Why Your Partner Smells So Freaking Good, According To Science
Confession time: Sometimes I want eat my boyfriend. Like roll him in yogurt, dip him in chocolate, and eat him. I have to physically restrain myself from taking a bite out of him. He just smells so FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS. Even right after the gym, when he’s a sweaty disgusting mess, I want to nuzzle him senseless. I want to smell him, eat him, and crawl inside his skin like an amoeba. It's the smell of his skin. It is intoxicating.
After some asking around, I realized I’m definitely not alone. People just don’t want to admit it because it sounds creepy. You’re welcome, everyone. I am here to take the flack. Is it primal? Is survival instinct? Are our bodies telling us something? Why, oh why, does your partner so incredibly good? Luckily, science and experts have the answer.
Pheromones: The Hidden Key To All Things Sexy
When I asked a male coworker about scent-attraction he said that this resonated with him completely. “I loved the smell of my ex," he tells Bustle. "I would actually nuzzle into her armpit. It was comforting... maybe even reassuring.” What is it that whips people like us into such a frenzy? Why do I want to make a bottle of my partner's skin-smell and wear it all over me like an eau de parfum?
Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, says it is a primal urge that is born from pheromones, bodily chemicals that we all naturally release. “Pheromones play a major role in attraction as they can stimulate romantic emotions, sexual arousal, increased sex-hormone production, and even fertility," she tells Bustle.
*Raises hand* Wait, that’s me! I have sex-hormones and the production is most definitely released when I smell bae.
"A number of people actually choose their partners by subconsciously being attracted to the scent of another person’s pheromones"
Roland-Jenkins says that we may rely entirely on scent and primal attraction when choosing a partner. “A number of people actually choose their partners by subconsciously being attracted to the scent of another person’s pheromones," she says. "The actual strength of a person’s attraction to their partner is mainly dictated by the release of pheromones, which is your partner’s natural scent.”
The Immune System: For More Than Just Fighting Off Colds
OK, so pheromones and chemicals seem like the obvious explanation, but there is so much more to it than that. Your immune system actually plays a big role in attraction. Your immune system will actually seek out a person who it thinks it is compatible with it.
“We all have a specific set of immune system genes that make up the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The MHC genes lead to the production of pheromones (our natural scent), and we all have distinct scents.” Roland-Jenkins says. “These genes promote attraction between two people whose genetic makeup is biologically different (e.g., unrelated individuals) and even plays a role in the immune system’s ability to recognize and target harmful diseases. In doing so, MHC genes also help ensure that partners who procreate will have children with stronger immune systems.”
Why Do I Want To Bite My Boyfriend, Though?
You know when you see a baby, puppy or hot person and think, “They're so cute, I could just eat them!” Wanting to eat or bite things that are adorable, precious or attractive is called “Cute-Aggression,” and it is actually a normal thing most humans experience.
When you have feelings of extreme anger or frustration, the same parts of your brain light up as when you have extreme feelings of delight. This means your brain will sometimes confuse aggression and adoration. Hence, wanting to eat or squeeze something or someone you find totally adorable. And these feelings comes from all those pheromones!
“Seeing an object, food, or even a person that is pleasing to the eye can cause people to being to slightly salivate or produce saliva," Roland-Jenkins says. “Pleasant smells such as your favorite food, your partner’s natural scent, or smelling cologne or perfume on your partner can actually stimulate the production of larger amounts of saliva than looking at that person. This process can initiate feelings of wanting to eat or bite.”
Everything is connected. You just may have not realized it because it makes sense to want to eat a delicious piece of cake, but not a puppy. According to Roland-Jenkins, “The same process is initiated by seeing or smelling someone you find attractive, like your partner, our brains typically tells us that it is not acceptable to eat or bite people that we think are cute. Nevertheless, this doesn’t always stop partners from engaging in playful nibbles and this is of course harmless as long both individuals do so carefully.”
Right. “Playful nibbles.” For sure. Totally. Not at all consuming hunger for my boyfriend’s skin.