Pheromone Science: Pheromones And Gender Perception

Happy Friday, Love Scent fans!

First, we want you to know that you still have some time to take advantage of our Halloween discount. We’ve extended the sale for a few more days, so you still have a chance to save 31% on your next order by using the code LUVHALLOWEEN! Make sure to save while you can!

Now, on to today’s topic!

This week, we’re going to take another dive into pheromone science, and learn what research can tell us about pheromones and gender perception.

Now, in the animal kingdom, responses to pheromones are often sex-specific–that is, an individual’s response to a particular pheromone depends on the sex of that individual. Male animals typically respond to pheromones one way, and female animals typically respond to pheromones another way. This is likely to do with the fact that, in the animal kingdom, pheromones are often used specifically to convey information related to courtship and mating. In those cases, the sexes of the individuals involved are very relevant.

In humans, however, responses to pheromones are much more fluid, and pheromones serve a much wider range of purposes. Men and women often respond to the same pheromones, and often respond to them in the same or similar ways. As we’ve seen recently, for example, AndrostaDIENONE leads to greater generosity in men and women alike, even if it affects them differently in other ways, such as mood elevation[1]; and certain pheromone products, such as Alpha-7can be used by both men and women to equal effect. As we’ve said a few times before, the relationship between pheromones and gender is complicated, and it’s generally better to look at the effects of a specific pheromone rather than whether that pheromone is marketed to men or women.

All that said, we do know that there are some sex-specific responses to certain human pheromones. Or, to be very particular, the responses are gender-specific: recent research shows that it’s a person’s gender identity, not their chromosomes (sometimes referred to as “natal sex”), that determine their responses to sex-specific pheromones[2]. In other words, transgender women respond to sex-specific pheromones the same way cisgender (non-transgender) women do, and transgender men respond to sex-specific pheromones the same way cisgender men do.

This week, we’ll take a look at two pheromones with some sex-specific effects, AndrostaDIENONE and Estratetraenoland what these two can tell us about pheromones and gender perception.

First of all, regular readers will remember that AndrostaDIENONE and Estratetraenol not only have certain sex-specific effects, but sexual orientation-specific effects as well. AndrostaDIENONE has a much larger sexual effect on straight women and gay men compared to gay women and straight men[3], and Estratetraenol has stronger sexual effects on straight men and gay women compared to gay men and straight women[4].

Another study, published in 2014, shows that AndrostaDIENONE and Estrateraenol also affect our perception of other people’s genders[5]. Let’s take a look at that study now!

This study examined how AndrostaDIENONE and Estratetraenol impacted people’s ability to tell the gender of dynamic point-light displays that portrayed walking human figures. Point-light displays look like this:


Point-light displays use research into human gait patterns to display different gaits with minimal visual information–in this case, moving white dots. Gait patterns differ based on a number of factors, including physical shape and size, emotional state, the walker’s intentions, and more[6]. Researchers have also identified some sex-specific differences in gait patterns: because men and women’s bodies generally have physical differences, particularly in the pelvis and torso, men’s and women’s gait patterns are usually different enough to be subconsciously recognizable.

In the video above, the figure marked with a 0 is considered the most androgynous walker, while the figure marked -0.45 is considered the most feminine, and the figured marked 0.45 is considered the most masculine. Compare the most masculine figure to the most feminine, or either of them to the androgynous figure, and you can see the subtle differences in the pelvis and torso as the walker moves.

To examine the relationship between pheromones and gender perception, researchers gathered together 96 study participants: half male, half female, with half of the men identifying as gay and half of the women identifying as gay or bisexual. Participants were then exposed to clove-scented AndrostaDIENONE, clove-scented Estratetraenol, or a clove-scented pheromone-free liquid, and watched point-light displays of walking human figures. The participants were then asked to decide whether walkers had been men or women. Each participant repeated the experiment three times, over three days, and were exposed to a different solution (one of the pheromones or the control liquid) on each day. The researchers then compared the effects.

The results showed a convincing link between pheromones and gender perception. Straight men were more likely to say that a point-light walker was a woman when they were exposed to Estratetraenol, even when the point-light display showed a purely androgynous gait pattern. Gay men, on the other hand, were not affected this way by Estratetraenol–but they were more likely to say that an androgynous figure was more masculine when exposed to AndrostaDIENONE. (Straight men were not affected this way by AndrostaDIENONE.)

In the women’s group, straight women responded to AndrostaDIENONE the same way gay men did: they were more likely to rate the point-light walkers as more masculine, even when the figures showed an androgynous gait. They did not experience the same effect when exposed to Estratetraenol. This similarity in straight women and gay men’s responses to AndrostaDIENONE is reminiscent of previous research that showed similarities in straight women and gay men’s sexual responses to the pheromone.

Now for the really interesting part: gay and bisexual women weren’t really impacted by either AndrostaDIENONE or Estratetraenol! Previous research has shown that lesbian women respond sexually  and romantically to Estratetraenol the same way straight men do, but with regard to pheromones and gender perception, the same pheromone does not seem to have a noticeable effect. Or, as researchers speculated, the result might have been due to this particular group of gay/bi women’s wider range on the Kinsey scale, which was used to determine participants’ sexual orientations. The wider range could mean that the link between pheromones and gender perception was harder to pinpoint with this group of women, or that their more ambiguous sexual orientations led to a more ambiguous perception of gender. Perhaps further research will answer the lingering questions there!

So, what does all this mean for you, a pheromone user? Well, if you’re a straight man, you can wear AndrostaDIENONE to appeal to women who are more attracted to masculine men. If you feel more confident when you are perceived as more masculine, you can also wear AndrostaDIENONE to give yourself a confidence boost in your interactions with women. If you’re a gay man wanting to appeal to other gay men who are attracted to more masculine men, you can use AndrostaDIENONE to the same effect.

Further, if you’re a straight woman (or bisexual/pansexual woman) hoping to attract men who are more attracted to feminine women, you can wear Estratetraenol to give your love life a positive impact, and can improve your confidence if you feel better when you’re perceived as more feminine by your (straight male) partners. We already knew that Estratetraenol stimulates straight men’s sexual and romantic instincts; now you know you can use Estratetraenol to appeal to their partner preferences as well!

And while gay women may or may not be able to use Estratetraenol to appeal to women who prefer feminine partners, we still know that Estratetraenol stimulates gay and bisexual women in other subconscious ways. Even if Estratetraenol doesn’t affect gender perception for gay and bisexual women, it still primes the brain for sex and romance, and that’s a useful addition to your romantic life!

More broadly, this also reiterates that individual pheromones have a huge range of effects that may or may not depend on gender. AndrostaDIENONE, for example, impacts people in many different ways: increasing generosity and elevating mood, improving emotional intelligence[7], affecting sexual attraction, and, now, affecting gender perception. Some of these effects are sex-specific, and some of them are not.

Basically, this goes to show that human pheromones are complex, nuanced, and, above all, endlessly fascinating!


There you are, Love Scent fans! We hope that you find this information about pheromones and gender perception as fascinating as we do!


Have you noticed a link between these (or other) pheromones and gender perception, in yourself or others? Share your stories in the comments! As always, you can also contact us directly with questions, comments, or concerns. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get free samples and to be the first to hear about blog posts, exclusive promotions, new products, and more!


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.




1. Perrotta, Valentina et al. The Putative Chemosignal Androstadienone Makes Women More Generous. Journal of neuroscience, psychology, and economics 9.2 (2016): 88–99.

2. Burke SM, Cohen-Kettenis PT, Veltman DJ, Klink DT, Bakker J. Hypothalamic response to the chemo-signal androstadienone in gender dysphoric children and adolescents. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2014;5:60.

3. Savic, Ivanka et al. Brain response to putative pheromones in homosexual men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102 20 (2005): 7356-61.

4. Berglund, H. et al. Brain response to putative pheromones in lesbian women. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103 21 (2006): 8269-74.

5. Zhou, Wen, et al. Chemosensory communication of gender through two human steroids in a sexually dimorphic manner. Current Biology 24.10 (2014): 1091-1095.

6. N.F. Troje. Decomposing biological motion: a framework for analysis and synthesis of human gait patterns. J. Vis., 2 (2002), pp. 371-387.

7. Hornung J, Kogler L, Wolpert S, Freiherr J, Derntl B. The human body odor compound androstadienone leads to anger-dependent effects in an emotional Stroop but not dot-probe task using human faces. PLoS ONE 12(4) (2017): e0175055.

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