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What are the Different Types of Female Pheromones?

By Florence J. Tipton
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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There are several different types of female pheromones, which are hormones that are related to the natural response a woman receives from the opposite sex. Changes in attitudes and responses in the opposite sex determine which type of pheromone is activated. The pheromones of mate attraction and selection involve stimulating physiological senses that may lead to compatibility. Female pheromones are odorless yet believed to be connected to the sexual desires between men and women. The need to procreate and protect the human species causes females to emit pheromones that generally will be most noticeable during ovulation.

Female pheromones are released through the skin from bodily fluids such as perspiration and vaginal secretions. Known as copulins, the human body emits an invisible odor along with the secretions that may lead to mate attraction and selection. A biological or behavioral response occurs in some men who inhale the pheromones in women.

Interestingly, while these hormones are odorless, it is believed that the human brain is wired to detect the scent of pheromones. A connection is made when the brain unconsciously recognizes the hormone’s smell. According to research, the same area in the brain that controls human emotion and mood is what detects the pheromones.

By unwittingly inhaling copulins, the testosterone level in some men increases exponentially and an attraction to women develops. Women have an individual scent, which stimulates the male brain and may lead to a subjective response from men. This means that attraction is not guaranteed simply because the man senses the presence of pheromones. The pheromones have more to do with basic instinct than the physical features of the person.

In some situations, female pheromones elicit sexual desires between a man and woman. It is believed that sexual impulses are triggered when a woman emits pheromones that appeal to the man. Sex pheromones also alter the actions in a man and woman that can lead to sexual attraction. Some manufacturers market perfumes and body sprays with pheromones that are supposed to increase a man’s sexual desire for a woman. There is limited scientific research to prove these claims.

Generally most prominent during a woman’s ovulation period, female pheromones are also believed to induce the woman’s desire to mate. Science remains skeptic about the exact connection between pheromones and fertility. Some research reveals the use of female pheromones for dominant mate selection, which may lead to the possibility of having healthy babies capable of surviving.

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Discussion Comments
By burcidi — On Dec 16, 2011

@turquoise-- Basically all pheromones are present in both men and women (except copulins), the difference is the amount. Women make large amounts of female pheromones and tiny amounts of male pheromones. Men make large amounts of male pheromones and tiny amounts of female hormones.

The exception is a female pheromone called copulins which is excreted with female bodily fluids and so is only present in females.

By turquoise — On Dec 16, 2011

I've purchased perfume with pheromones before and I do think that it works. What I'm curious about is the difference between male and female pheromones. I have guy friends who actually use perfume with pheromones made for women because they believe it works better. I've heard the same thing about women using perfumes with male pheromones. How could this be?

The other thing I'm wondering is special cases like family members or gay/lesbian individuals. I remember hearing from a doctor on TV that we don't release hormones if we're around family members of the opposite sex. So a daughter doesn't release pheromones around her dad and vice versa. So wouldn't it be wrong to say that pheromones are activated automatically around the opposite sex? Clearly there is something conscious going on here, it can't be entirely subconscious.

The same goes for gay and lesbian individuals. Since they are not attracted to the opposite sex, but rather the same sex, wouldn't they only release pheromones around the same sex instead?

Can anyone answer any of these questions? Are there any good studies done on the topics I mentioned? I would love to learn more about this.

By serenesurface — On Dec 16, 2011

This is a very interesting subject which puts a lot of light on what we generally understand about attraction and love. The article just mentioned attraction but I'm sure that this kind of research could be expanded to study the emotions of love and it's connection to pheromones.

What's most interesting to know for me is that all of these actions and reactions take place completely subconsciously without us even realizing. So it's probably true that it's all for reproduction and continuing the human species.

It's amazing how human pheromones lead to so much emotion in both the male and female but it all comes down to an instinct to recreate at the end. It's really fascinating, but also a little bit disappointing to know I think.

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