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-   -   Sense of Smell and Polyamory (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13089)

Windflower 08-05-2011 10:02 PM

Sense of Smell and Polyamory
Disclaimer: English is not my first language so please don't be offended by my choice of words. I know that some of these kinds of words might have negative connotations and I'm not as sensitive to them as those who speak English as their first language. I'm using the word 'smell' purely in a neutral sense to describe the things you sense with your nose.

I noticed an strange thing couple of days ago and wondered if anyone else has experienced something similar. I notice that I react quite strongly to what my husband smells like. Moonlightrunner had been spending time with BlackUnicorn and VanillaIce, and naturally also been intimate with them, so when he got home his normal smell was mixed with their smells. I found that that caused a very strange feeling, almost like he suddenly wasn't himself or something was really out of place.

Rationally thinking this is not a problem, but then the feeling was something so ancient that reason has nothing to do with it. It was similar to the profound feeling of being in the wrong place I had after our son was born and taken to the ICU, only milder. I think I'm trying to say that it was some sort of instinct you can not reason with but have to just try to cope and instead to choose your actions rationally.

My own reaction to this was somewhat amazed and amused: Apparently I know "my people" by their smell :D

Has anyone else had similar experience?

redpepper 08-06-2011 01:53 AM

Yup. I am totally a person who reacts and acts according to smell. I love smelling Derby on me after our dates. I love the smell of our house now that Mono is in it. I love the smell of my bed, Mono's bed, PN's bed. The smell of the top of my sons head. I have gotten used to it, and love it and wouldn't have it any other way at this point. It is actually something I miss about my ex and I soak her in when she visits. When one smell isn't there I notice after a time of them being away for awhile.

I know my people by their smell too :)

Mohegan 08-06-2011 07:22 AM

I have a crazy sense of smell. I totaly get what you're saying. Karma definitaly has 'his' smell and when it's mixed with someone elses it definitaly seems off to me.

My sense is so strong it will also effect me physicaly. There are certain places Karma goes that when he comes home he showers right away and the clothes immediatly go in the hamper. Migraines and even physical illness have resulted from it. And we avoid perfume shops, bath and body stores, candle stores all for the same reason.

So while I love that I can sense people with my nose, its a double edged sword for me.

Phy 08-06-2011 01:58 PM

This is so true for me as well. It's essential for me to love the smell of my partner, a physical relationship is impossible otherwise. It was a strange concept for Lin (my boyfriend) at first, but after I told him why it is so essential for me, he noticed it as well. We got a LDR at the moment and it's always the first few moments, the first hugs and kisses that we use to literally inhale each other.

I know the smell of my family (mother, father, siblings), partners and friends. I can tell them apart by it and react negatively towards people I can't stand to smell :)

We got a proverb in German: If you are unable to bear/stand someone, we say you can't 'smell' him.

redpepper 08-06-2011 06:25 PM


Originally Posted by Phy (Post 96130)
We got a proverb in German: If you are unable to bear/stand someone, we say you can't 'smell' him.

I love that! :)

Carma 08-06-2011 08:19 PM

My husband has no smell whatsoever. He thinks I'm crazy for lamenting this. I beg him sometimes to go a few days without showering so I can find out if he does in fact have one! But he is a clean freak and would never be able to stand that.

I love it when our pillowcases smell like our sons' hair, when they've been sleeping in there. But my husband can't STAND it when he knows the sheets are due to be washed -- he makes me feel creepy for liking "dirty" sheets. He washes his clothes even after wearing something for only an hour. He freaks out if he knows I haven't had a daily shower -- even on days where I haven't done much to get sweaty and I don't feel dirty in the least.

I think he has a strange imagination (paranoia?) about scent -- he suspects things are smelly when they smell perfectly fine to me. And I have a VERY strong sense of smell, believe me! If something is stinky I would be the first to know. But I am not necessarily offended by certain smells -- especially human ones (except of course when they are overpowering or there is bad hygiene). Sometimes this disconnect between us makes me feel intensely lonely, for some reason.

River 08-06-2011 08:54 PM

My sense of smell is relatively weak, unfortunately. As a child, adolescent and young adult I had chronic allergies which caused my nose to be "stuffed up" (congested) most of the time. Perhaps this somehow has something to do with my weak sense of smell even still, although my sinuses are relatively free and clear most of the time now.

I've often felt quasi-disabled. Not blind or deaf, but scent blind. People have often said "do you smell that?" and I've had to say, no.

Sometimes my sense of smell is perhaps close to the normal or average sense of smell for human. It varies! Sometimes the scent of the forest is overwhelmingly delicious. But I wish I could smell as well as some of the posters here, and have this part of my life so rich and full.

BrigidsDaughter 08-07-2011 03:56 PM

River, I am more like you, with an allergy dampened sense of smell most of the time. Some days even teh strongest scents don't come through until I am right ontop of them. Though I love to soak in the scents of my guys when I can, I just literally have to be ontop of them to smell them.

IsntLifeFun 08-08-2011 12:53 PM

I am very smell oriented. When I am with Lynn I am often trying to breathe her in. It's like an addiction.
With my wife on the other hand, she was an 'acquired smell', it wasn't disagreeable, but it wasn't an instant rush either.

BlackUnicorn 08-08-2011 02:55 PM

Part of the reason why I'm reluctant to go on hormonal birth control is the emerging scientific evidence and personal anecdotes I've heard of how women choose different partners while on the pill compared to when off any hormonal birth control, and how the pill affects women's natural body odour so that while men feel naturally attracted to women with different immune systems from their own based on their smell, being on the pill affects this selection process.

And yes, it's super funky to smell Moonlight on Vanilla. I'm like 'hey wait, this doesn't add up' :D. And when the wrong set of sheets smells like him also -> head trip.

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