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The Sexy Smell of Testosterone

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FertilityAuthority,  April 22, 2013

A recent study published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior says that during ovulation, women are more likely to be attracted to masculine men. Men with higher levels of testosterone produce increased levels of the chemical androstenol, which releases a musky scent. Previous studies have shown that ovulation influences a woman’s preference for men with more masculine physical features and other characteristics of high testosterone. These are likely the result of a biological cue of male fertility and strength.

Researchers required forty-six male study participants to wear a fresh T-shirt for two consecutive nights and were discouraged from using scented products like soaps, and detergents. They were also asked to refrain from smoking and eating strongly scented foods like onion, garlic, hot peppers, and cheeses. Female participants were asked to smell the shirts of men in the study, and rate them according to sexiness, pleasantness, and intensity of smell. They also completed questionnaires about the stage of their menstrual cycle and use of hormonal contraception. Women who were nearing ovulation rated the shirts belonging to men with high testosterone as most pleasant and sexy.

Testosterone and cortisol levels were tested via saliva samples. No preference was shown for levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to stronger immune systems, therefore better health. Existing data on this subject is inconclusive to date and studies of smaller size have found no link between testosterone levels and a woman’s mating preference.


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