Should I shower before a date?

Sounds like a daft question but what if the opposite sex is attracted by our natural smell. It’s long been suspected that pheromones (scented sex hormones) can be a factor in attracting women towards men. Tests have shown that women are indeed attracted to the odour of men’s sweat, particularly around the time of ovulation.

1307-0135 - Cold shower to wake me up

However, it’s not that simple, all male pheromones are not equally attractive. Some of the myths stem from confusion over their names. The male pheromone androstenone is not the same as androstenol. Androstenol is the scent produced by fresh male sweat, and is attractive to females. Androstenone is produced by male sweat after exposure to oxygen – i.e. after about 20 minutes – and is perceived as highly unpleasant by females (except during ovulation, when their responses change from ‘negative’ to ‘neutral’).
So, unless your date is at the gym and you are exercising throughout whilst regularly nipping off for a wash and a change into fresh clothes, best to shower and come to the date clean and fresh.

Without wishing to get too complex and turn this short article into a thesis, we all have MHCs, a protein complex that plays a role in an individual’s immunities. For example, a more diverse set of MHCs leads to a stronger immune system, which would typically be more attractive to a member of the opposite sex. There is some evidence to suggest that women are more attracted to men with similar MHCs if they are using oral contraceptives whilst those not using contraceptives are more attracted to men with dissimilar MHCs. Women using “natural” birth control (as opposed to using chemicals) are closer to nature’s intentions (this is not a political point, I’m all in favour of giving women more choice). A likely reason why women do not naturally find men with similar MHCs atrractive could be that it is useful in discouraging incestuous relationships as close relations are more likely to have similar MHCs.

This throws up another thought, women taking oral contraceptives are perhaps more likely to choose the wrong life partner than those relying on other methods. It is known that women with partners who have similar MHCs are more likely to have affairs. Maybe it would be best to change your form of contraceptive a few weeks before starting to look for a long term partner or at best, settle for a brother/sister relationship after the menopause? There is even evidence to show that relationships between those with similar MHCs are more susceptible to domestic violence than those with dissimilar MHCs.
So, back to the original question, yes, you should have a shower and wear clean, presentable clothing but you should not seek to mask your own natural smells with excessive quantities of cologne or perfume.

Enjoy your date.


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In January 2015, you’ll have a chance to try out your dating skills in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

What’s more, it’s all in aid of an excellent charity, Hope and Homes for Children.  The local support group is holding a speed dating event in Salisbury on January 15th 2015 for 40(ish) to 60(ish) year olds in aid of the charity.

By being flexible about the age range, there will be less temptation for participants to lie about their age.  In fact, you won’t have to tell anyone your age at all , if you feel right coming along then you’ll be welcome.

The evening will be a fun event where each person will spend 4 minutes talking with every person of the opposite sex. There will also be a chance to mingle at the bar before and after the formal sessions. Ideal for those wishing to meet potential partners or just make new friends whilst at the same time helping a marvellous charity.

Places are limted to 20 men and 20 women. To express an interest in attending a repeat of this event, email Chris at or call 01747 858016 – there is no commitment at this stage.

Alternatively, follow us on Twitter @DatingSalisbury