Human Sex Pheromones - Placebo Effect or Reality?

Pheromones can be defined as excreted chemical substances that convey important signals about availability of food, imminent danger or sexual desire to the receiving individual of the same species. The use of the so-called sexual pheromones has been best studied on insects and long applied in pest control. Sex pheromones are also used to communicate between humans and are believed to impact our sexual and social behaviour. However, compared to insects, whose behaviour is stereotyped, humans are complex creatures and their behaviour varies greatly and is often unpredictable.

Although it is not exactly known how pheromones work in humans, it has been proven that women who live together with other women tend to harmonize their menstrual cycles. This activity was attributed to the existence of female pheromones released from woman's armpit. In addition, women who have regular sex with men have more regular menstrual cycles than women who have sporadic sex, which is assumed to be a woman's response to the male pheromones. One recent study also showed that women can smell men's intentions from their sweat. But since we are such complex organisms we are unable to control the release of our chemicals by our mind. What we can do, however, is to apply pheromone sprays, colognes or pills in order to help us release increased amounts of pheromones when we actually need them. Some products claim to foster a natural release of our own pheromones whereas most others employ chemicals that are believed to be identical with our own pheromones.

As mentioned earlier, pheromones are released mainly through sweat in our armpits. Hence, deodorants from the category of antiperspirants, which work by blocking the pores in the armpits, limit the amount of pheromones released. Some other factors that determine the release of our natural substances are weather (including temperature, humidity and sunlight), seasonal factors, age, sex, social status, race and ethnicity. These factors help define our own personal pheromone mix (also called signature).

Some of the best described and commercially available human pheromones include androstenone, produced largely by men and copulins produced only by women. Androstenone is said to increase man's sexual attractiveness and receptiveness for a woman whereas copulins released by a woman are thought to make her appear more attractive to the male recipient. In addition to these two, several other pheromone molecules that are believed to affect social and sexual behaviour in humans were identified, such as androstenol, androsterone, androstadienone, estratetraenol and oxytocin.

Different combinations of the aforementioned molecules can be found in numerous pheromone sprays, colognes and perfumes. Since you have your own personal pheromone signature, the product you decide to use should complement your existing mix. By doing so you are supposed to be able to change the impression you make on the others without having to change your actual appearance, character or charisma.