The substance detected being apparently 5a-androst-16-en-3-one/ (Patterson 1968). A similar material occurs in human male urine, and in female urine during the luteal phase (Brookbank and Hazelwood 1950).

The pheromone detection of this effect seems, however, to depend on the choice of olfactometric method. According to Amoore (Amoore and Venstrom 1966; Amoore personal communication) there is no true change of threshold, but women under the influence of estrogen are more inclined to react psychologically to musky pheromone odors and to describe them as ‘strong’.

True anosmia, both for a musk (pentadecalactone) and for isovaleric acid, has been reported in man (Whissell-Buechy and Amoore 1973). Musk anosmia was found in 7.2% of Caucasians but not in Black subjects; isovaleric acid anosmia was found in 9.1% Blacks and 1.4% Caucasians. The anosmias are heritable, but the samples were not broken down by age, sex, or ingestion of hormones such as oral contraceptives. Anosmia for a potential pheromone is of biologic interest, but there is no evidence that isvaleric acid anosmia, or the suppression of acid vaginal components by the Pill, overtly affect human sexual pheromone behaviors according to

Since human male sexual behavior is non-cyclical and not dependent on female receptivity, the female>male influence may well be releaser only, except possibly in infancy, or in accelerating puberty, and relatively non-specific. It is not clear why odor release should be enhanced at the infertile time of menstruation, unless it overrules an infantile anxiety. The most likely true primer effects would be fe- male>female or male>female — McClintock’s chief example, if it is pheromonal, would be of the first kind: in this event ma1e>female effects could also be sought with virtual certainty. The most likely of these, judging from mammalian form, are cycle modification or initiation (Lee and Boot 1956), seen in mice, most herding animals (sheep, pigs) and, among primates, in lemurs (Jolly 1966); and acceleration of puberty (Vandenbergh 1969).

Human puberty certainly regressed to a late age during the height of Victorian purdah, and has since got steadily earlier (Tanner 1962): this has occurred in both sexes and may well involve social factors — a pheromonal effect would be impossible to isolate. If it existed, it must presumably, in view of human family structure, depend on reinforcement by strangeness, and the presence of non-familial individuals. Learn more about pheromones at

A pheromone effect triggered only during sex play or coitus could not easily be separated from the effects of direct stimulation, though there are such pheromones in primates (Michael and Saayman 1967; Michael and Keverne 1970), and human sex play has a large, though tabooed, orogenital component. Natural pheromone effects on fertility, implantation and the like (Bruce and Parkes 1961) seem more remote in man, though they might be produced by synthetics and would be of great importance if found. The conceptuant and abortefacient effects of odor figured in rnediaeval medical folklore, and musk and civet were among substances so credited. Learn more about pheromones at–982567443.html

A male>male effect cannot be ruled out. Its most likely form, on mammalian analogy, would be the release of aggression or submission, but distaste for foreign pheromones.