Although the presence of pheromones has been identified as early as 1956, it was not until 1986 that the presence of these chemicals in underarms of human beings was documented. The credit for this co-discovery goes to Dr. Winifred Cutler, a leading biologist and George Preti, a chemist. Their studies published in the prestigious journal 'Hormones and behavior', for the first time highlighted the definite presence of human pheromones. They co-discovered these odorless yet 'important' chemicals after removal of sweat from human underarms.
It was also found that pheromones were gender specific. A human pheromone can influence sexual behavior in humans only. So now you know that Jim Carrey's attraction to even animals, in the movie 'The Animal' was truly dramatic. It is appropriate to remember at this juncture the earlier studies of Dr. Winifred Cutler, conducted during the 1970s documented that women who have sporadic sex are less likely to have regular menstrual cycles compared to those who had regular sex with men.
A study conducted in 1971 by Martha McClintock, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago documented the presence of human pheromones. Her study for the first time highlighted that young ladies and women produce alteast two different pheromones, prior to ovulation and at the time of ovulation. Additionally, pheromones were also found to have a profound impact on the menstrual cycle. It was evident from the study that girls who lived in the same dormitory and spent a lot of time together had developed closer menstrual cycles, even though their cycles were randomly scattered when they first arrived at the dormitory. This phenomenon has been referred to as menstrual synchronization. More studies are now being conducted to analyze if the so-called female pheromones can influence the length of the monthly cycles, with special reference to ovulation.
Researchers from Sweden using specialized imaging techniques have demonstrated that heterosexual and homosexual men respond in unique ways to two different odors involved in sexual arousal. Interestingly, gay men were found to respond in ways similar to women.