The Scent of Sexuality

by Jimm Harrison  - Master Essential Oil Aromatherapist



What’s the first thing you do when picking up almost any product? Most likely, you smell it. What’s the next thing you do? You respond with emotion and feeling. This is often done unconsciously and prior to an attempt to identifying the odor. Your like, dislike or indifference to a smell is part of your emotional memory response, which is guided by a stored olfactory memory and the feeling, good or bad, that relates to the fragrance.


What is the Sense of Smell?

Olfaction, the sense of smell, is a subtle sense often underestimated for its impact on our daily life. The odors in our environment may be unconsciously creating our moods and our desires. Sometimes the feelings and desires are obvious, like when the scent of freshly baked foods or popcorn motivate us to eat.

The earliest form of smelling, called chemotaxis, was the first sense developed in evolutionary progression. It was used by one-celled organisms directing them to move (taxis) toward or away from chemicals (chemo) in the environment. This sense is a primitive function of attraction to benefits and needs, such as food, mating and water. The sense to “move away” is used to avert danger, poisons, fire, aggression and predators. Chemotaxis, in the evolved form of the olfactory system, is used in the same manner of attraction and aversion by humans, though within our modern culture we have become more visually dominant and less dependent on smell.

Scent and Sexuality

So, what does chemotaxis have to do with sexuality?

Everything! Odor and scent have a direct relationship with arousal, mating and reproduction. It’s used by flowers, insects, reptiles and humans - life uses fragrant compounds as attractors for mating and reproduction. Fragrance has a powerful and overriding effect on human sexuality and fertility, though we have distanced ourselves in so many ways from the natural odors that are actually most influential in mating. This distancing comes from the use of perfuming,  an ancient practice and now a huge industry, that has geared us to creating and using scent to mask our natural scent. We have been conditioned to think that our own odors are unattractive (the referred-to odors do not include the negative odors that result from poor diet or stress), and that synthetics, that biologically have nothing to do with attraction are, well, attractive. The Axe ads are a good example of this manipulation. This does nothing but separates us from having positive healthy sexual relationships.

Scent and Attraction

There is powerful research documenting the attraction in mating based on human scent molecules. Attraction is often said to be “love at first sight,” but more accurately, it may be “love at first smell.” Sexual desire and sexual passion are driven by our natural fragrant molecules. Ever met a potential mate that you are visually and socially attracted to but the sexual buzz and passion just were not there? It could be, and likely is, a scent thing. They just don’t smell right. This is a very real, and biologically directed, sexual response of attraction and aversion. Health and diet, by the way, influence attractive scent molecules.

Pheromones and Attraction

The attractive scent molecules humans emit are not pheromones. Pheromones are compounds that are abundantly used in nature for attraction of mates. The male moth can detect the pheromones of a female moth 11 km (6.84 miles) away. It is not clear whether pheromones are active in humans. Many studies and experiments link odor, especially steroidal compounds - not pheromones - to having an effect on woman’s menstruation, male beard growth and mate attraction. The effectiveness and usefulness of marketed fragrances containing pheromones is highly suspicious.

Attractive Scents

Instead of covering up your natural odor, your mission for scent and sexuality is to harmonize your natural attractiveness. Olfaction plays a role in intimacy and love and our inner capacity to forge strong relationships - even with ourselves. Perfumes and other fragrances are the most common way of creating attraction through scent. We dab, dot and spray fragrant compounds on ourselves daily as a way to moisturize our skin, style hair, perfume, and to minimize underarm odor. When used correctly, scents in personal care products and perfumes make us more attractive to our mates or help to attract a potential relationship. Selecting fragrances that blend in, not cover up, your own scent will be best for natural attractiveness.



Fragrance is also used to enhance sexuality and sexual pleasure, known as aphrodisiacs. There are many opinions and scientific studies that describe which scents are the best aphrodisiacs. Research studies, led by Dr. Alan Hirsch, finds food odors as being the most aphrodisiac. He is often quoted for suggesting pumpkin pie, cinnamon buns and lavender as being the most aphrodisiac for men. Good and Plenty candy - as strange as that may seem - and cucumber were found most sexually attractive to women.

Musk, from the musk deer, had been historically used as an aphrodisiac. When musk was synthesized it became a most popular fragrant compound used in many colognes and perfumes. The compound indole is also an aphrodisiac that was at one time extracted from flowers, now used as a synthetic. Indole is a compound found in jasmine, neroli and other exotic flowers.

The natural aphrodisiacs are the earthy/resiny/woody frankincense, myrrh, patchouli, Australian sandalwood and cistus; the herbals lavender and geranium; spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper; and, of course, the exotic and heart warming florals that include rose, jasmine, tuberose, ylang ylang and neroli.

Natural Aphrodisiacs

Essential oils are the most effective way to emit the odor of natural aphrodisiacs. You can buy pre-blended natural fragrances that may enhance intimacy, sensuality and sexuality. You can also purchase the single oils and make your own fragrance combination. You can buy aphrodisiac products ready to use or make your own concoction with cocoa/shea butter bases, massage oil or perfume blend. If you buy essential oils be sure to buy genuine and authentic oils.

Here are some blending ideas. Each of these formulas will be added to a one ounce bottle with a vegetable oil, like olive or sunflower. Or added to an ounce jar of an unscented cream or body butter.


Exotic Floral Aphrodisiac

  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 2 drops Jasmine
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 2 drop Nutmeg
  • 3 drops Australian Sandalwood

Herbal Citrus Aphrodisiac

  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Grapefruit
  • 3 drops Neroli
  • 2 drops Geranium

Earthy Spice Aphrodisiac

  • 4 drops Frankincense (preferably the Supercritical CO2 extract)
  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 3 drops Elemi
  • 2 drops Black Pepper
  • 1 drop Cinnamon Bark (this can be tingly in sensitive areas if you use any more than one drop in the one ounce of oil or cream base)


Now it’s time to play. You can experiment with your sensuality blends in several ways. For example, a blend in a massage oil base can be worn as a perfume - see if people respond differently to you when you wear it. This can be used as a fragrant hair perfume as well, just be careful that you don’t over oil your hair - a little goes a long way. The essential oil blend alone, without the massage vegetable oil base, can be used directly on the hair without making the hair too greasy.


These blends are great for sexual play, either with a partner or for self pleasure. The shea or cocoa butter creams, or straight coconut oil (solid at room temperature) with the aphrodisiac essential oil blend have a nice slippery, smooth gliding texture. The massage oil blends also provide a nice slip with a bit more grip. Giving a full body massage, enhanced by the fragrant passions, can be a tantalizing experience.

Using high quality food ingredients, and preferably organic, essential oils, creams, butters and massage oils, means that your blends are also safe to eat. These are not flavorings so do have a very specific taste. A bit of licking and lip play will only amplify the sensual experience that results from the sexually stimulating fragrance.

A Blissful State of Mind

Once you’ve had your intimate experiences using your oil blend - and the fragrance memory has been made - you can carry the bottled scent with you and smell it periodically throughout the day to remind you of that special person or to help bring you to a more euphoric (not necessarily sexual) state of mind.

You're done!
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