Pheromones are cool!

I have been interested in writing this post for a while now, but life has gotten the best of me. However, I am still interested in looking further into the idea of pheromones. This is in relation to Imago, and I’m hoping to debunk the concept that they might be creepy or predatory.

Here is what interesting information I have found from the Smithsonian’s website :

  • In one study, after having females watch a sad movie in which they cried, scientists collected the tears and placed them, unidentified, under the noses of men. The men’s sexual arousal levels and testosterone levels were reduced. This shows that people subconsciously discover things other than just body odor from the way that someone smells.

  • Although researchers haven’t found a “sex pheromone” out there yet, it is likely that there is one due to the fact that there is the, “turn off pheromone,” which is listed above.
  • In a 2005 study, it was found that, in an anonymous study, gay men preferred the sweat of other gay men, while straight men preferred the sweat of females.
  • A really interesting thing that is mentioned in this article that I am fascinated by is the fact that in a study, when women were asked to smell the sweaty t-shirts of men, women preferred the t-shirt which was worn by the men with the most different DNA  from their own. The difference in DNA would apparently increase the likelihood that, if they had children, those children would have a thriving immune system.
  • Newborns also tend to face toward the breast that they smell.
  • Apparently, often adults can smell whether the person that is sweating near them is anxious or not?!

Here is interesting information that I have found on ABC News’ website. They are focusing more on the sex signals that humans put out:

  • Specifically, pheromones are “airborne chemical messengers released from the body that have a physical or emotional effect on another member of the same species.”
  • Most animals pick up on pheromones through a structure located inside the nose. It is called a vomeronasal organ. This is a different organ from which most smells (such as the smell of coffee) are sensed, those smells are picked up by the olfactory epithelium.
  • In 1998, it was discovered that the periods of women who lived together tended to synchronize was the result of the “chemical messages” that were in their sweat.
  • It is possible that our pheromones actually make us more attractive to potential sexual partners. The pheromones might bring out our best qualities and might allow us to appear to be more confident and at-ease.
  • A pharmaceutical company is currently working on a therapy composed to synthetic pheromones, which they hope will be effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, as well as “premenstrual syndrome” for women, and prostate enlargement for men.

This stuff is so interesting! Butler might have used the concept of pheromones to come off as somewhat creepy to some readers (like part of our class), but I think when you really look into it, it’s not really all that creepy. Our bodies are so cool, and I’m hoping that we discover more about these little chemical messengers in the future! 

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