Who Has a Better Sense of Smell: Women or Men?

Women generally have a better sense of smell than men, especially when it comes to body odor. In a study in which men and women were asked to smell drops of sweat mixed with fragrances, only two of the 32 fragrances that were used blocked the body odor smell for women, and 19 blocked it for men. Women might seem to have a better sense of smell than men because of their higher estrogen levels or because sweat contains important markers about genetic compatibility in a mate.

More facts about smelling:

  • People typically can identify their family members by their body odor, although it works only for biological family members. For instance, mothers typically cannot identify their stepchildren by smell, even after living with them.

  • Being in love significantly affects women's sense of smell. When women are infatuated or very in love, they have a much more difficult time recognizing the body odor of male friends, but their ability to smell their partner is not affected.

  • Although humans smell things much differently from dogs, their sense of smell might not be all that worse than that of dogs. In experiments, humans are able to follow scent trails more than 32 feet (about 10 m).

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Do women really have a better sense of smell than men? I didn't know that!

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