written by home doctor brisbane team

If you’ve ever enjoyed the musk of a lover or partner (or random person on the bus), you’re not alone. Smell actually plays an important role in finding a mate, even though it’s probably not something we consciously add to our list of dating prerequisites.

According to researchers, our unique bodily scent helps us detect a suitable match.

“The underlying theory is that you somehow select immune compatibility in a mate,” said Doctor Noam Sobel, a professor of neurobiology, as reported by Time Magazine.

Put simply, if someone smells good, swipe right, but if their stank puts you off then go ahead and swipe left. Of course, you shouldn’t judge a potential life partner on smell alone but it can be an interesting indicator.

For example, you might be seduced by the scent of someone you’re attracted to but a whiff of a platonic friend after a workout could make you cringe. If you’re going to test this theory out at least try to be discreet.


Sniffing out a life partner

So, how does it work? Well, the studies which have been done on this subject seem rather strange at first, and were controversial when they were published, because they involved the sniffing of dirty T-shirts. But, how else do you test this type of theory?

The basis for the notion that smell helps determine compatibility comes down to genetics.

Research completed by Swiss zoologist Claus Wedekind (using the dirty T-shirt method) found women “preferred” the smell of men “with different compatibility genes from themselves, raising the possibility that we unconsciously select mates who would put our offspring at some genetic advantage”.

What does this mean? As Tim Dowling wrote in The Guardian: “Suitable partners can literally sniff each other out, finding an optimal genetic other half using their noses.”


Smell dating: it’s a real thing

First there was Tinder, Bumble and Happn, and all the others we’ve lost track of, but now, in New York City, there’s a dating app which matches people by smell. Let’s pause for a moment and think about that.

Funnily enough, the service uses the dirty T-shirt method we talked about earlier. Who’s laughing now?

Smell Dating prides itself on being “the first mail order dating service”.

According to The Daily Mail it “sends daters a T-shirt in the mail and instructs them to wear it for three days, send it back and they will receive 10 other shirts from other daters.”

“The next step of this matchmaking process requires users to take a whiff of each garment and pick the aroma that arouses them the most – all for just $25.”

The founders say they investigated how smell aroused us by consulting with several scientists who had done smell studies in the past.

“It’s about trusting subconscious intuition and not falling back on inevitable preconceptions and prejudices,” Tega Brain, co-founder of Smell Dating, told BuzzFeed News

“You can’t control what you like the taste or smell of, you have to trust your sensory system.”