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Women's Natural Scent Most Attractive to Men

Male hormonal response strongest during female ovulation, study finds

MONDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women who want to attract a man's attention shouldn't wear perfume, new research suggests.

Florida State University psychological scientists Saul L. Miller and Jon K. Maner found that male testosterone levels are influenced by natural odors emitted by females, particularly during ovulation, which is when women are most fertile.

In the study, women wore T-shirts for three nights during various phases of their menstrual cycles. Male study participants smelled either the T-shirts worn by the women, or T-shirts that hadn't been worn by anyone. To check testosterone levels, the researchers collected saliva samples before and after the men smelled the T-shirts.

Miller and Maner found that men who smelled T-shirts worn by women during ovulation had higher levels of testosterone than those who smelled shirts worn by non-ovulating women or men who smelled the unworn shirts. When asked to rate the odors of the shirts, men said those worn by ovulating women were the most pleasant.

The researchers said their findings, released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Psychological Science, are the first to suggest that men's testosterone levels may be affected by natural odors that indicate a woman is fertile.

This biological response may trigger mating-related behaviors by males, the study authors concluded.

More information

The American Pregnancy Association explains ovulation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Association for Psychological Sciences, news release, January 2010

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