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  1. #1

    Question Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Hello all,

    It's been a while since I last started a thread, I hope that some of you still remember me. I'm currently enrolled in a Master's programme called Gender, Sexuality, and Society, and I'm preparing a paper for a class called Social and Cultural Studies of Sexuality. The subject I chose is 'Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary'. Part one of the paper will be a historical overview of the relation between sexuality and olfaction in science, and in Part two I want to discuss the 'erotic imaginary' of scent in everyday life.

    For this second part, I'd like to ask for your help!

    I want to know how people describe the relation between odor and sexual attraction or attractiveness. A quick search on the forums turned up a thread called "What fragrances get you sexually aroused?", but that one was strictly related to perfumes. So perfumes aside, are there odors that you find particularly sexy? a body odor, the smell of a specific place, something you would describe as highly erotic? Of course it can be a perfumed product too (like a suntan lotion, shampoo, or similar). Can you describe what it is, that makes that odor sexy or arousing? Is it the odor itself, or perhaps a setting or circumstance in which you smelled that odor? A few sentences will suffice (but more is always welcome!).

    I realize that I'm asking for very personal things... but I hope you'll give it a try! Of course, I'll treat all data with the utmost confidentiality. My paper is not intended for publication, but it's a very important assignment for me.

    If you want to help me out, please send me your contribution via PM (private message), together with your first name, sex, and age. (As for your name, a ficticious one will do too. I just need it to identify your contribution.)

    If you have any questions or comments, do let me know! And perhaps there are related issues or thoughts that we can discuss in this thread.

    A million thanks in advance!

    Marcello

    ********** view the result in this thread: http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=223411 **********
    Last edited by Marcello; 26th February 2009 at 05:46 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Marcello, any chance that you might post your paper when it's finished? I think lots of people would be really interested to read it. I certainly would.

  3. #3
    N_Tesla's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    I would like to second the request to post your paper here. I know I would be very interested in reading it as well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    And I third that!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    fourthed!
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Let's make that five for five!
    * * * *

  7. #7

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Six - of course!

    If first names can be fictitious, why isn't the BN aka good enough?
    As being definitely unique names they are suitable to identify the author
    within your record sets. It would be a different thing should you plan to
    publish contributor's 'names'.

    "are there odors that you find particularly sexy ?"
    Sexy defines what, exactly? I mean there are several levels of intensities
    from causing mere thoughts to feeling attracted, to considering rape...
    How about a questionnaire to start from?
    Last edited by narcus; 6th January 2009 at 08:44 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    And why not expressing ourselves in public if the suject is interesting ?

    Some people are already working on this in a private Discussion Group. Some of them are on BN as well and will contact you shortly, I'm sure.
    L'amour fait songer, vivre et croire. Il a, pour réchauffer le coeur, un rayon de plus que la gloire; et ce rayon, c'est le bonheur. (Victor HUGO)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Hello all,

    first, let me say that I'm delighted with the responses sofar. Without exception, your contributions are very thoughtful, and very nicely written! I still have about a week to work on my paper, so feel free to add your thoughts if you want.

    I know from previous work on this subject that talking about sexuality can be very difficult, not just because it's such a private matter, but also because it's hard to put certain things into words. I'm impressed that you all managed so well.

    Also, I'm flattered that so many of you are interested in the end result, but I'll add my thoughts on that below.

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    If first names can be fictitious, why isn't the BN aka good enough? As being definitely unique names they are suitable to identify the author within your record sets. It would be a different thing should you plan to publish contributor's 'names'.
    This paper is indeed not intended for publication. I'll be submitting it in twofold to my professors, and present it to a group of about 20 students. Still, it matters to me how people are identified. First of all, to make the data come "alive", I really prefer a name (be it a real or a fake one) to a moniker. Even when I'm simply going through my data, I find that screen names look too detached, too alien. Second, I rather give people the opportunity to tell me or make up their own name. Sofar one contributor asked me to make up a name, which of course I will do.

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    "are there odors that you find particularly sexy ?" Sexy defines what, exactly? I mean there are several levels of intensities from causing mere thoughts to feeling attracted, to considering rape... How about a questionnaire to start from?
    I want to hear people's stories. I want people to give their own definitions of what they find sexy or erotic. You have all come up with brilliant insights, things I hadn't thought of myself. If I'd started with a typical questionnaire, it would be framed and limited by my own ideas on the subject, which would be incredibly boring.

    Finally, about sharing the end result on these boards.

    People have confided some very personal thoughts to me, things that are very valuable for my paper. And they will be quoted in the paper. Changing their names is easily done, but I assume that to some people, that wouldn't be enough in case of actual publication, here or elsewhere. So I'd consult all my respondents before I'd do anything like that. I don't want to break the trust they gave me.

    Okay, time to reply to the latest PM's. And do keep 'em coming! (no pun intended)

    Thanks for the great support and advice,
    Marcello
    Last edited by Marcello; 6th January 2009 at 08:42 PM. Reason: spelling

  10. #10

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Although this subject is very private to many of us, I'm not ashamed (yet without getting vulgar) to say which scent truly arouses me, if worn by a woman- me being male, (presently) 25 and with an above average interest for the ladies. The surprising aspect will be that, if the scent is too "arousing"- that it is too sweet, provocative, carnal and sensual, it might actually turn me off, as, even by means of fragrance, i' ll sense the fact that she is a bit to "desperate", that she is trying too hard. On the contrary, if a woman's scent is sober, mature, restrained and conservative, this turns out to be way more charming to me, as she exhales more than just sexual desirability to me- the composition and style of a timeless female classic suggests, in my opinion, a strong personality, uniqueness, creativity, an unquestionable sense for fashion and appreciation for the finer things in life. Thus, a woman can hardly go wrong with me, if she uses a few no- nonsense basics- almost anything by Chanel and Guerlain, by Givenchy, YSL or Dior, but also less knwon classics like Le Dix by Balenciaga. Whenever I feel such a scent on the significant other/the object of my desires/even a non- sexual female friend etc., I feel much more than just physically attracted and although this state of body, mind and emotions is hard to describe, it would rate it as an extreme mixture between losing all inhibitions, starting to dream, forgetting all the daily grind, feeling cherished and loved, feeling invincible and eager to achieve anything and the list might go on- as the chemistry of these various components and sensations differ not only from fragrance to fragrance, but also, because of various women wearing the same fragrance. And to all the ladies, who want to please the olfactory tastes of the men of your lives (provided that these men know something about fragrance), as well as to all the men who are seeking an unique fragrant experience with the ladies of there heart, one more advice: some male scents smell just GRAND (and also highly attractive) if worn by a woman. For me at least, Gucci Envy, Chanel Antaeus, Knize Ten, Armani pour Homme and Esencia Loewe NEVER smelled so enthralling, appealing and at the same time distinguished and poetically evocative (if a physically arousing scent or even intellectually stimulating can be like this) as on women. Yet, this is a strictly personal impression and I won't guarantee with 100 % accuracy that it will spice up your emotional, sexual, romantic experiences, but these five male scents- and the list is far from being complete- had a tremendous effect, and (as I previously mentioned) far more than physical one on me, if sensed on a woman.
    All this being said, I'll be honored to read your paper too.
    Last edited by Ken_Russell; 6th January 2009 at 06:20 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Ken, thanks for sharing your thoughts in public, and for your kind words! I think your post would not be misplaced on one of the Fragrance Discussion boards, with so many references to perfumes, and your specific advice to women. It's a different approach, but very interesting nevertheless! I'll add it to my data set.

    Marcello

  12. #12

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_Russell View Post
    All this being said, I'll be honored to read your paper too, as I'm sure that it will turn into a highly insightful, witty, well documented, intellectually accomplished creation.
    I don't want to speak for Marcello, but when writing a paper I hate getting "flattery" like this. It puts too much pressure on the writer to make it exactly what people want it to be and that makes a difficult paper even more difficult to write.
    Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them. - Immanuel Kant

  13. #13

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Marcello, for some time I was thinking to write PM to you but I will ask here, because many basenoeters are interested in your researches.
    In nowsmellthis there is information that you are working on a research project entitled Perfume and Gender Identity. Is it Phd thesis? When are you going to finish it? Are there any published articles written by you?

    p.s. I find your reviews of books in nowsmellthis very insightful and useful.

    Good luck
    Last edited by DreamerII; 6th January 2009 at 06:33 PM.
    "PLAIN LIVING, HIGH THINKING" O.W., De Profundis
    Real beauty: 1) Frederic Malle 1-20 2) Chanel Egoiste 3) YSL Opium pour Homme edp 4) TF Noir de Noir

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Quote Originally Posted by DreamerII View Post
    In nowsmellthis there is information that you are working on a research project entitled Perfume and Gender Identity. Is it Phd thesis? When are you going to finish it? Are there any published articles written by you?
    Actually, that information on NST is a little bit dated. I ended up writing two PhD proposals with that title, and submitted them to my old institute, with an interval of one year. Sadly, both of them were rejected. Competition was tough, with over 110 applications in both cases, and only three or four full scholarships available. The first time I actually came really close, but they said my work was too 'explorative'.

    So after another intermission (during which I wrote an article and a review for a Dutch academic journal) I decided to improve my skills in two areas that I knew little about: gender and sexuality. I enrolled in this current Master's programme in September, and I feel it's been the right choice. With my background (sociology of culture), and now all these (old and new) perspectives on sexuality, I feel I have something new to offer. Given my age I could have easily completed a PhD by now, but I'm working on my own subject, and that's what matters most to me. I'm still learning something new every day.

    (By the way, that article I wrote for an academic journal is on perfumes and masculinity, but it's in Dutch.)

  15. #15
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    have you checked out some of the blog Perfume Shrine about S M scents, leather scents, etc.??Might be pertinent?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillaire View Post
    have you checked out some of the blog Perfume Shrine about S M scents, leather scents, etc.??Might be pertinent?
    I'll look them up, thanks!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Odor, sexuality, and the erotic imaginary

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcello View Post
    Finally, about sharing the end result on these boards.

    People have confided some very personal thoughts to me, things that are very valuable for my paper. And they will be quoted in the paper. Changing their names is easily done, but I assume that to some people, that wouldn't be enough in case of actual publication, here or elsewhere. So I'd consult all my respondents before I'd do anything like that. I don't want to break the trust they gave me. (bold added in quote)
    Very ethical. And appreciated. I would probably want to use my double-secret pretend name were this info played back to BN.
    * * * *

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