Aphro­disiac per­fumes likely fake

New Straits Times - - World -

PARIS: Many an­i­mal species are known to give off chem­i­cal sig­nals to at­tract sex­ual part­ners, but sci­en­tists still de­bate whether pheromones used in aphro­disiac per­fumes ac­tu­ally play any role in hu­man mat­ing.

Aus­tralian re­searchers yes­ter­day added fuel to the fire by stat­ing that two nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring steroids widely thought to be ap­peal-boost­ing hu­man pheromones have no im­pact on “mate per­cep­tion”.

The chem­i­cals — es­trate­traenol (EST) or an­drosta­dienone (AND) — are al­ready a com­po­nent of per­fumes that prom­ise to leave the op­po­site sex weak at the knees.

But the tit­il­lat­ing ef­fect may be all in the mind, re­searchers wrote in the jour­nal Royal So­ci­ety Open Sci­ence.

“AND and EST are un­likely to be hu­man pheromones,” said a re­search quar­tet from the Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia.

They tested whether those chem­i­cals — the lead con­tenders for hu­man pheromone sta­tus — had any ef­fect on 94 het­ero­sex­ual men and women in two lab ex­per­i­ments.

Be­ing ex­posed to ei­ther AND or EST dur­ing the ex­per­i­ments made no dif­fer­ence to the par­tic­i­pants’ choices as they would have done if they were pheromones, the re­searchers found.

In pre­vi­ous re­search, men and women re­ported that a per­son’s scent af­fected their sex­ual in­ter­est, and women of­ten say they place more im­por­tance on a man’s smell than his looks.

De­spite a lack of sci­en­tific proof, AND is mar­keted as a male pheromone, and EST a female one, of­ten in pricey per­fumes.

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