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The Science of How Attraction Starts (and Ends!)

by Women Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

Smell is the most intimate sense, as Swedish professor and researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center Johan Lundstrom PhD tells MensHealth.com, and for females, the scent of the opposite sex can make or break any gentleman's game in just a few sniffs.

Kicking Things Off

You can't deny how easily and how swiftly your sense of sight can overtake the other four. Especially across a crowded bar, it's probably your most reliable sense when it comes to finding a good place to plop down and have a nice chat with someone interesting.

Once you've settled down and the booze and conversation starts flowing, you're more or less certain already about spending the night getting to know your new lady companion. You see, attraction really begins with appearance for guys. For ladies, however, it doesn't quite kick in until you've moved in close enough for her to get a whiff.

Looks vs. Scent

Men tend to be more visual in singling out potential partners as they've been subconsciously conditioned to look out for indicators of fertility-the most important factor for desirability back in the old days. Modern ideals of female beauty can actually be traced back to these traits.

On the other hand, a woman's sharp sense of smell is a gene thing that has to do with picking their mate. It's an evolutionary adaptation that helps them weed out the less suitable suitors from the more ideal candidates in terms of DNA compatibility.

The Deal Breaker

If your natural musk doesn't pass the sniff test, it's doubtful that things between the two of you will go anywhere. It's pretty much the end of the attraction line for you, bro.

Pioneering smell researcher Martha McClintock, PhD notes that more than helping women identify in particular who or what they want in a man, scents act more as an "aversion filter" to pinpoint what they DON'T want. It basically helps them discover their definite dating deal breakers.

The worst thing you can do? Wear a perfume that's just not right for you, so the aroma ends up assaulting her nostrils instead of charming and enticing them.

Your move: Take extra care in choosing your signature fragrance. Keep in mind that scents that smell great on one person may not necessarily smell good on you, so you can't and shouldn't rely solely your best bud's catalog of tried and tested colognes. You'll need to mount your own personal quest to find the one (or ones) for you. It might entail quite a lot of effort, but we assure you, sir, it's well worth it.

Before buying a can of body spray, test it on your skin first. Let the scent breathe and mature for some time, so you'll be able to correctly assess how it blends with your special natural odor.

Then before engaging in some merrymaking, never forget to spray on your scent of choice.

Bonus tip: Once you've already gotten the girl and you decide it's time to update your fragrance, do tag her along when you make your new pick. We're not saying that she will, without a doubt, immediately dump your sorry butt if she doesn't like your new smell, but it sure won't hurt if it's girlfriend-approved. It's actually one way you can keep the spirit and fire of attraction burning on, you know.