Scents and arousal: 3 unexpected fragrances to try for Valentine's Day

Photo by IlluminatedPerfume on Flickr Image by: Photo by IlluminatedPerfume on Flickr Author: Canadian Living


Scents and arousal: 3 unexpected fragrances to try for Valentine's Day

It’s no surprise that scent plays a large role in seduction. Humans are walking, talking pheromones, after all, and the scents and chemical signals we emit evoke a sense of desire in those around us. What can we say? We’re sexy beasts.

This Valentine’s Day, you could easily buy a classically seductive fragrance to set the mood, but we suggest aiming your cupid’s bow at a few intriguing household gems, instead. Studies show that these scents (or, in one case, the lack thereof) possess the power to help people look younger, feel more confident and boost their partners' level of arousal.

Whether you seek out these notes at the perfumery or the supermarket, a quick breath in is all it takes to transform your Valentine’s Day dinner date into an all-night affair.

Smell youthful with: Grapefruit

Don’t let this breakfast basic fool you. While it might not seem like the sexiest fruit on the kitchen table, the scent of grapefruit has the power to dramatically alter male perception of female age. In a study by Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder and neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, men who smelled pink grapefruit judged middle-aged female models to be five years younger, on average, than they actually were. Other scents, like banana, spearmint and cucumber, had no such effect.

If you’re feeling age-conscious, spray some Jo Malone London Grapefruit Cologne, $130 at Holt Renfrew, on your little black dress for an instant hit of youthful allure. It’s the next best thing to a time machine.

Project confidence with: Deodorant

Perhaps there’s a semblance of truth to those cringe-worthy Axe commercials. You know the ones, where a man becomes, quite literally, a babe magnet after he douses himself in body spray. Well, researchers have found that men who wear cologne laced with deodorant, as opposed to simply the fragrance alone, report higher levels of self-esteem and are considered more attractive by women who view them via video. This means that people project confidence when they like the way they smell, and deodorant seems to sweeten the deal.

With that said, if you’re searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, we don’t suggest you slap a ribbon on a can of body spray and call it a day. Rather, Bleu de Chanel Deodorant Spray, $34, smells decidedly sexy. Alternatively, why not test the theory on yourself with Carven Le Parfum Déodorant parfumé, $40 at Sephora? Notes of jasmine, sweet pea and ylang ylang will leave you feeling fresh, feminine and oh-so-frisky.

Boost arousal with: Pumpkin pie

A slice of freshly baked pumpkin pie has the power to warm a man’s heart—but now, thanks to Dr. Hirsch, we know that this delicacy can get blood pumping below the belt, as well. After strapping 31 men to a plethysmograph, which measures penile blood flow, Dr. Hirsch discovered that the scent of pumpkin pie—mixed with a touch of lavender—heightened his subjects’ levels of arousal by 40 per cent, more than any other scent or combination of scents in the study.

Still, there’s no need to break out the rolling pin to replicate this study at home on Valentine’s Day. Instead, create the perfect pheremonal cocktail by layering two delicious scents from Demeter Fragrance Library in Lavender and Pumpkin Pie, $15 each at select Loblaws locations. Try this one at your own risk, as you might end up having to cancel those much sought-after dinner reservations.


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Scents and arousal: 3 unexpected fragrances to try for Valentine's Day