Scent of Sexual Attraction

An ode to odor of the nether nature.

Scent of Sexual Attraction

If you've ever read the classified section of an underground sex tabloid (or remember the pertinent plot thread from season three of Netflix's Orange is the New Black, chances are you're aware of advertisements of this nature:

Do used panties turn you on ? If so, send for a pair of my fine, scented skivvies. Panties worn one day, $6. Worn three days and extra smelly, S10. Send cash, check or money order to...

And unless you're one of the satisfied customers of these vaginal odor vendors, you might have wondered what kind of person invests his hard-earned dollars in someone else's soiled underwear. The answer is, almost anyone: your boss, your clergyman, your father, your son. But before you become suspicious of everyone you know, you should bear in mind that you yourself may be a prospective panty-sniffer who simply has yet to realize the thrill of olfactory stimulation. If you can't imagine what that thrill might be, or if you think that anyone who gets off on this is necessarily a pervert, then it's time to clear the air of all the misinformation that still surrounds the sex appeal of natural body odors, down there and everywhere.

Granted, buying used panties through the mail or anonymous web browser is an act reserved for the most dedicated–or shy–fragrance aficionados. But it's a mistake to label these people perverts. 'Fanatics' is a more apt term, since the word 'pervert' denotes a deviation from the norm. There is certainly nothing abnormal about being turned on by the scent of a woman's crotch.

Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2017 Ad Campaign

For most animals, including man, the sense of smell plays an important part in the mating game. A horny hound, sniffing beneath some lady-dog's tail, and his equally horny master, driving home from a date with his finger jammed under his nose, have a great deal in common. Likewise, the presumably countless Frenchmen who found Saint Laurent's controversial crotch-centric 2017 ad campaign a turn-on, no doubt were aroused not only by the sight of the YSL models, but also by the smell they imagined was emanating from their nether bits. This call back to a "similar type of porno chic" popular a decade prior and the very notion of the models' open-leggedness is, at its core, reflective of a tacit fixation on all things vagina, scent and all. In fact, vintage-era 'porno chic' and the 'feminine aroma' go way back; Hustler magazine famously capitalized on this in their August 1977 issue with a Scratch-and-Sniff centerfold that was meant to satisfy the male reader's sense of smell along with that of sight.

There are those who argue that generalizing about the smell down there is akin to saying that all snowflakes have the same shape. No two vaginas smell alike, they say, and this is true to some extent, just as it is true that one can smell different from one hour to the next, depending on how active it (or the women that it belongs to) has been. But there is a general agreement that the odor of a female in heat (whatever that odor might be for the particular female in question) is an aphrodisiac. After all, 100 million canines can't be wrong.

Yet every fetish has its adversaries; Mad Men era Madison Avenue waged a propaganda war against natural body odors: mainly crotch, feet, armpits and breath in the interests of their clients that manufactured feminine hygiene sprays. These companies spent the big bucks so that ad agencies would create a demand for their products. In order to accomplish this, they first had to convince the American public that the smell of vagina left to its own devices was on a par with that of raw sewage. So a self-conscious female population was bombarded with commercials telling them that a “truly feminine" female organ was one that smelled like pine trees, jungle flowers–anything but the acrid combination of stump water and tuna that had always been so evolutionarily enticing. The propaganda had the desired effect and, before long, vag spray took its place alongside underarm deodorant and mouthwash as part of milady's toiletry case.

In the decades since, it been revealed that many deodorants and antiperspirants have adverse side effects (unscented tampons, anyone?). Aerosols have been accused not only of dissolving the protective ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere, but of polluting the lungs-sometimes fatally-of those who use them in unventilated areas. Both deodorants and scented feminine products can bring on uncomfortable allergic reactions, and some doctors blame fem sprays for an increase in vaginal infections.

Hustler magazine August 1977

Aside from the physical drawbacks of these odor-erasers, there is a psychological trauma that occurs when a 'muffdiver', with his taste buds set for puss, encounters a coochie with the odor and flavor of fresh mint. The letdown would be the same as biting into a tuna sandwich, only to find the flavor of peanut butter and jelly.

Actually, a woman who bathes and brushes her teeth regularly has no need for deodorants of any kind. On the other hand, a woman who uses deodorants as a substitute for regular bathing is most likely to attract men with clogged sinuses.

A dab of perfume behind a woman's ear or knee seems to be a time-tested aphrodisiac. But perfumes and colognes are generally held to be most effective when used on parts of the body that do not exude natural odors. Whether or not a particular natural odor is appealing is, of course, for the individual to decide. As a rule, a man is more inclined to savor the scent of pussy than that of sweat. Yet, if the circumstances are right, even an odor you might ordinarily consider repulsive can have an animalistic allure.

Anyone who has ever spent the summer in a humid climate knows what it’s like to take three showers a day and still smell like the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room at halftime. But does this stop people from getting it on? Obviously not. Although most folks probably prefer sex in December–on a rug in front of a roaring fire–a sweaty summer romp, with all the extra lubrication and the musty odor that clings to body and bed, is a unique thrill in itself. And it is one that can linger for as long as you leave the sheets on your bed.

It is not at all unusual for a particular odor to evoke memories of a long departed lover. Many men have experienced such a flashback when they buried their face in a pillow that had been thoroughly soaked while propping up some horny set of hips. This phenomenon can also occur when you sniff certain brands of perfume or incense–or even some industrial odor that was in the air when you got a memorable piece of ass. There is nothing abnormal about this, unless you're a man who can't get it up without the odor of an oil refinery or paper mill pervading the room.

Odors generally considered unpleasant can be stimulating to some people. Indeed, some foot fetishists reach nirvana smelling feet that have just finished a 20-mile hike in jackboots. The smell of shit and/or farts (that is, other people's farts, since most of us agree our own farts smell OK) is highly erotic to feces fetishists. And at the risk of evoking readers' anger, I will add that conceivably, there are people who get off on the smells of popped zits (the ones near hair roots), asparagus-scented piss or used bandages. Disgusting? Maybe, but to each his own. After all, I reckon Rule 34 applies to fetishes, too.

It's hard to imagine what the turn-on of used Kotex might be, but it's a fact that some men find the odor of these blood-blotters sublimely erotic. (Used Kotex and tampons are also available through the mail, but beware of postal bloodhounds.)

Many women claim to be horniest sometime around their period, but it has yet to be proven whether or not the stronger smell they emit at this time has anything to do with this increased desire. At any rate, the smell is rarely perceptible to others, and anyone who wants to revel in it has to either obtain it secondhand from a ladies' room wastebasket or get close to the original source. You may consider both alternatives equally repulsive, but at one time or another, nearly every man encounters a menstruating hooha at close range. Sometimes the man is forewarned, but decides to dive in anyway out of sheer horniness if not a genuine fondness for the crimson tide. Other times, the encounter comes as a surprise.

Self-consciousness about body odors can prompt an individual to either isolate themselves or deodorize their fears away, whether those fears are justified or not. You can see this self-consciousness at work in the person who cups hands over their mouth to sample their breath, or the one who sneaks a pit sniff to find out if they "offend.” Such hypersensitivity to natural body odors has spoiled more sexual encounters than venereal warts and crying babies combined.

You might be able to recall an evening spent breathing through your nose and talking out the side of your mouth because you made the mistake of eating onions or garlic before a heavy date. And then later on that night, when you were grunting and puffing atop her (or him on you, ladies), you were likewise careful not to betray your eastern European eating habits. Chances are, these precautions inhibited you so much that you didn't have as good a time as you might otherwise have had. Now I don't necessarily mean to promote gargling before sex or abstinence from spicy foods. But if you do happen to indulge, it's better not to worry about it and pant away to your heart's content on the off-chance that your lover will one day associate garlic with the best fuck he or she ever had.

Communication plays an important part in any relationship, and if your partner tells you to gargle, take a bath, or whatever, by all means do. Just don't go overboard (as cosmetic manufacturers would have you do) at the expense of a healthy, fully sensual sex life.

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Lizzie Boudoir
Lizzie Boudoir
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Lizzie Boudoir

Thrice married, in love once, overly romantic, and hypersexual.

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