Pheromone-enhanced behavior in sexually inexperienced females
July 31, 2011 | James Kohl
“These results strongly suggest that the sexual physiological state of males is critical to obtain a high response of females exposed to males, overcoming the lack of sexual experience. It seems that the high sexual behavior displayed by males and the high olfactory cues provided (Delgadilo et al., 2002; Rivas-Muñoz et al., 2007; Vielma et al., 2009), enhanced female’s response even in sexually inexperienced ones.”
In my model: An evolved GnRH-driven neurophysiological mechanism that is driven by pheromones during development primes and subsequently drives the LH response, which is associated with behavior. That explanation seems more likely than an automagical response to visual input from the males. Besides, there is no model for how women develop their differences in preferences for the visually appealing physical features of men — unless visual appeal is directly associated with olfactory/pheromonal input.
That explains how we could predict changes in women’s flirtatious behavior after exposure to a mixture of human pheromones. So, we ignored the differences between women and other female animals and focused on their biologically based similarities. Androstenol, for example, is known to alter levels of LH in women. Thus, all we needed was a species specific component of the mixture that signaled masculinity to women in the same way masculinity was signaled by the male goats (via its association with levels of androgens, like testosterone).
We’re rather certain that this is what androsterone does, and it explains what we observed: increased flirtatious behavior. I was still somewhat surprised that the women reported they were more attracted to the man when he was wearing the androsterone/androstenol mix. But only because I didn’t think they would notice any increased attraction.
Typically, the behavioral affect is not perceived, so it makes sense that women were not aware of any increased attraction due to the pheromones. Instead, they merely reported on a questionnaire that they were more attracted to the man when he was wearing the mixture (i.e., an unconscious affect).