Pheromone parties promote lust, not love
Sex, not true love, is what you'll get should you RSVP 'yes' to a Pheromone Party, according to a scent expert.
Pheromone parties are a new dating experience developed in the US and launched in New Zealand last week which offer singles the chance to smell the worn T-shirt of a stranger in a bid to sniff their way to romance.
However Professor Philipp Kirsch, who has conducted research into sex pheromones and the mating behaviour of insects at the University of Queensland, says the format of these parties lends itself to hook ups rather than happily ever afters.
"It is a sensible or plausible way to identify a partner if the only important criteria is how this partner smells when your eyes are closed, and the sole purpose is sexual," he said.
These parties are the brainchild of American artist Judith Prays who established the concept in 2010 based on science suggesting pheromones - a chemical excreted from parts of the body - play a role in partner selection.
To take part, singles must sleep in a T-shirt for three days. The shirt is then placed in a numbered plastic bag before partygoers smell the garments and take photos with the ones they like the smell of. Those pictures are then projected on to a screen and if a guest sees someone holding up their T-shirt, they are given the green light to strike up a conversation.
Organiser of Australasia's first pheromone party, held in Auckland, Lou Compagnone of the FindSomeone dating service, said she wanted to bring the popular concept, which has swept LA, New York and London, 'down under' as it has a quirky edge she thought would capture people's attention.
"With online dating we provide you with everything but the spark. But this is almost the complete opposite because it starts with pure chemistry," she said."It's almost like an ice-breaker for them."
However talking is one variable Professor Kirsch believes should be discouraged as other senses such as sound overpower a human's sense of smell, which could ultimately eradicate the tempting whiff of a potential lover."I think that any role that pheromones play would be significantly minor.
Animals orient in the environment by sensing a wide range of stimuli - light, sound, smell, touch, taste," he said.
"I would suggest that an important further requirement for these 'Pheromone Parties' would be that both parties should also agree to wear blindfolds when they meet, and that any verbal communication is also forbidden. This would negate the bad news contradictions from direct visual or auditory signals.
"If the goal is to find partner for a broader range of activities, it would seem important to consider the more dominant senses that we use in making choices, such as sight and hearing I believe we all have a visual search image for the 'ideal' partner, and we also like some voices and do not like others. Beyond this, there are so many other values that are much more critical considerations. Pheromones do not provide any useful information about any of these questions."
Sydney Morning Herald