Humans have three regions that are provided with special odorant producing glands and large odor diffusing hair tufts: the breast armpit, anal, and genital regions .
These may all be imprinting points in human development. The odor of the areolar glands may be a baby’s first smell impression, signaling nourishment. Are men fascinated by women’s breasts because of smell memories?
One man told me that women’s nipples taste and smell “buttery.” Puberty seems to bring on the capacity to smell certain smells. Apparently women who are producing estrogen can smell male sexual smells that are lost on immature girls.
Some evidence suggests that as boys become sexually mature they become newly aware of sexual odors of adults and find distasteful the odor of the same sex parent. The odor of apocrine sweat appears to be released by the action of bacteria upon the secretion.
The odor changes with sexual excitement the “sex smell” seems to be a matter of common experience. But humans generally nuzzle and kiss necks and ears rather than armpits. I think some of the sex odor must come from saliva and scalp secretions, both male and female.
I also have female friends who are repulsed by the horror of feminine “intimate” deodorant sprays, thinking them the ultimate in nutty ideas, not to mention potentially irritating to delicate feminine membranes. But the idea of altering the vaginal odor is not new.
Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C. recommended inserting myrrh and aromatics into the vagina to increase the sexual excitement of females and males. Can it be that rather than representing suppression of our sexuality, the new or different odor may be an aphrodisiac, a novel stimulus, erotica to stimulate us sexually?
The role of smells in human sexuality is complicated. One curious human practice is that of removal of the male foreskin, or prepuce, the purpose of which may be as much to hold odor as anything else. Glands of the prepuce produce a cheesy secretion, the smegma, that collects around the foreskin, and the glans penis provides a kind of fixative for more ethereal odorants, much as the fixatives used in
An analogous secretion collects between the female clitoris and labia minora.