Love pheromones are something that has had us all curious. Are they really responsible for creating attachment, romantic interest, and maybe even sparking “love”?
In a moment, I’ll talk about some of my specific findings when it comes to figuring out how much the scent of pheromones actually have to do with “love”.
Before we begin, I think its important to understand that there are different ways of understanding whether “love pheromones” really exist or not.
In this article about more scientific research on pheromones, we know there are several different categories of pheromones.
But for this article, specifically on “love” pheromones, I’ve come to classify them into 2 different groups:
- Pheromones that can spark or amplify the feeling of “love”
- Pheromones that are released when someone experiences “love”
Okay, so let’s think about it… what is “love” exactly?
Love is an emotion, energy, an ethereal “something” we FEEL in our hearts (not literally, but you get the idea)…
… we can’t describe it anything other than a deep bond with a person, or maybe even a passion for something like music, or perhaps an object.
A feeling of euphoria and maybe needing to be around that person…
Of course, there are different types of love… you will experience love differently, when it comes to different people.
You may “love” your close friends, family, and romantic partners or interests in different ways, but the common thread is that there is some sort of connection or attachment.
… in fact, you may even “love” your friends, family, or ex-partners, but not feel like talking or seeing them because they have hurt you in the past.
In this article, we’re going to discuss romantic “love”, and whether pheromones can influence it (and if so, to what degree).
Now that we’ve defined love, we have to talk about what exactly happens when people fall in love.
… what is the cause behind your sweaty palms, dilated pupils, “butterflies” in the stomach?
What is the reason behind those euphoric, sometimes obsessive thoughts and feelings you get around your significant other (or love interest)?
People like Dr. Cutler from Athena Institute would have you believe it’s all some magic mix of pheromones (which its not).
But if you haven’t already guessed it – the reason is that there is a cocktail of chemicals that get released in the brain, causing those feelings of romance, desire, lust, and overall happiness to increase.
Many of these chemicals are also released when people take certain drugs for example, which is why the “withdrawal” period can be so severe for addicts.
It’s also the reason why “breakups” can be particularly painful if you had a truly deep attachment to your ex-partner…
Love is literally a “drug” in its own way – that’s why we’re going to figure out where love pheromones fit into this puzzle
There are about 6 stages before forming an extremely powerful, romantic bond with someone.
The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t always happen in this specific order…
Sometimes people develop an extremely powerful attraction for eachother long after they’ve first met.
There are a myriad of chemical combinations that are happening in the brain to make you feel a certain way about someone.
Once we’ve discussed all this, we can then start talking about how “love pheromones” (or pheromones that can foster, maintain, and maybe even spark “love”) later on in the article.
If this stuff is a bit too nerdy for you, you can watch this quick summary of the information below:
Initial feelings of lust, interest, curiosity (or any number of things that make you feel particularly attracted to someone).
This stage is usually driven by the hormones testosterone, and estrogen which are responsible for people seeking out sexual relationships with another. You may also find the pheromone scent of your potential partner particularly attractive, and this is another reason why we may become highly attracted to someone.
Eventually, in this early stage is that you start to get good feelings around this person, and your brain starts to release a chemical called “dopamine”.
Dopamine is what gives you “happy” feelings, and the feeling you get after accomplishing important tasks, or perhaps reaching a milestone, as well as having success.
It is the same chemical that gets released after you smoke a cigarette, win money at a casino, or even why some men get very addicted to pornography.
These small “hits” of dopamine when you think about a certain person can be the beginning of a crush, because simply being around that person makes you feel good.
This further fuels your sexual attraction (lust) by increasing hormones like testosterone (and subsequently, your natural pheromones), and for women, estrogen to make them more inclined to seek eachother out.
You automatically want to be around people that make you feel good.
This is why I harp on creating happy feelings, as well as creating a range of emotions in my article about the “fallout effect” (or sparking romantic interest in you).
Desire & early courtship phases – talking, texting, dating, and figuring out why you are so interested in someone.
Ever notice how sometimes it can get difficult to keep your cool around someone you are very interested in?
It’s usually a mixture of excitement, nervousness, anxiety – all part of the uncertainty of whether you’ll be able to reel in the target you really want.
In this stage of a romantic relationship, your brain sends signals to the adrenal gland to pump out the chemicals adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, giving you those “shaky knees”, sweaty palms, and butterflies in the stomach.
Combined with the good feelings of dopamine, this is a potent combination that “motivates” people to keep seeking out the same person.
As I mentioned earlier, the scent of pheromones can also indicate high genetic compatibility with someone, which makes them even more attractive.
The “motivation” levels to be with this specific person in a romantic way increase… this is where obsessive thoughts come in!
You may have heard of a chemical called “serotonin”, which is usually associated with a sense of calm and inner peace, confidence, and being “grounded”… its also important for regulating human behavior, not just in relationships but many bodily functions.
During this phase of a developing relationship, there is a suppression of serotonin.
Low levels of serotonin can also result in low levels of self control, and can become “obsessive” thoughts (or infatuation).
It’s important because low serotonin levels in the beginning of a romantic relationship actually contribute to “motivating” an individual to seek out their preferred mating partner.
If we didn’t “miss” being around this specific person, we might not feel as inclined to pursue them from a primitive point of view.
In other words, lower serotonin also means more excitement and those “jittery” feelings we can get at the beginning of a new relationship.
It is the same reason why Prozac and other Serotonin enhancing drugs can often alleviate people with “obsessive compulsive disorder” (it balances this neurotransmitter in the brain).
Critical thinking takes a backseat, and everything is “sunshines and rainbows” (A.K.A. seeing things through Rose Colored Glasses).
Have you ever tried to tell a friend to not get too involved with someone, or told them something negative about this new person they are pursuing or becoming romantically involved with?
Or perhaps tried to sway someone away from making a dumb decision, like cheating for a silly affair?
As it turns out, “love” really can make us stupid.
We’ve all heard the stories of crazy exes, and some people who just take their affection way too far.
But why does that happen?
The amygdala, a part of the brain which plays a key role in processing emotions, moderating fear/stress literally starts to deactivate a little bit further into the courtship phase (as emotions and romantic interest deepens).
… this means that “critical thinking” also takes a backseat, and people start to idealize their potential partner, even if other people can see genuine issues in the partnership for whatever reason.
All in all, 4 important parts of the brain seem to go haywire when presented with the object of their affection:
- Mid temporal cortex (controls negative emotions)
- Frontal lobe (controls judgement)
- Posterior cingulate (controls empathy)
In these brain scans below, it shows parts of the brain which stop functioning as they are supposed to, when presented with images of someone they were in love with (and also mothers of newborn children).
Professor Semir Zeki (who created these scans using fMRI – functional magnetic resonance imaging), of University College London believes the brain may behave in this way for ‘higher biological purposes’.
… in other words, due to having suspended judgement, it makes it more likely that a pair can get together and reproduce.
Someone in love will still be capable of making other major decisions in their lives, these deactivation’s simply “blurs” the standards we typically have for judging other people (and makes us see them in a more favorable light).
If you’ve ever seen an ex-lover from the past, and wondered why you were even attracted to them in the first place, this could be your answer. Love pheromones or not, the way you feel about someone is largely due to the feelings you get around them.
Established relationship, growing trust, and the secret ingredient… oxytocin.
Oxytocin is known as a bonding chemical, and is typically released during and after an orgasm, when mothers breast feed their babies, or even just touching one another with hugs or other physical affection.
As romantic partners become closer, physically and emotionally, more and more oxytocin is released and there is eventually a powerful emotional “bond” that is formed on a very primal level…
This “love hormone”, promotes feelings of contentment, calmness, and security.
In layman’s terms, this means “settling in” to a relationship with your romantic partner.
Over time, the “excitement” you felt about your partner seems to have diminishing returns.
It has also long been debated about whether this could be a potential “love pheromone” in the most literal sense, however we’ve since established that due to it’s heavy weight (1007.19 g/Mol, most pheromones are roughly around 300) it is not practical to use as a “love pheromone”.
Note: We will be talking about other potential pheromones that have the capability to speed some of these processes up a little further down.
The initial “excitement” starts fading away, but you remain deeply attached to eachother… oxytocin + vasopressin
Remember those nervous, yet exciting “butterfly”/crush feelings you got when you first met and got involved with your partner?
They’re not going to last forever.
The chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine/epinephrine (adrenal gland), that initially caused those exhilarating feelings in the beginning have to calm down at some point.
Also, don’t forget that in the initial stages of forming a romantic relationship, serotonin was actually suppressed.
Yes, it is a “feel good” chemical. However, this is different in that dopamine takes center stage and serotonin actually INHIBITS certain behavior (such as compulsive thinking about your partner).
This may sound strange, but from an evolutionary perspective this is a good thing.
It compels us to put our sexual energy and direct it towards one person, rather than spreading it over multiple women and potentially wasting time. Oxytocin is also a potential “love pheromone” – but it does have some issues I’ll expand on below.
But once a bond is formed, having your adrenaline and dopamine on the “high” setting for months or years on end is simply unsustainable.
In stages 5 & 6, when deeper attachment is being formed, there is much more certainty about where the relationship is headed (commitment). There is a sense of calmness, security, a feeling of well being and stability in your relationship.
High levels of oxytocin and vasopressin may interfere with dopamine and norepinephrine pathways, so naturally one has to shut off so the other can function.
This is the most likely explanation of why ATTACHMENT grows, as mad, passionate love starts to fade.
This is all in the sense of natural love, and how relationships form in the real world.
But what if we could somehow “hack” these systems, and create a romantic/love attachment deliberately?
Now that we understand how it works, we can talk about love pheromones…
I will say, that there have been attempts in the past at trying to “force” romantic relationships to form with the use of (love) pheromones, and hormones which could potentially act as pheromones.
2 of them are:
- Oxytocin. As mentioned earlier, this has a molecular weight of over 1000, which means it is too heavy to be dispersed the same way as a pheromone (most of them have molecular weights of around 300). Not only that, but when you can get it to work (by exposing someone at a very close distance, such as with a hug near an application spot), or having them sit very closely with you, it only lasts at maximum 1 hour in my experience. This can have some powerful effects, but its not practical in everyday scenarios.
- PEA (Phenethylamine). PEA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a releasing agent of dopamine and norepinephrine. This is actually one of the precursors to to romantic relationships, and it is even found in everyday food items such as chocolate and cheese. This was tested by the pheromone community some years back. In the end, it was found effective, but only for brief moments of time (15-20 minutes) due to its fast metabolization. The reason it was not pursued further is because of its highly stimulating effects, which ruined the effects of other pheromone mixes for a period of time (most likely caused by binding to too many modulator/receptor sites in the brain – which means other pheromones would not be effective at the same time).
That means there is no specific “love pheromone”. However, there are pheromones which can spark, maintain, and even amplify the feelings of “romance” between people.
Pheromones change women’s perception of you, as we discussed in my romantic fallout article in the past.
There are also specific pheromones listed there, which can trigger women to feel some type of way about you.
I am going to talk about a few of them here, and how they can work as some something of a “love pheromone” in terms of triggering romantic feelings about the wearer.
- Androstadienone. This is a big one, and probably one of the most powerful ones on the list – it has been proven through countless field reports and testing that it acts as something of a magnet, making women feel comfortable in your presence, and after a period of exposure, a sense of “longing” to be around the wearer. If I had to name a single love pheromone, this one takes the cake.
- Androsterone. Androsterone is one of the pheromones that seem to signal trustworthiness to other people, which makes them respect you. Women in particular, may feel an attraction to this, because it signals that you are reliable, a worker, and someone they could raise children with. This is probably one of the reasons why mixes like NA can make women feel protected (it gives off a “protector” vibe).
- Androstenone/androstAnone. It goes without saying, but these are pheromones which are perceived as highly alpha, and can even come across intimidating in high doses. Androstenone signals high testosterone levels, and can act as a “love pheromone” by sparking the initial sexual attraction that is the basis of relationships forming. As I said earlier, its not critical, but when someone is strongly sexually attracted to you, it will simply be easier to motivate the target into feeling a romantic way about you (remember, sex also releases oxytocin – a potent “bonding” hormone).
- Androstenetrione. I had the privilege of testing this pheromone as a standalone a few years back, and it was truly amazing the amount of “visual” enhancement I was seeing. There is no mistaking that it makes people (including yourself) appear more attractive. It goes without saying, that physical attraction is most likely a big part of the puzzle, although it can be influenced strongly by personality, style, etc.
Women are attracted to different types of male archetypes, so using love pheromones can still be a “hit and miss”.
Not all women are the same, and they are not all attracted to the same kinds of men.
However, you can usually narrow down what type of person a woman is interested in, and then select pheromones based on what she’s attracted to.
(Read this article on pheromones and attraction).
At the end of the day, knowledge is power, and what we’ve discussed in this article is way beyond the scope of what I was originally aiming for… however, I’m glad I did, because it was fascinating reading more about the mechanisms which make “love” work.
As far as love pheromones go, this was more on the “nerdy” side of things, because there is already a few fantastic write ups on romance, and what the best romantic pheromone cologne products are.
A final note before I close this out…
In today’s world of “PUA’s” and nerds who try to convince themselves to stop talking to a woman at the first sign she might not be interested in you, this is considered a bad thing…
They try to shut off what they really feel, and that’s why most of them are failures who will never really get anywhere with women on a real level (disclaimer – that’s my opinion).
Most of the guys I know who are successful with women embrace this feeling of excitement, potential rejection, and have fun with “the game” while they can.
… if you’re always using tricks and gimmicks to cover up a fragile personality with fake lines, fake
stories, and putting on a “front”, the struggle will never end.
Being romantically involved with someone can be a huge emotional investment (whether you use love pheromones or not).
Its not easy to always put yourself out there to get hurt, but its something humans have been doing for generations.
Having been through a few (painful) breakups in the past, there are things I have noticed and desperately searched the internet for, to try and figure out what went wrong…
… and although I rarely even think about ex-girlfriends (and especially about getting an ex-girlfriend back) anymore, there is definitely emotional pain involved in breakups which can manifest as depression, anxiety, helplessness.
But the great part is that this pain is temporary.
Even though it hurts in the moment.
We all eventually come out of it, and usually much stronger…
We might even be GLAD that a relationship ended, long after you come out of the inevitable slump following a breakup.
In the end, we are men (well, most of us, since this site is geared towards men).
There is no shame in pursuing a particular woman, and we are in fact hardwired to do so as proven by many of the sources I’ve provided.
So while there is no specific “love pheromone” – scents are often one of the first things we notice about someone, and can influence the way we feel about them. Use it to your advantage 🙂
Thanks for reading,
- Phero Joe