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Science behind Sex Appeal: What REALLY attracts you to your mate?   A conversation between Oprah and Dr. Laura
 
Physical attraction may be as old as time, but new studies are beginning to uncover the science behind sex appeal. Unexpected factors—like biochemical odors, face shape and voice pitch—just might have more to do with your choice of mate than anyone ever expected.

Researchers on human scents found that
when women are ovulating, they produce copulins, a scent that attracts men. The researchers believe when a man gets a whiff of copulins, his testosterone levels rise. As a result, he secretes androstenone, a pheromone that repels women who aren't ovulating. "Bars and nightclubs across the world are the battlefield for this invisible biochemical war," Oprah says.

Sex
therapist Dr. Laura Berman says attraction has a lot more to do with science and evolution than people might think. "We are innately all puppies in heat," she says. "We are capable of discerning 10,000 different scents consciously. But then there's a whole realm of unconscious scents that we're not even aware that we're smelling."

These odors let people know when a woman is fertile and when a man's testosterone levels are high, Dr. Berman says. As a result, individuals can tell when someone else is most ripe for reproduction. "It's all about survival of the species," she says. 

One common complaint Dr. Berman hears among women with relationship problems is that they love their partner, but they're not in love with him. "There is a difference between love and chemistry," Dr. Berman says.
"Take a really good whiff of him without cologne when he's relatively clean. If that smell turns you on, that's a really good cue of chemistry."

In one recent study, Dr. Berman says researchers had women smell men's T-shirts. The women were most attracted to the shirts of men with a different major histocompatability complex (MHC) from them. MHC is a collection of genes that are related to immune systems. "We unconsciously want to mate with someone who has a different immune system than ours because that helps with the survival of our offspring," Dr. Berman says.

The T-shirt study also found that women taking hormonal contraception were attracted to men who had similar MHC as they did. "If you're on the pill, your body is being tricked into thinking you're pregnant, so you're not ovulating," Dr. Berman says. "The bad news there is that they have looked at these couples who have similar MHC, and not only do they have higher levels of infidelity and higher levels of marital discord, but they also have higher infertility issues."

Another unexpected factor that has been found to directly affect attraction is voice pitch. Dr. Gordon Gallup says that women with
higher estrogen levels have higher voices, which makes them more desirable to men. "When females are midcycle, when they're the most fertile, the most likely to conceive, their voices are rated as being significantly more attractive," he says.

It's hard to pinpoint what distinguishes a gorgeous face from an average one, but some researchers are getting pretty close. Psychologist Dr. Lisa DeBruine says she's found that women's faces get more attractive to men when they are ovulating. "We're not entirely clear why there's this difference, but we think that the women might look healthier, have a bit of a healthier glow when they are ovulating."

Not everything that goes into finding a partner is biological. Researchers have also found that if a woman looks at the face of a man whom she knows nothing about, she will give it a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 that's different than if she is shown the same face and a corresponding income.
When a man makes a lot of money, a woman will rate him higher on an attractiveness scale than she would that same man with a smaller income.

Dr. Berman says this isn't a case of women being gold diggers.
"It goes back again to evolution. When we were having babies who were very dependent on us, we couldn't hunt and take care of ourselves, so we were looking for the man who had the most social status, who was the best hunter, who was going to bring home the biggest chunk of meat for our babies," she says. "It's the same thing today." 

Smell, voice pitch and face symmetry might be unconscious detectors of attractiveness, but if you're trying to consciously assess the future of a relationship, Dr. Berman says there's one surefire way. "You really learn a lot from a kiss. …
Sixty-six percent of women say they would dump a guy after a bad first kiss," she says. "It's not only because you're getting that good whiff of him so you're seeing if you like the way he smells. All your senses are engaged, and you get a sense of his sensuality, his connection, whether he's a take-charge kind of guy or more of a stepping back kind."

When it comes to relationships, Dr. Berman says kissing frequency is a direct indicator of happiness.
"It turns out that couples who kiss and cuddle regularly are eight times less likely to be stressed and depressed than couples who don't get that," she says. "You have to have a minimum of a 10-second kiss every day."
 
 
Dr. Iverson's Comment
 
Whheewwee~ Spring is in the Air! And so are the pheromones apparently!!! 
 
I particularly enjoy this article because animal psychology and human behavior were some of my favorite classes in university. The real understanding is that we are all just animals with a brain that has a frontal lobe allowing us to create complex thought. First and foremost, we are animals of the natural world. So we have to look to Nature to find the answers for our own lives. This is the premise of the book I am currently writing that will be available very soon- be on the look-out!
 
On some level we all want to believe in romance and chivalry and happily-ever-after endings, the point is though, without the biological aspect taken into consideration… it really is just a fairy tale dream. 
 
Because we are human animals, as males we seek the females most fertile to pass on our genes and as females the males most likely able to provide for our offspring.   It is unconsciously a process we are selecting on regardless if we think that we love someone just for their intellect, their kind heart, their funny qualities, or what they have in common with us. 
 
Most interestingly, according to this article, are the messages that incorrectly emitted by the body when they are chemically manipulated by something as simple as birth control pills. To think that you can actually send the wrong messages if you are on the pill. The pill sends the message that “I am pregnant” and that can mean the wrong signals being sent because you are not! If a couple is attracted to one another while on birth control and later goes off birth control the messages will be different again. See how this can spell trouble in the future relationship?
 
Of course, finding the most compatible partner is more than just pheromones and biological attraction. It has to do with how we connect on a physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual level as well. Adding in the biological aspect will just bring into consideration one more aspect for a successful relationship.
 
So… what advice may I offer? This should actually be a fun activity; spend time sniffing your partner when they are clean without added fragrances from shampoos, lotions, or perfumes. Smell them and kiss them… a lot! If you are attracted to what you are smelling and kissing… then you are probably onto something good for you!
 
Happy Spring Sniffing!
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