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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January 2005, 00:57 GMT
Scent 'restores youthful allure'
Middle aged couple
A chemical can boost women's sexual attraction
A mystery chemical signal that young women give off appears to work for post-menopausal women too.

A Harvard University researcher added the pheromone to the perfume of older women and found it had a positive effect on their romantic lives.

New Scientist magazine reports they had more dates or affection from their partners if they used the treated scent rather than a dummy version.

Other experts said they needed to know more about how the chemical might work.

It's still a mystery substance being applied to individuals at unknown concentrations
George Preti, Monell Chemical Senses Centre, Pennsylvania
Pheromones are natural scent signals which alter animal behaviour.

In the animal kingdom they are widely used to attract mates, but controversy surrounds their effect on humans.

Joan Friebely, of Harvard University, and Susan Rako, a private doctor in Newton, Massachusetts, studied 44 post-menopausal women.

Half were given perfume with added Athena Pheromone 10:13, originally isolated from a woman's armpit sweat. The rest used untreated perfume.

The women were then asked to keep diaries for six weeks.


The study, also published in the Journal of Sex Behaviour, said 41% of pheromone users reported more kissing and affection from their partners, compared with 14% who had the dummy perfume.

In addition, 68% of pheromone users reported increases in one of four "intimate socio-sexual behaviours", such as formal dates and intercourse, compared with 41% on the placebo dose.

However, Winnifred Cutler, who discovered the pheromone, has said she will keep its true identity secret until patents have been granted to her Women's Wellness Research Centre, in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.

Other researchers say until they know what the pheromone is, its use cannot be confirmed.

George Preti, of the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said: "It's still a mystery substance being applied to individuals at unknown concentrations."

Secrets of human attraction
29 Aug 00 |  Science/Nature
The magic of sexual attraction
16 Dec 98 |  Health
Sweet smell of sex
14 Feb 03 |  Denver 2003

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