Pheromonal influences on sociosexual behavior in young women

Physiol Behav. 2002 Mar;75(3):367-75. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(01)00675-8.

Abstract

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a synthesized putative female pheromone was conducted with regularly menstruating, university women (N=36, mean age=27.8). The pheromone formula was derived from earlier work investigating the underarm secretions of fertile, sexually active, heterosexual women. A vial of either synthesized pheromone or placebo was selected blindly and added to a subject's perfume. Subjects recorded seven sociosexual behaviors and reported them weekly across three menstrual cycles. Beginning with Day 8 of each cycle, the first cycle contained a 2-week baseline period followed by an experimental period of as many as 3 weeks each from the next two cycles for a maximum of 6 weeks. The 19 pheromone and 17 placebo subjects did not differ significantly in age, weight, body mass index, dating status or ethnicity nor in reported accuracy, back-filling data, perception of a positive effect or perfume use. Placebo subjects were significantly taller than pheromone subjects. Except for male approaches, subjects did not differ significantly at baseline in average weekly sociosexual behaviors. A significantly greater proportion of pheromone users compared with placebo users increased over baseline in frequency of sexual intercourse, sleeping next to a partner, formal dates and petting/affection/kissing but not in frequency of male approaches, informal dates or masturbation. Three or more sociosexual behaviors increased over baseline for 74% of pheromone users compared with 23% of placebo users. We conclude that this synthesized pheromone formula acted as a sex attractant pheromone and increased the sexual attractiveness of women to men.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Masturbation / psychology
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pheromones / pharmacology*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Stimulation, Chemical

Substances

  • Pheromones