A man's nose knows the secrets of desire

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The Independent Online

It's true: women really can lead men by the nose. An experiment that secretly added pheromones to perfumes found they acted as "a sexual magnet", winning the wearers many more intimate encounters than those using the same perfume without the extras.

It's true: women really can lead men by the nose. An experiment that secretly added pheromones to perfumes found they acted as "a sexual magnet", winning the wearers many more intimate encounters than those using the same perfume without the extras.

A whopping 74 per cent of the women taking part in the three-month study at San Francisco State University who had the odourless, colourless sexual attractants added to their perfumes, enjoyed an increase in close sexual contact such as frequent kissing, sex and formal dates with men. By contrast, only 23 per cent of those in the study who had water added to their perfumes reported any change in their apparent attractiveness to men.

Each chose a bottle of clear, odourless liquid in the study and laced their perfume with it. None knew whether they had water or the pheromone.

The 36 women were all living alone and heterosexual and none was taking the Pill. They were aged from 19 to 48.

Despite being odourless, pheromones still have a dramatic effect on the brain, once they have been absorbed by the skin inside the nose. They appear to directly stimulate men's sexual behaviour, because the male brain interprets it as meaning the woman is in the human equivalent of heat.

Norma McCoy, joint author of the research, noted that some perfume manufacturers claim to include pheromones – but "few double-blind controlled studies have been conducted on this subject".

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