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The seduction of scent

The Seduction of Scent

In a recent article for Marie Claire, Leonie Eastwood discusses the significant role that scent plays when experiencing sexual attraction.

“We all know certain fragrances can evoke powerful emotions and memories, but you might be surprised to hear that scent triggers a response faster than a thought, making it the heart of instinctive attraction and desire.”

The science behind scent

We all release and receive four types of pheromone, the ‘Releaser Pheromone’ being responsible for sexual attraction. The small vomeronasal organ inside our nose processes these chemicals, subconsciously communicating an immediate response through the nervous system to the hypothalamus. If this response ‘releases’ an attraction, our heart rate, body temperature and breathing can increase, altering our mood and subliminally affecting our appreciation for the emitter.

Most of us (hopefully…!) are incredibly drawn to the natural scent emitted by our partners or our potential lovers. We welcome the familiar fragrance of their embrace and enjoy the lingering aroma they leave on our pillow at the start of the day. Pheromones are the chemical signals responsible for this; our first line of defence and attack in the battlefield of love.

Scent and sensuality

Scent has, and always will therefore play a huge role in our Romantic lives. Scent can heighten and enhance an attraction just as surely as it can eliminate one. It is of no wonder then that most fragrance houses explore seduction, arousal and sensuality in their branding today. As Leonie acknowledges with her recent article...

“If you want to know more about the power of augmented sensuality, watch the tantalising encounters between Jamie Dornan and Birgit Kos in the new BOSS scent ad.”

The scenes for this advert imply an immediate attraction between the pair, one initiated not from touch but instead from their appreciation for one another’s scent.

The ad strips back the other senses; the actors do not physically touch one another and at one point their eyes are even shielded with glasses. Touch and sight are removed, leaving the pair almost entirely immersed in sound and scent instead. Arguably, their experience becomes all the more passionate because of this.

The language of love

Throughout all of history, so much of love and sexual attraction comes down to that which is not said; the subtle signalling of prolonged eye contact or the instinctive quickening of your heart as you recognise your lover’s fragrance. Scent heightens the non-verbal intensity of romantic love. It is a language of its own; one of primitive intuition and soft, unspoken signs.


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