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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pheromones: Potential participants in your sex life

A pheromone (from Greek φέρω phero "to bear" + ορμόνη "hormone") is a chemical that triggers a natural behavioral response in another member of the same species. There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology. Their use among insects has been particularly well documented, although many vertebrates and plants also communicate using pheromones

Pheromones are natural chemical scents the body produces in order to communicate with others nearby. They are well documented in the animal kingdom as the force that controls all social behavior, including mating. It has now been recently found that human behavior is also heavily influenced by these airborne chemicals. They will help you attract sexual attention instantly from the opposite sex!Pheromones heighten sensual responses and awaken "Attraction Mechanisms" .

Types of pheromones
Aggregation pheromones
Produced by one or the other sex, these pheromones attract individuals of both sexes.

Alarm pheromones

Some species release a volatile substance when attacked by a predator that can trigger flight (in aphids) or aggression (in bees) in members of the same species. Pheromones also exist in plants:certain plants emit alarm pheromones when grazed upon, resulting

Sea urchins, for example, release pheromones into the surrounding water, sending a chemical message that triggers other urchins in the colony to eject their sex cells simultaneously.

Human pheromones, on the other hand, are highly individualized, and not always noticeable. In 1986 Dr. Winifred Cutler, a biologist and behavioral endocrinologist, codiscovered pheromones in our underarms. She and her team of researchers found that once any overbearing underarm sweat was removed, what remained were the odorless materials containing the pheromones.

Dr. Cutler's original studies in the '70s showed that women who have regular sex with men have more regular menstrual cycles than women who have sporadic sex. Regular sex delayed the decline of estrogen and made women more fertile. This led the research team to look for what the man was providing in the equation. By 1986 they realized it was pheromones.

Menstrual synchronization

There's more on how pheromones affect women's menstrual cycles. Think back to college, or to growing up if you had sisters. Most women who live with or near other women adjust their menstrual cycle timing to each other. A recent study at the University of Chicago by Martha McClintock exposed a group of women to a whiff of perspiration from other women. It caused their menstrual cycles to speed up or slow down depending on the time in the month the sweat was collected -- before, during or after ovulation. This was the first proof that people produce and respond to pheromones.

Although it's now clear that pheromones exist, the way our body processes them has yet to be determined. Animals have a vomeronasal organ (VNO), which perceives the substance and then leads them to mate. Some anatomists don't think humans have a VNO; others think they've found pits inside our nostrils that might be VNOs, but may not work.

Implications for fertility and depression

Despite the gap in our knowledge, these remarkable studies about pheromones and menstrual cycles have brought to light the idea that pheromones could be used as fertility treatments for couples who want to conceive, or as contraceptives for those who don't. And couples who are having sexual problems could use pheromones combined with traditional therapy to enhance desire. It's also possible, some researchers say, that pheromones could be a mood enhancer, alleviating depression and stress. And the most far-reaching hypothesis so far is that pheromone treatment could control prostate activity in men to reduce the risk of cancer.

Subtle but strong influence

If you're looking for the man or woman of your dreams, unsuspecting pheromones in your body scent are most likely playing a large and very clever role in mate attraction. According to an article in "Psychology Today," how our body odors are perceived as pleasant and sexy to another person is a highly selective process. We usually smell best to a person whose genetically based immunity to disease differs most from our own. This could benefit you in the long run, making for stronger, healthier children.

Seventy-four percent of the people who tested a commercial pheromone called Athena, developed by Dr. Cutler, experienced an increase in hugging, kissing and sexual intercourse. Maybe the best advice to those looking for a mate or wanting to take their relationship to a new level is to take a good long sniff!

Q. What are pheromones?
A. Pheromones are naturally occurring chemicals that send out subconscious scent signals to the opposite sex that trigger very powerful sexual responses.

Q. How are pheromones detected?
A. Pheromone signals are detected through an organ 3 inches inside the nose called the Vomeronasal Organ (VNO). When the VNO detects pheromones, it sends a sexual response signal to the brain.

Q. What is VNO?
A. The Vomeronasal Organ or VNO is the receptor organ of a sensory system involved in chemical communication. Among mammals, sex Pheromones that advertise sexual readiness to potential mates are often, although not necessarily exclusively, detected by the VNO. Odors that are produced by one individual and detected by another of the same species are called "Pheromones" if the process is a real communication with benefit to both individuals. Sexual communication is only one example.

Q. Do we give off pheromones naturally?
A. Absolutely. We're chemically communicating with each other all the time. That's something many people don't realize.

Q. If we produce our own pheromones, why do we need the help of commercial pheromone?
A. Because of our cultural habits. What do we do first thing in the morning? Take a shower. It washes off our pheromones! Consequently, we're phenomenally deprived. (Furthermore, we tend to dress from head to toe, thereby covering 90% of the very skin that releases pheromones into the air.) When we put on synthetic pheromones, we're actually replacing pheromones we've washed off. By supplementing our lost pheromones with Pherlure, we're really "getting back to nature," and re-establishing chemical communication with people around us.

Dr Cutler explains her discovery of human pheromones

By Dr. Winnifred Cutler
Excerpted from the newsletter Women's Health Connection, vol II, number 5b
copyright Women's Health Connection, PO Box 6338, Madison WI, 53716

Throughout the animal kingdom, it was well known (by 1979) that females emit Photo of Dr. Winnifred Cutler, co-discoverer of pheromones in humanssex attractants that cause males (of the same species) to approach. Animal pheromones were so well understood, by the late 70's, that manufacturers were marketing them as pest controls; pheromones were used to lure and divert animals and bugs to traps to prevent crop and flower damage. I was fortunate to be one of the scientists working on the research that proved the existence of human pheromones for the first time.

The discovery of human sex pheromones appeared in front page stories internationally when my colleagues and I succeeded in peer-reviewed acceptance for publication in scientific journals in 1986. We provided the proof that women and men emitted pheromones into the atmosphere and we showed that extracted pheromones could be collected, frozen for over a year, thawed and then applied on the upper lip of recipients to mimic some of the pheromonal effects found in nature.

News article in The Washington Post , 11/18/86.
Copyright -The Washington Post Newspaper, Washington DC, USA [Excerpted]

by Boyce Rensberger, Washington Post Staff Writer
'Scientists in Philadelphia have established for the first time that the human body produces pheromones, special aromatic chemical compounds discharged by one individual that affect the sexual physiology of another.

Although animals have long been known to secrete pheromones, which typically function as sex attractants, and although the existence of such chemicals in humans has long been speculated, the new research is the first to establish their existence in humans


Although claims of discovering a human pheromone are not new, the older claims have not been based on controlled experiments and most scientists have not found the arguments persuasive. The new findings are to be published next month in Hormones and Behavior, a prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

"I think we've finally answered the question. Pheromone effects are real in human beings..." said George Preti, who collaborated on the research...with Winnifred B. Cutler. ***Cutler is an authority on the relationship between sexual behavior and hormones...*** Although the pheromone findings are new and have not previously been reported, the evidence of a link between heterosexual behavior and women's reproductive physiology has been published, with little public notice, in a series of reports over the last eight years in various scientific journals.

"It's remarkable. A very clear pattern has been emerging and it confirms that a woman's optimal reproductive health is a part of a finely tuned system and that a man, on a regular and sustained basis, is an essential part of it," said Cutler, who has led the research effort. "It wasn't clear until our most recent studies how important male essence really is," she said, "but now that we know this, it helps to explain our earlier findings. You might say that exposure to pheromones is the essence of sex."
End of Washington Post article excerpt

Magazine article in Time, 12/1/86.
Copyright Time, Inc., Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020-1393 [Excerpted]

Studies find that male pheromones are good for women's health
By John Leo
Reported by Robert Ajemian
Women who work or live together tend to get their menstrual cycles in sync. That curious phenomenon known for years by scientists and many ordinary folk, has long been suspected as an indication that humans, like insects and some mammals, communicate subtly by sexual aromas known as pheromones. Last week Philadelphia researchers weighed in with two reports showing that scents, including underarm odors, do indeed affect menstrual cycles.

The reports came with a kicker: male scents play a role in maintaining the health of women, particularly the health of the female reproductive system. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that women who have sex with men at least once a week are more likely to have normal menstrual cycles, fewer infertility problems and a milder menopause than celibate women and women who have sex rarely or sporadically. So the researchers were hardly tentative about the meaning of it all. "What we're saying here is that men are really important for women," said Winnifred Cutler, a biologist and specialist in behavioral endocrinology who conducted the study along with Organic Chemist George Preti. "If you look at all the data, the conclusion is compelling. A man or his essence seems essential for an optimally fertile system." Nor did Cutler shrink from the commercial possibilities. "My dream," she said, "is that manufactured male essence, in creams, sprays or perfumes, can dramatically alter the well-being of women."
End of Time article excerpt

News article in USA Today, 11/19/86
Section D: Life
Copyright -USA Today [Excerpted]
The Real Chemical Reaction Between the Sexes
by Kim Painter

Chemicals in men's bodies can cause their female sex partners to be more fertile, have more regular menstrual cycles and milder menopause, landmark research shows.

And women who have sex with men at least once a week benefit most from the chemicals, which apparently work through the sense of smell.

"The exciting part is the effect we have on each other. Men are important to women," says Dr. Winnifred B. Cutler of Philadelphia, whose studies show for the first time that chemicals called pheromones exist in humans.

Pheromones have long been known to exist in animals, as scents that attract sex partners. Cutler's new women are affected by pheromones from men and women:

*Women with unusually long or short menstrual cycles get closer-to-average cycles after regularly inhaling male essence, described as a compound of male sweat, hormones and natural body odors. "You just walk into a male locker room," Cutler says, "that's the odor."

*Women exposed to another woman's "female essence" menstruated at the same time after a few months, confirming a long-observed phenomenon that women who live together menstruate at the same time.

Cutler's other studies show women who have sex with men at least once a week have regular menstrual cycles and fewer fertility and menopause problems, apparently because of exposure to pheromones.

End of Painter's USA TODAY article excerpt

Magazine article in Newsweek, 1/12/87.
Copyright Newsweek Magazine [Excerpted]

The Chemistry Between People: Are Our Bodies Affected by Another Person’s Scent?
By Terence Monmaney with Susan Katz
The air is loaded with secrets, with intimate messages both unseen and unheard. Ready! A female moth announces, and male moths miles away soon receive the invitation and head upwind, eager to mate. A dog goes into heat, and male dogs all over the neighborhood are drawn by a telltale scent to her masters’ door.


In creatures as different as bugs and dogs, life-and-death messages are relayed via a specialized chemical known as a pheromone - a substance that works much like a hormone, but is released by one individual and prompts changes in the physiology or behavior of another.

Ever since scientists discovered pheromones 30 years ago, they’ve found such chemical communication in hundreds of species - from moths to mice to monkeys. And man? Do we, the great communicators, also make use of such potent and unambiguous signals? Is there literal truth to the notion that when people get along, it is because of the right "chemistry"?

There have been plenty of claims. A mother's' pheromones, researchers once said, are what attract her infant to her breasts. *** But while the ideas of human pheromones is intriguing, the dozens or so studies that addressed the possibility in the past 10 years were disappointing: no one established beyond a doubt that human pheromones exists.

Now two new studies are stirring up the pheromone debate with the boldest claims yet. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research institute in Philadelphia, say that people produce underarm pheromones that can influence menstrual cycles.

The studies, done by chemist George Preti and biologist Winnifred B. Cutler, are not the first of their kind, but they are the first ones rigorous enough to be published in a respected scientific journal, Hormones and Behavior.

In one study the researchers collected underarm secretions from men who wore a pad in each armpit. This "male essence" {pheromone} was then swabbed, three times a week, on the upper lips of seven women whose cycles typically lasted less than 26 days or more than 33. By the third month of such treatment, the average length of the women's cycles began to approach the optimum 29.5 days - the cycle length associated with highest fertility.

Cutler's conclusion: " Male essence" contains at least one pheromone that "helps promote reproductive health".

Female Essence: The experiment was more rigorous than earlier ones for two reasons. It employed a control group - eight women who were swabbed with alcohol showed no effect - and it was performed in "double-blind" fashion: neither the subjects nor the researchers knew whether alcohol or male essence dissolved in alcohol was being applied until after the study.


In Cutler and Preti’s second experiment, they studied menstrual synchrony - the phenomenon that women who live in close quarters tend to have cycles that coincide *** This time Cutler and Preti exposed 10 women with normal cycles to female underarm sweat . After three months of the same sweat-on-the-lip treatment, the women's cycles were starting roughly in synchrony with those of the women who had donated the sweat. Menstrual synchrony was first documented in 1970 when psychologist Martha McClintock studied women living in a college dormitory.

But this new study is the first to offer solid evidence that pheromone are what mediate the effect.

"Pheromones are real in human beings., "concludes Preti...

End of Newsweek Excerpt

CNN Online-WebMD News article, 6/25/99
Copyright WebMD [Excerpted]

Pheromones: Potential participants in your sex life
by Deb Levine

In 1986 Dr. Winifred Cutler, a biologist and behavioral endocrinologist, codiscovered pheromones in our underarms. She and her team of researchers found that once any overbearing underarm sweat was removed, what remained were the odorless materials containing the pheromones.

Dr. Cutler's original studies in the '70s showed that women who have regular sex with men have more regular menstrual cycles than women who have sporadic sex. Regular sex delayed the decline of estrogen and made women more fertile. This led the research team to look for what the man was providing in the equation. By 1986 they realized it was pheromones.

End of Deb Levine's CNN WebMD excerpt

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