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The power of pheromones and aphrodisiacs

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Bending the laws of attraction

Love potions, aphrodisiacs, pheromones. We hear about them in songs, sigh about them in movies, and fantasize about them in -- never mind. Could they actually be real? Are we, as humans, still so primal a being that we can be drawn to one another solely on the basis of scent?

Fragrances and chemical attaction

Chemical attraction is no myth; it's just a question of what that chemical is. According to Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, testosterone is the only true aphrodisiac for both men and women. You can trigger the testosterone by doing novel things together because novelty drives another chemical in the brain, dopamine, which will trigger testosterone and make you feel sexy.

Rumor has it that Pink Elephant, a bar/club in New York City, pumps smells such as cotton candy into their air to encourage the mating instinct, and lingerie giant Shirley of Hollywood ( has a line of fragrances (Lust for Her and Virile for Him) that contains powerful pheromone attractants.

Chemical pheromones are the key ingredients for creating a modern-day love potion. Synthetic pheromones are produced from androstenone (the male pheromone) and androstenol (the female pheromone).

The brain reacts to these pheromones instinctively, which immediately creates a physiological and behavioral attraction that directly affects the male and female level of attraction to potential mates.

Skincare guru Dino Morra has recently created the world's first Pheromone Candle, available in two fragrances to evoke physical sensations: Women use the warm vanilla combined with stronger notes to produce a sweeter scent that appeals to men, and men use a musky tobacco fragrance creating a heady, earthy smell making the scent more attractive to women. The Pheromone Candle found at releases radicals, while soy, Vitamin E and C enrich the candle with anti-aging benefits. Simply light the candle's wick and allow the fragrant emollient to melt into a thick creamy substance. Once the flame is extinguished, use the spatula provided to apply the body butter substance.

But pheromones alone won't do the trick

"Pheromones help, but they're not the whole picture. They increase your options because they increase the number of people who are interested in being attentive to you," said Dr. Winnifred B. Cutler, a reproductive biologist and the co-discoverer of pheromones in humans, and the president and founder of The Athena Institute, in a recent WebMD chat. "It's only useful to attract numbers if you know what to do when you find someone. It's not the basis, but one of the components. So, if you want to attract someone who loves you, it helps to have a number of candidates. Then it helps to conduct yourself in a way that, when you find the right candidate, that it is the quality of person you'd want to be with. And everybody is somebody's gem."

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