Your Sense Of Smell Might Affect Your Sex Life. Here's Why

As anyone who's seen 50 Shades of Grey can tell you, a blindfold that masks your sense of sight can go a long way toward heightening anticipation for the evening's activities. Conversely, the opposite approach works best for your sense of smell. According to research from the University of East Anglia, your olfactory system can play an essential role in your sex life. 

The study, which was published in the journal Clinical Otolaryngology, looked at 71 individuals between the ages of 31 and 80 who have an impaired sense of smell. The condition was linked with a loss in flavor perception, which can cause decreased appetite. Others reported not enjoying eating with their partners or experienced a negative impact on their sexual relationships. "Previous research has shown that people who have lost their sense of smell also report high rates of depression, anxiety, isolation and relationship difficulties," says study author Carl Philpott, M.D.

Here's why your sense of smell has an impact on sex

"We found that personal hygiene was a big cause for anxiety and embarrassment, because the participants couldn't smell themselves," says Carl Philpott, M.D. While this can put the onus on one's partner to offer a gentle reminder to freshen up by offering a piece of gum or suggesting an impromptu couple's shower, being aware that an impaired sense of smell is to blame can help depersonalize the issue for the affected party.

Hygiene aside, how attractive you smell can also be impacted by your diet. Research from Macquarie University in Australia has shown that men who consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables produce more pleasant smelling sweat when compared with those who eat a diet heavy on refined carbs (sorry, pizza and pasta lovers!). "We've known for a while that odor is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women," says Ian Stephen, Ph.D., one of the study authors (via NPR). So make a pact with your partner to smell sweet on date night — that way, you'll both want to get a little closer!