Welcome again, knowledge seekers. No intro definition puns today, let’s go right right into it. We’ll start with a smell-related one. We’ve already touched it last episode, but this time we’re gonna dwelve deeper into it. We’re talking about
“Olfacto”= to smell (pertaining) ; “philia” = love (greek/latin)
The sexual fetish for smells and odors emanating from the body.
That smells, being one of our senses, have a large impact on our behaviour, is reasonable. It also makes sense therefore that that applies to our sexual behaviour as well.
There are many smells that people can connect to sex. From sweat, the stench of piss and smegma, perfume, shampoo, feet odor and more. One of the most assumed reasons as to what we perceive as sexual in those smells is pheromones.
Mostly everybody, if they paid attention during biology class, should have at least heard of the term. For those who didn’t and those who want a refresher or dwelve deeper into the topic, here comes a small biology/chemistry lesson. For those wishing to skip it, just go to the “The Fascination of Smell“.
comes from the ancient greek phero “to bear” and hormone. They were defined 1959 by Peter Karlson and Martin Lüscher in the following sentence: “substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example a definite behavior or a developmental process”. In short they’re a chemical mix that sends a certain message over the ways of odor to body & brain of a member of the same species, and likely sometimes even different ones. Pheromones are not only used in sex, but also for sending states of emergency, signalisation, primer etc.
It still is a discussion whether humans actually use pheromones or not. It is clear our primal mammal relavites do, and we produce actually some of the same chemicals they do use as such. However the question is whether our use of them is the same. When talking about the male sex pheromones, the terms that come up most are these:
The information for some of these is a little varied. Especially for the first one,
It’s made from Androstadienol, one of the main compounds that are responsible for the musk in our sweat. Androstenone is apparently most specifically found in stale male sweat. Around 40% of the human population can’t consciously perceive it. When asked, people say it’s neither pleasant or unpleasant, but when they can actively perceive the pheromone, most say it’s unpleasant. Still, there are studies that say it’s a sexual pheromone, and can signal “being in heat/sexual mood”. It’s even been put into some perfumes and likewise claiming to be an aphrodisiac, although those claims seem to be sketchy at best.
More interestingly for most is the second one,
On this the most research has been made among those three.
Like Androstenone (MP1), it is synthesized (created) from the same Origin compound, Androstadienol. It is the compound found in fresh male sweat. Androstadienone (MP2)’s effects have been studied with more reactive results in humans.
According to some studies, when exposed to this chemical mix women as well as gay men seem to have a reaction in their brain, specifically the Hypothalamus, a very small (almond-sized) but extremely important part of your brain that, among other things, regulates the release/inhibition of hormones, the body temperature, appetite, fatigue, sleep, emotional responses and (who’d have guessed) sexual behaviour.
Furthermore, it appears to activate parts of the inferior lateral prefrontal cortex, the superior temporal cortex, and olfactory areas.
When inhaling and registering MP2, there seem to be signs of reduction of heart rate, increase in body temperature, slower breathing, increased focus etc. according to what is mentioned in this publication. Generally women as well as gay men seem to visibly relax and feel a significant reduction of nervousness, tension and other negative feeling states.
These findings and other studies have probably been the cause as to why Androstadienone has become one of the most popular pheromone additions ingredients in male perfumes. It is notable though that there also have been other studies with less results. Lastly we got
This compound is biosynthesized (created by your body over various processes) from Androstadienone (MP2). The effects on other humans when this pheromone is inhaled is to make seem the person distributing it look more approachable and warm, at least according to a study made 1978 by a man called Kirk-Smith. There were also some claims that it has effects on the menstrual cycles in women, but that evidence is not conclusive according to the larger scientific community.
The overall effect of these three chemicals into the complicated process of sexual attractiveness and partner selection etc is, as said, still hotly debated. Some say it doesn’t play part at all, some say only minorly, others moderately etc etc…. I guess we still have to wait some time until that it is unveiled.
The Fascination of Smell
No matter whether those, or any other pheromones or alike things (or entirely different) are the cause, there are some among us who have a very strong reaction to certain body odors.
For those who are fascinated by such, there is a term made by Sigmund Freud:
“Osme”= smell ; “lagneia” = lust (greek/latin)
The sexual fetish for smells and odors emanating from the body.
There are cases of men being captured by a person’s smell throughout history. One of the most famous is likely the case of Napoleon, as found in his letters to his wife Josephine is the famous sentence: “Home in 3 days. Don’t wash.”
Indeed the french leader’s history seems to have a particular fascination with body smells.
French King Henry IV has apparently shown a love interest upon, by accident, drying his face with a piece of garment of a women and smelling it, and promptly tried to make his lover – at his own wedding no less.
There are also fictional works who show the power of smells. The most known one likely “The perfum”, playing, again, in France. It presents the story of a man obsessed with smells and trying to create the perfect perfum by obtaining the smells of women through murder. I must say, I’ve never had such vivid nice as well as disgusting mindtriggered olfactory reactions as when reading through there.
The body odor also seems to have differences depending on their origin. There have been various statements of travelling people perceiving men’s smells very differently based on where they are from. So it is said that for example Spanish have a very strong musk, and Japanese have a more sweeter smell. Black men also have apparently a more nutty flavour than white ones, which seems to be more harsh.
But enough about that. Body smells are powerful. And there are various ways people try to enjoy them.
One that’s very popular even with self-proclaiming normal people is Armpit fetishism. We’ve already touched it in the last episode. The armpits of men are likely the part where our pheromones, if they exist, and other male smells and olfactory signalisations are the strongest. That some develop a special interest of this part is therefore only natural. The smell of a liked man there can have various effects on the other depending on the state both are in, from relaxation to added energy and horniness. It is very often found in gym and sports culture.
Of course there is also the general like of liking up a male’s sweat from his body. Another one is the smelling of used underwear. This is found more in fetish circles, most commonly either by itself, in sportswear circles, or also as use as a gag in BDSM when combined with bondage for example.
Last but not least, can also not forget the feet, socks and sneakers lovers. It is one of the most known an popular fetishes when it comes to bdsm and partialism. There, the smell can play a very important role as well. The preference in odor varies greatly between person and also mood. Often it is said that the smell should be sporty, which likely refers to a state after gym and not too long after. And not just the feet odor that counts for many of them, but that of the shoes too.
There, they also say that there are various enjoyable smells. The smell of well but not overused shoes is a big turn on for many, but there is also quite a lot that describe the smell of newly bought fresh shoes as something very arousing, and othertimes also calming apparently.
The like for used socks and jockstraps, and the like for soiled things in general btw, is called
The Like of soiled things or people
The things that Mysophilia refers to are very broad. It also includes the smells of a used bathroom, used clothing and much more. And it’s a great topic for our next episode of fetish definitions. So look forward to hear more about that 😉 Until then, have lots of fun sniffing!