A man’s dietary habits influence the taste and scent of his sperm. For instance, eating a lot of meat as well as drinking alcohol and smoking results in a more pugnant smell, while it is said that eating pineapple and parsley helps improving the scent of the sperm.
Many species use smell as a way of getting the opposite sex to mate with them, and humans are susceptible to these pheromone-based mating rituals as well. The choices we make concerning our sexual partners are highly influenced by pheromones. Musk-like substances are still one of the most widely used ingredients in fragrances, and the smell of fresh sweat is often experienced as arousing.
But if a pleasant smell is associated with attractiveness, then why is the smell of sperm often so unpleasant? One could argue that it has nothing to do with afrodisiacs, because it concerns a scent that is being spread after the mating, not prior to.
With some beetles (like the Aleochara curtula), the unpleasant smell of sperm has found a clearer use; these beetles impregnate the females with a certain spermaphore containing a badly smelling chemical that serves to ward off other males (a sort of anti-afrodisiac). This way, the male can be certain that his offspring-bearing female won’t be bothered by other male beetles.
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