By August 24, 2007 Read More →

Chemical romance: does love rely on pheromones?

Every day, thousands of people look for information about the term “chemical romance” on Internet search engines.  And while I suspect that most of them are trying to find out about the rock band My Chemical Romance rather than how chemicals in our bodies encourage romantic relationships, I think readers of Romance Tracker would enjoy knowing a little bit about the role pheromones play in love.

Chemical Romance: it isn’t just for insects!

When most of us hear the word “pheromones,” I’m sure we think of the chemicals that illicit instinctual responses between animals and insects.  A pheromone is a chemical that is produced by one animal that can affect the behavior of another animal of the same species.  In insects especially, pheromones can trigger responses such as sexual desire, mating, aggression and food gathering.  Not exactly romantic, but the power of chemicals when it comes to the animal kingdom is nothing to laugh at.

But what role do chemicals play in romance among human beings?  Is there really such a thing as “chemical romance,” or love inspired by pheromones passed between two people?  Well, many mammals detect pheromones through an organ in the olfactory system, or sense of smell.  And there have been several studies that do indicate that natural chemicals may play a part in romance between humans, as well.

These studies suggest that pheromones we detect in odors may make us more apt to chemical romance and love by helping us select boyfriends or girlfriends who are not related to us too closely.  In addition, a chemical in male sweat has been shown to encourage a higher production of hormones in women, which may suggest that romance is made more likely in the presence of certain pheromones.

So, is chemical romance real or not?

And some scientists point to the fact that receptors specializing in detecting chemical pheromones do exist in humans, which suggests that chemical romance is more than just theory.  We’ve all seen products on the shelves at stores that claim to encourage chemical romance, too.  There are plenty of perfumes and and other things that call themselves aphrodisiacs that can attract the opposite sex and help you find chemical romance.

Regardless of whether you think chemical romance really exists or not, though, I don’t really think it matters when it comes to romantic relationships. Even if there really are chemicals that can make a person more prone to being romantic, the basic ingredients of a successful relationship remain the same.

Rather than focusing on products that promise to use chemicals to help your love life, the truly romantic person should instead focus on qualities that have always inspired romance between a man and a woman: and those are patience, understanding, and small, subtle acts of love.

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