Here's why our partner's natural scent makes us want to sniff them forever

There’s a reason why they want your hoodie.

30 April, 2024
Here's why our partner's natural scent makes us want to sniff them forever

“Your clothes are mine,” we’re sure your partner has said this to you at least a few times in your relationship! You’ve spent days hiding your favourite hoodie, only for them to find it and surprise you by wearing it and looking cute AF. Yes, they do love wearing it because it’s comfortable and it feels like a warm hug when you’re not there, and it’s your scent that they miss the most.

While there are countless things we love about our partners, it’s their natural pheromones and scent (not some deodorant as shown in commercials) that are most attractive. Long story short, your partner’s smell impacts you in more ways than you can imagine. We spoke to Pallavi Barnwal, Sexuality and Intimacy Coach to know more about why we're fascinated by our partner's smell. Read on. 


Science and the smell

You’re more likely to have the hots for a person if you’re attracted to their scent. The body releases pheromones (oxytocin)—more commonly known as the love hormone—when you’re attracted to someone, leading to you being fond of the way they smell (now you know why you always want to be around them). In animals, pheromones are a mating signal or a warning that an enemy is approaching. It’s the same with humans, a social animal, who do feel like jumping on their partner should they smell like a snack. 

The olfactory stimuli impact a person’s limbic system—where the amygdala (a small, almond-shaped structure inside of your brain responsible for evoking emotions) and the hippocampus (a brain structure) plays a major role in learning and memory. If one finds this attractive, they can start to associate positive feelings and memories with that person. By smelling something we like, our body produces hormones that calm our body down. It’s the same as when we smell something delicious—we want to eat it. When you smell something (in this case, someone) that you relate to being delicious, it triggers the same part of your brain that activates your salivary glands. You know the urge you have to bite your partner, this is reason for it.


Smell and sexual attraction

Sex is a sensory experience to begin with. While having sex, people have heightened senses, and that is how they usually process information. A visual person would prefer videos to a podcast because they need to see, while an individual with primary auditory senses would want to listen to information. In this case, it's the olfactory sense that is heightened. Secondly, people are turned on by different things. Some might like the smell of their partner. It might not necessarily be their perfume, just their natural scent. And in some occasions it could be the scent of their sweat, that one finds attractive. 

When it comes to sex and one’s scent, the word used is olfactophilia—sexual arousal by smells and odours emanating from the body, especially the sexual areas. This sexual arousal can come from someone’s natural smell or more specific scents—like vaginal fluids, semen, and sweat in intimate bodily areas (the reason for one having an underwear fetish). The chemicals present in these fluids can signal information to your brain that translates into “I want to have sex with you” and unleashes our primal instincts. 

That said, sexuality is never limited to one expression or one smell. Sex comes from a place where people find a space to express themselves unhindered. Sexuality is also grey. A good or a bad smell is subjective; it depends on one’s likes and perceptions. As long as it is legal, consensual, and pleasurable, it shouldn’t be fine. 

Inputs by Pallavi Barnwal, Sexuality and Intimacy Coach and founder of Get Intimacy

Also read: Here's why maintaining sexual hygiene is important and how can practice it

Also read: Signs you and your partner are sexually compatible

Also read: How to increase sexual intimacy in your relationship