Many years ago, my research on fetishes associated with odor prompted me to look for developmental correlates prior to their manifestation with puberty. Yesterday, I was prompted to review some of the information I had found. According to Marco Del Giudice [sexnet 3/2/11] “…the typical age of adrenarche is about 6 to 8 years, with 7 a reasonable mean.” He also indicated that the age of onset of fetishes converges on the 6-8 range.
I vaguely recall reading that the odor preferences of children begin to change from flowery to musky at about the same time that musky natural body odor production begins, which is with adrenarche (from age 6 to 8). Taken together, it is this information that is supported by the following references that helps to explain how odors are involved in the development of attraction.
McClintock, M., & Herdt, G. (1996) Rethinking puberty: The development of sexual attraction. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 5, 6, 178 183. A biological switch for attraction is turned on at same age (10) in boys and girls timed with adrenarche.
Parker, L.N. (1991) Adrenarche. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America, 20, 1, 71 83. Adrenarche may effect GnRH secretion and pubertal process by enhancing gonadotropin secretion. DHEA is metabolized to androsterone and etiocholanolone.
Margolese, M.S., & Janiger O. (1973) Androsterone etiocholanolone ratios in male homosexuals. British Medical Journal, 207, 3, 207 210. Ratios are associated with the sexual preferences of males.
Pheromones are defined as substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, a definite behavior, or a developmental process.” (Karlson and Luscher 1959)
Androstenol effects luteinizing hormone (LH) in women, and has positive affects on mood (Shinohara, Morofushi et al. 2000; Shinohara, Morofushi et al. 2001) (Preti, Wysocki et al. 2003). The development of personal preferences for the physical characteristics of others is linked to LH in all species of mammals. Androsterone in a mixture with androstenol increases women’s observed flirtatious behavior and self-reported level of attraction (Kelahan, Hoffmann et al. 2007). The Scent of Eros product for men contains the androstenol/androsterone mixture that affects women’s flirtatious behavior and self reported level of attraction.
Karlson, P. and M. Luscher (1959). “Pheromones’: a new term for a class of biologically active substances.” Nature. 183(4653): 55-6.
Kelahan, L. C., H. Hoffmann, et al. (2007). Androstenol/androsterone may condition a human hormonal effect/behavioral affect. Association for Chemoreception Sciences 29th Annual Meeting,. Sarasota, Florida,.
Preti, G., C. J. Wysocki, et al. (2003). “Male axillary extracts contain pheromones that affect pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone and mood in women recipients.” Biol Reprod. 68(6): 2107-13. Epub 2003 Jan 22.
Shinohara, K., M. Morofushi, et al. (2001). “Axillary pheromones modulate pulsatile LH secretion in humans.” Neuroreport. 12(5): 893-5.
Shinohara, K., M. Morofushi, et al. (2000). “Effects of 5alpha-androst-16-en-3alpha-ol on the pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone in human females.” Chem Senses. 25(4): 465-7.