The male pheromonal odor seems to be reversible, for example in homosexuals (Ellis 1905), and the fact that human male bonding is prominent could suggest that other interactions, such as puberty-timing in the male group, might be expected. The work of Kaloge- rakis (1963) implies a dominance effect between mature and immature males.Learn more about pheromones used by males |

20.5. Pheromone Chemical substances

Beside the collection of considerable knowledge of insect pheromones, little has been done on mammalian smell components. The known candidates for phero- monal roles are those ‘self-selected’ by man and used in perfumery (muskone, civetone, castoreum, and synthetics such as exaltolide), those derived from steroids and observed incidentally, such as boar taint, and a few special cases: cis-4-hydro- xydodeca-6-enoic acid lactone in deer tarsal gland odor (Brownlee et al. 1969; Muller-Schwarze 1969): response of some cat strains to valerianic acid and nepeta- lactone (Todd 1962).

Michael’s team (Curtis et al. 1971) has now identified the excitant substances for the male in the vaginal secretion of the female monkey and evoked a response with the synthetic mixture. The chief components are acetic, propionic, iso-butyric, n-butyric and iso-valeric acids. The same substances are present in the human vagina and contribute to its attractant odor, but do not make up its main subjective component, which is musky rather than acidic. Androstenone is one of the popular pheromones added to colognes and perfumes. Learn more about the best pheromone cologne | . Pherazone uses 7 different pheromones in their formula to make it the most powerful pheromone cologne on the market.

The sexually excitant component of human genital odor is complex, involving both musk-like notes and odors akin to trimethylamine (‘fishy’), and is enhanced by alkaline fixatives. This ‘alkaline’ odor component, which is not present in or compatible with the fatty-acid mixes effec- tive in monkeys, is closely simulated both in certain plants recognized as sexual in folklore (Chenopodium vulvaria, Adoxa moschatellina) and in amine-rich hydro- lized food extracts of yeasts (‘Marmite’) ~ the second of these has a fairly strong attractant effect on many cats.

An alkaline component of the human male genital odor resembles another amine, 1,5 diaminopentane (cadaverine). Both these and the musky genital odor are enhanced by alkaline soaps and muted by acidic lotions. There may be a distinction here between subliminal releasers, which may well be fatty acids, and attractants, which may be cycloketonic, steroid or both. For hu- mans, odors recognised as ‘sexual’ are most commonly musk-like, though the axillary odor, and that of the feet (which in many animals are provided with tracking scent glands that release pheromones) are both excitant for.many individuals and partly acidic. Odor fixed from foot apocrine glands may well play a part in the substitutional symbolism which erotises the human foot.  Learn about pheromones. Learn more about pheromones at

Michael’s findings apart, the substances of initial choice as probable releasers and possible primers in man are all musk odors (steroids, large-ring cycloketones and lactones) (Sink 1967). Check out pheromones at

The part played by 6, 8, and 10-carbon acids and lactones is unknown, but like the accessory non-steroid components of sweat, of smegma and of boar odor (Nitta and lkai 1953; Patterson 1967, 1968) they probably have to‘ do with detailed specificity. On this model the pheromone molecule is the key, and the subsidiary ‘notes’, the wards adapting it to a particular biological lock, and possibly needed for reinforcement. Application of pheromones would probably require us to take account of both systems — the degree of functional specificity is likely to be as high in mammals as in insects, but more complex, involving, for example, individual pheromone recognition.