Sexual Scent: Men Can Smell When Women Are Aroused, Study Finds

CANTERBURY, England — Men feeling unsure about whether or not she’s just not that into them may have all they need to figure it out right in front of their eyes, literally. That’s the finding of a new study conducted at Kent University which can be summed up by a rather succinct sentence: The nose knows. That’s right, the research team have concluded that men can indeed smell when a woman is sexually aroused.

Attraction is conveyed through a number of avenues, and many have nothing to do with spoken language. Whether we’re aware of it or not, both men and women’s body language often changes ever so slightly when we’re around someone we find particularly attractive. Now, the study’s authors say that smell can be a dead giveaway as well.

Led by psychologist Dr. Arnaud Wisman, this study is the latest in a series of recent research initiatives centered on scent. Previous similar studies have found that humans can actually detect a variety of emotions such as sadness or fear through scent. Moreover, while we all probably don’t think about sex as an emotional state, being “sexually aroused” is scientifically classified as an emotional physical state.

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Researchers conducted three experiments to reach their findings. In each experiment, a group of men were asked to smell a series of sweat samples provided by both aroused and non-aroused women. Across the board, the men found the smell of the aroused women more attractive themselves, which in turn increased their own sexual motivation.

These results clearly indicate that smell, at least in certain scenarios, can be all it takes for two people to become aware of a sexual connection between each other.

“The present studies suggest that men are sensitive to the olfactory signals of sexual arousal released by women. This research suggests that these signals released along with corresponding visual and auditory expressions of sexual interest can produce a stronger overall signal that increases sexual motivation. Sexual interest may entail more than meets the eye and we hope that the current findings encourage further research to examine the role of sexual olfactory signals in human communication,” Dr. Wisman comments in a release.

Unfortunately the jury is still out regarding whether women have the same ability. Of course, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem considering many men are anything but shy when it comes to matters of the heart, or in this case, nose.

The study is published in Archives of Sexual Behavior.

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