In our social distancing surveys, we asked you what you miss the most when video dating. While in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, 30% of people said the thing they missed most was the person’s scent, the figure had risen to 71% just one year later. Physical closeness came in just ahead in first place at 76%. This considerable difference piqued our curiosity.
What is the link between scent and dating? Is it possible to find out if you like each other’s scent from a distance? Read on to find out.
Love travels through the nose
It might not be the most romantic news but essentially the more the genes differ, the more diverse the DNA of the offspring, and the higher their chances of survival. So we feel attracted to people whose genetic makeup is very different to ours.
T-shirts worn for three days straight – delectable or disgusting?
Evolutionary biologist Claus Wedekind discovered this during an experiment in which men wore the same T-shirt for three days (deodorant, washing, and perfume were not allowed), which women were then asked to smell. As unappetizing as it sounds, some women thought these T-shirts smelled great, while others found them musty. It would be interesting to see how it would work the other way around and among homosexual people.
Specific proteins (human leukocyte antigens – HLA for short), which are produced to support the immune defense system, are responsible for this. For differing HLA types, participants found the odor pleasant; for similar ones, they did not.
Pheromones or ovulation
Dating is ultimately still an animalistic affair. Men find women particularly attractive when they are ovulating, i.e. when the woman is particularly fertile and very likely to produce offspring. Verantwortlich dafür sind besondere Duftstoffe, sogenannte Pheromone. Meanwhile, women have a better sense of smell during this period and notice male pheromones more intensely.
Fun Fact: Wenn Frauen ihren Eisprung haben, riechen sie nicht nur besonders gut, sondern bewegen sich auch geschmeidiger, ihre Stimmen werden höher und die Haut weicher.
Scents are closely linked with emotions
The exciting thing about our sense of smell is that it is processed by the brain in the limbic system. This is where emotions, memory, learning, and reward are processed. This center is activated every time we smell a scent. If this scent is associated with strong emotions, or if we are experiencing strong emotions while smelling a certain scent, our brain creates a link between the two. This also means that external factors and experiences contribute to whether we can smell someone or not.
Did you know?
- Everyone in the world has their own unique scent. Only identical twins almost(!) smell the same.
- 15% of people have trouble with their sense of smell. 5% of people have no sense of smell whatsoever.
- People with smell disorders are more likely to suffer from depression and have less social contact.
- You only have to stand at a distance of 1–2 meters to smell someone’s scent.
- And then there is Napoleon, who once wrote to his Josephine after a campaign, “I will return to Paris tomorrow evening. Do not wash.”
- Nowadays, Gwyneth Paltrow takes the cake when it comes to quirks related to scent in the celebrity world. The actress sells a scented candle under her lifestyle brand Goop that is made to smell like her vagina. The candle called “This Smells Like My Vagina” costs €75 and is always sold out.
Dating on Live and discovering the scents of others
Whether there’s currently a lockdown, you’re dating someone who lives further away, or you just want to get to know the person slowly at first, there are ways to find out what your date smells like or the smells that he/she likes.
You could ask them the following:
- What is your favorite perfume, shower gel, shampoo, or body lotion?
- What plant has the best scent?
- What fruit smells the best?
- Is there a certain scent that always instantly takes you back to a certain time or place?
- Do you like the smell of gas stations? Or the smell of basements?
What about when you’re on a date?
When you put on perfume and deodorant, you’re masking your body’s natural scent. So you should use these sparingly.
Skip the garlic. Garlic breath has never been sexy.
By the time you start sweating together, your date’s true scent will have been revealed. So it’s pretty easy to figure out someone’s secret scent in the current heatwave.
But what about in the autumn and winter? Well, you could go on an active date, which would instantly get you sweating. Be it playing squash or climbing, you’ll think of something.