The Science Behind Pheromones

pheromonesThe word ‘pheromone’ is used to describe a certain type of chemical that can be picked up by the human olfactory sensors found inside a person’s mouth, signaling primal things such as attraction, territory marking, the presence of danger or a sexually open mate. Pheromones were initially discovered in the 1950’s by a German scientist and Swiss entomologist.

These two scientists were one day carrying out experiments on termites that were seen to excrete certain substances which made them more alluring to other termites. The two scientists thus coined a word in Greek by forming a portmanteau of two words, “pherein” which is translated into ‘to carry’ and “hormone”, which means ‘to excite’. This then evolved over a number of years to form the word ‘pheromone’ which is widely marketed in the modern world as a substance used to attract mates and influence human behavior.

Pheromone and Animal Behavior

Perhaps the most important indicator into the effectiveness of pheromones lies in the way this chemical substance influences animal behavior. For instance, male stud pigs secrete a certain pheromone which makes sows assume a receptive position, making mating more likely as well as successful. This pheromone, known as androstenone, can be bought by farmers who would like to get rid of the hassle of keeping male stud pigs in anticipation that they will mate with their sows. Other animals such as monkeys have also been known to ignore female members of the species should they not be able to detect pheromones signaling facilities.

The Role of the Vomeronasal Organ

A part of the body found in the roof of the mouth of most, if not all mammals is thought to play a large role in the detection of pheromones. This section of the mouth, known as the vomeronasal organ or VNO in short is connected though not directly to the olfactory system develops before birth and becomes fully-formed in a few short months. The VNO is designed to detect molecules dissolved in liquids, which makes sense given how pheromones are delivered.

Pheromones are mostly expressed through sweat. However, they are also expressed via sexual fluids as well as saliva and urine. This makes the licking and overt sniffing action of animals such as dogs seem logical and natural; this is their way of finding potential genetic mates as well as sussing out dominance as well as asserting their claim over certain territories.

Scientists are still on the fence with regard to the effectiveness of pheromones. This is because some people are affected by certain pheromones, while others are not. It has thus become very difficult for marketers to come up with something that will have the same effect all round and in a universal manner.

Pheromones come in two types:

  • Primer pheromones
  • Releaser pheromones

Primer pheromones usually influence behavior that plays out for a long period of time such as ovulation and the release for certain pheromones. Releaser pheromones, on the other hand, are excreted in response to immediate behavior such as copulation.

It is also important to note that most pheromones don’t have a scent, which is something that may surprise a lot of people. This is because they work a subconscious level, and they are picked up by the VNO organ which is, at any given time, surrounded by a liquid medium which acts as an effective carrier.

Sweating and Pheromones

Underarm sweat can play a large role in the expression of pheromones. This is because sweat, primarily made of carbon chain acids, contains a testosterone derivative called androstadionine. This compound is what’s thought to carry pheromones, sending attraction signals to females. Because men tend to have more sebaceous glands, it follows that men produce more pheromones than women.

Before buying pheromones, here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of the pheromone content in terms of milligrams per bottle. The higher the milligram level, the more concentrated it is. Because of this, you really want to make sure not to apply too much of this pheromone.
  • It’s a good idea to test out the pheromone on a certain part of your skin such as your inner wrist to see if it reacts to your skin adversely. In addition, consider getting an unscented pheromone if you don’t want to offend the people around you.

By doing adequate research, you’ll have the needed knowledge to help you pick your ideal pheromone, boosting your chances of eliciting your target desired behavior.  Take a look at our list of the best pheromones.