Read about The Theory of Interest first, if you've come here because of women. Otherwise, check the table of contents. Despite model scenarios, you can lose some illusions here.

Pokud jste tu kvůli ženám, přečtěte si, o čem Teorie zájmu vlastně je. Jinak zkuste rovnou obsah. Ač uvedené jsou modelové situace, nedivte se, když tu přijdete o iluze.

Pheromones as Love Potions  

Posted by SomeoneCZ in ,

  1. Intro
  2. What Is Pheromone?
  3. Effectiveness
  4. Pheromones as Aphrodisiacs, or to Strengthen Aphrodisiac Effects
  5. What Can (Not) Pheromones Do for Me?
  6. Where the Pheromones Come from?
  7. Androstenol
  8. Androstenone
  9. Androstadienone
  10. Androsterone
  11. Copulins
  12. Luteinizing Hormone
  13. Effective Distance
  14. Enigma Has Been Broken Again
  15. Birth Control
  16. Other Pheromones and Secret Ingredients
  17. Pentagon
  18. Citations
  19. Testimonies
  20. Customer Test
  21. Social Impacts
  22. Conclusion

Hero of One NightA concentrate of utmost efficiency – enjoy your success not only with women. Let people know that you're the leader and they'll behave friendlier towards you. Pheromones are synonym of success. Trigger considerable and not-only-sexual responses at the opposite sex. Our pheromone is sexual dynamite. Love, sympathy, trust, luck and success – that's all within your reach now. Immediately intrigue and seduce most beautiful women wherever, whenever and how often you want to. Unique human pheromones. Scientifically tested. Thousands of thankful testimonies!

Pheromones' marketing and selling are accompanied by ads, which imply for some people that it is enough just to pour the pheromone on the body and every babe would go crazy. So, they buy them, apply and rush to meet new babes. Suddenly, they feel more self-confident and notice more signals from the opposite sex. And what does happen – nothing happens. They came and left alone.

Of course, people start to consider the possibility of got done by a pheromone reseller, which drew money right out of their wallet. For this very reason, some resellers warn that pheromones help, but do not do your job. And, they won't forget to remind that all potions are not equally effective. Yet the one, which they sell, works. You might be even warned about swindlers – e.g. di-dehydroepiandrosterone scandal [44]. Do not confuse with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) that really exists.

Any receptive and intelligent man realizes that in the very moment the believed love potion is applied, as a result he would feel more self-confident, which raises his chances, and he would be more intrigued in the outcome. Subsequently, he will pay far more attention to other people than usually. He would notice many things, which he would ignore normally. The very next thing to realize is the following implication: if the commercial pheromone is not enough on its own to guarantee the success, its real effect is quite disputable, since it is possible to seduce women without commercial pheromones.

I agree with a statement that pheromones act as a signal that carries particular information – see the Handicap Theory [19]. And I agree that some people react on such signal. But... these are only a small, carefully picked set of information that pheromones resellers feed us with. The word "signal" on its own does not necessarily mean that the signal tells anything good about you. Keep reading and you'll learn results of independent laboratory tests, independent customer tests, which are not censored by pheromone resellers, actual conclusions of real scientific articles in impacted journals and e.g. the outcome of Pentagon's research in the area of non-lethal weapons. Read on and find, what you were supposed to never know.

What Is Pheromone?

As the Greek origin of words "pherein" – to carry and "hormone" – to invoke suggests, pheromone is a chemical air born compound, normally being produced by human body, which possibly might invoke a particular response [45]. Speaking of pheromones as of modern love potions, we talk about a behavioral change. Particularly – to affect decision making, as if she would find you far more attractive, than it would be possible normally.

There are many documented effects of pheromones on humans and formulations such as the following one are popular: "if it worked there, why could not it work for dating as well?". Another possibility is a demonstration on insect or other mammals – e.g. a dog and a bitch in the heat. See? They try to direct your thoughts as they need so that you could freely and "independently" reach the proper conclusion: "after all, it could work on humans as well". Tactfully, they omit the fact that human has far more superior intelligence and acts on his free will. Human behavior is too complex to be always driven by the "call of the wild" [45, 46]. Articles "Evolutionary Biology" and "Equation of Interest Level Motion" concluded the same, yet from different perspectives.


Pheromone resellers love to link to newspaper articles, which freely transcribe conclusion of a scientific article. There is a decent assumption that a reader would be kind enough to read the original article, assuming sufficient knowledge of chemistry, biology, etc. on reader's part – if the reader in question would refuse unconditional acceptance. Problem: even such people exist and so you're reading now;-)

Another popular choice of convincing is a TV show demonstrating pheromones in work. Especially, well selected TV shows demonstrate how to clearly and effectively prove pheromones' capabilities. And here we can see resellers' schizophrenia, as they refuse to guarantee at least minimal effectiveness in specific numbers. With such numbers, everybody could verify their claims independently. Instead of it, they are willing to guarantee the possibility of seducing a woman, while wearing a pheromone. Wow! Perhaps, you should not get mistaken by the very fact that each of us guarantees this on his own and that we don't even have to give our money to resellers to do so.

Resellers' explanation: if I would use them, I would not ask so "silly questions"*. Of course – being convinced of something, I don't doubt it. Once again, they give us a half-truth that even does not answer the questions:

  • Why do they strictly refuse to be specific in terms of effectiveness?
  • Then, how do they objectively support the claim of one particular product being better than competitor ones?

*Part of their profit comes from people, who buy at least one doze, because resellers stroke their sense for fair-play that they would criticize something, what they never tried. Such practices are called Social Engineering [47] and its goal is to manipulate people accordingly to your needs. Just remember all those homeless people you saw coming out of mall with whisky, right after they got some money to buy food.

Luckily for you, you will find adequate information here. And free of charge without paying for a testing doze – not everybody would give you one for free. Moreover, it is possible to attack a possible critic just by arguing that you cannot make conclusion from a single doze only, mainly if you might have applied it wrongly. Welcome to real life.

Pheromones as Aphrodisiacs, or to Strengthen Aphrodisiac Effects

The name ‘Aphrodisiacs' is derived from the name of Greek goddess Aphrodite. History knows a number of love potions, which were rendered ineffective, as new love potions came on the scene [48].

For instance, people believed in so-called "law of similarity" [49] that became a reason to kill rhinoceros. The rhino horn was viewed as a phallic symbol, and therefore floured into an aphrodisiac powder.

Many people still entertain false hopes about easy ways and they are willing to try anything, even if it might be deadly. For instance, to take Spanish fly is to take a poison – Cantharidin. A doze of 32mg, or more, is terminal [50]. Of course, male beetles use it as a sexual pheromone. Would you like to try it? It is no wonder that government takes action against the resellers [49]. And the reaction? Take the profit and run. After all, it is not only about health, it might be about unfair commercial practices as well – see e.g. EU laws: "Unfair Commercial Practices Directive".

Looking back to history and learning from it, no real aphrodisiac has been discovered yet. Only aphrodisiacal effects were attributed to various substances. Getting an erection does not imply having a greater sexual desire. The Spanish fly principle documents this. Yet, psychoactive drugs could increase the sexual desire. For instance, alcohol could do this. However, psychoactive drugs are not aphrodisiacs, because their primary goal is different. For instance, alcohol can induce depression as well. Even drugs such as Viagra are not aphrodisiacs as they target erectile dysfunction, not the brain.

As long as psychoactive drugs are not concerned, you might encounter a claim that effects of a given aphrodisiac are confirmed by satisfied customers. That's because these effects are not confirmed by a clinical study. Considering substances, which are known to the date, you'll enjoy placebo effect only – at the best.

Aphrodisiacs would have to always increase sexual desire, and the erection would come as a direct result. Special sign: there is no substance known to hold up to this criterion.

What Can (Not) Pheromones Do for Me?

Everybody understands that the application itself will not give you the needed knowledge, experiences, nor it will improve your self-control. All, what might happen, is that you'll feel more relaxed and self-confident. However, it is a placebo effect only, as you'll see in the following text. The necessary and sufficient condition is the belief that the given love potion really works.

If you look like Quasimodo, or remind a reed swaying in the wind, there's nothing a pheromone could do about this. Still, she will see you as you are. To change it, you would have to use psychoactive drugs, which include hallucinogens. These drugs either stand out of law, or are means of a psychiatric treatment and their use is strictly monitored. An example of all is LSD [51]. If pheromones would really have psychoactive effect on humans, then:

  • It would be just a matter of time, when appropriate authorities will jail the gracious reseller
  • Upon the reseller, they might impose charges for violation of Human Rights, because she does not expose herself to pheromones on her free will

However, many pheromone resellers are not in jail and they flood the Internet, so this gives evidence about the effectiveness of their products as well, though indirectly. Oh yeah, if they would, at least, have results as e.g. former CIA's project MK-ULTRA [52] had... (MK as Mind Control)

Another fairy tale, they feed us with, is the one of you becoming the Alpha male. Read the "Evolutionary Biology" article and see what a non-sense it is.

Where the Pheromones Come from?

Pheromones used as love potions belong into the family of androgens. Namely, resellers offer e.g. androstenol, androstenone, androstadienone and androsterone. Although we clearly speak about steroids, they claim all of them to be pheromones. For instance, such classification in case of androstenone is disputable [53]; also, see VNO later in the text. Except anosmia, an inability to smell (e.g. one particular) scent, it is possible to smell androstenone [54], or to grow the ability [53]. With a vague-enough definition, even e.g. acetone would qualify as human pheromone as it is one of human body products (of course in small amounts) and affects mood [55].

An interesting question is the origin of resellers' pheromones. Statement of selling the real human pheromones is not of those, we could clearly design as 100% true ones.

Do you think that the pheromone supplier employs a bunch of successful seducers to pick up their pheromones? It is an apparent non-sense. Even if there would be a possibility to pick up them and keep them, it would not be possible to satisfy the demand.

For instance, human sweat, urine and boar saliva contain androstenone. Large amounts of androstenol are present in boar saliva and human sweat glands. If customers would ever find out that they apply products from such source on their bodies, it would not exactly double the product's popularity.

A skin sample continues to emit pheromones for some time. Aka, as David Berliner made the discovery. Perhaps, each bottle contains literally a piece of successful seducer? So-called "Zombie Pack"? Guess no...

In practice, the real human pheromone is being industrially synthesized. Try to imagine a following scenario: Some big chemical corporation synthesizes a required chemical compound. The compound specification is given by its structure description, not by desired effects. Understand, the order is not made as "I want the pheromone that attracts all babes I meet", but "5α-androst-16-en-4-one". The synthesized compound is subsequently shipped to a smaller company, where it is bottled and each bottle gets its own "We Are The Champions!" label. Yet the smaller company washes its hands as they don't actually sell it. Finally, the bottles are delivered to some pheromone guru, where you can order this miracle product. Possible web presentation could be freely interlaced with statements as the guru produces, tests and develops. Entire situation becomes quite comical, when each of these gurus claims to sell a unique pheromone.

As a part of the presentation, guru can point out that he would not survive in business, while selling a non-functional product. Somehow, he just does not acknowledge the very fact that a number of people buy placebo effect, while thinking that it is no placebo effect. Speaking of pheromones, where could they possibly get the information? I would not be surprised, if these gurus would actually use information of this article to discredit their competition. Of course, while assuring us that it does not apply to their product.

The outlined scenario explains why I talk about resellers, not manufactures, or suppliers. Not that they would have no idea, what's going on. I would doubt that. Perhaps, money are pheromones as well, as they don't stink, yet they affect human behavior;-7


Did you know that truffles contain androstenol? That's why pigs can locate them deep in the ground. However, it fails as a love potion. It has been proven that androstenol has no effect on perceived physical attractiveness [56]. Moreover, even in a hypothetical signaling system, it would signal fitness of a woman to a man [45] – e.g. not vice versa.
Now, it is an appropriate time to hold a small sermon on a science. Real science does not say that something is true, unless there is an evidence to prove it. Maximum, it might admit that some evidence might suggest something. It is the bunch of pseudo scientists, who e.g. produce "pheromone is my best friend" articles, which makes "hold" out of "might suggest". Although e.g. [45] might suggest an effect of androstenol on perceived physical attractiveness, [56] proves this hypothesis wrong. But, that's bad for marketing.

Androstenol has a musk odor that is perceived as pleasant. Unfortunately, androstenol fades away quickly and oxidizes to androstenone [45]. This won't please you in the very next paragraph. Affected by androstenol, women give rather better rating to men [57], but man has to be able to produce it in a proper amount on his own. He needs to deal with the effect of oxidization, which takes place in 20 minutes [45]. Therefore, external source is not a solution, but way to sabotage your self. Good news are that not only androstenol has the musk odor [58]. However, not every replacement is health-risk free [83].


Androstenonone is a signal [19] that repels women [45], perhaps identifying fertility-problematic males. If nearly all studies confirm that women rate androstenone as the negative signal independently on the menstrual cycle progress [45], androstenone could be a quick-indicator of infertility when assessing such a principle from the evolutionary point of view. Perhaps, infertility correlates with abnormal levels of respective hormones?

So-called Developmental Stability expresses genotype fitness [81] and it shows as low so-called Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) – the lower the better. Woman in a fertile period takes the stability into account [78]. This way, instability/FA might indicate male's infertility [80], deteriorated immune system and other failures [82]. Then, increased ratio of androstenone is a signal that something is wrong and by-woman-perceived FA value increases – if her genetic make-up allows her to interpret the signal [53].

Focusing on the infertility, what does affect e.g. mobility, longevity, or head size of a sperm? Ultimately, it is DNA+RNA+environment – see "Evolutionary Biology" article. Of course, female does not test the DNA exactly, she rather uses another indicator. Like when you run a temperature. Understandably, a research of these indicators is desirable, as much illness might be treated in time – an influence of the environment.

Going back to androstenol, the more of it you wear, the more of androstenone will be produced and the more the females will be repelled. Yet, some resellers vie with each other in a maximum concentration they offer. Perhaps, they go by "the more strips, the more Adidas" proverb.

It is comic to watch, as their advices indicate that something is wrong. For example, you bought the magic potion, a maximum androstenone concentrate as proudly presented by the reseller. Yet, the same reseller warns you to use small amounts only. What happened with "the more, the better"? ;-) Official statement: bigger amounts could you made you look like too much of alpha (read as macho) and it could scare some women away:D Another resellers' pearl – you should use perfume.

As androstenone repels females, naturally it is your best interest to minimize its amounts on yourself. And when you take a look at a composition of your perfume, after shave, antiperspirant, or deodorant, you could find e.g. alcohol, phenyl, ethanol, phenethyl and other chemical compounds, which neutralize androstenone [59]. That's the way to fight the stinking smell [58, 59].

If there is an appeal in a form of a story as somebody bought androstenone and did not have much success with women then, keep reading. If reseller is the story teller, it is quite likely that you will read about finding an optimum dose. The optimum achieved by reducing the volume of applied androstenone. In accordance with scientific facts, a simple and logic explanation goes as this: you put such stench on you that no woman wanted you. It was a shock to you. Thus, lead by a faith, because you have no independently verified facts for this, you continued with reducing the dose. You did so long until you reached the original level, i.e. the same as without any externally applied pheromone. So, you became attractive to women once again. And those, who lacked self-confidence, they got some more because of a placebo effect. Effect caused by a faith in wearing some miraculous potion. In their minds, androstenone has such effects, which it does not have in the real world. And do not forget – thanks to the shock, you have not addressed your overall attractively to women. You have just addressed the initial dose that caused the shock.

Let us summarize. First of all, they sell you a potion that would actually harm your efforts, but they won't tell you this. Next (some do not offer pheromones only), would sell you a perfume as well – i.e. antidote. Finally, they tell you that both altogether will increase your chances. In other words, when applied correctly, you will manage to neutralize the dearly paid androstenone, so only the perfume remains. The same perfume that could cost more than the androstenone. Moreover, smell of newly produced compound most probably won't go well with a balanced fragrance of top perfume. Thus, you are going into the battle after an application of the pheromone, but without the pheromone – it is clearly placebo effect [60, 61]. Don't you think that we might talk about a cheated consumer?

Withal, the pheromone industry itself gave us a placebo effect proof. Take a look at the following table [62], where you can find androstenone concentration per listed products.

Primal Instinct0,0495% wt.(weight)
Realm PheromoneLess Than 0.005% wt.
Androstenone Pheromone Concentrate, PlayboyLess Than 0.005% wt.
Hi-Octane+2-Beaches PheromoneLess Than 0.001% wt.
Athena Pheromone 10XNegative
Yes Cologne-Perfume PheromoneLess Than 1 ppm (parts per million)
Victoria's Secret "Secret Signal"Negative (androstenone's presence is not claimed)

Whoever would take the job and search through pheromone-fan forums from the old time, when everybody believed that e.g. Athena contained androstenone, would find out that all products were evaluated as functional. Mainly, Athena received fine ratings [63]. Was doctor of biology a reason for this? Human brain has a tendency to accept facts, which seem to be an obvious explanation [37, 38, 39]. So, if doctor of biology says that it works, I seduced a woman at that time, well – it has to work then. Resellers' official statement: in no case, it is a placebo effect.

Yet some resellers advise not to use perfume, as it would destroy the pheromone. Then, it is solely about your abilities, boosted by the placebo effect. Would they be boosted enough to overcome the negative information the androstenone spreads about you [45]? It is naturally to perspire, so we can assume a threshold level up to which the andorostenone signal is naturally ignored. Why is not everybody after the maximum androstenone concentration, while they decided to include the androstenone in a love potion? ;-) Another affecting factor is ovulation [64]. Thanks to genetic variation, it might even happen that the woman in question might ignore the signal [53] at all. Just as if you never used the potion – i.e. placebo effect.


Androstadienone has a strong sweat odor. Every woman has to be lucky that you could not took a shower;-) Although it might alter cortisol level in women (reducing stress), it has no effect on her decision making [65] and it has no effect on perceived physical attractiveness [66]. Moreover, the results were observed with opposite sexes and heterosexual people only.

Statistically taken, she is the rejecter. It "surely makes" a sense to reduce her stress from rejecting another man in the line:-O

You might not be even aware of it, but there is a rich life on your skin. You could find e.g. Corynebacterium bacteria there, as it transforms androstadienol and androstadienone to androstenone [45]. And you're back on the start.


Androsterone is a steroid with a weak androgenic activity. Androgens affect development of primary and secondary masculine characteristics. If somebody assumes that he could help himself while he waits, just by its application, especially outer one, then I have no reason to doubt his possible believe that Jim Hacker was real British prime minister.


Copulins are acids, which are secreted from vagina barrel. Acid's composition and effect vary with a menstruation cycle phase [67]. They cause men to increase secretion level of androgens [45], so the woman gets the required information. In this context, we can assume that woman signals a proposition and choose from responses – men's signals, which were stimulated by the proposition. Perhaps, you might already see the catch. If the targeted dreamboat sends an inappropriate response, she rejects him despite her original intention. Sure, to select an optimal father, it is an advantage. However, her intentions were different, when she bought the copulins...

Nevertheless, what if that was her original intention? Then, she has the same problem as with any weapon of mass attack: if the targets is located within a group, how does she know, which one smells the best? She does not as their signals interfere. If she can isolate her target from the group, then it is clear. She just needs to smell, whether he emits pheromones in the proper ratio [78] – see earlier mentioned relationship with sweat. If she can make him perspire e.g. with a dancing, sporting, or a night run to catch the last bus, she can get the required information despite a deodorant. Selling copulins makes sense, when you sell them. But for woman as end user, somehow I fail to see a reason to buy them...

But, let us go yet deeper... Androstenone sensitivity is given by the genetic make-up and ovulation [64, 79]. Ovulation is a process of menstrual cycle, which affects composition of copulins, and thus their effects on men [67]. Considering it as a communication protocol, different variations of copulins present different message types, to which different responses are accepted as valid. In men, a woman in a fertile period invokes an increased production of androstenone and therefore she tolerates it in a higher concentration than usually. But, when she is not in the fertile period, yet she affects men with commercially sold copulins, she might get a response that is valid for given copulin signal, but it is not valid for her brain. So, she rejects a man, which could actually fit her. By following this idea, it would implicate that woman in fertile period would win a signal battle of women over a man. Citation [78] confirms this.

Well, she would win, if... Some resellers just love to mix copulins with androstenone. It just increases a probability of man being rejected. Military experts know the "jamming" term, although the goal is to confuse enemy, not our own troops. Sometimes a man is not rejected despite such efforts, so it proves that human behavior is too complex for pheromones to have so important influence [45, 46]. If the reported success ratio changes, we really speak about placebo effect even with copulins.

Many mammal species use pheromones to optimally time insemination [45] and we can assume that human dependency on menstrual cycle witness such timing, or what remains of it. However, men are not affected by these signals only and many of them prefer visual perception [45].

Thus, fellow ladies, e.g. tempting smile, firm belly, adequate compliments and no nagging cannot be left out. Lovely kiss at the end of a date is just one of more powerful and proven weapons in your arsenal, when you are interested in how to put a spell on him.

Luteinizing Hormone

Woman’s mood may change during the menstrual cycle, as the levels of particular hormones change. Particularly, estradiol and progesterone are linked to her mood [134, 135]. Very simply said, they are important for a woman to be relaxed and open to having a sex. Especially, the estradiol level rises before the ovulation.

Let us consider a model scenario. At the beginning of the cycle, the estradiol level would be 175 pmol/l. Then, it would rise to 900 pmol/l two days before the ovulation. The level of luteinizing hormone (LH) would experience a steep peak before the ovulation. An acute rise of LH triggers ovulation. The LH would be 20 UI/l two days before, 40 UI/l one day before and 20 UI/l at the ovulation. There is a strong correlation between these two hormones, which relates to woman’s willingness to undergo the reproduction process. Thus having a sex:-)

There is a paper that "shows that extracts of male axillary secretions have a direct effect upon LH-pulsing and mood of women"[sic] [168]. Ergo, without paying a respect to the internal medicine, a pheromone reseller may imply that the pheromone would trigger sexual excitement aka increased sexual responsiveness by raising the LH level. However, such story forgets to tell you everything...

The trick is that LH pulses once a menstrual cycle, i.e. about 28 days. They modulated the length and the timing of the menstrual cycle [168]. Note that we talk about scaling by the x-axis, the timing, not by the y-axis, the hormone level. Therefore, I see no way how this possibly could, on a biological basis, help you to seduce a woman. Correlation is not causation and an unimportant change triggers, well, an unimportant effect.

As an imperfect analogy, consider a bus with a malfunctioning light. Did you just think that one of the headlights went off? Sorry, it was one of those tiny lights in the corridor below the seats.

Moreover, the women in the test [168] sniffed the extract every two hours from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM within the first 7 days of the test cycle onset. Apparently, they were exposed to far greater concentration than a woman would be, when you would try to impress her by wearing the pheromone.

So, do not forget this, no matter if you are a man or a woman. When you are being promised an increased number of sexual encounters, it is quite likely that you will seek such encounters, because you believe in your magic pill. As a further reading, I recommend reading about a psychological trick known as the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy [169].

Effective Distance

As a pheromone is a chemical air born compound, what is the effective distance to your possible target? There is very big difference between street and laboratory condition. Whether the air-born compound will reach your sense, it depends on many factors such as air temperature, humidity, rate of flow, turbulences, pheromone concentration and presence of other compounds. Also, it is necessary to consider portion of skin that is covered by clothes.

Pheromone resellers usually choose two ways. First one is to give such distance for which there's no guarantee on the effectiveness. Second way is to declare a short distance.

Most personal meetings happen in distance below 90cm. Highly personal meetings take less than 30cm. So, if woman enjoys your company, it may be because she likes your sense of humor, story or your opinion. And it happens with short distance, naturally. Just the reseller would like you to believe that it happens because of pheromone, just because you applied it. Of course that such reasoning does not hold. The short distance lets reseller to explain, why women do not fall for you, just when you pass around them. That's the magic of short distance.

Enigma Has Been Broken Again

Examining all the details, a communication scheme emerges, so we clearly see meaning of the signals. Beside other signals, evolution forced men to honestly inform about their (in)fertility – androstenone. Women's copulins stimulate androgen production – i.e. including androstenone. A man who produced too much androstenone is rejected. Looking at "Evolution Biology" article, there's an explanation, why these signals are not sufficient to select the best partner. It is in her best interest to choose the best partner to support offspring. Intellect takes the lead over instincts. And here we go with "Equation of Interest Level Motion" – you have to pass her test of physical attractiveness to her and you have to keep her relationship interest level high.

Birth Control

Perhaps, not only women taking hormonal contraception could ask the following. Could e.g. estrogen have an effect on evaluation of pheromone-signaled information? If hormonal contraception would have no effect, it would change nothing on the given communication scheme.

However, let us consider the opposite. We have two variants. It either increases a resolution ability to interpret pheromone signal correctly, or contrary. If the ability decreases, it gets closer to the state given in [54]. So, it would be possible that she would not be repelled by androstenone-signalized negative information [45]. Aka, the placebo effect is back on the tour.

In such case, the hormonal contraception would even act as a protective measure from men's application of commercially sold pheromones. It would dampen their effects. Of course, the protection would be time limited. Considering chemical signals only, we would not be able to rule out a scenario, when she rejects her partner as soon as she decides to get pregnant with him. As she drops the hormonal contraception, the ability to correctly interpret pheromone signals returns to her – including previously suppressed perception of the androstenone component.

And what if the ability would increase? While we might consider strength of androstenone signal, we have to state that its interpretation does not change with menstruation cycle [45]. If she is able to interpret the signal [54] and you emit larger amounts of androstenone, you just shorten the time she needs to reject you. Moreover, we could consider this effect to be cumulative with the effect of copulins under such circumstances.

If hormonal contraception has no effect, it makes no sense to use commercially sold pheromones because of previously stated reasons. And if it does have an effect, we just add more reasons against their use.

However, at the moment I am not aware of any scientific research that truly reveals a provable link between hormonal contraception and pheromone sensitivity. In fact, I've only found that estrogen affects olfactory system [45], not vomeronasal organ [71]. Regarding break-ups, it seems that women are mostly stopping to take the hormonal contraception after a break-up, not before [91].

So, I do not want to argue that both given speculations are proven facts. In social details, I would only inject an unjustified fear of meeting a woman with hormonal contraception, which a normal male is not able to detect unless given a fair answer. Of course, even such answer could lead to false positives about possible relationship's future estimations. Yeah, such virtually injected fear would be a fine tool to increase a demand for a commercial solution. Sorry guys, I'm not this kind of man.

Other Pheromones and Secret Ingredients

Sometimes, you might encounter a statement as a given potion contains seven (or another attractively sounding number) different pheromones. What to say about it? Steroids and de-facto it is the same as with androstenone. For instance, androstenedione has been prohibited for its side effects [68]. How would you like e.g. liver failure? [69]

It is hard to assess effectiveness of secret ingredients, as they rather don't even tell us, which ones they are. Usual procedure is to immediately take out a patent even for a little-bit working compound. How else would they like to prevent consequences of industrial espionage? Is that granny who prepares the key ingredient, at midnight in her little cottage in a deep forest? When you read "Secret Ingredients", you have all reasons to assume a fraud.


Once upon a time, DARPA (Pentagon's grant agency) advertised a project on non-lethal weapons. One possibility was to at least temporarily change sexual orientation of enemy soldiers and to demoralize them this way [76, 77]. Simply said, they wanted to artificially induce a sexual desire. Accordingly to publicly available information, 6 years of research consumed 7.5 million of USD just to find that it is not possible. Enter following key words into Google: Pentagon, homo and bomb.

Military strategists would find a use for a controlled induction of sexual desire with civilians. It is a logical step, to begin with amplifying of natural desire.

Do you think that fellow resellers put leading scientists into a team, or that they were able to invest comparable money into the project? No, they just bought serially manufactured product.

Nevertheless, love potion resellers would keep telling you that it's just them, who have the miracle recipe. There is a fundamental difference. Pentagon could not rely on the placebo effect. They were concerned in lives of their soldiers. Getting them killed would leave them without fighters. Unlike the bar, where rejection is not deadly and you always have another chance, there's no second chance after being killed in war. Pentagon was concerned in real results without falsifying.

Although non-lethal weapons are still interesting [70], they show no interest in reviving the discussed project. So, if any of those marvelous love potions would actually work, would not that be a strong reason for Pentagon to revive the project? In my opinion, it would;-)


Notice as the resellers have no serious, scientific publication in an impacted journal to back their claims. And it is not for a reason that no scientist is interested – see Pentagon's efforts.

Vomeronasal organ (VNO), aka Jacobson organ [71] accordingly to its discoverer, is a popular choice for propagation. The organ detects specific chemical compounds, which are contained within e.g. scents, pheromones and other compounds. It is possible to detect some pheromones with an olfactory system as well. Therefore, the important part is an evaluation of a pheromone, regardless a way it is detected. And to answer with a description, how it is done, is nothing else but an effort to avoid the above stated facts.

If you'll manage to press resellers enough, they might point you to some scientific publication, they might compliment it and all kinds of things. I recommend to pursuit details and study the publication. You will find that it does not confirm resellers' claims, or that it discuses pheromone effects, but e.g. on mouse or termites. See above for the difference between "hold" and "might suggest". In fact, you may find the same, what I say in this article. For instance, one of pheromone gurus recommended [45] as a proof that pheromones do, what he claims. Well, the boy had underestimated readers' intelligence:-)

I classify the results into four categories. The categories are given in descending order, accordingly to their effectiveness.

  • Fantasy results – popular marketing choice
  • Theoretical results – commercial pheromones looses attractiveness since this level
  • Laboratory results
  • Field results

From time to time, a reseller might tell you a fairy tale, as he tested to rule out placebo effect. Only, he somehow forgot to acknowledge that a tested subject changes its behavior pattern, even when given a placebo, as the subject is aware of test. Next, resellers' tests say nothing about food and way of living of tested subjects, as these affect natural pheromone production and secretion. The same goes for metabolism, EQ, etc. A conclusive test is given as the table in the androstenone section. It clearly demonstrates the role of belief in the love potion as all tested subjects believed that they use real, working stuff.


There are two categories of Internet servers, periodic, etc., where you can find pheromone testimonies. The division is given by a plain fact – is the given medium under control of pheromone resellers', or not? It is quite clear, how significantly particular texts differ in their conclusions. So, before we proceed to media under resellers' control, check out e.g. [72, 73].

One of possible persuaders is "recommended by 9/10 dentists". Somewhere else, pheromone guru learns some actually working advices, which he gives to his clients later*, because he helps others. Once he gains your trust, he proclaims his love to pheromones – as they helped him to e.g. Miss Right. To strengthen client's feelings of trust, it is possible to disclose some confidential information that is already and publicly known. For instance, it is synthetic pheromones, what he sells.

*Properly mix, what a customer wants to hear and what actually works – very often, these are two different things. At the first one, feel free to cite. Working advices, rather present them as your work, or at least try to conceal, if possible to discredit, the original source.

There are testimonies on "I luv pheromones" pages, which were written by people, who fancied the placebo effect. Although I can put such testimonies together by myself at this very moment, some were indeed written by several people. I don't blame them for trying something they believed in, nor they did a chemical analysis, nor studied a number of scientific papers, nor excluded all external influences. But have they realized what they support?

It is interesting to ask, how do they maintain a reputation of a "working" product? Imagine that you sell over Internet. There is a lot of options. You may forbid discussion at all, or allow it only for those, who already paid, or employ the censorship. With administrator privileges, there is nothing easier than to delete inconvenient comments, preferably leave no traces. If users would protest too much to reseller's taste, just forbid them access to the web. Preventively, you can even forbid bad words – such as name of competitor's product, or a domain name, where people could find adequate information... Yet another possibility is to allow a discussion, although it does not progress well for pheromone defenders. And therefore, at a certain moment, you forbid access to intelligent people, who asked the damned, (p)heretic questions. From this moment on, any stupid can post any rubbish and no one can object, because it would be thoroughly prevented. Editing others' comments is a possibility as well – there's no limit with administrator privileges. Just don't forget – every time, and this is of utmost importance, you have to look nice. Have you lost your nerves somewhere? Delete it. Have they put together clear evidence against you? Just wait some time and delete it without traces. Do users refuse to discuss as you wish? Use several nicknames and exhibit the conversation you would like. Do you think that nobody would go so far? Well, I would not be so sure [62, 74, 75]. However, this is rather a material for standalone book, perhaps a guide for junior dictator.

Customer Test

Sometimes, you can encounter a reseller that does not follow the hard-line of marketing. He is just not about to persuade you at all costs. He rather offers a customer test, so that you can learn, whether the pheromone in discussion would be of any help to you. Well, it's just a matter of seconds before we realize the possibility of the proverbial virtue of necessity. Nevertheless, let's stay objective.

A section is reserved for the customer tests, because it might seem that you are asked such questions, which really could be e.g. about your skin condition and therefore having some value. However, I have to state “it might seem” just because of the plain fact that it is impossible to state every possible question here. On the other hand, it does not matter as these questions are in-fact irrelevant. Whatever the question and answer are, it has no effect on above stated facts. It would still hold that woman would be repelled in proportion of androstenone you emit [45]. And it would still hold that androstenol has the pleasant musk odor [17], until it oxidizes into androstenone within 20 minutes [47].

With my knowledge of social engineering and psychology [84, 89, 90, 96, 97], I see three possible approaches to creating such customer test. As naïve, I would characterize the first of them. Let us consider the possibility that pheromone reseller suffers from True Believer syndrome [96]. In such case, he does not lie, because he really believes in what he says despite known opposing facts. Unlike a customer, there is a higher probability that reseller would be confronted with scientific studies, which show his claims as false.

With the naïve approach, he arranges test's questions accordingly to the system of his faith in explanations of pheromone effects. Or, he might be yet more naïve, but more dangerous for your wallet. He might choose questions accordingly to his customs of personal hygiene, eating habits, etc.

Alternatively, we could consider another scenario with reseller as a deceiver, who pretty much knows that his pheromone does not work as he claims. Basically, he has two possible approaches – reputation oriented and profit oriented. In both cases, statistics would be of help here. Do you remember the Cold Reading trick, when she has to think an integer from 1 to 10? The one, where you had to predict 7 as a correct answer, because such answer would have highest statistical probability? Here, it works the same way. And it is even the same principle that e.g. FBI uses to complete criminal's profile, when he changes presented identities.

Reputation-oriented, questions would be classified on points. Most points would go to people, which have most consonants attributes with a typical reseller's satisfied customer. It means that anybody, who would point the real effects of pheromones, would be kindly pointed to test's results. Even the quick test has proven that such critic would not benefit from reseller's pheromones, and therefore they just could not get positive results. Fair-play illusion is almost perfect.

Profit-oriented, reseller would change criterion for question selection only. He would pick such question, for which there will be relatively many positive answers. And to get even better illusion of a fair-play, he might pick such question, for which people would not anticipate positive answers. Because, he could not manipulate the test then, could he? ;-)

Combination of reputation and profit oriented approaches could be realized as an age constraint. The goal is to found such age group that most of its members would give it a try anyway, yet they have an acceptable financial potential.

However, there is far more felonious way possible. One of human's exploits is the desire to be loved, appreciated and admired by others. Therefore, the test may include questions about your present social situation as the pheromones are supposed to improve it. Confess of having "hey you" nick, admit that women stand aloof from you without an apparent reason etc., and the reseller would be very well advised that you are already desperate for some time. This way, he learned his chances of manipulating you. If you are so desperate, all he has to do is to offer that alluring solution to intrigue you into his trap. And it still went under the disguise of fair-play... By the way, have you noticed as you have remembered all those wrongs, when you answered test's questions and that reseller presented himself as the nice guy, who really tries to help you?

Social Impacts

Looking at commercial pheromones, each of them presents a disadvantage. They work as placebo only and yet you have to believe in them first. I admit that the placebo effect might help some folks to break the ice and enjoy a success. However, the greater amounts of androstenone they wear, the more they harm their efforts. And when there is too much androstenone, even the placebo effect won't save the situation.

Pheromone resellers might serve you a bunch of stories, engineered to captivate your heart [47], and most preferably your wallet. For instance, she kept rejecting him for a month, until he used pheromones [62]. And now, they are together. If anyone sees this as an advisable progress, let him rather devote his time to study The Theory of Interest and to think, what her true intentions were.

Being in a room with several men, how does she know that it is you, who smells right? She does not know. However, if you can make her laugh, you'll get far more points and she'll credit exactly you.

Let's face it: using of pheromones is an attempt to push her to like him far more, than it would be possible normally with his look and behavior. It is an ideal way for psycho, who knows that he would make her happy, and therefore it is OK to force her. Thank you very much, but I'm not this kind of guy. I want a woman that wants to stay with me on her free will.

A guy full of complexes that is afraid of rejection uses pheromones. It is so tempting to think you'll increase your chances only, because you can keep her anyway. And here we go again with a psycho.

Pheromone is not a way to get Miss Right and to keep her interest level high. Every woman with self-esteem wants an equal partner, and therefore she refuses weaklings without self-confidence. Taking advantage of somebody's naivety or innocence is beneath dignity.


Scientific studies confirmed that humans respond to pheromones. However, I found no scientific consensus that they would increase your dating success, as it could be easily understood from statements of pheromone resellers.

In 2001, J.V. Kohl published [45]. It states that nearly all studies found that androstenone is a signal that repels women. No pheromone was said to increase dating success, when it is applied from an external source.

In 2008, I did my own research on the published scientific evidence. I came to a conclusion that the act of applying the pheromone serves as the placebo effect. If you believe, it could trigger such a change of your behavior that could increase your dating success. But there are too many coulds. So, it cannot work all the time. However, human memory is prone to selective thinking. Failed attempts are forgotten, thus helping to perceive even a non-working procedure as working one. This phenomena is well known e.g. from Cold Reading [84].

In 2010, a book debunking the pheromone myth came out [170]. There is a research review as well, and it independently concludes the same as I do. However, two more and important things are mentioned in this book. First, a number of pheromone studies have major design flaws. Second, a number of pheromone studies were published by people, who were paid by pheromone resellers. In medicine, such a conflict of interest may manifest as ghostwriting.

I am afraid that I came to a picture that is not much favorable. Scientists, which were not paid by pheromone resellers, did not found that applying pheromones from external source would lead to an increased dating success on a physiological basis. If pheromone resellers would state that the pheromone-dating success is actually based on a placebo-effect, their profit would drop down quite significantly. So, I have no reason to consider the visions given by pheromone resellers as realistic.

Love must be given, not taken – Scheherazade.

Picture: King of Czech comics, Vlasta Burian, as Hero of One Night, while preparing a love potion from thyme to win a beautiful stunt's heart.

PS: I already see a comment of resellers' rapid reaction and therefore I take the lead. I've never used any commercial pheromone. I've used pheromones, which were produced by my body only. Yes, I know. With respect to provided information, it is totally aberrant objection. Moreover, it is not possible to learn all the information just by using pheromones.

PPS: As with every critical article, there is a problem with the negative ad. So, if you feel an urgent drive to pay for trying the placebo effect, just remember that law is on your side and you have the right for sales returns as pheromones/aphrodisiacs enjoy no exception;-) Just see your country code of law.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 1:38 PM and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 komentářů

Interesting! I haven't try to use a love potions, does it really works? Anyway, thanks for sharing this post. I enjoyed reading it.


May 20, 2010 at 11:27 AM


Available evidence does not support claims of pheromone resellers, as given in the article. Instead, we should consider scenarios such as the following one.

Some guys lack a certain amount of self-confidence. If you would give them some magic pill such as a pheromone essence, then they would act somehow confidentially enough to impress the girl they like. If the smell would not drive the girl away, they could possibly benefit from lowering their fear of rejection. And, this is possible without resellers' pheromones as well.

May 20, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Pheromones in humans are mostly known in the market as a form of attraction. They used as a way for humans to attract the opposite-sex, such as males attracting the females and vice versa.

do pheromones work

July 21, 2011 at 8:15 AM

At your websites, you mention scientific studies frequently. Which particular studies prove your claims? To give us the particular conclusions, please limit the listing to the impacted medical journals. Also, limit the listing to the follow-up studies with no conflict of interest declared.

Should you decide to answer, please use precise, well-defined and quantified terms.

July 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM

While waiting for the response, I looked for the scientific research regarding the luteinizing hormone principle of the pheromone-triggered action.

I don't see their claims as plausible. Yet, feel free to correct me with the evidence I asked for.

July 25, 2011 at 11:20 AM

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