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THE SCENTS OF ROMANCE; SMELLS LINKED TO FEMALE AROUSAL.

Byline: Denise Mann Medical Tribune News Service

So long, oysters. New research suggests that a key to sexual arousal in women might be found in the sweet smell of Good and Plenty candy and other pleasant aromas.

The study found that the scents of Good and Plenty, cucumber, baby powder, pumpkin pie and lavender caused measurable increases in vaginal blood flow - a known marker of sexual arousal.

While many theories exist as to how scents can increase sexual desire, study author Dr. Alan R. Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago suggested that certain scents bring back happy memories, thus lightening a person's mood and making them more interested in sex.

Another possibility is that certain scents somehow stimulate areas of the brain involved in sexual arousal, said Hirsch, who is scheduled to report his findings today at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

To arrive at their findings, the researchers measured vaginal blood flow in 30 women after they were exposed via surgical masks to eight different scents or scent combinations: Good and Plenty and cucumber; baby powder; lavender and pumpkin pie; baby powder and chocolate; perfume; men's cologne; charcoal-grilled barbecue meat; and cherry. For comparison, the women also smelled a nonscented surgical mask.

Overall, the researchers found that women's vaginal blood flow increased by 13 percent for both the Good and Plenty and cucumber combination or the baby powder, 11 percent for the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie, and 4 percent for the combination of baby powder and chocolate.

There was little or no effect for perfume or men's cologne. And both meat and cherries decreased vaginal blood flow, the study showed.

Previous studies in men have found that the smell of lavender and pumpkin pie increased penile blood flow by 40 percent.

Aside from helping both women and men feel more aroused, these findings ``have the potential to help people with sexual arousal disorders,'' Hirsch said.

Hirsch began studying the effects of scent on sexual arousal when he discovered that many patients who lost their sense of smell also suffered from sexual dysfunction.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 11, 1998
Words:357
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