- A new study suggests a man’s scent might lead women to drink more.
- Women who smelt male pheromones were more likely to drink more than women who sniffed water.
- The researchers conclude it could be because of the cultural link between drinking and sexual activity.
Dating is nerve-wracking, so it’s understandable many people have a few drinks when they’re face-to-face with someone completely new.
But it might not all be down to the butterflies. According to a new study published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, the way a man smells might have an impact on how much a woman drinks when she is with him.
Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of South Florida recruited 103 women from the ages of 21 and 31, and told them they were taking part in a consumer survey for men’s cologne and drinks.
In reality, they were trying to do a reverse of an experiment that found the scents given off by women in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle made men drink more alcohol.
The women were given fragrance strips strayed with either manufactured androstenone – a pheromone found in human sweat – or water. Both groups were told they were sniffing men’s cologne. Then, they were given the option to drink two glasses of non-alcoholic beer. (An alcohol free version was used for safety reasons.)
Over the course of 10 minutes, those who smelt the pheremone drank a tenth more than the control group who were given the water “cologne.”
The researchers concluded that male scents might instigate drinking because there is a cultural association between drinking alcohol and having sex. Research has shown that alcohol suppresses psychological inhibitions, which may lead to an increased desire for sex.
“Because of the centrality of sexual signaling to fundamental evolutionary/biological forces, these results indicate a potentially powerful influence on alcohol consumption that calls for continued investigation,” the study concludes.