“Men: if you want to get your lady in the mood, skip the chemically-infused cologne or pesticide-laden roses, and find some black licorice instead,” says naturalist blogger Laurel House, in a recent Planet Green post. “Yes, the scent of the natural botanical is said to stimulate a woman’s libido more than any other aroma.”
She gathered her findings from a study, conducted by Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, IL.
“One of his studies reveals that women who were exposed to the scent of licorice had a 13 percent increase in bloodflow to their sexual organs compared to a 1 percent reduction from the scent of men’s cologne,” Laurel explains. “Though the exact reason that licorice arouses women is unclear, Hirsch believes that it is either an unexplained chemical reaction in the brain or olfactory-evoked nostalgia.”
It seems that Dr. Hirsch is fond of measuring changes in blood flow to the sex organs. He and colleague Dr. Jason Gruss also initiated a recent study to investigate “the impact of ambient olfactory stimuli upon sexual response in the human male.”
Thirty-one men, aged 18 to 64 years, were tested. Dr. Hirsch selected 24 different odorants for the study. In addition, six combinations of two of the most well-liked of these were also chosen. The effects of the 30 odors on penile blood flow were assessed by comparing a subject’s brachial penile index while wearing an odorized mask to his average index while wearing an unodorized mask. This was done for each subject for each odor.
After being attached to a penile plethysmograph (which measures blood flow), three minutes were allowed for acclimation. Then a blank, nonodorized mask was applied for one minute while a baseline brachial penile index was recorded. The combined odor of lavender and pumpkin pie had the greatest effect, increasing median penile blood flow by 40%. Next in effectiveness was the combination of black licorice and doughnut, which increased arousal by 31.5%. The older men tended to respond strongly to vanilla.
The doctors offer several explanations, but the direct connection between odors and sexual response cannot be denied: “The odors may also act neurophysiologically. A direct pathway connects the olfactory bulb to the septal nucleus, which in turn induces blood flow and erection.”
Increase in Penile Blood Flow Produced by Top 10 Odors in 31 Male Volunteers
|Odor or odor combinationLavender and pumpkin pie
Doughnut & black licorice
Pumpkin pie & doughnut
Lavender & doughnut
Black licorice and cola
Doughnut & cola
Lily of the valley