The Way To A Lover's Heart Is Through The Nose

We're not the only ones who love burying our noses in a lover's T-shirt [Or hairy armpits! -Ed.]: Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that 90% of women have deliberately smelled a partner's shirt. (What's wrong with that other 10%?) Over half of men did, too. A majority of women also reported sleeping in or next to their partner's clothing. The researchers say that this "comfort smelling" is widespread within families — mothers have a scent bond with their babies, and some mothers will put their pajamas in a child's bed when they can't be there at bedtime. (It's not just the women: A man reported smelling his father's clothing when his dad was away. Plus, Brokeback Mountain!) But are women are especially sensitive to smell?



According to another study, ladies consider a man less attractive if they sniff something foul while looking at him — even if he's not the source of the stink. Pleasant and neutral odors make women find men more handsome. What is it about smell? And why does it make us feel things? Bruce Turetsky, a University of Pennsylvania associate psychiatry professor, says scents may "have a greater ability to bring up an emotional memory in you than seeing a picture or hearing a voice." Turestky found that sense of smell can also be linked to emotional disorders; In one study, he measured the olfactory organ sizes of patients with schizophrenia (a disease characterized by emotional flatness) and they were 23 percent smaller than normal.

Meanwhile, Marissa Kristal of Psychology Today polled her girlfriends by asking them to smell certain scents and then describe how they pictured the man who'd wear them. Nivea aftershave balm made them think the guy was "soft and smooth"; Demeter's Grass fragrance prompted them to imagine a "very manly" outdoorsy guy and a Bulgari cologne made them conjure up a "confident, practical and handsome" man. Hmm, what would they say if they got a whiff of Vulva?

A Sniff of Your Sweetie [Psychology Today]
Beauty Beat: The Nose Knows [Psychology Today]
The Emotional Power of Smell [Psychology Today]
Earlier: Upper East Siders Love Crotch, Hate "Vulva"