It’s common knowledge that animals use pheromones to mark their territory and to lay down a scent for potential mating. The first pheromone was identified in 1959 in silk moths. Others have been identified since then, but not a one for humans. So, when you see an ad for fragrances containing pheromones that will make you irresistible, resist the urge to buy because the perfume won’t work. If so, it would be categorized as a ‘release’ pheromone.
“Release pheromones trigger a sexual response (such as wooing a mate), while so-called primer pheromones cause physiological changes.” Studies have shown that some compound in secretions from a woman’s armpit in close contact with other women can cause menstrual cycles to sync. It’s pretty common for room-mates in a dorm to get their periods simultaneously. Another example would be an infant recognizing it’s lactating mother.
So, as yet, scientists can’t test the effects of releaser pheromones on humans because we simply don’t have them. And, we don’t need them. For humans, the important things in selecting a mate are visual and social signals.
HOWEVER, if you live in Abyss, the undersea city of 2155 in Linda LaRoque’s book Born in Ice, pheromones have been identified and are used for a process of selective mating. Due to their closed environment, the process prevents competition for mates and the problems that would arise with dating rituals. In Abyss, children are observed to see who they most enjoy being with. When they enter puberty, they are evaluated again to see who they show a sexual preference for. Pheromones are collected from them, duplicated and enhanced and the two routinely receive booster shots to keep them in love for a lifetime. Couples marry at a young age, there is no divorce and life is calm and problem free.
Excerpt of Born in Ice:
He steepled his fingers and stared at her. “Zana, it was our hope you’d find one of the men you’ve met attractive so we could see that your mating agreement took place. We’re very fond of you and want to see you settled and happy.”
“But why? I have no desire to get married. At least not right now.” “My dear, I’m afraid that’s not an option in Abyss.”
An odd sensation of distrust crawled up her spine. “Why not? I can get a job and support myself.”
“Of course you can,” said Helen, “but that’s just not the way it’s done here. The only singles we have are widows and widowers and they remarry as soon as a mate can be found.”
“You’ve been here five months now, Zana,” said Jonas. “For two of those, you’ve been out in our society here under the sea.”
“Have you seen any fighting among the teenagers when they go out, heard any arguments between men over women, or visa versa?”
As a matter of fact, she hadn’t. She’d seen teens in a group but they appeared to be in pairs. Nothing like the unattached groups she’d gone out with before the temperature dropped to dangerous levels in Newfoundland. Actually, the married couples she’d seen together appeared too mushy gushy for her tastes. “No.”
Jonas beamed. “That’s because we have a controlled society. There is no dating. That ritual, which many times causes dissension among adolescents and adults alike, is not allowed here. Everyone is happily mated at an early age. Young children are watched to see which individual of the opposite sex they tend to favor, and then pheromones are used in adolescence to ensure their joint attraction. At different stages of their lives, the hormones are increased to trigger sexual desire and fidelity.”
Zana could only gape at them in incredulity. What they suggested went against all of her values. It sounded like something an author would make up when writing a science fiction novel.
“I know you find this shocking, but in the enclosed confines of a society such as ours, it is necessary. Surely you can see that.”
Maybe she could understand their thinking but she couldn’t condone it. Surely there was a better way. She shook her head. Drugging people went against her ethics.
Jonas cleared his throat. “The men you’ve met are all interested inyou. Their wives are dead and we need you to make a choice soon before problems arise among them. They’ve been without a sexual partner for some time.”
She couldn’t believe her ears. Standing, she shook her head. “I’m sorry. I can’t take part in this ritual. I’m not in the least attracted to any of those men and have no intention of being hyped up on drugs to get that way.”
Doctor Bartholomew frowned. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice, Zana. We cannot allow you to live here in Abyss as a single.”
Born in Ice is available in both paper at Ebook at Champagne Books, Amazon and B&N.
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