The Psychology of Scent: Attracting Women in Dating

The smell of a man

The Real Man

Antonio Centeno is a fashionista and entrepreneur from Wittenberg, Wisconsin. He has a youtube channel called Real Men Real Style (RMRS), operative since 2010. Centeno has created 1,687 videos, boasting some 2.7 million subscribers, with over 300,000,000 views. His videos offer advice for men on clothing and grooming, business development, and relationships. Antonio has his own skincare line too, named Vitaman. With fellow style guru “Alpha M,” or Aaron Marino, he generated the Menfluential conferences for men. Moreover, in 50 or so of his videos he has featured invaluable advice on fragrance. In fact, Antonio has over 300 bottles of cologne in his personal collection.

In the Field

Antonio Centeno (RMRS, 2015) recounts an encounter with a pretty stewardess while boarding an airplane, wherein he handed her his ticket and she remarked, “You smell wonderful!” Antonio declares that this is “primal” and people take notice of men (including myself), who sport a scent, although only 20 percent of men don a scent regularly. Nevertheless, it can be foremost in women’s minds when choosing a man. Antonio ranks and suggests what fragrances best suit a particular season. He outlines the increasing perfume oil concentrations in alcohol, as the cost per bottle rises commensurately. Next, he directs where and how to apply the juice and to request feedback on it from others. Antonio alludes to his page, Centeno Real Men Real Style (n.d.), where we learn of designer brands, sold in many stores and costing up to $100; and niche versions, sold in shoppes and costlier–with an esoteric signature. Projection–the distance sent out from the body; and longevity–duration the fragrance remains, are covered, not to forget sillage, or the scent bubble and trail, encapsulating the wearer. He believes stress can be reduced, alertness augmented, and trust attained from others, through scent.

Women Like Notes

I (2016), had stated that perfumery is: an art—where the harmony and tension of various fragrance notes marshal a mood; and a science—where putting together the chemistry that molds these specific notes can attain the results that oversee the art. Therefore, when the notes of a fragrance delight and work together women, during dating, may find men more tantalizing.

Centeno, RMRS (n.d.) breaks down each smell’s fragrance pyramid—the top, middle, and bottom, notes; each comprised of different singular notes lasting various lengths of time. Antonio (RMRS, 2021, January 26) adumbrates the notes women find sexiest: aquatic, citrus, coffee, frankincense, leather, tobacco, vanilla, vetiver, and wood. He then presents what bottled fragrances feature combinations of some or all of these notes. He plugs his burgeoning “Mission” fragrance line; offering a course where its notes can be matched to a customer’s personal goals, which they condition themself into realizing by wearing the corresponding fragrance.   

 What Women Say

Feedspot Blog (2021) indicates that only a minority of those with a fragrance youtube channel are women. Centeno (who says that eight percent of his viewers are women), in his recent RMRS video (2021, April 10), reviews one of them—Michella—at Curly Fragrance. She, unlike Antonio, exhorts overspraying. The latter advocates spraying contingent on strength, employing common sense. Michella avers that she utilizes fragrance not for herself, but for other people to notice her and thereby garner compliments, not to mention get value for her investment. She affirms that that’s the way men can attract women. Antonio acquiesces. In fact, Courtney–rising star in guiding men’s fashion and lifestyle–at Courtney Ryan (2021), asseverates, “It’s an instant turn on.” She adds that fragrance makes men appear more complaisant, distinctive, and intriguing.

Smelling the Data

There is empirical data justifying Centeno’s assertions. Neuroscientist and renowned olfactologist Rachel Herz, Ph.D. (2009), explains that by applying fragrance the wearer believes they are more appealing to the other sex. Behaviorally, this can augment their confidence through their body language, which puts them in a more flirtatious and felicitous mood and cause people to gravitate towards their openness and warmth. Subsequently, this can create possible romantic scenarios. Herz affirms that pheromones, or secretions behaving like hormones but operating exterior to one’s own body, instigate a response from others, but doesn’t tell the whole story because such cannot be bottled and sold as an aphrodisiac. Nevertheless, she attests, “…my laboratory has shown that above all other physical characteristics, women rank how a man smells as…most important…for determining whether she will be sexually attracted to him.” However, Herz states that if a man’s unadorned natural body odor is appealing to them they will feel comfortable with him–making sure of optimum fertility and healthy offspring–but if he wears a specific fragrance she can be deceived into believing he is biologically suitable.

Further Inside the Brain, and Smell

Rachel Herz (2008) says that depressed people sometimes show a dearth of olfactory reactions. Moreover, people who have sensuous proclivities can become dejected if they, via brain damage through accident, lose their sense of smell. This is because their sexual and gustatory tastes can be extirpated, for enjoying another person’s body and, more so, tasting food are largely created by smell. One can also become disconnected with comforting memories and everyday activities often taken for granted. Emotion and smelling are integral to the limbic system—the brain’s medieval neural core. One of its essential structures is the amygdala which, Herz proclaims, is “…the brain’s locus of emotion” (p. 3). She adds that, being bereft of an amygdala, one cannot process, experience, express, learn, or recall emotions. Ergo, the greater the emotional response to a scent or fragrance, the greater the stimulus or activation is. No other system of sensation has such a rapprochement with the amygdala when it comes to psychobiologically manipulating human emotions.


Antonio Centeno, through his Real Men Real Style youtube videos, has demonstrated that men who wear fragrances can ameliorate their attractiveness to women during dating. The science, and women in the know, endorse him. 


Centeno, Antonio. (n.d.). Real Men Real Style. Introduction To Fragrance, Cologne, Eau De Toilette & Perfume | Why & How To Wear Fragrances.

Chirko, David. (2016, January 4). The Psychology of Perfume: Art vs. Science Commentary. perfumer & flavorist Vol. 41, pp. 38-9. 

Courtney Ryan. (2021, April 16). First 9 Things Women REALLY Notice About Guys | Courtney Ryan [Video]. Youtube.

Feedspot blog. (2021, April 16).

Herz, Rachel. (2008). The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.

Herz, Rachel. (2009, March 19). Fragrant Attraction The power of fragrance in sexual attraction. Psychology Today.

Real Men Real Style. (2015, October 14). A Man’s Introduction To Fragrance | Why & How To Wear Cologne Perfume Eau de Toilette[Video]. Youtube.

Real Men Real Style. (2021, January 26). 21 Fragrances ALL Women ABSOLUTELY Love (High Sex Appeal) [Video]. Youtube.

Real Men Real Style. (2021, April 10). Antonio Reacts To Curly Fragrance // Honest Thoughts On Sissy Spraying [Video]. Youtube. //gM

Author Profile

I am a psychologically oriented researcher & author, and a member of the American Psychological Association. A Laurentian University graduate, I also work as an abstract, acrylic artist, in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. My art is often shown in Toronto.

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