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How Thanksgiving smells can affect your sex life

Brier Jirka is a sex therapist with the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center. She blogs every other Tuesday for livewellnebraska.com. Read more from Brier here.

Come Thanksgiving Day, wonderful smells will fill kitchens throughout Omaha. There is nothing quite like the scent of a turkey baking in the oven, along with the stuffing, potatoes, and of course, pumpkin pie.

But ladies, consider yourself warned. Pumpkin pie may be your husband's favorite dessert, but it could very well be his favorite scent as well.

The sense of smell is the single most impactful catalyst when it comes to sexual arousal in a relationship, and it's common when speaking with couples in therapy, to hear them express how different smells “get them in the mood.”

The smells of our daily lives can have an impact on our sexual arousal responses. Ever hear a friend say, “The smell of fresh cut grass is such a turn on.” or “The smell my husband has when he gets out of the shower is absolutely amazing.”

Our bodies are equipped with pheromone, a scented sex hormone – basically what we consider our “natural smells.” Think about the animal kingdom in its most natural state. As far as I know, sloths and dolphins aren't wearing Calvin Klein or Vera Wang perfumes in the great outdoors. They are, however, releasing pheromones that help them attract mates.

Women and men are both very sensitive to male pheromones, though in different ways. While a man may think his sweaty body turns on his lady, it can have quite the opposite effect. And you ladies who think perfume will do the trick – think again. A woman's sensitivity to musk, one of the main ingredients in perfumes, is far greater than a man's, and it may actually have the opposite effect on your partner.

Dr. Alan Hirsch, with the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, has done some intriguing work in regard to the scents that provoke sexual arousal in men vs. women. The results might surprise you.

Among the most stimulating scents for men, in order of preference:

• Lavender and pumpkin pie
• Doughnuts and black licorice
• Doughnuts and cola
• Lily of the valley
• Buttered popcorn
• Cranberry

Ladies prefer:

• Good and Plenty candy and cucumber
• Baby powder
• Pumpkin pie and lavender
• Baby powder and chocolate

While I wouldn't urge women to bathe in pumpkin pie filling or put lavender sheets in their clothes on Thanksgiving Day, I would caution that the smell of a pumpkin pie baking in the oven may result in an unexpected “break” during your Thanksgiving dinner preparations.




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