“He smelled of sediment and mostly sweat, a decidedly masculine note, the precise replication of which one could base an entire career, and then some. Even the most skilled perfumers in the world, experts in the animal secrets of civet and ambergris, couldn’t get it just right. It was a human thing. And she’d studied it, androstadienone and most of the known male pheromones, and she knew the effects certain concentrates could have on certain women. She’d written the reports and seen the CT scans of activity in women’s brains. Still, knowing about it intellectually and rationally did not in any way lessen what it was doing to her right now, the effect it was having on her senses and her body. ‘Can he tell?’ she wondered.”

Jeffrey Stepakoff, The Orchard

Pheromones are chemical compounds naturally discharged by flowers, plants and animals which relay signals to organisms of the same species which induce social responses. These chemicals behave as hormones do, but external from the body. They can be both invitations and warnings. For instance, pheromones can indicate that an organism is ovulating and ready to mate. They can also symbolise danger and influence others to stay away. In the animal kingdom, pheromones are discharged through bodily fluids such as urine and sweat as well as in their faeces delivering the pheromonic secretions through smell.

In the science community, it is unclear whether humans exude, pheromones, however, experiments reveal that excretions from the armpits of both men and women affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, although these pheromones evolve over a sustained period of time to accomplish this change.

Aristotle outlined that the Panther had such sweet smelling breath and its body excreted a delightfully similar inebriating scent which it used to attract and ambush its prey.

Bombykol is a pheromone secreted by female moths
designed by nature to attract sexual mates. At low strength, the power of the pheromone (smell) can still reach far and wide.

Unneutered male dogs may sniff a bitch (female dog) to determine if they are in heat or not. If so the bitch will be mounted, and the male will attempt to mate her.

In her book, ‘Essence and Alchemy’ Mandy Aftel writes about the sexual habits of the past, commenting that in ancient Egypt both sexes exaggerated the smell of their genitalia, to attract a mate. Women also apparently inserted Kyphi balls into their Vulva which was an incense made from Raisins, Wine, Honey, Frankincense, Myrrh, Mastic, Pine Resin, Sweet Flag, Aspalathus, Camel Grass, Mint, Cyperus, Juniper Berries, Pine Kernels, Peker and Cinnamon. Aftel also mentions that Amber and Civet were used in a similar way to increase the pleasures of sex.

Vomeronasal Organ

Mammals detect pheromones, through the vomeronasal organ which connects to the hypothalamus through the nose, However, if people react to hormones, then they do so through their traditional olfactory practice, as the vomeronasal organ, is present in the fetus but degenerates before birth.