Pheromones and aphrodisiacs in perfumery – do they work?

How many times have you seen ads for pheromones and aphrodisiacs and how they can help you win the heart of your loved one? Is this a myth or does it actually work? Backstage Tales investigate.Pheromones and aphrodisiacs in perfumery - Backstage Tales

Is there a scent that can help you win someone’s heart for certain? – No.

Perfume cannot be considered as a universal mean of seduction, because all of us, fortunately, are different. Your cultural background, your personal fragrant experience, your memories – this is what determines whether you think a certain smell is sexy or not. So what some may consider exotic and sexy, others may think smells like blue cheese if it reminded them of that.

But pheromones exist? – Of course.

Pheromones and aphrodisiacs are substances that act as chemical signals between animals. They are most often determined by smell. When the pheromone molecule hits the receptor, it sends a message to the brain. What happens next depends on the signal – not everyone, no matter how much perfume marketers push it, call for urgent mating. In addition to sex pheromones, there are, for example, social, in particular, alarm signals, which are used by such highly organized insects as bees. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the existence of human pheromones has not yet been proven.

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Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein

But musk smells really sexy… – True.

Perfume musk are a huge family of very different smells: some smell like freshness and purity, others smell something dirty and bestial. In short, this is an abstraction, and synthetics: natural musk is not used in modern perfumery for ethical reasons. As for “sexy”, Tanya Sanchez, co-author of perfume critic Luka Turin, believes that some musk types smell like “camel driver’s armpit, a week without running water” – in short, not very sexy.

Muscs Koublai Khan by Serge Lutens

And jasmine as well… – I would agree here too.

Again, in the sense of smell, everything is very individual. But there really is something in jasmine that excites people of all ages and professions. Especially this is the case for northerners, probably because of its tight associative connection with holidays in warm destinations. A few years ago scientists at the Ruhr University found that Hedion, an extremely jasmine-scented material very popular in perfumery, activated a section of the hypothalamus responsible for sexual arousal. The first Hedion was used by Dior in their classic men’s cologne Eau Sauvage.

Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior

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What is your favourite perfume?


Text: Irina Gorskaia

Images: Allure

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