Anyone who's been on the dating scene for any length of time knows that compatibility is a major factor in romantic success. Compatible partners can find common ground in their interests and goals. Along with the initial attraction, compatibility also ensures a lasting loving relationship.
Compatibility also has a scientific component, particularly when it comes to scent. There are few things in the world better than the way a romantic partner smells, especially in those heady early days when you're still in the "honeymoon" phase. There's an underlying basis for this phenomenon when it comes to whom you're attracted to and why.
Is scent really the key to finding the perfect partner for you? Or are there other, more important factors at play when it comes to attraction? Here are a few things to consider while you're on your quest for love.
How Scent Influences Our Emotions
Imagine a scent you absolutely love, such as warm cookies right out of the oven or your grandmother's perfume from when you were a child. Now think about how that scent would make you feel if you smelled it right now. Most people experience a soothing, relaxed feeling upon smelling something enjoyable, just like off-putting smells elicit a feeling of disgust or alarm.
This response occurs because cells within the nose can send signals to your brain, specifically the areas used to regulate emotion. That's why people tend to feel hungry upon smelling something delicious, as the smell scent of food triggers a bodily response that prepares the digestive system for eating.
The same sort of response occurs when a person encounters a scent from a prospective romantic partner. The smell triggers an arousal response intended to increase the attraction to a person, which is why just smelling an item of clothing from someone you love can induce so many warm feelings.
Why Scent Compatibility Is More Complex Than You Think
Scent compatibility is not simply about smelling a pleasant aroma wafting from a prospective paramour, although that definitely plays a role. Your body is actually reacting to specific genes that exist within the immune system. Additionally, you're most attracted to genes with a design that differs from your own.
From a biological standpoint, it makes sense that you would be most attracted to genes that are dissimilar from your own. Our ancestors may have developed this ability to prevent them from breeding with other members of their family, which can have a wide range of poor consequences.
While that's not much of an issue these days, this biological reaction still remains. That means your nose may be aware of an attraction well before you admit it to yourself. It can also explain why you choose a particular romantic partner over another, even when both have much to offer.
How to Emphasize Your Natural Scent
There's a lot more to attraction than just scent, but there are steps you can take to enhance your compatibility with a partner when it comes to personal smell:
- Use cologne and perfume sparingly, as they will mask your natural scent
- Look for odorless personal care products, such as antiperspirants and lotions
- Bathe at least once per day to ensure you maintain a pleasant natural aroma
- Favor natural materials and fabrics over synthetic ones, as they can give off an artificial scent
At the end of the day, there are lots of components to attraction and relationships. While looks and scent definitely play a role, especially in the beginning stages, they're not the end-all, be-all of romantic relationships. If you're seeking a partner for the long haul, the person must also be kind, considerate, and willing to work to make your relationship a lasting success.