Now here’s some interesting research for you: Recently, a “secret sex nerve” was found, that may have a lot to do with who we are attracted to. (And it’s probably not even close to what you’re thinking. Shame on you!) This olfactory secret sex nerve (with endings in the nasal cavity) is now being referred to as Nerve “O”, and the latest findings indicate that your best chance of finding a soul mate, is by following your nose. The secret sex nerve was first discovered in a whale, but was so minuscule in humans, that it was overlooked for many years. Nerve “O” has fibers that go right past the part of the brain that usually identifies smell, and heads straight to the sexual centers of the brain. This secret sex nerve enables us to pick up sexual cues (or scents) from others.
How interesting that we are most attracted to people who have a scent different than our own. Because family members often share a chemical makeup that is much the same, perhaps these sexual cues inhibited earlier humans from having children with family members. (This is one time when you don’t want things in common.) Couples sharing high levels of similar chemicals often have problems, such as difficulty getting pregnant, unfaithfulness, and miscarriage. (Sounds more like astrology than science, doesn’t it?) But it’s a fact that couples who have chemical scents that are not similar, have a better chance at a long-lasting relationship.
One exception is pregnant women, who seem to prefer a similar scent to their own chemical makeup. Researchers theorize that pregnant women draw closer to family during this time, and thus prefer their scent, which as previously stated, is similar to their own. Even more worrisome is that women on the pill are also more inclined toward men with a scent similar to their own. Why is this a problem? Scientists believe that somehow or other, due to hormones, the body believes it’s pregnant (when on the pill.) So, if you found your partner while already on the pill, you might find yourself less attracted to him, when you come off of it, according to Dr. Laura Berman, of MSNBC’s Today Show.
You’ve probably heard the latest buzz on pheromones-chemical messages sent by animals to let other animals (of their own species) know their gender or reproductive status. Scientists have now confirmed that humans also emanate these pheromones. These are not smells that you are consciously aware of, or smells that have an emotional connection, but they are playing cupid all the while-(hence the secret sex nerve.) Many perfume companies are getting in on the excitement by adding pheromones to their fragrances, claiming that they will increase your sexual attractiveness. In my research, I even found a company on the Internet, that had bottled and labeled the pheromones like pharmaceuticals, (including a medicine dropper for application.) Too funny! (But that sounds like trying to fool Mother Nature, doesn’t it? These are supposed to be natural scents.)
Dr. Ian Kerner, Ph.D, sex therapist and relationship counselor, speaking of the tie between the secret sex nerve and pheromones, calls it, “love at first scent.” He explains how this fascinating (and almost scandalous) secret sex nerve can guide a couple in the right direction reproductively. A special set of genes, known as MHC-(major histocompatibility complex) plays an important part in the immune system. As discussed previously, couples with different MHC genes have babies with healthier immune systems. How this sexual chemistry works has always been a mystery, but when researchers had women sniff T-shirts, worn by men who had a similar chemical makeup to their own, they defined the smells as “brotherly” or “fatherly”, rather than as a possible romantic prospect.
So if you’re looking for the man or woman of your dreams, just follow your nose (and the secret sex nerve) because the nose knows!