Effects of pheromones on menstrual synchrony and a gay man

A correspondent asked: Can anyone tell me of research looking at what effect pheromones might have on a man (in this case, a gay man), living with and among women over a long period of time?  This question was asked of me by a male student, I’m guessing in just such a situation, after we had been discussing the effects on women, such as the dormitory effect of synched menstrual cycles

I’m not aware of any studies, and would be surprised to learn of any, since most people remain unconvinced that human pheromones have the same epigenetic effects as food odors on the gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ system pathway that links both food odors and pheromones to the development of brain-directed behavior across species. In any case, the results of the effects of pheromones acting via their direct effect on gonadotropin releasing hormone secretion from the medial preoptic area of the anterior hypothalamus (e.g., in mammals) could only be partially predicted by his genotype and nutrient and pheromone exposure-enhanced phenotypic expression across his lifetime of experience.

Clearly, food odor and pheromone-induced changes in the neuroanatomy of his brain are predicted by the honeybee model (e.g., for studying human immunity, disease resistance, allergic reaction, circadian rhythms, antibiotic resistance, the development of the brain and behavior, mental health, longevity, and diseases of the X chromosome), and a recent study showed that the mixing of genotypes had what they refer to as indirect genetic effects on social behavior (i.e., “behaviors of single workers can change in response to the genotype of social partners”).

Whether or not these epigenetically-induced changes in his brain alter phenotypic expression of his behavior is a much more controversial  topic than if we were discussing insects, although the molecular mechanisms are the same.  We might first need to get past the statistical analyses of menstrual synchrony studies, and look at cause and effect on hormones, and their affect on behavior before addressing the likelihood that his social circumstances are influencing much more that just the molecular biology of his brain.

Of course his pheromones are also influencing neuroanatomy in his roommates. Assuming, however, that there is good “chemistry” among them, there is little likelihood of “colony collapse,” which suggests no reason not to continue the living arrangements, and no reason to worry about the affects of the pheromones on the behavior of any concerned parties. After all, few people have even considered whether human pheromone-driven menstrual synchrony affects the behavior of women or men, despite that animal models that say it must.

But see for example: Ovulation as a Male Mating Prime: Subtle Signs of Women’s Fertility Influence Men’s Mating Cognition and Behavior and Scent of a Woman: Men’s Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues by forward-thinking researchers who understand the significance of the accurate conceptualization of human pheromones to advances in psychological science.


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