The Subconscious Sex: Pheromones and Why They May Rule Us All


Have you ever wanted to be a “babe in a bottle?” No? Me neither. The fragrance industry would love us to join in on the big scented party. Modern fragrances can be famously toxic and bad for our bodies, and yet people have been dosing themselves since the ancient woman figured out how to distill essence of lavender. Why? Because fragrance equals sex to our bodies. And the reason may go back to pheromones.

It’s science, fellow sniffers! You know that feeling when a member of your preferred gender nears who makes your stomach turn over and your knees buckle a bit? (Does Ryan Gosling help ring a bell?)  It’s all about chemistry and the scientific explanation behind it. Pheromones, strictly defined, are a chemical secretion that triggers a social response in a member of the same species. I know, when you put it that way, romance sounds about as appealing as ride in a Hummer with Karl Rove.

Further, there are all different kinds of pheromones, as some help us find food or deal with danger. It is the sex pheromones that are designed to let the world know when females and males want to get breeding. And pretty much every being on earth uses them, from microscopic organisms to insects to sea life to us.

And according to experts, pheromones are what really get things cooking on our ends. James V. Kohl is the author of The Mind’s Eyes: Human Pheromones, Neuroscience, and Male Sexual Preferences. As he told SeXis Magazine via Alternet, pheromones are enough to spark an interest in another person. According to Kohl, “Most actions are based on unconscious effects, animal behavior, where something causes a hormone to change without thought, when we start to think about it we have the option of behaving like an animal or thinking it through.” So as Kohl points out, they get us moving but don’t seal the deal. So we’re not all slaves to our chemical signals.

But that doesn’t mean pheromones aren’t powerful. Via Blisstree, the brain contains a special place to conduct pheromones called Nerve Zero. Since pheromones are not believed to smell in a traditional sense, it is Nerve Zero that is thought to process these chemicals and get things moving in our libido. Therefore, pheromones may help us choose mates and can affect fertility, puberty and more.

Some experts believe males release them through sweat glands or females during ovulation. But can you bottle them? There is a huge industry of pheromone sprays and perfume that claims you can, though experts remain divided on if they actually work. Botanical experts point to some natural substances that can help sex drive. Cinnamon might increase blood flood throughout the body (always a good thing) while pumpkin seeds, high in zinc, may increase sex drive.

But, in the end, do pheromones make us more attractive to our preferred gender? It’s very likely they do – just be sure, next time, to check in with your subconscious sex.

Image: pedrosimoes7

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.