Science and St. Valentines Day – When Chemicals Attract
Posted Feb 13 2010 10:01pm
Happy Valentine’s Day!!
Could a chemical actually improve your sex life? Wellif this study from San Francisco State University researchers is to be believed it can. According to their workmen are more attracted to women wearing pheromones resulting in more dateskissescuddles and even sex.
Pheromones are a type of compound that allows animals to chemically communicate with each other. They are versatile chemicals that help ants figure out how to get homethat let dogs mark their territory and that let mammals know when to mate. The word pheromone comes from the Greek words pherinto transferand hormonto excite. These chemicals are similar to hormones but instead of working within the bodythey work between bodies.
The chemical communication of pheromones is simple. One animal (or human) releases the pheromone and another senses it. In essencethe behavior of the sensing animal is controlled by the pheromone releaser. In mammalspheromones are detected by an organ called vomeronasal organ (VMO) which is located somewhere in the head between the nose and mouth. Pheromones are a bit like odor molecules but they have a much different effect.
Wellif pheromones really worked it would mean that controlling the behavior of people would be simple. If you wanted someone to fall in love with youyou could simply spray some pheromones whenever they’re around. Fortunatelyhuman behavior is a bit more complicated than that.
It is still debated among scientists whether pheromones have an effect or not. These researchers demonstrated that women actually saw an increase in sociosexual activity when wearing perfume that contained pheromones. The impressive part of this research was that it was compared to a placebo control. But one study (of 36 women) isn’t enough to substantiate these incredible claims.
Other researchers have looked at all the human pheromone data and the results are inconclusive. Yespheromones are real. Yesthey have some physiological effect (such as synchronizing women’s menstrual cycles). But how much pheromones change behavior is still unclear.
If it weren’t Valentine’s DayI’d be more skeptical on this onebut it is and I really want to believe!
We’re not saying these products will work. Stillthis might just be the thing that helps make this a Valentine’s Day to remember.