Scent Of A Man
October 7, 2015
When a Male enters puberty, the Testes start making a particular steroid with a tricky name, called ANDROSTADIENONE.
This chemical is a derivative of Testosterone, travelling throughout his body, before being secreted in the concoction called SWEAT, from his armpit.
The only known function for this tongue-twister variant of Testosterone?
It’s our built-in Old Spice, our favorite innate aphrodisiac;
AKA, The PHEROMONE.
Similar to other arousing sensations, such as soft candlelight setting the mood, inhaled PHEROMONES cause significant changes in the body.
They are the chemicals that the body whips up and serves, like a physiological Pre-Intercourse Appetizer.
HOW significantly we react to Pheromones, is decided mostly by the HYPOTHALAMUS.
When the Postpubescent Male begins to secrete this brutal Home Brew, it is consumed by bacteria, producing BO. Because these fermenting skin pouches are easy to relocate nearer to nostrils, Females are forced to notice.
This leads to sudden elevations in Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Breathing, and Mood. If this chemical collision occurs in the correct context, the XX is aroused, by the smell.
That is obviously why the Chicken Dance gained so much popularity; due to the natural BO wafting motion, of the dope ‘Flap Move’.
Males on the other hand, when exposed to other Male’s sweaty pits, don’t have nearly the same fireworks.
This makes sense, as it would be distracting to continually be turned on by yourself.
I’m sure Narcissus appeared Agoraphobic, especially if he had a Selfie Stick.
(That is not to say that Homosexual Males don’t have ANY Physiological Reaction to Male sweat; rather it has not been demonstrated to be mediated by the Hypothalamus. In this case, it is likely a Top-Bottom Cognitive Exercise, mediated by the Prefrontal Cortex, as seeing or thinking about another person can stimulate memories or fantasies that may result in arousal).
After puberty, Biological Females have a strong HYPOTHALAMUS reaction to Androstadienone, perhaps fueling a feeling like:
Idealization, Love, or Beatlemania.
Pretty sure Ringo was the sweatiest.
Just so this information is placed in the proper context, there are obviously many other factors involved. For instance, it has also been shown that specific parts of the menstrual cycle, can significantly influence how sexy or self-loathing one may feel.
That is all I will say about that, period.
Getting back to the Male Pheromone, it makes you wonder if the intense feelings, or ‘Buzz In The Air’, during a Rave, Rock Concert, or Sports Spectacle, are due to inhaling significant quantities, of competing Pheromones.
The bigger the crowd, the higher the concentration of salty sweaty bodies, sharing steroid subscriptions.
A fairly recent, and fascinating study, has shed new light on the pervasive physiological shifts that occur, when we introduce the concept of Gender Identity.
It appears that your own internal sense of Gender may have Veto Power, when it comes to how your hypothalamus feels about smelling male sweat. As unlikely as it may seem, what gender you call yourself, on the inside, has the power to trump your biology and Chromosomes.
Sarah Burke outlined these findings, using Functional Imaging, in her May, 2014, Original Research Article,
‘Hypothalamic Response to the Chemo-Signal Androstadienone in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents’
Her investigation essentially concluded that before puberty, for all Biological Males, with or without Gender Dysphoria, there is no Hypothalamus reaction to Androstadienone.
‘But this changed in the 15 to 16-year-olds: the Hypothalamus of Adolescent Boys with Gender Dysphoria now lit up as much as in Heterosexual Women, while the other Adolescent Boys still did not show any reaction’.
‘Adolescent Girls with Gender Dysphoria showed the same reaction to Androstadienone in their Hypothalamus as is typical for Heterosexual Men.’
It appears that your internal sense of Gender Identity, that is, whether you identify yourself as being Female, or Male (or perhaps Both, or Neither), is the single greatest determinant of how your brain will react, when exposed to the Masculine Pheromone.
These types of studies help us begin to understand extremely complicated Mind and Brain interactions. It provides a framework, for all of us, to understand why people behave the way they do.
It may also reduce judgment, prejudice, and stigma, as we begin to realize that we are all the products of the conversation in our mind, and sensations arising from body and brain.
It becomes easier to understand why 2 people with the same chromosomes, may have vastly different feelings about their Gender Identity, and perhaps also Sexual Orientation.
Future studies may help by replicating these findings, using larger samples, ruling out confounding variables, and perhaps examining other populations, such as Genderqueer, Two-Spirit, and Agender individuals.
It may also help to explain why some people feel ‘PanSexual‘, defined as ‘not limited in sexual choice with regard to Biological Sex, Gender, or Gender Identity’.
And finally, how cool is it that perhaps we have new evidence, in the form of a Functional Imaging study, of Mind over Matter?
Kinda puts the ‘Trans’, in Transcendent.
Simon Trepel, MD
Note: It would make sense that Prepubescent Males and Females would not be very sensitive to Pheromones, because they are incapable of reproduction, thus any energy spent in that domain would be fruitless. Paradoxically, studies indicate that even prior to puberty, the Female Hypothalamus is somewhat responsive to this Male Pheromone, at least to a larger degree compared with Prepubescent Males.
Note: For a peek at the Original Research Study, please see the following link:
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at