Exciting or uncomfortable : Does sex have a smell ?


Exciting or uncomfortable, from skin or sex, smells play an essential role in sexuality. In sexuality, the five senses play a key role: they perceive signals that reinforce or affect sexual arousal.

Sex : The erotic scent of the skin
In sex , the five senses play a key role: they perceive signals that reinforce or affect sexual arousal. At the first encounter, the sight gauges the physical appearance in record time. Hearing will evaluate the range of the voice, which stimulates female desire when it is deep. If you touch the other person’s hand, its softness will encourage you to continue caressing. At a closer distance, the sense of smell comes into play: personal scents are revealed, fascinated or rejected. The breath is decisive: often prohibitive when it does not please. Then when the connection becomes more intimate, taste makes its entrance, complementary to smell. It is at this time that the intimate smells are revealed… The smell of the partner’s skin plays a strong emotional role, sometimes leading us to erotic memories. Who has never felt a garment of his beloved and tender to “breathe” it?

Variations around perspiration
The smell of the skin comes in part from sweat glands, which are responsible for perspiration. They are particularly present in the armpits and nipples, soles of the feet, palm of the hands, face, but also in the pubis and genitals. To fulfil their role as temperature regulators, they evacuate water and odorous compounds, including sulphur and acid molecules, or other compounds influenced by food. But it is mainly the billions of bacteria that cover our skin, which feed on dead skin, sweat, sebum and various molecules. Their “digestion” results in the production of gas, some of which has a strong smell.

Our sanitized society emphasizes hygiene and tends to eliminate all these excessively strong odours. This does not prevent some people from judging certain “perfumes” of perspiration very attractive!

The role of odours and pheromones
In most animals, genital olfactory stimuli play a key role in sexual motivation, as do pheromones, odourless olfactory signals that play a role in sexual attraction. They push to seek proximity and increase attachment. But sexual motivation and behaviour have become more complex in humans. They are influenced by intellectual and cultural factors. The role of pheromones, although highly controversial, is actually diminished in men: more than 90% of genes specific to the detection of pheromones are altered (source: Sexology Manual). This would not prevent other as yet unknown volatile compounds from intervening according to the principle of pheromones, according to Lucy Vincent, author of Comment devient-on-love. An archaic heritage or not, the sense of smell always has its say in sexual attachment, especially if one believes many lovers…

Sexual odours
In the female sex, the labia minora and labia majora have sweat glands and also sebaceous glands, the production of which gives a whitish and unctuous material (similar to the male smegma). They are the ones that contribute greatly to the intimate smell. On the penis side, the same glands produce sebum and smegma tends to accumulate in the absence of daily hygiene and produce an unpleasant smell.

Men and women should therefore wash the mucous membranes and areas with hair daily, using a neutral pH product. Uncircumcised men should be aware that smegma tends to lodge under the skin of the foreskin, especially in the groin of the acorn. Drying is important, tapping gently.

Women respond to the same logic of gentle hygiene, with water and a mild product, by passing the dish of the hand over the vulva, without penetrating the vagina. Vaginal showering should be prohibited. In both sexes, the best is the enemy of the good, and hygiene too daily can unbalance the flora and unpleasant irritations.

Lubrication, seminal fluid and semen: the smell of desire
Other major components of sexual odours, body fluids… In women, it is vaginal lubrication and to a lesser extent the fluid secreted by the glands of Bartholin in the vulva. On the male side, it’s sperm and mostly semen. Their perfume varies according to the partners because it results from the different proteins and biochemical components that make up these fluids. It also depends on the diet and would be sweeter for vegetarians than red meat lovers.


These scents of desire and pleasure are powerfully erogenous (most often) and when they mingle during a relationship, the fruit of their association is still different and explains “the smell of sex” sniffed after a hug.

The last component of intimate perfumes, the proximity of the urinary meatus and anus, with a more or less strong olfactory “presence” depending on the person and more or less appreciated by partners…

Sensitive noses are sometimes strongly annoyed by the odours involved in sexuality and impose a compulsory shower before a frolic. Radical option but which can be sublimated by living it as a precept of Kâmasûtra. This millennial book recommended sensual ablutions before any erotic rapprochement, even if it means washing your own sex if the smell that bothers you is intimate? When the smell of perspiration is uncomfortable, a more effective deodorant or even a consultation with the dermatologist can improve things.

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