• Can You Smell Your Way To The Perfect Partner?

    Sextasy by Tracey Cox

    Q: Can you smell your way to the perfect partner?

    Weird but true: the latest dating trend involves burying your nose into a pile of pre-worn T-shirts. What's even weirder is that, while it might sound (and definitely look!) bonkers, it's actually not as silly as it sounds.

    'Pheromone Dating' came out of LA (where else!) and it's based on the simple presumption that if you're attracted to someone's smell, you'll be attracted to the person.

    It's based on the infamous 'smelly T-shirt' experiment, performed by a Swiss zoologist in 1994. He tested the genes of a group of students, then got the men to wear T-shirts for two nights, avoiding anything (like alcohol or aftershave) that might affect their natural odour.

    The T-shirts were then placed in a box with holes in it and the women asked to rank the smell on intensity, pleasantness and sexiness.

    The result? Women preferred the T-shirts worn by men with different compatibility genes from themselves, with researchers concluding we unconsciously select mates who'll give our babies a genetic advantage.

    It's also been put forward as an explanation for 'chemistry' - that weird and wonderful thing that makes us go for unusual choices in partners that we can't quite explain. With genetically compatible people, we feel an unexplained connection. I absolutely believe smell is crucial. We spend a lifetime planning outfits for that first date, hours deciding where to go and what to say but once our bodies get intimate, it's in the lap of the gods.

    How we smell and taste to each other often subconsciously determines whether you become an item or walk away wondering what on earth went wrong. The reason why is our olfactory centre instantly reacts to the pheromones of every person you like.

    Pheromones are the scent version of a fingerprint: each of us has a unique, natural, undetectable smell. A blend of intoxicating ingredients - including chemicals released when we're aroused - our pheromones are also influenced by more mundane things like how oily our skin is, how much we've drunk, eaten and how much exercise we've done.

    The end result is released from our 'warm' spots: armpits, groin, mouth, backs of knees, wrists and palms. The brain receives a 'Wow!' signal the minute the pheromones release. Then yours and theirs have a fleeting conference that lasts a matter of seconds to decide if you're a good - or rubbish - genetic match.

    The olfactory centre doesn't care if this is your first date in years or first meeting with someone you've known for years from afar but never actually met and are hoping to marry: if the smell isn't right, it'll never feel right. Which makes Pheromone Dating not quite as wacky as it sounds.

    I suspect it'll get better results than anything done online!

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