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Pheromone Parties: A Scientific New Way For Singles To Mingle

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Screen grab of a woman smelling a shirt at a pheromone party. (Credit: pheromoneparties.com)

Screen grab of a woman smelling a shirt at a pheromone party. (Credit: pheromoneparties.com)

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LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas) – Summer flings are likely in full swing for many in the dating world as the year’s hottest month draws to a close.

But for those still looking for love, there is hope, in the form of a new dating phenomenon – Pheromone Parties.

The parties, hosted in major cities throughout the United States, invite single adults to follow their nose to romance.

Before arriving, participants are asked to sleep wearing one clean, white cotton shirt for three consecutive nights. After “captur[ing] their odor print,” as the Pheromone Parties website puts it, guests are instructed to put the shirt in a zip-lock bag and bring it to an event near them.

At the parties, other guests will smell the shirts, labeled with numbers to maintain anonymity on color-coded papers to identify gender. Those who like the scent of a shirt are offered a chance to meet its owner that night, or afterwards through the party’s Facebook page.

The parties began as an experiment, the brainchild of California web developer Judith Prays. She told the Associated Press that an unanticipated love connection with a man – sparked by her attraction to his smell – gave her pause.

“Even when he smelled objectively bad, I thought he smelled really good,” Prays, 25, said. “And so I thought, OK, maybe I should be dating based on smell?”

Some dating experts see Pheromone Parties as a fantastic opportunity for singles looking to mingle.

“Often singles get frustrated with both the bar scene and online dating in general. Having a hook to get singles together to meet in-real-life is a terrific idea,” relationship expert and Cyber-Dating Expert CEO Julie Spira told CBS Las Vegas. “Look at Pheromone Parties as a modern-day replacement of wine-and-cheese parties.”

Adam LoDolce, known also as the Dating Confidence Coach, agreed, calling the parties a “great, fun way to start interacting with singles.”

“Obviously, you need to take it at with a grain of salt. It’s just a silly way to go out and be around other singles in a live environment,” he told CBS Las Vegas. “I can’t comment on whether or not scientifically this is a superior way to meeting people, but what I can say is that finding the right date is all about enjoying yourself and finding silly activities to meet other singles. If smelling someone’s armpit is fun for you, then by all means.”

Others, however, wondered if the parties were the best way to find long-term love.

“While chemistry and attraction are always a crucial part of a solid long-term relationship, it is not a guaranteed predictor of a match. Often, in fact, intense chemistry creates plain old lust which can complicate a woman’s dating behaviors and cause her to make choices that are not in alignment with her long-term vision for partnership,”  Marni Battista, who operates the website Dating with Dignity, told CBS Las Vegas.

There are studies into whether or not pheromones play a part in the dating game. Ivanka Savic of Huddinge University Hospital in Sweden found that men may be especially susceptible to hormonal influences while researching the matter, according to the Scientific American and the journal Neuron.

Of the 12 male and 12 female rodents exposed to synthetic versions of estrogen and testosterone and studied using positron emission tomography, the males all reportedly showed increased blood flow to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for pheromone detection in mice and rats.

Glynis Gould, media relations manager at the Athena Institute, additionally told CBS Las Vegas about their research conducted on a specific product of theirs – Athena Pheromone fragrance additives – and its physiological effects on test subjects when they engaged in activities such as kissing.

“[The study] included a baseline two-week period, and then a six-week test period,” she said. “They did demonstrate an increased attractiveness, including dating, when wearing the pheromone cosmetic.”

Gould described the product as a “chemical copy” of the pheromones emitted by women and men in their late twenties or early thirties, additionally noting that pheromone output decreases as people age, or after procedures such as a hysterectomy.

“While not scientific, several media tests with twins in a singles bar or speed dating environment demonstrated a greater ‘success’ rate of the twin wearing pheromones – again not hard science,” she added.

One thing is for certain, though. Whether it’s pheromone parties or blind dates, a perfect match boils down to one thing – chemistry.

“At the end of the day, finding someone compatible usually comes down to similar values and interests,” Spira noted. “[And] if someone’s body odor is a turn-off, you’ll know pretty quickly.”

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