Who Smells Most Attractive?

Never underestimate the power of your nose when it comes to choosing a partner. Women say a man's scent is the most crucial feature of all when it comes to determining if she would want to have sex with him, according to two large studies by an olfactory expert at Brown University.

The research by Brown's Rachel Herz, PhD, found that a man's smell is the primary way that women can determine a potential mate's genetic compatibility, according to CNN.

"Women have a much greater sense of scent than men, and they use it more," says Ian Kerner, PhD. "I have talked with hundreds of women about what might be the most important  factor in choosing a guy. They always talk about their guy's scent being a turn on."

Women aren't the only ones who are turned on or off by the smell of a potential partner.  Men, too, can be turned off or on by a woman's perfume.

"The sense of smell is one of the deepest sensations in the brain, and when it comes to finding one's preferred sexual partner, it could overshadow other sense," says Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD, an accredited psychosexual therapist by the College of Sex and Relationship Therapists in the UK and co-author of the Orgasm Answer Guide.

Certain scents have been scientifically shown to get guys feeling amorous, according to Alan Hirsch, MD, of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, according to Glamour. The smell of pumpkin pie, doughnuts, lavender, and black licorice actually increased blood flow to the penis by close to 40 percent, according to Kerner.

So which scents are a turn-on for men and women?

"For men, turn-ons are vanilla, amber, musk, and woody smells," says Gilda Carle, PhD. "Believe it or not, men love the smell of pumpkin pie and lavender. Yet they are turned off to floral scents, as well as to chocolate and pink grapefruit."

Perfumes labeled spicy or woody might seem masculine but will have a guy feeling amorous, according to Glamour.

Women, on the other hand, find chocolate a turn-on, Carle says. Vanilla, musk, peppermint, jasmine, and patchouli also put women in a sexy mood, Carle says. Women find guy's cologne and barbecue sauce somewhat of a turnoff, though.

Some experts even find that women in different cities report finding different smalls sexy.  Hirsch conducted research into the topic, according to CNN. New York women find the small of coffee a turn-on, while lavender is favored by ladies in LA and suntan lotion and the ocean are what make women in San Diego feel sexy.

If scent isn't quite as important to guys as it is to women when it comes to sexual attraction, some of Hirsch's research found that it is important to some degree. There are some scents liked by both men and women, Kerner says. "Both men and women respond positively to scents like vanilla, black pepper, and cinnamon," he explains. Libido-boosting qualities also are supposed to be present in frankincense, ginger, lime, and orange."


Cernek, Susan et al. "The perfumes and fragrances that turn men on - and off." Glamour. http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/2009/01/perfumes-and-fragrances-that-turn-men-on-and-off#slide=6


Kerner, Ian. "The power of smell in picking sex partners."  13 January 2011. CNN Blogs.