Viewer Mail: Help Me Fake a Sex Life

This is going to sound outright bizarre, but is there a sex-scented perfume? My ex is coming over next week to pick up her stuff, and I was thinking of ways I could make her jealous via the façade of an active sex life. Can you help me??



Pseudo - what a preposterous question! Naturally, I love it. Now let’s figure this thing out.

As far as I know, there is no such thing as a sex-scented perfume. Personally, that sounds about as appealing as eating pre-digested food. You might want your fragrance to lead up to Dirty Moose Friskiness (DMF), but to have the scent itself reek of DMF aftermath would certainly be over-egging the pudding.

If you want to break it down into boy/girl odor components, though, that would be possible. For instance, there are several fragrances that boast of containing a semen accord:
Etat Libre d’Orange Magnificent Secretions (semen, sweat, blood, and milk)
Le Labo Musc 25 (semen and musk)
Thierry Mugler Cologne (semen and woody lemon)

By the sounds of your current situation, however, you’ve got plenty of your own supply going spare, so let’s turn our attention to perfumes of the female persuasion.

It forever seared my frontal lobe when my friend Alison proclaimed that Vivienne Westwood Boudoir smells of “pissy granny knickers” and that “men love it”. Boudoir’s tuberose and amber combine into something sweaty and creamy. LesNez Manoumalia is another trampy tropical.

And my lady-loving pal Lisa once made a revealing comment after smelling Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois.

“Mmm, cedar,” she purred approvingly. “Smells c#nty!”

Cedarwood often has a phantom smell of buttermilk hovering nearby, as some have picked up on in Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose, for instance. If we allow “tangy creaminess” to signify “female”, that leads us to milky, ripe perfumes like Etat Libre d’Orange Hotel Slut, 10 Corso Como, Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison, Guerlain Shalimar, and Guerlain Attrape-Coeur.

Another tack is to go the zoo route, with animalic fragrances containing musk, civet, or honey. In small concentrations, honey smells of ripe flesh, and in high doses smells like urine. Beautiful honey-based scents include By Kilian Back to Black, Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Cuba, MAC Africanimal, and Parfums DelRae Amoureuse.

Serge Lutens Miel de Bois, on the other hand, smells too much like hobo trousers. Steer clear unless you want to convey intimacy with Boxcar Willie.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Dzing!, Le Labo Labdanum 18 and Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles all stay on the right side of funky, animal-wise. Serge Lutens Musc Koublai Khan is another matter. A spritz of that will have your ex thinking you’ve turned to farm animals in your time of need. You don’t want her calling the cops - or the Humane Society.

As entertaining as it is to convey olfactory orgies by matchmaking “personal bits” perfumes, I reluctantly concede that I’m over-thinking this. You’re better off just spraying a nice perfume into the air a few hours before your ex turns up. Nothing too cheap or cheesy - you want to imply that your hypothetical new girlfriend has some class.

I suggest Stella McCartney Stella, a musky, musty rose that has a built-in “morning after” aspect.

But to make sure you have all the tools at your disposal, I consulted Dr. Avery Gilbert, sensory psychologist and author of What the Nose Knows. Just imagine his delight at being asked to apply the full force of his scientific brainpower to your Machiavellian tomfoolery.

Dr. Gilbert replied:
As a student of animal sex behavior - including what's politely referred to as the "competitive mating scenario" - I can suggest a couple of olfactory tactics for Mr. Pseudo.

Does his ex have a sister? If so, then spritz around a bit of the sister's favorite scent. Or the perfume of the ex's bestest girlfriend.

Context makes a big difference in odor perception. So be sure to leave an unfamiliar toothbrush on the bathroom sink and a thong hanging on the inside doorknob.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: Dr. Avery Gilbert, scholar and master of head-f#cking through the nose.

Speaking from experience (from both sides of the break-up fence), if your ex truly has moved on, nothing will make her jealous - not Eau de Dirty Moose Friskiness, not Scarlett Johansson lounging around in your shirt and smoking a cigarette. (Well, maybe Scarlett would give her pause for thought.)

But look on the bright side: if you take all the energy you've expended in devising this smell-based skullduggery and apply it to your next (successful) relationship, you'll never face this problem again.

Fumeheads, what holographic “active sex life” fragrances can you suggest for PseudoGigolo?


  1. I think you've covered all bases, K. The thong is such a classy finishing touch. I admire its chutzpah (and perhaps the gusset should be sprayed with vintage Bal a Versailles extrait?).

  2. uh oh, my favourite fragrances are here, what does this say about me??

  3. De-lurking to suggest spritzing around just a bit of the intoxicating and intriguing Penhaligon's Amaranthine. The ad copy, which is delightfully accurate, describes it as a "corrupted floral oriental". Those slightly decaying floral and fruit notes would probably yield the perfect hint of elegance and dirtiness that Mr. Pseudo is seeking.

  4. Katie, you shot down my Miel de Bois! It’s the only sample my sis snagged when I tried to tempt her into fumy obsession. It is um, special, I will give you that. - Holly

  5. I would second Amaranthine. To add to the "corrupted floral oriental," the ad copy also stated that it was supposed to smell like "the inside of a woman's thigh." I thought it smelled like dirty knickers, so there you go. (Which is NOT what my thighs smell like, thank you very much, but whatever.)

    Oh, and Vraie Blonde also has that buttermilky note. (Is there a ELdO out there that *couldn't* somehow be associated with sex??)

  6. ha ha. i loved this one, katie. mixing the high and the low, from the vantage point of shameless lowbrow sensibility. beautiful.

    i've worn amarinthine and would agree with above. the first time i wore it, during the first 20 minutes i thought, "hmmm. definitely smutty. i love it."
    but it's much more than that. it's amazing without the ulterior motives.

    i would agree with spraying an obviously feminite perfume in your apt.
    flowerbomb, angel, michael kors (original)...something like that.

  7. I agree Bal a Versailles has that dirty animal sex thing going. I also think Serge Luten's Ambre Sultan has a real "I just had sex" drydown, after the medicinal herbs opening has gone.

  8. leopoldo - it's not often the words "thong" and "classy" appear in the same sentence. And now you've got me thinking on a whole subset of perfumes suitable for gusset sprays. Oy.

    heather - I love all of these, too! I guess we just enjoy amping up our natural-born funk.

    htroutma - I loved Miel de Bois so much when I first smelled it, that it was a rare perfume impulse buy. It was when I had walked back into a room where I'd sprayed it on that I thought, "My stars - Eau de frickin' Flop House!". I ended up giving my barely-used bottle to a friend who loved it and already had her own bottle. And guess who that was? Alison, the woman who praised Boudoir's "pissy granny knickers" vibe. So what does that tell ya?

  9. I'm so intrigued by all the calls for Amaranthine! Somebody had just mentioned it to me on Facebook yesterday, and now it seems like the whole world is hip to it but me. I'm marching out to Scent Bar in a minute to grab a samp. Look for a review soon.

    dea - from the gutter to the stars, that's me all over. Workin' high/low, as ever. And yeah, those bombastic bimbo fumes (and I mean that lovingly, Angel and Flowerbomb fans) would be perfect in this scenario.

  10. Bandit! According to legend, Germaine Cellier sniffed the knickers of models coming off the runway as inspiration for this scent. True or not, I do get the knickers note in this one - fortunately, those models had bathed with nice-smelling soap before they put their undies on!

  11. Patty, that's such an outrageous anecdote! Like, what was Germaine Cellier doing backstage at a fashion show to begin with? And did she have all the knickers lined up like iteration blotters: "This one yes, this one no, this one maybe..."

    Imagine Annick Ménardo lurking around backstage at Chanel, engaging in a pantie tug-of-war with Kate Moss while Karl takes his bows out front.

  12. How about "The Party In Manhattan"? I love that one. It smells like you've had an amazingly festive night at the club and with the hot, sweaty, beautiful, thing you brought home after the club closed.

  13. Bingo, Tara! The Party in Manhattan is truly koo-koo for Coco Puffs when it comes to unbuttoned licentiousness. I'd forgotten to include it in the post, which is shocking, considering my Perfume Pen Pal Dan's vivid depiction of his experience with it. If you haven't yet read it, please enjoy Dan's cautionary tale here:

  14. I would reccomend Nicole Farhi Homme. It has a very animalistic tone, so much so that it really reminds me of 'bum'. In a good way. I am not sure that bum is a sexual smell for everyone but, well, if Psuedo wants to give off the impression that he is moving on, what better way than to exhibit a bit of bum-love? Nicole Farhi Homme comes in a great bottle (looks like a melting block of ice) and the best bit is that it is selling for £7.99 in the Perfum Shop here in the uk. A definate 'bums up' I'd say.

  15. Sean - well, ya sold me! Now to get my nose on that Nicole Farhi Bum...err...Homme.

  16. This is priceless and it just happened in my city
    Do you think that the phantom bum sniffer was trying to to track down the Nicole Farhi Homme? (If it was not for the fact that this is clearly a male dwarf, I would have suspected you!)

  17. Sean, I dashed eagerly to look at this story, but I'm not convinced that the man was actually sniffing that shelf-stacker's bottom. He is a little person, after all - he can't help that his nose is at bum-level! I require a more damning screen-grab - with the perpetrator's snoot unmistakably at crack vicinity.

  18. Well, my problem is that I always post in haste and after posting this I did some further research and it transpires that he is in fact of normal height (*gasp*) It was just an awkward camera angle (which gives me hope for all those photos where I look like an extra from Lord of the Rings). There is actual CCTV footage of the bum sniffer, and there is absolutely no mistaking his intentions. Perhaps he is just doing some research to create a new scent to rival Nicole's...

  19. Oh Sean, this just made my day! Thanks for this link! I feel a bum-sniffing blog post coming on...