Iris , leather , vanilla, musk, civet(skankiness) : it all depends in how well it's being blended with complimenting notes in the composition.
Thread: Universally sexy notes?
Is there a universal sexiness to certain notes that cross gender and culture? It seems like patchouli, musks, coumarin, and ambergris signify sexy. Does this seem accurate? Vanilla, lavender, sandalwood, amber, leather, they seem to share things in common like those notes in the accord, or the molecules that make up the notes.
This is different from smelling nice, or suitable for the season and occasion. Something more deeply limbic. Does anyone feel there is a commonality here?
Iris , leather , vanilla, musk, civet(skankiness) : it all depends in how well it's being blended with complimenting notes in the composition.
Last edited by magnus611; 6th August 2014 at 01:45 AM.
"Thank GOD for the nose, for without it we would not be enjoying these beautiful created Scents" also Remember "Balance is everything and the key to appreciating "
Yes, competence in the design is needed, but is a fragrance "sexy" without certain key scents? Can something smell exceedingly good without being "sexy" because it lacks those notes, and conversely, would the presence those notes signify "sexy" to a very broad and varied collection of people who might not otherwise think much on those notes?
I don't think there is any universal note that smells sexy to all. Not just across cultures, but also within each country. The reactions here on BN are indicative. What smells warm and sexy to some smells dirty to others, and viceversa.
I have not followed research on the topic, but i don't think there's anything. In some experiments people were made to smell tshirts worn by other people. There was no unanimous winner, each person seemed attracted to different smells. Which probably also indicates that there is nothing universal.
Yes, I guess what I'm wondering is if there is something that smells "sexy" without being necessarily attractive, since that is largely influenced by the times and places where people live, while sex is a very basic driving force for a species that procreates that way. As you say, some scents can be perceived as "dirty", and so can sex, depending on the person and what image they have conjured up based on the circumstances.
'Sexy' is a state of mind, not an objective descriptor. If you think something smells sexy then it is.
Maybe, but the concept of sex is not one we develop with rational thought and social structure, it is an animal drive to preserve the species. In fashion, attitude, presentation, there is an awful lot of that higher level thought that shapes things, but there's still something instinctive at the base, since the desire for sex doesn't come from anything but that base of the existence of the species. I believe strongly that we are very deeply influenced things that we do not create consciously. Now whether or not specific smells trigger specific and subtle reactions is not something I'm too clear on, hence the thread.
Amber and vanilla are two that I like.
Well, I think a gun is dangerous because I have knowledge of what a gun is. Poison tree frogs, monarch butterflies, coral snakes... they have bright colors against black to signify they are poisonous, but no human designed them, and no product literature is available to other species to "teach" them that this means poison. Teeth bared and ears laid flat on a dog or cat indicate aggression on animals, and this is not something designed and decided by committee, it is by natural design. On the other hand, wide open eyes with the whites of the sclera shown is a sign of submission and a lack of threat. Husky grunts, growls, yelps, these indicate negative intent, while "gentle" motions and noises mean "gentle" on an instinctive level that no animal is taught by a magazine. Sights and sounds seem to work on this level, yet smell does not? Or does man lack all instinct and now exists purely on conscious thought?
I suppose another way to try to express this is to point out that male peacocks display their plumage for mating purposes simply because that's what they do. Their tail feathers are not the result of fashion. A stray female cat in heat causes problems in the neighborhood, and not because of a celebrity endorsement. Deer in the rut are not picking out dresses or buying corsages. This is all instinct and biology. I'm wondering if there are accords found in the mixing of notes that approximate something similar for humans. I can only call it "sexy" because the smell of "sex" might be different depending on conditions, and a scent can be "alluring" for different reasons. A busy kitchen is pretty alluring by way of smell, but I think the majority of people don't have any sense of arousal from that sort of scent.
But to stay on food for a moment - Apples are brightly colored and sweet. A fair number of people and other animals like to eat them, and other fruits. Why is that? They are sweet. Why do we like sweet? Sweet means sugar. Why do we like sugar? Sugar is a source of energy, and brains run on sugar, not fat. So sugar is pretty important to animals with brains. So, why are many fruits sweet? Because they carry seeds inside them, and are not very mobile past falling straight down from a branch. Animals attracted to the color and taste eat the fruit, carry the seeds inside them, and deposit them elsewhere. We like fruit because it is good for us and good for the plant. Nobody decided to create a colorful and tasty concoction that grows on trees, it happened without a horticulturalist. Now, we've cross-bred, genetically modified, globally transported, and otherwise adulterated fruits from their origin, but fruits exist for a reason that came before our language and technology. I'm wondering if there is a scent, some accord, that perfumers happen to be recreating with some notes that is based on a similar thing, and not on the ideas of clean, or preferred vacation spots, or formality, or other modern, culturally-centered thoughts and ideas.
In a personal opinion, tending to agree that the universal (and/or nearly universally socially accepted and acceptable) attractive, sensual notes rely far more in the blend, the amounts and the technical methods of perfumery used, rather than one or a few strictly identifiable note (s). Apart from certain subjective, personal associations, able to make almost any note and/or fragrance attractive (or repulsive), nearly any note can become almost objectively beautiful if well crafted (while florals, gourmands, certain spices, certain types of leather, amber, musk etc. fragrances are more likely to be universally attractive, again, almost any note can be given- from a non-professional viewpoint- a warmer, richer, more alluding, even pleasantly addictive perception, effect, impression...).
True, but I think I'm looking for something a bit different, something I'm apparently not conveying well. Perhaps a person with the preference for women sees just that, a woman. Naked, standing quite plainly, nothing remarkable about the hair and no makeup. Or make it a man, also quite plain, no style or attitude conveyed by the look or stance of either. Nothing particularly appealing, but the sex of the person is evident, and the preference of the viewer is known. There is no arousal, but the existence of sexuality is there, that humans are sexual creatures because that is how they have been for millions of years. Now, style their hair, put them in tight fitting clothes, have them say funny things, perhaps wink, smile, dance... then they become alluring in a cultural sense. So, I think there are fragrances that work in that cultural sense, and with the memories and associations people have. Scent ties strongly to memory. Vision is the primary sense for humans. Not as good as birds, and not as singularly important as our other senses are pretty good, though of course pale to other species when compared. So, "sexy" often comes with appearance. And "sexy" is tied to sapience and intelligence, as we are, relative to other animals on this planet. But, is "sexy" also tied to odors, and perhaps also less influenced by what we consciously know for certain smells?
I do seem to be yammering on about this, so I will likely drop the thread shortly as not to be disruptive to the board. I just noticed that the notes, the comments on dirty and sexy, the mental imagery of salty, sweaty skin being licked, the comments on snuggling, rolling around, warm fires, all of this seemed to have some sort of interplay. With the sources coming from all over the globe and having been used for thousands of years, I just wondered if there was something in a collective memory, a basis of instinct, that provided some driving factor. Hygiene as it is today is quite different from centuries and decades past, as are gender roles and accepted societies, so how do these odors persevere in popularity?
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Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.
I guess I will leave this thread with just a thought on catnip. There doesn't seem to be a connection between the plant and felines, any sort of evolutionary explanation in how the plant benefits from eliciting a response in cats who have the correct genes. It seems to be a happy coincidence that the smell of catnip works for many cats.
I was wondering if such a thing existed for humans and certain smells - that the essential oils, the tinctures, these processed and selected, now also synthetically manufactured, odors combined for an effect not initially understood or perhaps even intended. Maybe this happens, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it is genetic, and maybe it doesn't work on everyone, just like catnip only works on about 50% of domestic cats. Or maybe there's nothing to it, maybe the talk of sexiness when discussing imagery that is decidedly not sexual for most people is something else entirely. It just seems strange that leaves, spice, the musk of other species, the excretion of whales, that these scents are pleasant for any reason other than biologic when there is probably no particular memory tying it to "sexy" most of the time.
Strange how a mental image of fur, or earth, or "dirtiness" can be accompanied by words of passion and attraction for people in cultures where cleanliness is attractive, hygiene is crucial, and urban life is preferred. I got to thinking about this when looking at some different scents. The old ads for Jovan were all about "sexy", they even have a fragrance called "Sex Appeal." I wondered how they got away with this. I read a little about L'ombre Fauve, and noticed how many fragrantica reviews spoke of the sensuality of it, while also discussing how it made them think of fur. I don't think these people are furries, yet the discussion of libido happened anyway. One review mentioned how it made them want to roll around on a fur rug, but that person is a vegetarian. Strange how the association was so appealing for someone who made the conscious choice as a self-aware individual to not eat meat, and apparently for reasons relevant to the quite different appeal of the fragrance. I thought perhaps the idea of fur, the review stating that it made them think of their cat spraying on the scent, meant that the best their mind could do was a thought of fur, but the feeling of sensuality had nothing to do with that.
There were comparisons to Musc Ravageur, and I wondered how a cinnamon bun could be thought of as sexy. Again, maybe it is the musk and coumarin, and the food comparison is the best guess the conscious mind can make as to what makes the smell attractive. Or maybe all these people have sexually charged memories of fur and desserts and there is nothing deeper. I guess that would just be a little more weird and a little less interesting, imo.
Ah, a study on the aphrodisiacal effects of ambrein, a major component of ambergris that oxidizes to ambroxan. At least it works on rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8540767 Maybe something is biologically sexy, that has its distinctive scent, and we've been chasing the scent without recreating the responsible molecule. Natural ambergris is rare and expensive, so the lack of it in the majority of fragrances would mean that any potential effect could barely be noticed with the noise of accords and synthetics in the population. Fair enough.
Lomaniac, are you saying from all this that you want to know if there is a universal smell or odour that makes people want to procreate?
Not related to cultural or gender norms, clothes, attitude, psychology, or mental constructs etc.
Something just purely chemical and completely detached or disassociated from any human social construct?
Put another way...
Are you saying you are looking for a molecule or an odour or a single isolated aroma that just makes people want to **** ?
I ask if you are engaged in the subject in the process of preparing a research paper on this subject here or specifically looking for/seeking a pheromone that would give people the basic urge to suddenly procreate on a chemical, and subconscious and primal level? Is that it?
Not so rigorous a study just casual inquiry and online searching. And not for a pheremone, from what I gather there's no such thing found for humans, we lack the necessary receptors. Also, not specifically to **** with a sense of need or urgency, but yes, something that triggers, even subtly, that sort if brain activity. And it's really because "sexy" and synonyms are so often used to describe fragrances, yet they all generally smell like plants, foods, materials and things that are almost never associated with sexual activity. This is also often associated with earthy, animalic, dirty, spicy, so I was wondering if those specific base notes and accords have something to do with some sort of arousal despite their cognitive associations.
Last edited by Lomaniac; 7th August 2014 at 05:53 PM.
Last edited by Arij; 7th August 2014 at 06:11 PM.
I just read this link, you may be right. It also discusses a t-shirt experiment, but not in identifying preferred odors, but the ability to identify the sex of the wearer by underarm scent. http://www.anapsid.org/pheromones.html
ah, and another! http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_attract.html This says women are a thousand times more sensitive to musk than men. Also, that male arousal can be stimulated by many scents. It questions the results, but that seems to be because they don't find a correlation between lavender, doughnut and pumpkin pie smells. But of course, we know a little bit better in what aromachemicals are in each of these and how they are similar or the same. Specifically that lavender and pumpkin do contain coumarin!
Last edited by Lomaniac; 7th August 2014 at 07:08 PM.
The Intensity of Human Body Odors and the MHC: Should We Expect A Link? by Claus Wedekind / University of Lausanne
The University of Lausanne in Switzerland, created Exhibit A of this evidence by giving 44 men new T-shirts and instructing them to wear the shirts for two straight nights. To ensure that the sweat collecting on the shirts would remain "odor-neutral," he supplied the men with scent-free soap and aftershave.
After the men were allowed to change, 49 women sniffed the shirts and specified which odors they found most attractive. Far more often than chance would predict, the women preferred the smell of T-shirts worn by men who were immunologically dissimilar to them. The difference lay in the sequence of more than 100 immune system genes known as the MHC, or major histocompatibility complex.
These genes code for proteins that help the immune system recognize pathogens. The smell of their favorite shirts also reminded the women of their past and current boyfriends, suggesting that MHC does indeed influence women's dating decisions in real life.
I also agree with cacio that there are no chemicals that alone or in a blend will be judged universally as “sexy” and that their odor quality is assessed somehow “unconsciously”. Those chemicals would be pheromones. At the other hand, I think that any perfume lover can name at least one “sexy” perfume or a note that is sexy in very specific circumstances.
For example, I find Caleche (Hermes) and Madame Rochas as sexy, but I am sure that many more forum members will vote for Shalimar. One contributing element to the erogenous character of Shalimar seems to be civet, which together with bergamot, vanillin and coumarin enters the ambrein accord, one of the most successful accords in perfumes.
I completely subscribe to Luca Turin’s theory that we/some of us love perfumes containing civet due to unconscious conditioning, and the same happens with other animalic notes, IMO. Nevertheless, in Japan perfumes containing civet seem to be strongly rejected as unclean. So, what is universal is our predisposition to associate olfactory stimuli with “sexy” circumstances, presumably unconsciously, but not with any specific note.
By the way, there was much debate about copulins, the alleged sex attractants in rhesus monkeys. Michael R. P. (1972) even patented them. However, as others replicated Michael et al experiments (Goldfoot et al 1976, 1978) it became clear that the reaction to copulins of at least one of the two males in the original experiment was the result of associative learning - this is universality
Is the use of heavy scents hurting the natural immunodiversity?
LOL. But on a heavier note, my feeling is that the MHC & smell & mate choice theories are no longer fashionable. However, would they be true, each group will have his own sexy note, that is, no universal “sexy scent”!
I would say leather, that evokes so many emotions from many.