“As we act out the complex rituals of courtship, many of them inscribed deep in our brain, scent-based cues help us zero in on optimal partners—the ones most likely to stay faithful to us and to create healthy children with us.” (“Scents and Sensibility,” Psychology Today)
You already know that I love new baby smells and believe that our sense of smell plays an important role in the bonding process. Since making this discovery a couple of years ago, I have thought off and on about the subject as news stories or ideas have come up on my radar. Then, a couple of days ago, I had an experience that brought smell and bonding onto my radar again.
As my husband was saying good-bye to all of us to leave for work, he came over to hug and kiss me like he always does. It was an ordinary hug, no different from every other hug on every other morning. But this time I noticed something I had never paid attention to before. When we hugged each other, both of us, simultaneously (instinctively?), drew in a long breath through our noses, smelling each other deeply. As I watched this exchange, almost as an outside observer, I was absolutely fascinated. When he came home from work, later in the day, it happened again… hug… deep breath in through our noses. Maybe we’re not so different from our dog-friends after all? I’m becoming more convinced than ever that our sense of smell plays a far more important role in our relationships than we realize.
I was telling my husband about this observation last night. He had never noticed our smell-hugs before either. And then I was telling him about the blogpost I was planning to write. During our conversation, I told him, “I used to think that the most important factors in choosing a mate were spiritual and emotional, but I don’t anymore.” Yes, they are important, but I would now say that physical chemistry comes first, at least if you’re planning on reproducing (and giving those children stronger/healthier immune systems) and remaining faithful to each other forever. Here’s why…