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Fragrance & Sex Appeal | How Do Women React To A Man’s Scent? | Smell & Mate Selection
Ask any woman for her most desirable trait in a man.
She might say a kind heart, a charming smile or even good looks.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll hear women admitting that a man’s scent makes them weak in their knees.
Smell – or a man’s scent – has been proven through experiments to be the #1 factor for women when it comes to selecting a potential partner.
What causes instant attraction between a man and a woman? According to a group of researchers in Europe – A man sees but a woman smells.
The research study they published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal showed that men are visual while women rate olfactory (fancy Latin for smell) cues as more important in mate choice.
Taking the results a step further – the study proved that women valued olfactory cues significantly more than men even in non-sexual contexts.
The researchers worked with over 700 European students and asked questions about what senses were most important in these areas:
- Choosing a potential lover.
- What causes sexual arousal outside sexual activity.
- What causes sexual arousal during and after sexual activity.
- What affects the meal choices made by men and women.
- Things that attract attention – like a beautiful landscape.
- Stimulating memories and what senses are important in remembering them.
- Flower choice – what do men and women visualize or think about when they remember flowers?
- Selection of pets.
The participants were asked to make their selection in these different areas by choosing one of these 6 senses – visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, touch and imagination.
The researchers did a number of analyses on what senses had the biggest impact for men and women. The results showed that men and women differed in the following ways.
#1 Selecting Potential Lovers
For men, visual was most important. For women – olfactory was most important.
Women seem to be more driven by scent while attraction for men was driven by what they saw.
That’s really no surprise because men are naturally attracted to the shape, body proportions, skin and face of a woman. However, women rate a man’s body smell as most important when choosing a potential partner.
Researchers studying the human brain suggest that women are able to detect a man’s biological compatibility through signals in their odor.
A majority of the male population do not wear a fragrance. Why would you want to spend $50-$100 on a bottle of perfume?
Does it make any difference? Yes, it does.
#2 Sexual Arousal During Non-Sexual Activity
For men – it was visual again. No surprises there.
Women rated imagination (fantasy/thoughts) as the most important sense that causes arousal during non-sexual activity.
The main point here is that men are visual – the data proves it. With women it could be a lot more about the smell, the touch and the imagination.
When asked whether they found perfume arousing during non-sexual activity – women were more likely to say yes than men!
#3 Sexual Arousal During Sexual Activity
For men, again visual was most important. For women – touch was most important, followed by body smell, imaginary and sexual sounds. Visual wasn’t even in their top four.
You’ve heard that women need more romance – they need a story. It’s more about their mind and not so much about the visual – which is good news for anyone who doesn’t have a fantastic body.
Women rated visual, non-body smell and music as not important in arousal during sexual activity.
That doesn’t mean you have to drop the Barry White playlist, skip the gym workouts and trash the aroma candles. It means you need to first pay attention to the scent you choose – is it complementing your natural body odor?
#4 Meal Choice Selection For Men & Women
Men and women weren’t significantly different in this area – they both rated taste as most the important criteria for meal choices.
The other senses listed in order were smell, visual and touch (the texture of the food).
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#5 Landscape Attention – What Grabs Their Attention In A New Place
Both men and women rated visual as the most important sense in observing a landscape for the first time. Men and women are attracted to the visual beauty of natural landscapes.
However, women rated the olfactory more than men. Women process multiple sensory perceptions of a landscape while men are focused on the visual.
#6 Landscape Memory – How Men & Women Remember A Place
In revisiting the memory of a landscape – both men and women rated visual as the most important sense. The first sense that is activated through memory is the visual landscape.
Olfactory was still high for women.
#7 Flowers – Senses Activated For Men & Women
Although women rated the scent of flowers (olfactory) higher than men – the top choice was visual for both men and women.
The sight of flowers increased positive moods before the fragrance was added to the mix of sensory perceptions.
#8 Senses Driving Selection Of Pets
Both men and women rated visual as their first deciding sense. For women, the sense of touch rated higher than men. In pet selection – the olfactory sense was (for obvious reasons) not listed high.
What Can We Learn From These Results?
Women were more likely to say smell was important in other ways – such as choosing a flower or keeping their attention in an unfamiliar landscape.
The analysis indicated that women had more complex senses of smell. They responded very differently to a man’s body smell compared with object, environmental and even animal smells.
Men responded to all sources of smell in the same way – something either smells good or bad.
Women tend to develop a better understanding of smell. Their noses are trained to pick subtle cues that men are often unable to detect.
The results proved that men and women have a different seletion criteria. In other words – what’s important to men may not be important to women.
Being a good person will certainly help you get and keep a date. But there is a complex set of factors that go into whether women will find you desirable. How you smell could be a big factor in who you attract.
You may have improved how you dress but if you want to attract a woman and keep her attention after courting her – pay attention to your smell.
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We’ve smelt over 500 fragrances to find the best perfumes of all time and here they are…
The classics and the up-and-coming.
Remember in high school when the playground was one big waft of Lacoste’s Touch of Pink, or your first year of uni when nights out smelt like a blur of Lady Million and sticky jagerbombs? Remember the Lynx your first boyfriend wore and the fragrance your mum used to spray while getting ready in the evening?
Our memories are so laced with scent, one whiff can re-evoke meaningful moments from our past. It’s why finding the right one for the moment you’re in now is so important. Get it right and your signature scent becomes an enduring calling card that signals your presence to friends whenever you arrive. Find a fleeting favourite and it can signpost specific period in your mind for years to come.
Yet, choosing the right perfume can be tricky business. Much like finding the perfect pair of jeans or your ideal foundation, landing on a fragrance that sums you up and smells like the right fit is an instinctive (though often extensive) experience.
How to find The One? Well, first comes the issue of navigating the beauty hall through a fog of fragrance. With hundreds of different scents to choose from and each confusing your senses with every spritz, it can be tough find a scent soulmate that epitomises you in a single spray.
Luckily, we’ve tested out over 500 different fragrances from the classics to the blockbusters and the niche to the artisan, to provide you with a definitive guide to the world’s most sophisticated and sensational smells – all in the name of helping you discover a stunning signature scent. Plus, with Christmas gifting season in full swing, consider this your definitive guide to finding the perfect scent for the woman in your life (or simply for yourself!).
Whether it’s floral fragrances, zesty perfumes, oud accords, or sweet smells that take your fancy, or you’re into the latest and greatest scent going or a stickler for the old classics, we’ve rounded up the very best perfumes of all time to inspire your search. You’re welcome.
- Jo Malone London Wisteria & Lavender 30ml Cologne, £50.00, Jo MaloneOur favourite perfume house has given us the perfect springtime limited-edition collection, offering a fresh perspective on an iconic ingredient: English lavender. This smells like a gorgeous springtime walk across a beautiful field of lavender. Delicious.BUY IT NOW
- Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum, £57, John LewisThis is an oriental citrus with vibrant notes of orange, jasmine and rose warmed up with patchouli and vetiver.BUY IT NOW
- Acqua Di Parma Colonia Eau De Cologne, £74, John LewisThis is an icon (and a favourite of Audrey Hepburn’s). It’s a unisex number that smells of grapefruit, mint, wood and amber. Fresh to begin with then woody and warm to finish.BUY IT NOW
- Guerlain Mon Guerlain Eau De Parfum, £69.50, BootsGuerlain is known as the matriarch of French parfumerie, having produced luxurious scents for nearly two centuries. This new edition to the brand’s perfume portfolio is sensual yet delicate, strong yet subtle with an intoxicating blend of Sambac jasmine, sandalwood, lavender and vanilla making for a stunning scent for every occasion.BUY IT NOW
- Miller Harris Rose Silence Eau De Parfum, £80, Miller HarrisThis is a burst of rosy freshness paired with light, bright notes like blackcurrant and mandarin, with a soft cashmere warmth from sandalwood and musk.BUY IT NOW
- Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum, £54, Feel UniqueWelcome to the dark and mysterious side of perfume. Black Opium is the rock’n’roll equivalent of its more classic processor, Opium, but nonetheless elegant. The dominant notes are coffee and vanilla, giving it a warm yet intense scent.BUY IT NOW
- Calvin Klein Euphoria Eau De Parfum, £39, The Perfume ShopAn intoxicating and intense scent, this is a blend of rich orchids, pomegranate, mahogany woods and sensual musks. It’s ideal to warm you up for winter or if you’re heading into evening.BUY IT NOW
- Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau De Parfum, £82, Feel UniqueThis is a loud, unapologetic scent that stays around all day and all evening. This has dark notes of black orchid, spice, incense and chocolate. Not for the faint-hearted.BUY IT NOW
- Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum, £57, Cult BeautyIt’s spicy, leathery and musky, but still manages to feel light and clean. A little bit rugged and a little bit smooth.BUY IT NOW
- Givenchy Very Irresistible Eau De Toilette, £44Sweet, summery and packed with rose, peony and verbena, this is an outdoorsy daytime number.BUY IT NOW
- Dior J’Adore Eau De Parfum, £55, John LewisAt first spritz, J’Adore is distinctly citrusy thanks to a top note of orange and neroli, but quickly evolves into a floral bouquet of roses and jasmine, making it a supremely feminine but fresh choice.BUY IT NOW
- Escentric Molecultes Molecule 01, £72, Harvey NicholsThis fragrance rocked the beauty world and beyond for containing nothing but pure Iso E Super – a synthetic fragrance molecule that envelops the skin in an almost invisible, yet totally irresistible, aroma. The single note enhances your bodies own natural aroma, or pheromones. In essence, it’s our scent on steroids. If you spray it, you probably won’t smell it on yourself. But others will come flocking. Seductive.BUY IT NOW
- Chloe Eau De Parfum, £46.50, John LewisSo fresh and so clean, Chloe Eau De Parfum is a classic in the making. Its main notes are all flowers; rose, lily of the valley, peony and freesia take centre stage but contrary to being a girly combination, the flowers offset each other to create something extremely versatile, playful and confident.BUY IT NOW
- Chanel No.5 Eau de Parfum, £57, John LewisNo perfume guide would be complete without a mention of Chanel’s classic and timeless fragrance. No.5 was revolutionary as it was the first fragrance to rely heavily on synthetic aldehydic notes, which is what gives it its signature champagne fizz upon first spritz. Other notes include jasmine, rose and vanilla, which together with the aldehydes, makes for a fiercely feminine, every-occasion fragrance. It’s little wonder why after almost a century, No.5 is still one of the best-selling perfumes the world round.BUY IT NOW
- Mugler Angel Eau De Parfum, £44.95, John LewisThe perfume equivalent of marmite, Angel is perhaps the most divisive mainstream fragrance ever made. It’s incredibly sweet, with notes of cotton candy, coconut, honey, and fruits, but is also spicy and enveloping thanks to accords of nutmeg, vanilla, chocolate and patchouli. One thing is for sure, though – it’s totally one of a kind.BUY IT NOW
- Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau De Parfum, £122.50, Tom FordWe all know how evocative the sense of smell can be, as Tom Ford Neroli Portofino is testament to. One spray will transport you to the verdant Amalfi coast line, even if you’ve never set foot there before. It’s all down to the perfectly balanced combination of citrus notes – bergamot, mandarin orange and lemon – with lavender, rosemary and amber. A summer holiday in a bottle.BUY IT NOW
- Jo Malone London Orange Blossom Cologne, £94This understated elegant scent is pure sunshine in each spritz; the clementine flower and orange blossom sparkle with a Spring freshness, while base notes of orris and vetiver ground it in endless elegance.BUY IT NOW
- Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Eau de Parfum, £168, John LewisUnapologetically sexy, this fragrance is perhaps the epitome of raw female seduction. In fact, Carnal Flower uses the highest concentration of natural tuberose, which is known for its erotic and lustful aroma, in the entire perfume industry. The tuberose is offset by milky and comforting musk, only serving to enhance its allure.BUY IT NOW
- Ruth Mastenbroek Dagian Eau de Parfum, £120, Ruth MastenbroekAs one of the best perfumers in the business, Ruth Mastenbroek’s latest scent does not disappoint. Dagian, which has fresh notes of lime, mint, orange blossom and rum, was inspired by Ruth’s first holiday without her parents in the 70s. “I felt carefree, like I was at the start of something immensely exciting but didn’t yet know what it was. I’m on the beach at dawn, toes in the sand, the sun slowly emerging and my face becoming warmer as the sun rises over the sea. It is the start of a new day, a new era, a new time in my life; looking ahead with a newly refreshed outlook,” she says.BUY IT NOW
- Histoire d’Orangers Eau De Parfum, £115, Artisan ParfumeurThere’s something utterly luminous about this perfume. One spritz is like opening the window to warm, sun-drenched air that’s rich with the scent of Mediterranean orange blossom and neroli. As it dries down and develops, base notes of tonka bean and almond envelop the skin in a cocoon of silky softness. Simply divine.BUY IT NOW
- Byredo La Tulipe Eau De Parfum, £115, ByredoByredo is known for its disruptive take on perfume, producing innovative and intriguing fragrances that have quickly garnered a cult following. La Tulipe is revolutionary in the sense that it embodies a flower that doesn’t have much scent, so it’s an entirely conceptual and imaginative interpretation. The combination of fresh freesia, a floral heart and green base makes it a clean, bright and very pretty fragrance.