When it comes to having the *most* fun between the sheets, the sense of touch feels like it would reign supreme. But there’s new scientific evidence to support the idea that smell may play a large role in enhancing sexual satisfaction. A study from the University of Dresden in Germany published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior shows that women with a better sense of smell have more orgasms.
In the study, 70 participants (28 men, 42 women; average age of 24) had their “odor threshold” evaluated. Basically, the researchers used something called “Sniffin’ Sticks” (LOL) to determine how well they could smell. The participants also responded to questions about their sexual desire, sexual experience (including orgasm frequency and how “pleasant”—their word, not mine—they consider sex to be), and sexual performance (how often they have sex and how long it usually lasts).
A new study shows that women with a better sense of smell have more orgasms.
The researchers discovered that “participants with high olfactory sensitivity reported higher pleasantness of sexual activities” (science-speak for: People with a better sense of smell had more fun during sex) and that women with a heightened sense of smell reported more orgasms. FWIW, they did not, however, find that the smell tests correlated with sexual desire or performance.
The authors of the study speculate that the relationship between smell and orgasm might be because the ability to smell all of the different well, bodily fluids, during intercourse can enhance the experience for the sex-havers.
Now, here’s the caveat: A pool of 70 people is pretty small to be drawing wide-reaching conclusions, and the measure of sexual experience was completely reliant on self-reported data. The authors also point out that unrelated factors—like breathing problems or social insecurity—could influence the results.
Considering that previous studies have linked the sense of smell to attraction, it seems like, when it comes to sex and relationships, you may want tell both your heart and your gut to hush up and follow your nose instead.
Originally published May 31, 2017, updated August 11, 2018.
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