Saturday, May 12, 2012


While reading through a magazine the other day I noticed an advertisement that challenged me to “Let human pheromone power enhance your sex-appeal and increase the romance in your life.” The ad was for the Athena Institute, an organization founded in 1986 by Dr. Winnifred Cutler who is credited with the “co-discovery of human pheromones” in the 80’s. By 1993 she was selling a perfume additive known as Pheromone 10:13 to women across the country. Shortly thereafter, she developed a cologne / aftershave additive for men known as Pheromone 10X.
Dr. Cutler
Today, those requiring a chemical boost to their social lives can order directly from the institute’s website. Each vial of pheromones runs about $100 and if used properly should last 4-6 months. The sites instructions specify that the proprietary liquid should be applied to “the upper lip” and “behind the ears” at least every other day.   

In addition to her cosmetic additives, Dr. Cutler has penned everything from scientific articles on “lunar menstrual phase locking” to the literary slow-burn of her classic essay "Menstrual Suppression by Contraception and Non cyclic regimens of Hormonal Replacement Therapy are Potentially Dangerous to a Woman's Health". The site offers numerous books and even a specialized storage bottle for un-deployed pheromone elixir so that it stays fresh.

By far the best part of the site is the customer testimonials. A few highlights:
·          Don from Texas (in one of his 2 testimonials) - “Please send me 3 more vials of Athena 10X. I love your product. It’s really, really amazing what this stuff does. You definitely get more hugs out of this thing. In fact, you get a lot more than hugs."
·         Sammy from Taiwan – “The 10X seems really effective. My wife would do things she never would have done before.”
·         Mike from Florida - " Hi Doc! This is your favorite customer down here in Florida. I would like 2 more vials (his 49th order) of the Athena 10X. How could I ever thank you enough?"
·         Dan from Nebraska – “I am a family physician and have tried several different products advertised on the WEB as human pheromone based. Athena’s product has proven the most effective for me."
·         Betsy from Ohio – "The 10:13 is extremely effective in my romantic personal life. Right now I am fighting them off there are so many men interested in me.”
·         Lisa from Virginia – “"It works! I work for United Airlines and have not been yelled at one time since I started using the 10:13.”
·         Julie from Missouri – "I would like to order another 10:13 and mixing bottle for my daughter. When my daughter got of age I bought one for her to add to her perfume. Now she is 22 but the boys from high school still remember her...”
While I might have been skeptical before, the testimonials are extremely comforting and not at all creepy. Just how excited about pheromone supplements is Texas Don that he is featured twice in the testimonials section? And I fear that Taiwan Sammy is getting Athena 10X confused with rohypnol. Doctor Dan’s confession that he has “tried several different products” to attract women was just depressing. If you are a successful physician and you find yourself unable to find a date without utilizing a strange liquid you got off the Internet perhaps you are just not playing to your strengths.

Of all of the male testimonials, Sunshine Mike is my personal favorite. Assuming my figures are correct, Mike has purchased and utilized 50 individual 6 month supplies. This means that either Mike has been a customer since the product was introduced 25 years ago or the combination of his appearance and personality are so repulsive to the opposite sex that he finds it necessary to triple-dose in order to get close enough to start a conversation. Either way, when I look at a man willing to spend $5,000 on pheromone tonic I am not sure “success story” is the first term that comes to mind. Perhaps that money would be better spent on an e-Harmony account.

The women’s stories are just as intriguing. Here you have Buckeye Betsy who has become so irresistible to men that she lives in constant fear of sexual assault, while Stewardess Lisa’s testimony highlights a key difference in the way males and females view results. While every single male testimonial directly correlates the product’s effectiveness with the amount of romantic attention they receive from women, poor Lisa was moved to pen a testimonial based solely on the absence of hostility from other humans while on an airplane. 

How angry are the United Airlines passengers that Lisa was willing to resort to experimental human pheromone marinade to prevent verbal abuse? She doesn’t even seem to be disappointed that her $100 vial hasn’t scored her a single date as long as she doesn’t have to hear some intoxicated regional sales director conjugate the f-word at 20,000 feet.

Julie is a different ballgame altogether. I often wonder if the people who pen these ever re-read their statements. For instance, what stage of life does Julie consider “of age”? Was she slipping this stuff into her daughter’s Proactive body wash in the 8th grade? While I do not have a daughter, I can assure that if I did there is no way I am paying hundreds of dollars to make my teenage offspring more sexually enticing. One last thought: being able to say that all “the boys from high school still remember her” doesn’t always indicate a successful parenting strategy.

Despite the numerous studies cited by the institute, I find myself somewhat skeptical. More than likely, the positive results from customers can be attributed to the artificial confidence one exhibits after being convinced that their attractiveness is chemically guaranteed. One way or the other, you cannot help but be in awe of the brilliant marketing.


  1. So did you place your order? lol

  2. Exceptional MediocrityMay 29, 2012 at 9:18 PM


    I fear that I do not posses the financial resources necessary to overcome my personality flaws with chemistry. If money could buy charm then more people would like hanging out with Donald Trump....


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