There’s no science to be found behind the enticing idea that humans emit irresistible sex pheromones.
The molecule, androstadienone, was proposed without evidence in 1991 by a company interested in patenting it and making a mountain of money.
And ever since scientists have lost time studying it.
However, the idea that sex pheromones can be bottled and then dispensed when needed over a shaken martini cocktail is a false one.
“As humans are mammals, it is possible that we have pheromones,” says Dr Tristram Wyatt of Oxford University.
“Comparison of secretions from adult and pre-pubertal humans may highlight potential molecules involved in sexual behaviour.
“One of the most promising human pheromone leads is a nipple secretion from the areola glands produced by all lactating mothers, which stimulates suckling by any baby, not just their own,” Wyatt said.
“It may be that we will find that there are no pheromones in humans. But we can be sure that we shall never find anything if we follow the current path. We need to start again.”
Many mammals have pheromones including the rabbit, male goats and the house mouse.
The latest review of the science, “The search for human pheromones: the lost decades and the necessity of returning to first principles”, is published by the Royal Society.
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