People in this state are high, their brains awash in pheromone chemicals let loose by the neurochocemical gates. But humans are not automatons.
We don’t respond to just any stimulus. Unlike the many animals and insects who react to pheromonal messages, we usually don’t find ourselves unexplainably in the throes of passion at the instant we meet someone with irresistible pheromones. Still, there are times when another person’s chemistry threatens to overwhelm our logic. This is what it means to be “blind with ecstasy.” The thinking brain stops “seeing” and the love-hungry hypothalamus takes over.
There’s a new pheromone research into why we are attracted to some people and not others points to the phenomenon of chemistry. We say, Greg and I had instant chemistry—there were fireworks from the beginning or, When I met Marsha, I wanted to be with her every chance I could get. She was like a drug. We may also recall finding someone physically pleasing to the eye and socially desirable (secure job, nice home, well dressed, financially stable) but noticeably lacking in the attraction department thus, the fireworks are absent and the flame languishes, unstoked.
This may seem confusing. If someone possesses the characteristics society deems worthy, wou1dn’t those attributes suffice in our courting and mating rituals? The answer is no. We would be more accurate, and infinitely more human, to describe our partners this way: “Our pheromonal chemistry was on target.”
Pheromone Research in the 1970s
In the 1970s, sex experts Masters and Johnson told us that sex followed a predictable pattern of four stages: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. The news of the four-cycle sex tango became material for lively dinner conversation everywhere, but something was missing from the picture: What causes or at least facilitates sexual excitement and interest?
Another sex expert, Helen Singer Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., seemed to provide that answer when she announced that sex incorporated a fifth element: the spark, or, more accurately, sexual chemistry. Without this basic initial stage of connection, one might find it difficult to progress through the subsequent four levels. In her 1974 book The New Sex Therapy, Kaplan did.
There is a strong correlation of pheromones as possible instigators of sexual attraction, but she called them odors and connected them to the sense of smell. She also made what is now thought to be an inaccurate correlation between pheromones and aphrodisiacs; pheromones are not aphrodisiacs but rather subtle communicators that provide information and not instant. Nevertheless, Kaplan laid the foundation for future discussions of pheromones as they might apply to human sexuality when she wrote, “[There is] no doubt that a tantalizing aroma is a powerful aphrodisiac, even if not consciously recognized.”
We now know that sexual attraction and mate selection have a physiological connection to pheromones. Pheromones are the ames of desire. They can also be the fire extinguishers of dislike or repulsion. If two people find that their pheromones are in harmony and transmitting messages of mutual attraction and desire, then sex is more likely to occur.