Can The Smell Of Testosterone Affect Who Women Are Attracted To?

I never imagined that I would be writing a sentence like this, but okay, here goes: Can your nose help you snag a hot guy? Or maybe the more accurate question is: can your sense of smell make you more attracted to more manly men? Surprisingly, a new study finds that the answer to that might be… yes.

Here’s the deal: according to new research, ovulation affects what kind of guys women are attracted to. So, essentially, where you during your menstrual cycle dictates what kind of dudes you think are hot. And this new study shows that when women are at their peak fertility (when we’re most likely to get pregnant), we’re much more attracted to men with a lot of testosterone. How do we know they have a lot of testosterone pumping through their manly bods? We can smell it (although it’s not something you know you’re smelling, like the scent of vanilla or something), and we smell it the most when we’re at our most fertile.

What does this mean to you? When you’ve reached your peak fertility during ovulation, you’re more likely to crush on “manlier man” because it’s easier for you to sniff them out. Does this make sense? Not really? I know. Honestly, it’s sort of confusing and also a little hard to believe.

It’s even harder to believe when you hear what one psychologist, Wendy Wood of the University of South California, says: “This is a controversial research area. Studies are highly inconsistent. Only a few studies have shown that women’s menstrual cycles influence their mate preferences – many more find no effects of menstrual cycles on preferences.” So it sounds to me like she’s saying not to take this seriously.

But in case you were wondering what a more manly man is like (I know you were), he has traits like having a deeper voice or a manly face (still unclear as to what a manly face is). Although according to this study, you don’t really need to know what they look like, because you’ll just be smelling their testosterone and be instantly attracted to them.

I don’t know. I’m having a hard time buying this, just like I had a hard time buying the study that said that being on the birth control pill makes women more attracted to men who look more feminine (whatever that means). I guess this may be something that happens on a level that we don’t really acknowledge, but at the same time, I know that I’m just as attracted to the dudes I’m attracted to no matter where I am on my menstrual cycle. Does that make sense?

I mean, this kind of information is interesting, but not very reliable, so I wouldn’t take this too seriously. Still – it makes for a fun conversation starter!

What do you think about this study? Do you think you’re attracted to different guys at different times? Tell us in the comments! 


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  • Gicelle

    Fascinating! From what I’ve read about physical anthropology, pheromones, and evolution (I took a college course on Human Adaptation) this totally makes sense. Who you are most attracted too often smells fantastic to you.