Is it what he or she sees in you, or is it your pheromones?

The expression of male secondary sexual characteristics is regulated by testosterone (T). Males with higher T levels are preferred by females in many species (Kohl, 2007). Roney, Simmons & Gray (in press) indicate that something other than facial cues of masculinity causes women to choose for visually perceived T-associated facial features. The female preference for higher T levels is a function of pheromones in other species.

Estradiol levels of females increase sensitivity and specificity for androgenic male pheromones, and predict preferences for T-associated androgenic male pheromones. This makes androgenic male pheromones, which are associated both with T production and with male secondary sexual characteristics, the most likely link between higher T levels and female preferences in all mammals. This link is supported by the fact that other female mammals do not seem to value visually perceived facial cues of high T. Simply put, other mammals don’t look for good-looking mates; they sniff out the one that smells best.

Indeed, several studies have consistently linked visually perceived physical characteristics to estradiol level-associated mate choice in women. At first glance, these studies suggest that the preference of women for higher T levels develops differently than it does in other female mammals. However, from a biological perspective, no mechanism has been described that allows for differences in the development of women’s preferences, when their development is compared to the pheromone-dependent development of other female mammals.

Snowdon et al.(in press) indicates that pheromones condition the sexual preferences of other primates. You can expect that the same is true for humans. Thus, Roney et al., seems to suggest that human pheromones condition the preferences of human females for T-associated physical features. These authors also show that visually perceived physical features may not be associated with subjective ratings of masculinity. Accordingly, if the right mixture of human pheromones is used, the man using the mixture may elicit preferential behavior from women who prefer men with higher T levels.

The unconscious affect of androgenic male pheromones on the preferences of women for increased T levels, seems to parallel the unconscious affect of estradiol-associated preferred waist-to-hip ratios in men, because this preference is demonstrated in congenitally blind men who have never seen a woman (Karramens et al., 2010).

The take home message for consumers who are interested in human pheromone-enhanced fragrance products is: Pheromones can make you smell like you look better! If you are interested in preferential treatment from others, please first consider the science of human pheromones that suggests how you can get it. is dedicated to bringing you the latest science to support your wise purchase decision.


Kohl, J.V. (2007). The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences. Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality. M.R. Kauth. Binghamton, Haworth Press: 313-369.

Karremans, J.C., et al. (2010). “Blind men prefer a low waist-to-hip ratio.” Evolution and Human Behavior 31(3): 182-186.

Roney, J.R., et al., (in press) Changes in estradiol predict within-women shifts in attraction to facial cues of men’s testosterone. Psychoneuroendocrinology (2010), doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.10.010

Snowdon, al. (In press). “Conditioned sexual arousal in a nonhuman primate.” Hormones and Behavior

Author: jim