Sexual health

Pheromone Perfumes and Why You Really Oughta Try Some

Published: FEBRUARY 22, 2024 | Updated: APRIL 12, 2024
Although the experience is not scientifically proven, and often has subjective results, it can enhance your life in many ways

The term “pheromone perfume” may conjure images of spraying it on and immediately being deluged by suitors. If accurate, that might lead to either the best or worst day of your life. My research tells me that science doesn’t think much of the idea that pheromone perfumes can create arousal in humans. But is the science always right?


What are pheromones, anyway?

Pheromones are chemicals released from most mammals that offer information to other animals, usually of the same species. Pheromones can be found in animal secretions, urine, sweat, and more. These chemical signals aren’t always about sex and can mean anything from Hey, that tree is my tree to Let’s make babies, to Seriously, leave me alone. And if you are wondering, there doesn’t seem to be a perfume designed for humans that makes people leave you the hell alone.

What exactly is pheromone perfume?

Fragrances containing pheromones are typically geared toward attracting one gender, and often contain variations of either androstanol or estratetreanol—to attract women or men, respectively. Recently, “attract them” pheromone perfumes were developed for bi-sexual, non-binary, or folks who want to attract a little bit of everything.

Pheromone perfumes seem expensive to me. But my friends who buy designer fragrances say that $50 or so for a bottle of fragrance is not unexpected or outlandish.


Do pheromone perfumes “work?”

Honestly, it depends on who you ask. Some folks who sell perfumes containing pheromones promise you’ll have the gender of your choice chasing you down like mad. Others admit that no, it’s not a bottle of spray-on-instant arousal. Scientists are highly skeptical of the efficacy of pheromones in perfume to attract a mate. But they don’t all discount it altogether.

Dr. Breana Simmons, Professor of Biology at East Georgia State College, shares contemporary science’s thinking on pheromones:

"I study insects, where olfactory cues are known to play an important role in behavior. There is also evidence that mammals that rely on scent cues for survival also produce and respond to pheromones. But there seems to be a lot of disagreement in the scientific literature about whether humans can either produce or (are even capable of receiving) pheromone signals."


However, scientists not fully understanding our response to pheromones yet doesn’t mean we don’t have a response. Research from the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological studies suggests that further research might confirm the effectiveness of pheromones on humans for an array of uses.

"Pheromone communication in humans has not yet been definitively demonstrated. However, the potential ability of putative pheromones to activate the hypothalamus, which controls the release of many hormones, suggests they could have a role in systemic functions in humans. Future confirmation of the effects of pheromone and pheromone receptors in humans could be useful in the prevention and treatment of various human disorders."

Or, it might eventually get us all laid! *fingers crossed*


How do I know if a pheromone perfume is “real?”

The first thing you want to look for are the pheromones themselves. A reputable perfumery will list the ingredients. Vegan pheromones are plant-based and created in fancy labs. Rarely, perfumes also use pheromones from animal-derived sources. Look for ingredient names like Alpha-androstano, androstanol, and estratetreanol.

Note: You cannot tell if a perfume has pheromones by smelling it. Neither animal pheromones nor synthetic plant-based pheromones are detectible with the human nose. In fact, if you think you can smell the pheromones, the manufacturer might be trying to trick you.

What happens when cis, straight people use pheromone perfumes?


There’s a wide variance. The first time I tried a pheromone perfume, I bought a bargain roll-on that shall remain nameless. My plan was for my husband to suddenly find me irresistible no matter how stressed or tired he was. I didn’t let him know, just rolled some on and waited.

The result? He sniffed me a few times and then said he thought the cat might have peed on my nightgown. So I basically spend $30 plus shipping on a hearty laugh. Fail.

Recently though, I was invited to test a few fragrances in the new Eye of Love pheromone perfume. This is an entire line of perfumes including those to “attract her” or “attract him” plus an “attract them” version.


For starters, my husband and I tried the binary perfumes, his and hers. They smelled good, not dissimilar to other mass market scents that you might find in an issue of Cosmo. We both found that the fragrances were not especially long-lasting, but that we both felt more relaxed which for us—was conducive to getting our freak on. So I’ll call that a success.

I spritzed a bit of fragrance on some hetero volunteers. Four women and two men. The fragrances themselves were well-liked. No one reported having to hire bodyguards to stave off admirers though. Five of the six testers (all cis and straight) said the perfumes put them “in a good mood” or were “relaxing.”

What about LGBTQ folks?

I also got to try the Matchmaker Attract Them perfume from Eye of Love. It comes in a stunning bottle that I just adore. My testers for this product included two folks who identify as non-binary, three gay women, and one gay man. I also tried it myself—for science (and because I’m bi but rarely talk about it because I’m married to a dude).

The verdict?

About half of our testers loooooved it. One of them reported was swarmed in a local club by men trying to buy them drinks. Another had a wild night with their partner who seemed, they reported, far more passionate than usual. The other testers enjoyed the fragrance but saw no discernable impact on mood, confidence, or attraction.

Personally, after a few spritzes and sniffs, it felt like there was a party on my skin and everyone was invited. Seriously, this fragrance made me feel instantly relaxed, comfortable, happy, and yes—very much wanting some quality-time with the husband in the bedroom. In fact, when one of my testers asked for the rest of the bottle (knowing I normally wear essential oil blends and not spray-perfume) I had to disappoint them. I’m keeping the rest for myself. In fact, I might try a few more fragrances just to see if I can figure out if it’s the pheromones or the general aromatherapeutic benefits that brought about my change in mood.

Read More: Scent Play

Wait, Aromatherapy? What’s that?

Aromatherapy is the study of how fragrances impact mood, productivity, and general brain function. This, like pheromones, is not widely studied and individual scientists may vary widely on their opinions of its effectiveness. It is possible that the arousal and confidence these perfumes produce comes from the fragrances themselves and not necessary the pheromones? Maybe.

Lavender and vanilla, for example, are commonly used for relaxation or to improve one’s mood. Citrus scents like lemon and grapefruit are utilized to increase focus, while burning plants like sage or sweetgrass are believed to balance energy or create a calming atmosphere. Even realtors use aromatherapy to sell houses—which is why so many homes for sale constantly smell like fresh-baked cookies.

Read more: Music to my eyes: The connection to music and sexual arousal

If it’s not just for romance, what else can pheromones do?

Eye of Love VP Jacqui Rubinoff is a certified Love Coach and Relationship Expert. She explains what she sees as the primary benefit of pheromone perfumes:

"Pheromones can help others see you as more attractive and friendly, making it easier for them to approach you—while on the other hand, they help you feel more confident...incorporating pheromone perfumes into your routine can be a game changer for introverts seeking a confidence boost."

Confidence is key to everything from meeting people to excelling in our jobs to just feeling our best. With that in mind, pheromone perfumes may enhance not just our romantic lives, but our social and professional lives as well.

Should I invest in a bottle of pheromone perfume?

If you’re read all this and you’re intrigued by the idea, I’d say go for it. While I’ve only tried a few brands, I have to say I enjoyed the fragrances and the results I got from the Eye of Love products I tried.

Rhiannon John is a certified Sexologist with a Master’s in Sexology and a regular contributor at BedBible. She explains that it’s best not to expect too much from any pheromone perfume:

"I would approach the claims of the companies producing pheromone perfumes and other products (like lotions or room sprays) with skepticism...the role of senses in sexuality, particularly the sense of smell, is acknowledged, but individual responses to scents are highly subjective."

If you really want to know whether or not pheromone perfumes will work for you—in whatever way you want them to—the only way to know for sure is to give them a try. I did, and it was totally worth it.

Wednesday Lee Friday

Wednesday Lee Friday is an eclectic writer of fact and fiction. She has worked as a reptile wrangler, phone sex operator, radio personality, concierge, editor, fast food manager, horror novelist, and she owns a soap shop. She prefers jobs that let her sleep during the day. Everybody knows all the best art and literature happen at night! Wednesday's work has appeared in Women's Health Interactive, Alternet, Screen Rant, The Roots of Loneliness Project and Authority...

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