There is something powerful about smell.
I’m currently sitting here wearing a t-shirt that my husband wore all day yesterday. I adore the way it smells; a mixture of body wash, deodorant, aftershave, and his delicious sweat.
Soap and deodorant are nice, but it’s his natural smell that drives me wild. I really don’t think he stinks, ever. It sounds gross, but I could stick my face straight in his sweaty armpit and not in any way feel uncomfortable. I can’t describe the smell… It’s just good. I think he’s only been away from me on a trip once the whole time we’ve been together, and that weekend I slept with my pillow wrapped in his well-worn t-shirts.
He claims to feel the same way about my natural smell. I don’t think either of us believes the other. I hate the way I smell when I’ve been sweating, but he really claims to love it.
According to this article about a Rice University study, women can smell men’s sexual intentions. He is always trying to get into my pants, so maybe that’s what I’m smelling.
Chen and her colleagues asked 20 heterosexual guys to stop wearing deodorant and scented products for a few days. Then they told the men to put small pads in their armpits as they watched pornographic videos and became aroused (the researchers confirmed, using electrodes, that the images did the job). Later, the guys were asked to exchange those pads for fresh pads to collect the sweat they produced when they weren’t aroused.
Then the researchers recruited 19 brave women to smell the men’s pads while undergoing brain scans.
The investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a technique that reveals the brain regions a person is using at any given time — even if their brain activity is subconscious.
Sure enough, the women’s brains responded very differently depending on which sweat they sniffed. (And no, none of them passed out.) The sexual sweat, but not the normal sweat, activated the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right fusiform cortex, brain areas that help us recognize emotions and perceive things, respectively. Both regions are in the right hemisphere, which is generally involved in smell, social response, and emotion.
Smell also evokes a strong memory response, just like hearing an old song or reading an old letter. Early in our relationship, we were long distance. After we’d been dating for a month or two, I had to go overseas for a few months. Every day I was away, I used Irish Spring soap and Old Spice deodorant, because those were the two smells I most associated with him, and it made me think of him throughout the day. I sort of wonder if the guys I worked with thought I was insane, smelling like a guy all the time, or if they even noticed. It was almost a form of self-torture, I drove myself insane. (We hadn’t had sex yet, but at some point I made the decision that I was ready for it while we were talking late at night. 9 times the weekend I came back, yup.)
I’ve been pondering today that I should start wearing perfume on a more regular basis. Not enough to cover up the natural smell that he loves, but enough to enhance it. Something I can very, very lightly apply to the collar of his work shirt to remind him of me during the day, on rare occasions. And perhaps also to mark my territory? He mentioned that he got hit on at work yesterday…. Grr…