The faint odor of love

by DRM

This I know from hard-tested experience. In relationships that went bad, the experience of smell was painful at the end. Stress and anxiety makes odor more rank and potent. When that odor is wrong, the wrongness of each moment was more pronounced.

This love now is chemical and aligned: the scent of her, the buttery feel of her skin is a soothing potion against the grueling language of the day.

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Everyone knows what it’s like to be powerfully affected by a partner’s smell—witness men who bury their noses in their wives’ hair and women who can’t stop sniffing their boyfriends’ T-shirts. And couples have long testified to the ways scent-based chemistry affects their relationships. “One of the most common things women tell marriage counselors is, ‘I can’t stand his smell,'” says Herz, the author of The Scent of Desire.
Some researchers think scent could be the hidden cosmological constant in the sexual universe, the missing factor that explains who we end up with. It may even explain why we feel “chemistry”—or “sparks” or “electricity”—with one person and not with another.
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.