Pheromones: what are they and how do they influence our sex life?

Romantic dinners, intimate and fascinating conversations where seduction fills everything, sophisticated ways to find attraction in the intelligence of the other … It seems that human sexuality is one of the most subtle creations of nature, one in that everything related to reproduction is precisely the least important of all.

However, it is still true that, rational or not, we are still part of the animal kingdom. And in the animal world there is a chemical element that influences sexuality, also in our case: pheromones.

What are pheromones?

Pheromones are chemicals generated by living things and are used to generate reactions in other individuals, of the same species or of another. They are, so to speak, the raw material with which certain forms of life establish communication with others.

Of course, pheromones are very simple and primitive communication, which even struggles to fit into what can be understood by non-verbal communication. On the one hand, this transmission of information, however it does not use semantics or signs that can be cognitively processed. In fact, the whole process is automatic and unconscious (and no, not in the way Sigmund Freud would have imagined).

There are no possible interpretations. It simply receives a chemical signal and reacts accordingly, almost always in a predictable and stereotypical way. Therefore, pheromones are like pieces that can only fit into a certain way of life.

This definition is very broad, but in practice one of the most important roles of pheromones has to do with a very specific role: that of reproduction.

Search for pheromones and partners

When human beings are looking for a partner (stable or one-off), the search for information about people among whom one rarely doubts has to do with the analysis of speech and verbal messages. Non-verbal communication, like gestures and postures, is very influential, as it is expressed through aesthetics and physical appearance.

The exterior of a person is not everything, but it is a layer of reality that natural evolution has taught us a lot to appreciate because we are gone. develop ways to find relevant information about potential partners for millions of years, before we have developed the ability to use the language.

Pheromones are such a primitive part of this packaging that we tend to judge first before trying to analyze the way people think and feel. Its importance is due to the following points:

1. Give an idea of ​​your sexual compatibility

Pheromones make a lot of sense from a reproductive point of view because, subconsciously, they give us an idea of ​​what characteristics a common son or daughter would have. Specifically, pheromones express aspects of the immune system of those who secrete them and have been observed in many animals. he tends to prefer people with different immune systems from their own. In this way, the offspring has a more complete and embracing.

2. They indicate the presence of the state of sexual activation

Pheromones encourage people to orient their behavior towards sexuality (either to feel attraction to someone or to feel the opposite), but they also inform us about the extent to which the one who separates them shows a predisposition or not. having sex.

3. They give information about the ovulation cycle

This has been proven in non-human animals, and some samples could also be found in our species. In fact, it has been recorded how the smell of ovulating women increases testosterone levels in men. Something similar has been observed in women who, by smell, could detect a possible “competition” in the detection of ovulation of others.

This shouldn’t be too much from the point of view of how sexuality is experienced in modern societies, in which sexuality and reproduction have been separated, but for species selection it is of great importance.

Studying pheromones in humans

What we know about pheromones is mainly from research in biology with non-human animals. Clues about the role these chemicals may play in human reproductive and emotional behavior it is not clear, because its effects are difficult to record in such a sophisticated species as ours.

After all, it’s easy to see how pheromones work in small animals and with a nervous system less developed than ours, but as the complexity of behavior and the influence of society and culture increase, the role of these chemicals is unclear and hidden after many layers of convoluted psychological processes.

Just as researching memory by experimenting with chains of neurons is not the same as doing it with living humans performing complex cognitive tasks, the study of pheromones in humans will need to be developed for many years. years until we provide a detailed explanation of how this item affects us. .

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