DID YOU know that the odour of your man's body is probably what makes you want to touch him? You may scoff at the idea, especially since there is such a plethora of products to disguise this- deodorants, body washes and creams. But the reality is that the natural, unscented smell of a male body and sweat is far more sexually potent than the Axe spray he applies to mask it!
Body odour often influences a partner's sexual behaviour and women are more receptive to it," says Dr ( Col) V K Wadia, consultant, psychosexual medicine. " During a sexual intercourse, specific odours are secreted by men and it's a woman's perception how she gets influenced by them," he adds.
Not only is body odour significant in sexual behaviour, it plays a decisive role in mate choice as well. "Men and women tend to prefer the odour of individuals who are genetically dissimilar to them," says Dr Anoop Misra, director, department of diabetes and metabolic diseases, Fortis Hospital.
This reduces the chances of inbreeding and renders offspring more resistant to diseases and infections. However, odour preferences can vary according to hormonal changes. "Studies say that women often prefer the odour of men with good parenting skills in the 'fertile period' or the postmenstrual phase," says Dr Misra.
ON THE other hand, men find women more attractive during ovulation. This is mainly due to the specific odour of women in that period. It has also been found that women who are emotionally bonded with their partners perceive the odour of other men less pleasant.
So, what makes our odour so specific? Usually when we perspire, sweat reacts with bacteria present on our skin. This releases some chemicals, hence causing body odour. But it's not just an outcome of sweat. "All of us have a signature odour. This uniqueness is marked by genetics, diet, age, gender, hormones, and environmental factors," says Dr Sushila Kataria, senior consultant, internal medicine, Medanta - The Medicity.
This explains why babies smell different from adults, and how odour changes with the onset of puberty. This also explains why some of us have specific unpleasant odours. Bad breath or strong sweat can be a sign of underlying physical problems. "Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis can have a fruity odour in their breath and skin," says Dr Misra.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition of excessively high blood sugar level that leads to formation of chemical substances called ketone bodies. Their presence causes the typical smell. The best way to prevent is to keep one's blood sugar levels in control.
"In case of chronic kidney problem, or dysfunctional kidneys, the patient's body odour may resemble that of ammonia. This is because such patients retain more wastes or urea in the blood, that spreads to skin and evaporates with sweat," says Prof ( Dr) S C Tiwari, director, nephrology, Fortis Group of Hospitals.
Moreover, a musty odour in hair, breath or skin could be a sign of a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU). Left untreated in early childhood, it could lead to mental retardation or brain damage later. "Similarly, bad breath could be a symptom of non-healing ulcers in the throat, lungs or respiratory tract," points out Manoj K Goel, director, pulmonology, Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. Bad breath could also be sign of bacterial pneumonia and chronic bronchitis.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2010. MTNPL. All rights reserved.