Ask Miss Meghan: The Power of Pheromones?

Dear Miss Meghan,

Are there really “human sex pheromones” or is that just marketing propaganda for crappy colognes? If smell is really the biggest factor in being attracted to someone else, should we go around smelling each other instead of shaking each other’s hands?
-Scratch and Sniff

Dear Scratch and Sniff-
I have been taking my black Labrador, Lyla, to a fantastic dog park since I’ve moved down to the area. Every time we go, she starts out fairly anxious (we are talking serious doggie drool). The first thing she does, when she gets her courage up, is to go sniff the other dogs’ butts.

And they sniff hers. And then they sniff each other. And then they do it again and again. It seems to be puppy for “Hey. What’s up?” It is as if by smelling each other’s, ah, assets, they determine if the other dog is good or bad, safe or mean.

I’m fairly fascinated by this behavior, and am pretty thankful that we have evolved as a breed past the point where we need to smell each other to determine if we want to engage with each other. I then find myself imagining what a trip to Target would look like if we had to smell the nether regions of each person we passed.

However hilarious it would be if we just walked around smelling each other’s posteriors to determine if they are friend or foe, there is a pretty good reason we don’t do that: we can talk, walk upright, think, and manipulate things with our opposable thumbs.

We are much more complicated beings than those dogs at the park, and factor in more than one thing when selecting mating partners. In fact, we probably factor in over one thousand things during our selection processes.

Pheromones, or chemicals that the body produces to communicate, do exist in humans. However, they are fairly ineffective and have an extremely low effect on our initial attraction to each other. Even if a potential mate is producing a pheromone that you might find attractive, you would probably still stay away if you found out that person doesn’t believe in brushing teeth or showering, like, ever.

Buying “sex pheromone” cologne is worthless because it is actually diluting and competing with your rather slight natural pheromones.

Pheromones play a (minutely) more important role in partner retention than attraction. As you spend time together, you become familiar and comfortable with your partner’s natural scent, and your chemicals learn to react (triggering my good friend dopamine) to your partner’s chemicals.

So next time you are tempted to buy a bottle of “sex pheromones,” ask yourself if you would rather have a high five and let things work themselves out, or have a face nose deep into Uranus?
And now, drum roll please, the winners of the “best consent lines” are:

“Hey babe lets make a bunk bed. You be on bottom, I be on top.” Submitted by: Tiara Hurte
“Do you mind if I end this sentence in a proposition?” Submitted by: Jocelyn Baltz

Thanks so much to all those that submitted, the winners will be e-mailed so they can get their prizes, and remember that asking for consent can make your sexploits less awkward and more fun!

-Sincerely NOT nose deep,
Miss Meghan

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