Archive for Sexology: Sex and Smell

Ingelore Ebberfeld, Ph.D.

Sex and Smell

Excerpt: 5. Bibliography

Kohl, James Vaughn/Francoeur, Robert T. (1995): The scent of eros. Mysteries of odor in human sexuality. New York.

Full text:

The following are excerpts from a study conducted by Dr. Ingelore Ebberfeld over a number of years for a professorial thesis (“Habilitationsschrift”) at the University of Bremen. Some findings of this study have previously been published in the journal “DRAGOCO Report”, and a major portion has recently appeared in book form under the German title: Botenstoffe der Liebe – Über das innige Verhältnis von Geruch und Sexualität, Frankfurt/M.: Campus 1998, pp. 252

Ingelore Ebberfeld, Ph.D.

Sex and Smell

  • Body Odors as Sexual Stimulants
  • Getting to Know You – By Smell
  • Artificial vs. Natural Odors
  • Anosmia (The Inability to Smell)
  • Bibliography

1. Body Odors as Sexual Stimulants

Which role do pleasant and unpleasant odors play in human sexual interaction?

In order to answer this question, a survey by questionnaire was conducted. There were 432 participants between the ages of 15 and 84 (273 women and 159 men). They were asked about about their own body odors and those of their partners, and specifically about the influence of these odors on their sex lives. For an evaluation of the answers, findings from various scientific disciplines (physiology, neurobiology, zoology, psychology) were used to provide a larger context, and this context was then enlarged once more by numerous references to ethnological, historical and literary sources.

The survey showed that body odors do indeed play a significant role in sexual communication. For example, they can provide an impulse for sexual activity and also prompt a breaking off of sexual contacts. Indeed, 48,4% of the respondents reported that they were sexually stimulated by the body odor of their partners. In addition, no less than 8,8% of the men and 5,5% of the women reported that they had at least once resorted to clothing previously worn by their partners as a means of sexual stimulation.

It could be demonstrated that humans can and do distinguish between odors emanating from different parts of the body; they can distinguish between the odors of male and female sweat, and they can distinguish between fresh and stale odors. Indeed, men can distinguish between vaginal odors according to different phases of the menstrual cycle. The perception of odors can be conscious as well as unconscious, and it can lead to both conscious and unconscious reactions. Some of these reactions are involuntary. For example, male and female odors can influence hormonal processes, i.e. they can, to a certain extent, regulate menstrual periods.

These observations have led many researchers to a direct comparison with the so-called pheromones which regulate sexual behavior in animals, and, indeed, such pheromones have also been found in humans. However, since humans usually undergo a complex process of socialization, their case is by no means that simple. After all, because of various cultural restraints, they do not immediately or “automatically” react to stimulating odors. Even so, 76,4 % of the men and women sampled do feel sexually stimulated by certain odors, and such odors can have very different sources, as the following graph illustrates:

As far as the first two most stimulating odors are concerned (“body odor without perfume” and “body odor with perfume”), there is not much difference between the preferences of women and men. However, there is a significant difference with the third: 26,0 % of the women name the “body odor after intercourse” as the third most stimulating while 43,4 % of the men name the “odor of the genitals” in third place. In other words, for sexual stimulation, genital odors are much more important for men than for women. (The sexual stimulation women ascribe to “body odor after intercourse” usually refers to renewed stimulation which can occur up to many hours later, and even after the partner has left.)

2. Getting to Know You – By Smell (Dragoco Report 6/1997, pp. 246-257)

People have specific characteristics by which they can be recognized, and one of these is their individual odor. This odor is inherited, and is recognizable, particularly to family members.1 Mothers, for instance, can identify their offspring by their smell, and infants are able, after as little as seven days, to recognize their own mother’s breast.2 People also recognize their partners by smells, either their personal odor,3 or by the fragrance of the body care products they use.

In order to be able to perceive the odor of a person, we usually have to enter their personal atmosphere, which means getting within close proximity to them. This narrow gap between two people can be occasioned by many different kinds of circumstances, which can lead to particularly close encounters both in formal and informal situations. Examples include certain forms of greeting or sexual activities. As a result of the close contact, a person’s smell makes an indelible impression on our odor memory, so indelible, indeed, that the smell of a piece of clothing or a perfume reminds us of a particular person.

This registering of personal odors generally takes place subconsciously, in the same way as we subconsciously record someone’s face or walk. Conscious per ception or, more precisely, perception that triggers a thought process accompanied by a judgement, usually happens in the case of “striking” individual, odors. These may be pleasant or unpleasant body odors, ones that have been found significant or too strong because rather too much fragrance has been used. What criteria each individual applies is based on an individual scale of values determined by sex, race or inherited and other factors.

In fact, this individually determined alertness forms the basis for the subconscious and conscious registering of body odors. This is also what makes possible a particularly intense impression on the memory. Striking and significant smells beat more persistently on our consciousness, and the significant smells include those which are perceived in close and intimate relationships such as those between mother and child or between lovers. “The sense of smell caresses and intoxicates us”,4 it conveys security and creates an intimate connection. This is because the sense of smell cannot get by without emotion. In fact, if we perceive a smell, our feelings are stirred at the same time, and we inevitably make an emotional judgement. We like it or we do not, we are indifferent towards it, or else we react sharply with delight or disgust. When we perceive a body odor, the some thing happens to us as with other odors: we make an inner decision about its familiarity and its quality.

In German, for instance, people say “den kann ich nicht riechen” (literally “I can’t smell him”) when they mean “I can’t stand him” or “I don’t like him”. It can be assumed, however, that this saying originally meant what it says, and that someone who rejected somebody else, did not like to perceive the odor of this other person. Similarly, the opposite would apply, and people who are particularly attracted to someone, also like to smell them. This is in fact the case. Mothers love the odor of their offspring, and children love the odor of their mothers. This odor relationship is perfectly obvious in the case of lovers. It is well known that they are usually infatuated with the smell of their loved one, and often sniff at objects that have absorbed their scent in some way.

Because love and odor seem to be bound together, it is not surprising that etymologically the two words are associated. According to Hagen’s studies5 “…the original meaning of the word love among the Aryans can be traced back to attitudes to odor…”, because they thought that the closest association between man and woman could only be brought about by smell. The root “ghrâ”, for instance means both “kiss” and “sniff at”. In Persian, “bulah” means both “smell” and “love or longing”.

The Persians say therefore, “I am getting the smell of so-and-so in my nose””, which means “I am longing for him”. The French, too, have the same word “sentir” for both “smelling” and “feeling”.

It may well be that there is a connection between smelling and liking, or between smelling and getting acquainted, because many customs and traditions point to one. For example, it is reported that in the year 1880, in some areas of Bohemia, bridal couples were left alone together for a night to enable them to get to know one another intimately. They were said to “smell themselves together” (aby se scuchli).6

Some of the old customs have been handed down to the present day, and still give an indication of their former character, which was that of getting to know another person by smelling them. In my opinion, some forms of greeting, like embracing or shaking hands, can trace their origin back to smelling. Among a Tuvinian nomad tribe in the steppes of Mongolia, for instance, it is still the custom today for people to smell each other when meeting or saying farewell. Children are picked up and their hands and hair smelled.7 Again, we know that the Samoans originally did not only “sniff at one another’s noses”, but also smelled hands. 8

Smelling someone is therefore for checking, for inner assurance that the other person is familiar, and also to get to know him. Originally, like animals, people were accustomed to smelling everything. However, as they began to walk upright, they became increasingly “eye animals”, and from then on, smelling was looked on as animal behavior, and suppressed, particularly in the “civilized world”. We can, however, judge the original significance of smelling very accurately by the example of the so-called “wild children”. They in fact smelled things and people in order to recognize them again, or to get to know them. They trusted their noses more than their eyes. For instance, one of them, Victor von Aveyron, who had been picked up in 1801, aged 11, had got lost one day, and when he was found again by his teacher, he first smelled her hands and arms two or three times. Only then did he decide to follow her, and broke out into a howl of joy.9

The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are not hairy, and therefore smell much less than the underarms for example, yet they give off sufficiently individual odorants for people to be identified by them. We are very familiar with this odor identification in the case of dogs, but people are also capable of distinguishing between male and female hands.10 Wallaces study has even been able to demonstrate that individuals can be distinguished simply with the aid of the odor of the palms of the hands.11 It can be assumed, then, that the European habit of shaking hands as a greeting stems from a kind of mutual hand smelling.

This assumption does not appear to be completely outlandish, because handsmelling as an act of greeting has been observed in a variety of forms. The Kanum-irebe, for example, an ethnic group living in the south of New Guinea, practised hand-smelling at least until 1939. For them it was regarded as a special sign of friendship to wipe off the underarm sweat of the person who was leaving, smell one’s hand and then rub the secretion on one’s own chest,12 Eibl-Eibesfeldt observed a similar sweat-ritual when a Gidjingali (member of an ethnic group in Arnheim Land, Australia) took leave of a visitor. He first took the sweat from under his own arms, rubbed his hands under the arms of his friend, and then again under his own.13

Here, apart from the act of smelling, transfer of odor coupled with subsequent mixing of smells is taking place. This adaptation brings about the situation that the smell of the other person, as it were, becomes one’s own, whereby it possibly can make an even greater impression on the odor memory, because one’s own smells are always more highly thought of than those of others. Furthermore, the body odor of the other person remains present for a longer time, which is of particular importance; this is something real, something that remains, something that can bind people together in a quite intimate fashion, and remind them of one another. We read in a novel, for instance, “When she parted from him, she ran her hands through his hair several times and then put on her gloves quickly. All the following day she breathed … the smell of her beloved and of his hair, which emanated from her hands, which she had not washed!” 14

Malinowski also reports that, in love-play, the natives of the Trobriand islands sniff at one another, and close relatives are also permitted to rub noses, which is what is involved here.

Also, mothers caress their children by breathing over them.15 The nasal kiss practised by lovers there was, at the turn of the century, much more widespread than the oral kiss which is more common today.16 Now the rubbing of noses is not by any means the most important aspect of the nasal kiss, but rather the sniffing of the other person,17 which is why people also refer to it as the olfactory kiss. It is assumed that the origin of this type of kiss goes back to the act of mutual sniffing .18 It is true that the nasal kiss does still exist, and it is also used in greeting. Not long ago it was practised at the Commonwealth Conference in New Zealand. It was Maori Edger Hugh Kaukaru who greeted South African President Nelson Mandela in the Maori fashion. In other words, they rubbed noses.19

The nasal kiss varies in the way it is practised, but it is thought to have been used in its typical form in China. Havelock Ellis characterises it as follows:

“1. The nose is placed against the cheek of the beloved person,

2. while lowering the eyelids, a deep breath is inhaled through the nose.

3. Without touching the cheek, there is a light smacking of the lips.”20

This smacking of the lips, by the way, causes air to be repeatedly drawn back from the oral cavity into the nose, which takes place automatically when eating and drinking, so that when “chewing” wine, there is a further opportunity to sniff it.

The more elaborately the gesture of kissing is made, the more the aspect of smelling or sniffing during kissing appears. It is reported that the mountain folk in Chittagong place mouth and nose on the cheek and breathe in deeply. They do not say, “Give me a kiss”, but “Smell me”. The same was observed among the Burmese.21 In his 1873 book “Reisen in den Philippinen” (Travels in the Philippines), Jagor wrote that “Indian” lovers exchanged worn linen with each other when they parted, so that during their separation they could drink in the smell of their beloved. They also drink in the smell while they are kissing.22 In the area of the Malayan archipelago, Crawfurd observed a greeting ceremony in 1820, which he equated to our customary “greeting kiss”. This included an embrace with head and neck touching accompanied by an audible snuffling. This type of greeting is known among all the tribes living in that area, and smelling and greeting are synonymous in their language.23

The nasal kiss, therefore, is for getting acquainted. The close physical contact makes it possible to capture the smell of the other person very clearly. As a result of capturing the scent, the person smelled can either be identified or else newly recorded. It is recognition by nose. Unlike visual recognition, this does not remain an external matter. In fact, a very intimate internalization of the other person takes place because the scent of a person is actually captured in the body itself.

The greeting kiss as practised by the French, which nowadays is growing increasingly established in Germany as well, has, in my opinion, more olfactory than tactile elements when performed correctly. When it is done in the right way, there is no touch of the lips, but instead, for a brief moment, cheek is lightly pressed against cheek, and two or three times the air is symbolically kissed, and a quiet kissing sound is to be heard. During this procedure, the people greeting each another embrace with varying degrees of warmth, depending on the intimacy of their acquaintance and the length of their separation. However, even this form of greeting enables body odor to be perceived; the head odors – the scalp and hair – play a particularly noticeable role. In the case of the tactile kiss, favored by adults as a gesture of love, the opposite applies. Here, the act of touching comes to the fore and that of smelling plays a minor role. This type of kiss is said to be a “further development of the primitive maternal kiss”.24 This theory has, however, been fiercely contended, because the infant does not kiss its mother’s breast, but sucks it. Von Bernstorff et al. are of the opinion that the kiss represents the most primitive need of animals and humans to pick up one another’s scent, and therefore to sniff at and smell one another. According to them “the inventor of the kiss discovered that touching with the lips is gentler and more pleasant than rubbing noses”. They believe that the kiss represents the blending of souls and that it has become “the symbol and counterpart of coitus”.25

For Europeans, the tactile kiss is a “relatively new discovery”. In the early Middle Ages it is thought not to have been generally known, and at first only appreciated by educated folk as a form of sexual expression.26 Today, on the other hand, the oral kiss is known the world over, and is used in a great variety of ways as an expression of love. And although, in contrast to the olfactory kiss, the smelling aspect of the tactile kiss is of considerably less importance, the sense of smell is nevertheless involved. It is the more important the more intense and intimate the type of kiss. Undoubtedly, kissing and caressing the body with the mouth involves not only touching and tasting,27 but also the satisfaction of the desire to smell. And if we agree with Most, who sees the sense of smell most effectively associated with physical love in the “effect of the sense on the soul”, then smelling when kissing cannot be too highly rated,28 “It, the most subjective of all the senses,” writes Most, “has a far greater importance than the sense of taste. For human beings, it is not only a rich source of pleasure, the sense of sweet and delicate impressions and precious memories, but it even makes close friendships”.29

In addition to smelling, the transfer of saliva also takes place in kissing. Because the saliva, like other secretions from the human body, gives off odorants, the mode of action of the transfer can be regarded as similar to what I have already discussed in the case of sweat rituals. The intensity of the scent found in the transfer of odor through saliva is undoubtedly dependent on the type of kiss. In the case of the tactile kiss of greeting and in the caressing kiss, very much less odorous substance is transferred than in a passionate kiss between lovers.

This aspect of kissing also shows that its origin is to be found in a kind of getting acquainted, a kind of getting to know the other person, of which forms of greeting are a part. In a greeting noted by Eibl-Eibesfeldt in 1985, transfer of saliva as a form of olfactory familiarization played a much more prominent part than in kissing. He observed people greeting one another in New Guinea, near the river Ramu; they spat into their hands before rubbing the saliva into one another’s legs.30

Forms of greeting and farewell, embracing, kissing and offering hands thus give the opportunity for olfactory acquaintance. Although it only has a limited influence, the odor impression must underestimated, it can perhaps even determine whether we want to get to know someone or not. The role of body odor therefore plays a certain part in inter-personal relationships. How big a part this is, is, to a certain extent, revealed in the increasing use of fragrance, because more and more people are doing all they can to smell nice. This is not only to please themselves, but mainly to please others. When people greet each other nowadays, it is not necessarily human odors that come to the fore, but more likely scents that stem from body care preparations and perfumes.

These pleasant smells become an additional characteristic of the wearer, who is recognized by themfor two reasons. First, the wearers of fragrance never completely lose their own individual odors, as is shown by a study by Streblow et al.31 Through the use of a perfume, individual-specific fragrance characteristics can arise so that the user of the perfume can be identified olfactorily even by untrained persons with a high level of significance.32 Second, the scents of perfumes have a status similar to that of articles of clothing, they are part and parcel of a person, and the brand of perfume is identified with that person. We can read that this is indeed the case, for example in the confessions of Franz Grillparzer. There he says, “The fragrance of the smell [of her perfume] hardly reaches me before my heart is set aflutter. I think only of her. Everywhere she floats before me…”33

Literature

 

  • See Porter/Cernoch/Balogh 1985 and Porter/Moore 1981
  • New born infants are already able to experience an odor impression within the first 48 hours, see Sullivan 1991
  • See Hold and Schleidt 1977 and Schleidt/Hold/Attili 1981
  • Mantegazza. 1889 (1873), p. 122. The actual quotation (translated) is “The sense of touch conquers and excites, the sense of sight discovers and delights, the hearing stirs and recaptures us, the sense of smell caresses and intoxicates us.”
  • Hagen 1901, p. 190.
  • See Jager 1880, p. 331
  • Described in the autobiographical novel by Galsan Tschinag (1994) Der blaue Himmel. p. 21 and 79. These forms of greeting and farewell are increasingly being suppressed.
  • See Andree 1889, p. 227.
  • See Malson/ltard/Mannoni 1972, p. 176.
  • See Laska/Hudson 1992. p. 39.
  • See Wallace 1977. The test results were significant because they showed a 70% success rate. Better odor distinguishing, however, occurred when the persons were of different sex than when they were of the same sex.
  • See Nevermann 1939, p. 31.
  • See Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1985 [1977p. 222
  • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, 1964 [1875], p. 125, or “Absentmindedly, he held the tips of his fingere to his nose from time to time, and, with closed eyes, inhaled the memory of his wife.” Shalev 1995, p. 229].
  • See Malinowski 1979 [1929], p. 277ff.
  • See Ellis 1906, p. 80. In 1889, Andree listed the following areas as using the nasal greeting: Lapland, the north of the Old and New Worlds. Greenland, Indochina, Easter Islands, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia and Australia, see pp, 223-227.
  • See Andree 1889, 223 ff. and Duerr 1993, p. 263,
  • See von Bernstorff et al. 1932, p. 92.
  • See Weser Kurier dated 11 November 1995. The unusual picture of the greeting was caught by the camera and reproduced in almost all the newspapers.
  • Ellis 1906, p. 267.
  • See Lewin’ 1869, p. 46, Hagen 1901, p. 187, and Ellis 1906, p. 267.
  • See Jagor 1873, p. 132.
  • See Crawfurd 1967 [1820], p. 100.
  • See Ellis 1906, p.263.
  • See von Bernstorff et al. 1932, pp. 93,98 and 102.
  • See Ellis 1906, pp. 263 and 265.
  • Ellis 1906, (footnote, p. 1), contends that the sense of taste plays a role in sexuality. Von Bernstorff et al. 1932 are convinced of the opposite.
  • See Most 1842, p. 21.
  • Ibid.
  • See Eibl-EibesfelUt 1985 [1977], p. 222.
  • See Streblow et al. 1995, p. 226.
  • Ibid.
  • Franz Grillparzer (1893), quoted from Hagen 1901, p. 264.

Sources

Andree, Richard, (1889): Ethnographische Parallele und Vergleiche. Leipzig.

von Bernstorff, H./Kuno, H./Lothar, Rudolf/Scheuer, O.F. (1932): Der Geschmack. Eine sexual- psychologische und psychologische Darstellung der Rolle und Bedeutung des Geschmackssinns für das Triebleben des Menschen. In: Die Fünf Sinne. Ihre Einflußnahme und Wirkung auf die Sexualitat des Menschen, Vol. 4, Vienna/Leipzig.

Crawfurd, John (1967) (1820]: History of the Indian Archipelago. Vol. 1 London.

Duerr, Hans Peter (1993): Der Mythos vom Zivilisationsprozeß. Vol. 3: Obszönitat und Gewalt. Frankfurt/M.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Irenaus (1985)[1977]: Patterns of Greeting in New Guinea. In: Wurm, S.A. (ed): New Guinea area languages and language study. Vol. 3, Reprint of 1977, Canberra, pp. 209-247.

Ellis, Havelock (1906): Die Gattenwahl beim Menschen mit Rücksicht auf Sinnesphysiologie und allgemeine Biologie. Wurzburg.

de Goncourt, Edmond and Jules (1964) [1875]: Renee Mauperin. (Reprint of the original 1875 edition). Karlsruhe

Hagen, Albert (Bloch, Iwan) (1901): Die sexuelle Osphresiologie. Die Beziehungen des Geruchssinnes und der Gerüche zur menschlichen Geschlechtstätigkeit. Charlottenburg.

Hold, B./Schleidt, Margret (1977): The importance of human odour in non-verbal communication. In: Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, Vol. 43, pp. 225-238.

Jäger Gustav (1880) Die Entdeckung der Seele. (Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Zoologie. Section III: Psychologie). (2nd edition) Leipzig

Jagor, Fedor (1873): Reisen in den Philippinen. Berlin.

Laska, Matthias/Hudson,Robyn (1992): Ability to discriminate between related odor mixtures. In Chemical Senses, Vo 17, No. 4, pp. 403-415

Lewin, Thomas Herbert (1869): The hill tracts of Chittagong. Calcutta.

Malinowski. Bronislaw (1979) t1929]: Das Geschlechtsleben der Wilden in Nordwest-Melanesien. Frankfurt/M.

Malson, Lucien/ltard, Jean/Mannoni. Octave (1972): Die wilden Kinder. Frankfurt/M.

Mantegazza, Paul (Paolo) (1889) [1873]: Physiologie der Liebe. Berlin.

Most, Georg Friedrich (1842): Die sympathetischen Mittel und Curmethoden. Rostock.

Nevermann,Hans(1939):DieKanum-irebe und ihreNachbarn.ln:Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 71st year, pp.1-70.

Porter, Richard H./Cernoch, Jennifer M./Balogh, Rene D. (1985): Odor signatures and kin recognition. In: Physiology & Behavior, Vol. 34. No. 3, pp. 445-448.

Porter,Richard H./ Moore, John D. (1981): Human kin recognition by olfactory cues. In: Physiology & Behavior, Vol. 27, pp. 493-495

Schleidt, Margret/Hold, Barbara/Attili, Grazia (1981): A cross-cultural study on the attitude towards personal odors. In: Journal of Chemical Ecology. Vol. 7, No. 1. pp.19-31.

Shalev, Meir (1995): Esaus Kuß. Zürich.

Sullivan, Regina M./Taborsky-Barba, Suzanna/Mendoza. Raffael/ltano, Alison/Leon, Michael/ Cotman Carl W./ Payne Terrence F./Lott, Ira (1991): Olfactory classical conditioning in neonates. In: Pediatrics. Vol. 87. pp. 511-518

Streblow, Lilian/Graf,Leonore/Junghans, Ulrike/Eggert, Frank (1995): A Breath of Individuality, DRAGOCO Report, No. 5, pp. 220-226

Tschinag, Galsan (1994): Der blaue Himmel. Frankfurt/M.

Wallace, Patricia (1977) Brief communication. Individual discrimination of human by odor. In: Physiology & Behavior, Vol. 19, pp. 577-579

Weser Kurier (1995): Niederlage für Major. Dated 11 November

3. Natural vs. Artificial Odors (Dragoco Report 1/1997, pp.30-37)

People smell by nature. They do so more intensely than their closest relatives, the apes. They smell differently on their heads than under their arms or on their feet. Women radiate a different odor than men. Every one of us has a personal odor that is so individual that a dog can even sniff out a twin from a group of people. The modern human tries to conceal this individuality by maintaining a certain degree of body hygiene and generally by adding pleasant scents to his body. Why is this so? What role do we attribute to agreeable fragrances, particularly in sexuality? And can a perfume or after-shave fulfil the expected task anyway?

Cleopatra, adorned with beautiful scents from head to toe, is said to have hastened to meet Antony in a boat with perfumed sails.1 Why? So that the man she desired would be aware of her even from a long distance and would desire her too? Women still adorn themselves with beautiful fragrances, and perfume their bodies with fragrant lotions. Today more than ever before.
The amount of perfume used, and the variety of fragrances available, increase from year to year.2 Modern man, too, no longer wants to miss out on pleasant-smelling after-shave, he uses a fragrance, and maybe succumbs to the promises of the adverts which speak of erotic charisma and success with the opposite sex.

According to the survey I carried out in 1995,3 80.1% (346) of those surveyed,4 said that they used perfume or aftershave, although the women used fragrance more frequently than the men, as Fig.1 shows.

 

Various factors were cited as reasons for using fragrance. The need “to smell better” took pride of place, with “to appear more attractive” coming second (see Fig. 2).

 

The need “to smell better” by means of “artificial” fragrances, is associated with the avoidance of odors that are perceived as unpleasant. Generally, those odors that arise naturally on the body are regarded as unpleasant, There is nothing worse than to smell of sweat. In a book on cosmetics, Bremer and Klein write, “Although of neutral value from the biological point of view, in modern, westernized industrial societies, body odor is regarded as pungent, repugnant and a sign of being unkempt, which may be associated with its clear original sexual significance. The use of cosmetic deodorants offers a possibility of avoiding giving off body odor”.5

This possibility is taken up by the majority of the population.74.1 % (320) of my subjects said they used deodorants or deodorant soaps.

The women (77.3% (211)) used them more frequently than the (68.6% (109)). Important reasons for the use of deodorants or deodorant soaps were “because the smell of sweat would be offensive even for oneself” or “because it might offend others”. See Fig. 3.

 

In addition to the need to smell better, which is associated with the negation of an individual’s own body odor, those surveyed wanted to appear more attractive through the use of perfume or after-shave (see Fig. 2). Anyway, 42.5% (116) of the women surveyed and 28.3% (45) of the men used fragrances of this type for this reason among others. Of course, in this context. ‘attractive’ can mean anything, but for Bain (1994), whose opinion I share, sexual activity is undoubtedly the reason for any use of perfume. In many situations, therefore, the motive for using perfume may well be of a sexual nature.6 This motive can be quite clearly recognized in Cleopatra’s case, and as we can see from the stories that have come down to us, she succeeded in captivating Antony’s senses. Whether it really was the pleasant fragrances that seduced him, we cannot say. It is, however, certain that Cleopatra hoped to make herself more attractive with perfumes, and that Antony succumbed to her erotic charms.

In my opinion, it is beyond doubt that there are smells that are sexually stimulating. This is also confirmed by my study, in which 69.7% (301) of those asked 64.8% (177) of the women and 78% (124) of the men found specific smells stimulating. In relation to sexuality, my study produced a slight surprise. Although the general body odor without perfume was preferred 48.4% (209), the general body odor with perfume was regarded as sexually stimulating by 45. 8% ( 198) of those questioned.

The erotic components of perfume in conjunction with body odor cannot be more clearly manifested, confirming what sex psychologist Havelock Ellis stated back in 1906: the purpose of perfume is “to increase the natural odor, if it is considered attractive, and to mask it if unpleasant”; in many cases it has “the selfsame effect as primitive body odors”, and at the same time it acts to “perfect the sense of smell”.7

The “primitive body odors”, however, have no public terrain, they are not allowed to manifest themselves because, with them or through them, an element of sexuality would circulate uncontrolled in the interpersonal domain. Moreover, civilized man has learned to regard the odor he himself produces as being unpleasant. That is why “artificial” fragrances take over the role of the body odors, masking, concealing or underlining them, indeed wrapping the body in a “harmless” cloud of fragrance. The task of sweet-smelling essences is similar to that of certain garments. A close-fitting dress, for instance, conceals the naked body as convention demands, but by its cut, color and subtle seaming, it emphasizes precisely those parts of the body that one is seeking to cover, but at the same time underline.

Yet the natural body odors, the primitive ones, have not completely lost their place in the interpersonal domain. In a sexual context they are permitted, even wished for, as is demonstrated by the answers to questions on sexually stimulating body odors. It can be seen from Fig. 4 that, in addition to the “top” sexual odors already mentioned (general body odor with and without perfume), the odors from the genital area and the smell after sexual intercourse were in third and fourth places, while in fifth and sixth places the smells of the underarms and breasts were mentioned. The smell of the breath must also be noted; it comes in seventh place among the stimulating body odors. with a not insignificant 16% (69).

 

As is clearly shown by the survey, the general body odor with perfume has an important place among the sexually stimulating odors, although some individual areas of the body are preferred without the addition of perfume. In a sexual context or in intimate circumstances the natural odors are considered to be attractive and may even be seductive. Yet here, too, a certain maximum must not be exceeded. A fine balance must be maintained between a beneficial addition to the natural odor, and fragrance pure and simple.

When asked how the genital area of their partner should smell, those surveyed preferred “freshly washed smell” and placedit with it with “its own smelR second. Genital areas smelling “of fragrances” or “own smell with fragrances” were left far behind, see Fig. 5.

 

It also becomes clear that body odors should have an expressly desired fragrance, and that people have certain expectations about the odor of particular areas of the body. It is also evident that body odors have a public and a private role, and, in particular, that artificial fragrances can only enhance an erotic situation in specific circumstances, namely, when they lead the way, when they are used as a substitute for odors that are taboo.

Perfume or after-shave should be a complement, or to put it more precisely, an enhancement of the personal aura. The additional fragrance is intended to increase the aura of fragrance because the individual’s own odor is reduced or removed. Furthermore, the consciously used agreeable fragrance is meant to indicate to the other person how good one smells. One always wants to smell “bester” than one normally does, not for oneself, but for the other person, because one becomes increasingly unaware of one’s own added fragrance. And because a person’s own body odors are also of a sexual nature and have a sexually stimulating effect, permitted substitutes are used. Thus, there is no surprise in the statement by Paul Jellinek that first and foremost the modern person demands of a perfume’sex appeal’, an erogenous effect.8

The slogan “Liebe mit dem ersten Duft” (Love at first scent)9 was therefore not only an eye-catching advertising message of the seventies; it also concealed the knowledge of the secret wishes and longings of the potential eau de toilette users. If, in the nineties, the ad-men come up with texts like, “Gammon, mit diesem Duft kann dir alles passieren” (Gammon, with this fragrance anything can happen) or “Axe, der Duft, der Frauen provoziert” (Axe; the fragrance that provokes women),10 then they meet the expectations of the consumers who are looking for an erotic and attractive effect.

If, in addition, the fragrance advertised cleverly “simulates” the body odor and is able to enhance it, fragrance manufacturers have hit the jackpot. The fact that the manufacturers of beautiful fragrances have recognized these things is clearly indicated, for instance, in the advertising text for Chanel No 5. It says here, “A wonderful woman passed me by. blonde, with an easy. swinging. self-assured gait. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by a totally new kind of feeling. A fragrance that I did not recognize. something that surpassed all fragrances. The stuff the soul is made oft, subtle, meaningful melody, sweet, deep spirals, that lead directly to love. I turned and followed her. The fragrance still hung in the air. scarcely perceptible and yet clear, transparent and all-pervasive. I could have sworn that this woman was using no perfume made by man. but that it was her skin. her very being. that spoke to me in this way. I was caught up in it like a butterfly in a ray of sunlight. I wa s hers before I had even really met her”.11

Literature

 

  • See Shakespeare 1978: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Antony and Cleopatra. Shakespeare is probably referring to Plutarch.
  • See the data from the Nürnberger Gesellschaft fur Konsumforschung (GfK), Nürnberg in: Drogerie und Parfümerie, 1/1996, p.23.
  • The results indicated in this paper are just some of those from my overall study, a hither to unpublished, nonrepresentative, survey using a questionnaire, carried out in 1995. A total of 432 persons (63.2% women and 36.6% men) aged between 15 and 84 took part in this survey on the subject of odor and sexuality. The group surveyed was made up as follows:

 

Age groups Frequency
15 – 20 95
21 – 40 212
41 – 60 69
61 – 84 56

The entire group was recruited from all levels of society, and contained 69% heterosexuale, 13.9% homosexuals and 7.6% bisexual persons (9.5% of those surveyed gave no details of their sexual orientation).

  • The figures in brackets indicate the actual numbers of participants.
  • Bremer, Helmut & Klein, Winfried 1988: Deodorantien. In: Umbach, Wilfried (ed) 1988: Kosmetik, Entwicklung, Herstellung und Anwendung kosmetischer Mittel. Stuttgart, (pp. 141 -150), p. 141.
  • See Bain, Hugh 1994: Warum benutzen Menschen Parfüm. In: Jellinek, Paul & Jellinek, Stephan J. (ed): Die psychologischen Grundlagen der Parfümerie. 4th Impression, Heidelberg (pp. 227-234), p. 233; and Jellinek, Paul 1973: Die psychologischen Grundlagen der Parfümerie. Heidelberg, p. 97.
  • See Ellis, Havelock 1906: Die Gattenwahl beim Menschen. Würzburg, pp.111 and 115.
  • See 1973 loc.cit., p, 117.
  • Eau de toilette advertisement from a women’s magazine: Freundin 1971, p. 56.
  • TV ads for after-shave. broadcast in 1993.
  • Press and information folder on Chanel No 5, 1993, p.4.

4. Anosmia: Living without the Sense of Smell (Dragoco Report 6/1998, pp264-270)

In 1815 Hippolyd Cloquet reports of a surgeon who for ever lost his sense of smell by breathing a terrible odor while “opening” the archbishop of Bremen, Johann Friedrich.1 As a result, from this moment on the surgeon suffered anosmia. However, it is questionable if the odor really caused the total failure of his sense of smell. This is usually caused by accidental damage of the olfactory center, by a brain tumor, or by permanent damage of the olfactory mucous membrane or nerve fibers. Our surgeon must actually have fallen and, e.g., injured his bulbus olfactorius (nose), or he must have damaged his regio olfactoria (mucous membrane) with caustic vapors without noticing it. Another possibility is that growing polyps promptly hindered any olfactory sensation.

Whatever really happened to the surgeon, today he would share this destiny with approx. 1.2% humans without a sense of smell. And, some of them have even inherited anosmia. This group of humans without a sense of smell is extended with people who suffer partial anosmia. That means their sense of smell functions in principle, but is “blind” towards certain odors, e.g. some amber or sandalwood scents.2 It is even estimated that 2% of the world population cannot perceive perspiration, 3% cannot perceive excrement, and 40% cannot smell urine.3 Partial anosmia can be either of permanent or temporary nature. It can be either hereditary or not. As a well-known example, many more women than men can smell the musk-like androstenol as well as the androstenone4 which includes a urine note.5 We also know that some women lose the ability to smell exaltolide (musk-like- scent) after removal of the ovaries; this ability can be remobilized by taking estrogen.6

But, let us come back to people who really cannot smell. These 1.2% of the world population have either never possessed a sense of smell or have lost it through certain circumstances. Those among them who were born with an intact olfactory system know what it means to be able to smell. They actually experience the total effect of the loss of this sense. The sense of smell does not only offer pleasures of taste and warn us of spoiled meat, or releases a fire alarm. It enriches our sensual life in a very subtle and extraordinarily emotional way. The statements of anosmic persons show us how. For example, a man who suddenly lost his sense of smell through a head injury resumes: “Sense of smell? I never gave it a thought. Usually one does not think of it. But once I couldn’t smell, it was as if I had gone blind. Life had lost lots of its excitement. You can’t imagine how much depends on odors. We smell humans, we smell books, we smell the city, we smell springtime – maybe not consciously, but odors form a wide unconscious background for everything else. My life had become much poorer at one blow … “.7

And an anosmic woman expresses the loss with the words: ” … it is almost as if we have forgotten how to breathe.”8 In other words, it is hard to believe the loss of a thing we take so much for granted. Or as a man says who, together with the sense of smell, lost the skill to analyze meals: “I feel empty, in a sort of limbo”.9

However, anosmia does not only have emotional effects which can cause a sentimental void. It also influences appetite at a high degree. Because, as the smellers among us know, the odor of a meal influences our appetite long before we have visually sensed it. The odor is a forerunner or extends the visual impression, and, even more important, it is part of the meal itself. This is why Anthelm Brillat Savarin (1755 – 1826), a gourmet and expert of pleasures of the table, was convinced that “… odor and taste form a common sense, with the mouth as laboratory and the nose as chimney …”10 The assumption that these two senses form a unity is actually incorrect. However, the senses of smell and taste are the best allies in the scope of foods and beverages. There are things that cannot be sensed without the other or are experienced only if both senses are intact. Some taste trends of the tongue actually are pure odor components. People with anosmia cannot distinguish between regular sugar and vanilla sugar nor tell the difference between mint tea and hot water.

They are ignorant to fancy smelling meals which thrill a gourmet, and, as Zwaardemaker states, their sensation of taste make a “strange impression” to the layperson.11

The loss of the sense of smell can thus have severe consequences for the individual. Furthermore, studies have determined that these persons do not only lack a sensation, but that the loss also influences feelings of desire and listlessness also with regard to sexuality.

For some persons anosmia leads to a decrease in sexual interest. The interest, however, returns once the sense of smell is intact.12 This phenomenon of the interrelation between the sense of smell and sexuality has also been I observed in the opposite direction. The loss of the sense of smell has been recorded, e.g., after castration or during menopause.13

As we see, the sense of smell can have a great influence on elementary sources of pleasure. Odors are omnipresent in our lives like a “broad unconscious background for everything else”. Odor often forms the “gate to the soul” of a person with a sense of smell.14 Odors can vehemently touch the memory, frighten or deter, seduce, and fulfill with a pleasant shudder. These experiences remain unknown to humans without a sense of smell. They do not have memories through scents and they have a different relation to the things around them. The smell of flowers has no meaning, the body odor of a partner is insignificant, and the unpleasant smell of the neighbor’s trash can never be a source of conflict.

But, living with smellers in a world of odors, a person without a sense of smell can never ignore odors. What is life with pleasant odors, fragrances, offensive smell, and caustic vapors like if you don’t have a sense of smell? Three persons, two men and a woman, without a sense of smell will answer this question in the following pages.15

The first report is from Mr. A., 26 years old, who suffers anosmia since a car accident. In an interview he stated the following:

 

I used to enjoy smelling and had a relatively fine nose. This was a perfectly natural thing. I never wasted a thought, at least as long as I still could smell.Then, with 18 years, I was involved in a car accident. After a 24-hour memory loss I woke up with a severe concussion and a fractured scull. I was supposed to sleep a lot to maintain the head at rest. When I finally was allowed to get up and eat, everything was tasteless and all the same – nothing seemed to have spices. At the same time, I constantly had a dull rubber smell in the nose. I connected these two facts only once I noticed I could no longer smell my a ftershave. A dramatic thought popped into my mind which I did not yet want to take seriously. I repressed this idea during the remaining stay at the hospital. However, it never really let me go. Once at home, I went directly for a characteristic smell, the coffee can, took a deep sniff, and… smelled nothing!After several medical tests the doctors assumed that the olfactory nerve was ruptured – a location in the head where no one dares to operate without a serious reason.

Anosmia is not a serious reason. As poetic justice my visual acuity had improved to 150%. Consequently, my sensory world forms through sight for the remote contact and taste for the close contact. For example, I would never eat in semi-darkness – the visual appearance has become much too important.

This also applies to human relations. But here it is by far more difficult to compensate the missing sense of smell I reserve this special nearness to very few persons. It is something particular for both, and my girlfriends and I always regretted the fact that I could no longer smell them. On the other hand, now I can approach persons without any odor barriers. It is no longer possible that I can’t stand someone for reasons of smell.

Recently, for the first time, I was even able to help a girlfriend with an upset stomach. The smell of vomit used to make me sick too. These are some positive experiences. However, there are only few – when I think about it I have more negative memories. Once, for example, I had to ask a friend when I was looking for an apartment to take over the smell test.
Or, people in a streetcar made fun of me sitting next to what I thought was a puddle of water. I am not even able to keep a pet – I wouldn’t notice a hidden urine puddle.

But in general I can handle my missing sense of smell. One can manage daily life quite well without smelling. It would be interesting to find our how long newacquaintances take to find out. Still, if my sense of smell recovered, I would take a year off! In theory I still know how every thing smells, but the actual sensation is something completely different. I’m sure this would be a real big thing. “

The experience of a 62 year old woman, Mrs. B., is slightly different. She suffers anosmia ever since birth and knows nothing about the cause. As a child she first did not notice the lack. Her mother noticed it at some time between the age oft wo and three because she showed no reaction to flowers or similar things under her nose. She tells us:

 

“Actually my mother’s discovery did not change much in mylife. Maybe I’m more careful wich things becauseI think: it might smell. For example, as a young girl I used to sweat a lot and change my clothes at least twice a day. Even when I worked at the office. I was always afraid I smelled. Today I still change my clothes after cooking or before leaving the house. I even change my panties twice a day and sometimes before going to sleep. I might have an inferioriry complex. It also includes bed-linen,especially in summer. I air the house 24 hours a day because I’m afraid the air might be stuffy. I don’t know if it smells. Without anosmia I might think: well, it’s not necessary yet.I must admit that I made a very important experience when I was somewhere between 18 and 20 years old. It was my very first employment and, although I had taken a shower, I must have smelled. My boss mentioned it to me. Ever since then, I care for myself more thoroughly.I also use deodorants or perfumes which I choose wich the help of friends or my daughters. In my opinion, however, people with anosmia should be unobtrusive and caurious with fragrances, i.e. the less the better and, once you find one, keep to a scent that others appreciate. I give away all the samples from drugstores and perfumeries since I have already tried out perfumes which did not suit me at all.

Actually I shouldn’t need a deodorant. But, it feels nice and fresh and gives a feeling of cleanliness. I have already been told I have a nice smell. That was my deodorant and it made me very happy to hear so. That confirmed my choice.

I cannot really check my body odor. I must do it mentally and say: O.K., everything’s all right I have taken a shower, and so on. I do wash myself fairly often. Also after cooking and shopping. I am especially cautious with the intimate area. For example, I use one roll of toilet paper a day. It was not this way when I was young, but the fears grow with rising age.

If I should spontaneously say where I miss the sense of smell most, I would first mention perfume. Because I never have a note of my own. And also with flowers… And I envy my daughter-in-law when she picks up her little babies and asks them in a sweet voice if they are smelly – I couldn’t do so. Or my first own apartment with the gas supply and my parents who noticed the smell of gas. One could need the sense of smell in a situation like this. I never used gas again. When I was young I had an experience which can only happen to a person with anosmia. A girl had found out about my suffering and held a perfume bottle with a caustic liquid under my nose. I almost fainted and everybody laughed. Yes, when I mention that I cannot smell, sometimes it seems to be amusing.

But all in all I do not miss the sense of smell. I can feel. Maybe my tactile sense is more pronounced. For example, there are many things I don’t like to touch. However, I hold pretty flowers or fabric to my face or under the nose where I can feel them. I also think my visual faculty is very pronounced. I pay attention to everything and memorize most o f it – probably because I cannot perceive odors.

And nobody has ever complained about my missing sense of smell. I have always been careful. Even the cooking works fine. Sure, I have let things burn and still served the pudding in bowls. ButI actually never have experienced any disadvantages… If now I suddenly could smell, I don’t think much would change… “

Last but not least I will quote Mr. C., 39 years old, who had a yearning undertone in talking about odors. At the same time, however, he stated not to mind having anosmia. He says:

 

“I think I have always had anosmia, i.e. from birth on. I noticed it as a child when I was asked for certain odors, but didn’t smell a thing. Since my grand-mother also couldn’t smell, my family and I assumed I must have inherited it and we did not care much about it.Although I lack the sense of smell, my sense of taste is still intact. However, I’m not absolutely sure about it since I have no comparison. But I like to cook, for example, and nobody ever complained when I worked as a cook in a bar. At home I like to arrange food in a special way – I would never serve a meal with pots and pans on the table. obviously, spoiled foods are a minor problem to me since I cannot smell if they still are OK. Sometimes I just have to try them. Generally I cook fish right away and meat no later than after two to three days. If I’m not sure how old foods are I prefer to throw them away.What I also cannot smell is my own body odor. For this reason I take one or two showers a day, simply as a preventive measure. I also change my underwear daily. I use my eyes to check my clothes – after all, you can see when jeans are dirty. Sometimes I have been told that I smell of sweat, or something of the like. But I guess that happens to other people too. I hardly ever use deodorants or perfumes, and I use aftershave only because it feels pleasant and is good for my skin. I would never buy perfume only to have a good smell. Actually I really cannot understand how people can spend so much for such things. It must have some kind of an effect on those who can smell. Advertisement for perfume rather turns me off. I assume a gigantic humbug behind the whole thing. But, it still influences my choice when I buy a perfume as a present. Usually I ask the sales personnel for advice, take a friend to help me, or I have already investigated beforehand what perfume this specific person uses….

On the other hand, I have already used a certain aftershave which women I had a special relationship with appreciated. I liked the feeling to please their taste, but it actually didn’t mean much to me. It was pleasant to have a good smell, however, I would prefer someone to tell me that she or he likes this or that in me.
Of course, not to smell also has advantage. I have no problem in cleaning things that smell bad and I don’t mind the smell of heavy traffic. This reminds me of my military service where I had to drive a tank with several comrades. According to other recruits, the odor was almost unbearable. Of course, I didn’t smell a thing.

However, I do sense some things with my nose. For example, I find dry and stuffy air very unpleasant. I also sense the smell of paint and glue immediately, i. e. things high in solvents – maybe more with my eyes, because they start to sting. I doubt that this reaction is caused by anosmia. I do not believe that people suffering anosmia compensate this lack by developing other senses.

Finally I must confess that I do not miss the sense of smell so much at all. Once a doctor told me he could cure my anosmia through an operation. I never really thought this possibility. Sure, it would be nice to smell certain things such as fresh bread or some natural scents which arouse most humans, but actually….Furthermore, I would no longer need to explain the thing called anosmia. Most people cannot imagine that I cannot smell. When I explain this, it’s like with an uncommon name when you start spelling it letter by letter.”

It seems to be the same for people with and without anosmia: they cannot imagine the other world. Still, in comparison to people with anosmia, smellers have no need to adjust to the other world. Without the sense of smell you are obliged to. Not because they miss scents or because they are vital for them, but because they live together with people who can smell. Although it doesn’t mean anything to them, they must learn to anticipate scents. They must develop strategies to get on the track of scents which accompany smellers in day-to-day life.

Notes

 

  • cf. Cloquet 1824 (1815), p. 53.
  • cf Ohloff 1990, p.57.
  • cf Hatt 1990, p. 1l5, here you also find a table with further fragrance components which are not sensed by part of the population.
  • Androstenol and androstenone are steroids present, e.g., in human axillary perspiration. They control the sex life of some animals. For this reason these substances are also called pheromones (substances that influence sexual behavior).
  • cf Gilbert/Wysocki 1987, p. 516; Ohloff 1992, p.18 who probably refers to Gilbert/Wysocki 1987; Gower/Nixon/Mallet 1988, p. 63, and Cowley/Brooksbank 1991. 37.2% to 44% men are attested partial anosmia towards androstenone.
  • cf Guerrier et al. 1969 and Douek 1974, p. 130 f
  • This is the statement of a patient of the neurologist Oliver Sacks, 1989, p. 214.
  • Quoted from Ackerman 1990, p. 41.
  • id.
  • 1962, p. 27. The book by Brillat-Savarin Physiology of Taste from which I quote here is also regarded as fundament for the food science. It is the onlv book he has ever written and it took him 25 years.
  • Cf. Zwaardemaker 1895, p. 155 who, during his long work life in medicine, found only one person born with anosmia.
  • Cf. Rivlin/Gravelle 1984, p. 149.
  • Cf. Mortimer 1936; on the pages 615 f. he shows further interrelations between the sense of smell and sexuality as well as the nose and the genital organs. However, it must be mentioned that some of these interrelations are disputed.

See also the relation between genetic anosmia and eunuchism (persistence of the sexual development in the stage between child and adult), the so-called Kallmann or olfacto-genital syndrome, cf. Engen 1982, p. 82, or Breckwoldt 1994, p. 35.

  • Degen 1992
  • The following personal reports were selected from a total of eight interviewe (based on 39 questions each) recorded two years ago. They represent summaries of tape recordings which first were transcribed, then cut, and finally reviewed to maintain the optimum original tone. I express my thanks to the students of the University of Bremen, Imke Weitkamp, Susanne Grapentin, and Ute Schaefer, for their very good prework.

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About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society