It turns out that when people say they have “chemistry” there may be some truth to it. Also, when there are certain hormones in a man’s body that are at a peak, women can smell them.
Women who also have a chemical process going on in their own bodies also react to men who have their own chemical process and the communication happens through smells.
Women at their peak fertility prefer the smell of men oozing with testosterone, a new study finds.
Ovulation has been shown to impact a woman’s mating preferences. For instance, women in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle favor more masculine traits, such as a deep voice or manly face, characteristics associated with the hormone testosterone, studies have found. Other research suggests fertile women are attracted to men with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which may be involved in stronger immune systems.
In the new study, researchers tested how women’s s*xual scent preferences changed depending on men’s levels of testosterone and cortisol. Male volunteers were given T-shirts to wear for two consecutive nights, during which time they were prohibited from using scented soaps or detergents; drinking or smoking; or eating garlic, onion, green chiles, strong cheeses and other pungent foods.
Then, female volunteers sniffed the men’s shirts and rated the pleasantness, sexiness and intensity of the smells (on scales from 1 to 10). The women also completed a questionnaire about their stage in their menstrual cycles and whether they were using hormonal contraception.
The researchers took saliva samples from the men to measure hormone levels of testosterone and cortisol.
Women who were at the most fertile stage of their menstrual cycles preferred the smell of men with higher testosterone, rating these “manly” shirts as the most pleasant and sexiest, results showed. The women showed no preference for the smells of men with higher cortisol levels. Without taking the women’s fertility into account, neither hormone had an influence on how attractive the men smelled.
The link found between testosterone and smell attractiveness contrasts with the findings of a previous study. That study sampled a smaller group of subjects (19 men versus the current study’s 46 men), which could weaken the significance of the findings. However, that study tested for testosterone three times throughout the day, making it more sensitive to the hormone’s frequent fluctuations.