I bet you’ll never guess the scent that men find most alluring. With the barrage of articles about whether or not pumpkin pie scent “increases erectile blood flow” and whether pheromone perfumes can make one twin more attractive than the other, you’ll be shocked to hear the most attractive scent of all.
Ready for it?
The most attractive scent of all? YOU
Ok, so, that’s not exactly the whole story; I’m not suggesting you start aggressively fanning themselves in the direction of your crush, although dating might be simplified. But the truth is, we’re designed to find one another’s scents attractive because that’s how we figure out if the other person is a good mate (Psychology Today). Essentially, you’re looking for someone with whom you can produce robust offspring. Not only that, strangely enough, the more similar the immune system genes, or major histocompatibility complex (MHC), the more likely partners are to have sexual relationships outside of monogamy (aka cheat).
Women tend to do better in smell tests than men because we’re more affected by the reproductive process. Nonetheless, men aren’t just looking for a good mate, they’re also looking for a fertile one, which is why they tend to prefer the smell of a woman between the first day of menstruation and ovulation (Live Science).
If you’re bummed to find out that genetics matter more than perfume, don’t be. Natural smell is a pretty good insurance policy. So good, in fact, that one marriage counselor said one of the top complaints she hears is, “He doesn’t smell good to me.”
Scents that “Turn Him On”
You might have read a few women’s magazines that said that scents like lavender and cinnamon buns “turn men on.” These are based off of a study about whether certain scents increase penile blood flow. The scents that work included pumpkin pie, licorice, doughnuts, and lavender, with the most popular combinations being lavender and pumpkin pie, black licorice and doughnut, and pumpkin pie and doughnut.
Before you go out and douse yourself in enough body splash to smell like a bakery, listen to this. Whether or not the men tested had a partner who wore a scent and how frequently they’d engaged in sexual activity in the last month all affected the results. And, of course, there were plenty of scents they didn’t try, so it only serves to demonstrate that scents can have an effect on penile blood flow (The Smell Report).
Your Perfume Might Still Be In Your Favor
Regardless of whether or not your particular scent of choice is reeling ’em in, it might give you a boost in the romance department for a few reasons. The first is that it makes you feel good. Women are about 1000 times more sensitive to musk than men are, so while musk in your perfume won’t get him all hot and bothered, it could do quite a bit to make you feel sexier. Scents that make you feel happy or attractive likely cause you to act in a way that makes you alluring (The New York Times).
Another reason your scent can be helpful? Scent has a very strong link to memory. That means that if your partner finds you attractive, and you wear a fragrance that jibes with their preferences, then that scent will be tied to you. Whenever they smell it — like, say, if you spritz it on their pillow before you leave — the hardwiring in their brain will remind them of you. Nifty, eh?
The best way to smell attractive to someone is to be immunologically diverse, which isn’t really something you can bottle. Aside from that, you should pick scents that you enjoy and that make you feel good, because what makes you feel good makes you attractive. And thanks to the strong scent-memory tie, your perfume could be a reminder of your for your mate when you’re gone.