual chemosignals would increase sexual motivation. As predicted, men devoted greater attention to and showed greater interest in mating with women who displayed sexual cues (e.g., scantily dressed, in seductive poses). By contrast, exposure to the sexual chemosignals did not alter males’ attention and mating interest toward women who displayed no sexual cues. It is discussed how sexual chemosignals may function as an additional channel in the communication of sexual interest and how contextual factors can influence the dynamics of human sexual communication.

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