Smell and sex
Have you ever been totally turned off by a person’s body odour? Or maybe it’s the opposite: your boyfriend or girlfriend’s smell drives you wild. Whether you’ve experienced one or the other, you’d probably agree that smell plays an important role in attraction and sex.
But what exactly is the nature of that role? That’s what a group of researchers from Germany set out to discover. The researchers tracked down 70 young adults and tested their sense of smell.
They then asked each participant revealing questions about their sex life, like whether they feel a lot of desire and how often they have intercourse and reach orgasm.
Good nose equals good sex?
A person’s sense of smell does indeed play a role in their sex life, the research confirmed. People who’ve got a good nose find sex more pleasurable. This is especially true for guys, who might rely a bit more on smell when it comes to getting it on with a partner, say the researchers.
But the smell is definitely important for women as well. Gals that can easily pick up on scents not only find sex more pleasurable, they actually have more orgasms on average during intercourse, the study also found.
However, when it comes to desire – whether a partner’s involved or not – and how long and often a person has sex, the smell doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.
By this point, you might be wondering how smell can affect sexual pleasure. Well, since you asked, sex is full of smells: a person’s sweat and vaginal fluid or sperm have an odour that’s unique to them.
And their sex hormones – androgens for men and estrogen for women – contribute to this odour. Research has shown that when another person smells sex hormones it can trigger a part of their brain involved in reward and thus pleasure.
So it makes sense that people who are better able to smell their partners’ odours during sex might get more aroused and find the experience more pleasurable.
Reference: Olfactory Function Relates to Sexual Experience in Adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Published in 2018.
To protect identity, names have been changed and the person in the picture is a model.