Body Odor


Body odor plays a significant role in human attraction and social interactions. discusses how body odor affects perceptions of attractiveness and mate selection. He notes that our response to someone's natural body odor can be a major factor in our attraction to them, and this is independent of artificial scents like perfumes or colognes. People who find a potential partner’s natural scent unappealing might regard this as a dealbreaker, despite other favorable characteristics that person might have 1.

Additionally, body odor is linked to the immune system through a set of genes called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Humans and animals tend to prefer mates whose MHC is different from their own, which can lead to a healthier immune system in offspring. This preference is communicated through body odors, underscoring the role of scent in evolutionary and personal mate selection 2.

Moreover, body odors can have other biological impacts, such as affecting the timing of puberty. Exposure to the scent of a reproductively-competent male can trigger earlier puberty in young females, particularly if they are not regularly exposed to the scent of their father. This suggests that the presence of certain body odors can influence the hormonal systems that regulate puberty 3.

Attractiveness and Odor

Andrew discusses how odor plays a powerful role in attraction and mate selection, and how oral contraception affects perception of attractiveness based on odor.

Huberman Lab

The Science of Love, Desire and Attachment | Huberman Lab Podcast #59

These insights illustrate the profound impact that body odor has on social and biological functions, influencing everything from attraction to reproductive development.