Pheremones in a bottle

OK, so I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I’m not physically repulsive. My personality, while a bit strong, hasn’t kept me from forming plenty of good friendships with both sexes. It must be chemistry. Whatever molecules attractive people secrete aren’t being secreted by me.

So…what about those bottles you see advertised in the back of men’s magazines. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. Are they for real? Do they work? Or are they just a rip off?

BTW, this is GQ, not IMHO, so while personal anecdotes related to these products are welcome, I’m not interested in hearing your opinions on whether I might actually be repulsive or just a big

Just stop bathing. That should do the trick.


The master speaks. (And no, I’m not in any way related with the cosmetics company.)

Note that the article is a bit old. It seems that recent researched has shown mechanisms by which humans could possibly react to pheromones. However, since their effect on humans is not understood very well, there’s as much a chance that the stuff in the bottle will turn off women as it will turn them on.

I remember reading (no cite available) that many of the pheremones used in these kind of colognes came from pigs. How attracted to pig pheremones a human would be I know not.

Absolutel true story: wayyyy back in the late 70’s (the greatest era in history for single people to get laid:cool:;), I bought some aftershave that allegedly contained pheromones. For some reason the name “Signal” stands out in my mind, but that may or may not be correct. This stuff smelled like pure vanilla extract, and was really, really greasy, like used cooking oil. I can’t stress enough how greasy this crap was. Not like regular aftershave at all, what so ever. I still remember it. It made your face shiny.
But every girl I knew that got a whiff of it (I kid you not) said they loved the smell of it…ALOT!

Was it the pheremones in it, or was it the vanilla smell to it?:confused:

We’ll never know. Soon after disco died I met the future Mrs. Bietz, and found no further use for such chemical entrapments (plus I think they stopped making that stuff!:D).


You could do an Googlesearch for “androstenone” and “androstenol”. Those are are the two identified human male pheromones.

I’ve read a book about the psychology of smell, (not translated to English, sorry) that included a chapter on pheromones. If nobody beats me to it, I’ll be back with some more information later.
For now, a few conclusions that might interest you are:
[li]Some men give off five times more pheromones then other men. [/li][li]The effect on women is better when their detection of the scent remains subconscious. So, not too much of it, and it should not be mentioned. If it is conscious, its just a bad smell, nothing more. [/li][li] The effect is subtle. Androstenol, sprayed on a chair in a theatre in an experiment, would mean guys avoided that chair, while women chose that chair significantly more often. The pheromone causes slight attraction and a slightly more receptive mood, but that is really it. No more. [/li][li]Approximately 50% of the people cannot detect androstenone, and the difference seems to be genetic. However, not being able to detect it does not mean not responding to it. Even in non-smellers, their electrical resistance of skin changes. [/li][li]There might be a placebo-effect to these aftershaves. If they give you the feeling you are irrisistable, you might become more confident and that is usually a good thing. [/li][/ul]

Thanks, jovan. I should have searched the columns as well as the board, but I came across the older one about menstration synchrony, and thought that was all I remembered reading about it. Like you said, though, the column is a bit old (not sure how old, though–certainly pre-Viagra) and doesn’t seem very conclusive. There’s gotta be more research on it now. Maastricht seems to indicate that there is, at least in Dutch. Unfortunately, the suggested Google search yielded all or mostly companies selling the aforementioned pheremone products. I didn’t really feel like wading through the dross to see if any links to legitimate information was there. I’d like to know what else you’ve been able to learn, Maastricht. I’d also like to know a little about your source. Is it a textbook, a scientific work, a popular account, or what? When was it published?

Alan Smithee, my source is the Dutch book “Verborgen Verleider, de psychologie van de reuk” (“Hidden Seducer, the psychology of smell”), a rather good popular science book, published in 1994,written by Piet Vroon, professor in psychology at the Dutch University of Utrecht. It has an extensive reference-list, mostly citing American and English research from the 70’s and 80’s.

The chapter on human pheromones is page 138-160 in a 250-page book.

Androstenes is the generic term for at least four identified different chemicals, of which androstenone and androstenol are most researched. All of these substances are made by dermal flora feeding on human sweat.

The concentration is highest in the armpits, and some is found in saliva. Oddly enough the concentration peaks in the month December. The amounts secreted differ considerably from person to person, increasing with (sexual) excitement, with women producing, on average, 5 times less then the average male.
Blacks produce slightly more androstenones then Caucasian men, Asian men slightly less. I’m sorry to perpetuate a certain racial stereotype here, but that’s what the book says :stuck_out_tongue:

Androstenone has a disgusting, urine like smell, but the smell can be perceived as interesting or even pleasant if it is mixed with other smells.
Androstenol has a musky scent that is generally considered pleasant. The higher the concentration of either, the more unpleasant the scents appear. But again, the other smells that accompany androstenones can change the impression

Electrical skin-resistance, (an indication of general alertness) gets considerably lower when the subjects smells androstenone, and that happens especially if the scent is not consciously detected, OR, if it is detected, but perceived as pleasant. The electrical skin-resistance does not change if the scent is consciously detected but perceived as unpleasant. (Cite: Van Toller, Perfumery, the psychology and biology of fragrance, New York, Chapman and hall, 1988)

These very same chemicals, androstenone and androstenol, are the working ingredients in “boar mate” an aerosol that farmers sprayed over the snout of a sow to determine if she’s in estrus (in heat). About half of the sows in estrus will respond by adopting a mating stance (“lordosis”). Yes, the very same human pheromones. People are almost pigs :wink:

Oddly enough, the ability of pigs to find truffles (those overpriced black mushrooms) seems to be facilitated by the fact that truffles contain high amounts of androstenes (*Claus e.a., 1976, Occurrence of 5 alfa-androst-16-en-3-one, a boar pheromone, in man and its relationship to testosterone. In: Journal of Endocrinology, 68, 483-484) *

A few famous experiments have been conducted in the late 70’s to determine whether androstenol and copulines had any effect on the interaction between men and women. One experiments involved a setting resembling a job-interview, where the people “hiring” wore surgery masks that had either androstenol, copuline, or a placebo on them. (*Cowly & Johnson, 1977. The effect of two odorous compound in assessment –of-people test. In; Psycho-neuro-endocrinology, 2, 159-172) * . The women smelling androstenol felt slightly more positive towards the men they were evaluating. On the other hand, men wearing either and androstenol-mask or a copuline mask (copuline is the female pheromone) had a slightly lower opinion of the women they were judging.

Another experiment involved spraying seats at a dentist’s waiting room with androstenone. Women sought out these seats a bit more, while men avoided them. The effect was most noticeable with the lowest concentrations of androstenol. (S. van Toller , GH Dodds, Perfumery, the psychology and biology of fragrance, New York, Chapman and hall, 1988). A similar experiment with seats in a theater yielded the same results.
On the other hand, in a similar experiment, women needing to pee did not particularly seek out the toilets in a ladies-room that were treated with androstenol.

Finally, a group of 18 female students aged around 20 were asked to put a drop of alcohol on their upper lip every morning, that either did or did not contain androstenol. The students were asked to rate their mood every day. The dimensions tested were: happy-depressed, lively-listless, seductive-uninterested, cheerful-irritable, aggressive-submissive. The test group did not differ on these dimensions from the placebo group, with one exception: the dimension aggressive-submissive. The testgroup felt slightly more submissive or “mild” then the placebo group. (*Source: Benton, 1982 The influence of androstenol –a putative human pheromone –on mood throughout the menstrual cycle. In: Biological Psychology, 15, 249-256. *

Also see Comfort, A, 1971 Likelihood of Human Pheromones. In : Nature, 230, 432-433

So, all in all, male pheromones can be factory produced, and I see no reason why the products mentioned in the OP wouldn’t contain androstenol. It can’t be that expensive, if they put it in boar mate, to make it worth faking. However, if you buy such a product, you buy something your own body produces for free and that you rise off in the shower every day.
It might be so that some products contain, beside androstenones, perfumes that mask the smell of androstenone and make it more pleasant. That might be interesting.

The best effect you can hope for, is for women within smelling distance of you to feel slightly more receptive and more “mild”. If I were you, I’d invest in a nice smile and a friendly self-confident approach, instead. :wink:

Years and years ago I read that at barn dances some men used to keep their handkerchiefs in their armpits. When the lady needed to blot the sweat from her brow, that was what was handed to her.

Is there a throw up smiley?

Then there’s the Angel Men cologne, which smells like chocolate!

I did some googling, because I got more interested as I was writing. I’m always curious what attracts me to a man :wink:
There are indeed a lot of fake or biased sources on the web, designed to sell overpriced colognes.

The best I found:
A good, though sobering website that answers the pressing question: “Okay, so how long do I go without showering then, for this pheromone stuff to work?”

Report from a 1999 seminar on human pheromones.

Probably biased:
This research-overview

Some recent research:
Here is an article from 1995, also showing a mild, but significant effect in women.

A recent researcher (2001) who found that pics dabbed with pheromones were NOT rated as more attractive. But they WERE significantly longer looked at.

okay, so let me get this straight… people sweat into these bottles?

So then I have to question as to whos sweat they use? is someone hired purely for their sweat? How is this process achieved (Apologies for the minor hi-jack)

I just have this image in my mind of a guy running on a treadmill at the cologne factory.

Yes, I agree. Then you wouln’t have to wonder about personality defects at all. The reason for your problem there would be obvious.