Dating is the best, isn’t it? We see somebody attractive; We hear them ask us out, and we even get butterflies when we feel that first kiss! Everything is a sensory experience.
Our senses are working overdrive during the beginning stages of a relationship.
Every sound, sight, touch, and even smell makes an impact. Yes, I said smell – and no, I don’t mean just the incredible cologne that your date is wearing. It becomes so much more than that.
Would you believe me if I said that smell is actually the most important sense while dating?
When researchers ask a sample of people what sense is least important to them, most commonly people answer with smell.
But smell is one of the most important senses we have – if not the #1 most important. Oh, the irony.
In terms of evolution alone, smell is one of the most important senses available to humans and animals. Smell links to memory, emotions and interactions. Not to mention, do you know that piece of pizza that you enjoyed last night? It would have been around 70% less enjoyable if you couldn’t smell it. Smell has a massive impact on how foods taste – and even on how we date. So, let’s chat about pheromones.
Pheromones, as defined by Dictionary.com is “a chemical substance produced and released into the environment by an animal, especially a mammal or an insect, affecting the behavior or physiology of others of its species”.
To sum it up: Pheromones are the subtle, relatively odorless and individualized material that are released from your body – often as you sweat. Though they are odorless to the naked human nose, they are picked up by our olfactory system. These crazy chemicals are a customized cocktail that can influence people around you and even attract potential mates. Your dating life could rely heavily on pheromones – and pheromones play a big part in attraction.
They play a vital role during mating in the animal kingdom. Animals often use pheromones to communicate with prey and mates. By emitting pheromones, they signal territory, reproductive timing and even intimidation. In fact, sea urchins will release pheromones to indicate other sea urchins to eject their sex cells (How cool is that?)!
Pheromones are essentially a non-verbal way that our body involuntarily gestures to people around us. They are virtually undetectable – by the human nose, that is. However, our brains are working overdrive to understand and analyze these pheromones – and often, our response to pheromones may actually dictate how we view a potential match.
So, what does that have to do with my dating life?
In 1986, Dr. Winifred Cutler conducted an experiment to answer just that. She concluded that pheromones signal moods, sexual orientation and even immune compatibility. Pheromones may also repel potentially matches. Cutler even found that armpit emissions could shift women’s menstrual cycles. After spending years researching pheromones and the response that they have on humans, Cutler committed a large chunk of her career to creating perfumes that match naturally pleasant pheromone secretions.
Cutler’s work has had some debate surrounding it; however many scientists still believe that pheromones have an influence on human behavior.
You may be wondering why on Earth someone’s immune system plays into whether you go to dinner or a movie on your first date. However, it’s basically just survival of the fittest. The tale is as old as time: our bodies are innately concerned with reproduction – and the immune system of your hypothetical baby matters to it.
Historically speaking, our bodies seek partners that have an immune response separate from our own. This, when creating offspring, will give children the best chance of survival due to a balanced immune system to protect against disease.
Furthermore, your pheromones have the power to signal when you’re happy, angry, or even whether you’re physically ready (or interested) in mating.
Still not convinced about pheromones?
Have you ever smelt a perfume on somebody and LOVED the scent – only to spray it on yourself and think the fragrance is unfavorable? This is due to how your individual pheromones respond to the fragrance – the chemical components in the perfume may react to your pheromones unpleasantly. Sometimes it just isn’t a good match – sort of how dating can be.
Dating can be tough – but exciting. But the next time you’re spraying too much perfume before a date, consider letting your pheromones do all the work.
And the next time you have a bad date, just blame the pheromones!