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Love Is in the Air

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"It's like a commercial for male deodorant out there!"

Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
And I don't know if you're an illusion
Don't know if I see it true
But you're something that I must believe in
And you're there when I reach out for you
John Paul Young, "Love is In the Air"

Love Potions are finicky, delicate beasts. It should come as no surprise that especially poorly made or potent ones combine the far-reaching effects of the Hate Plague and the Love Potion into a deadly smog that makes even the most Chaste Hero and throngs of Innocent Bystanders fall for the drinker.

When Love Is in the Air, you may see a decentralized "Love Flu" that makes everyone who comes in contact experience a rebirth of the sixties and free love. The other possibility is it acts as an amped up airborne Love Potion, making anyone of the opposite gender fall in love and sometimes those of the same enter a murderous jealous rage (or unexplainable attraction).

Has a friend in Smells Sexy; and the role of sex Pheromones, the purpose of which (in Real Life, that is) is to communicate one's biological availability to other members of the same species (and only that species), primarily useful if you only go into heat for a few days per year and don't know whether you'll survive the other 364 days to get another chance later. Compare Living Aphrodisiac, when a character emits Love Is in the Air naturally, and Glamour, when this is caused by an alien or supernatural creature. Contrast Hate Plague, which goes in the opposite emotional direction.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi used this trope in in the first volume of the manga.
  • To Love Ru:
    • There was a chapter that featured Lala accidentally handing a Love Potion to everyone in her class. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Celine can cause this anytime she drinks coke.
    • Spraying pollen in the air that seem to cause anyone to fall in love with Rito due to her own feelings for him.
  • In the 2006 version of Kujibiki♡Unbalance, a love-inducing perfume used by Shinobu in order to get her brother Chihiro to love her ends up causing her to be chased by the entire school, and its zoo.
  • In My Bride is a Mermaid, Nagasumi unwittingly drank a love potion that made him irresistible to any females... and also had the side effect of making him completely hated by any males.
  • In Akazukin Chacha a love potion accidentally gets mixed into a school lunch, dosing students and teachers alike. They chase the target person around and threaten to get into jealous fights until she hides and it wears off.
  • In episode 2 of A Certain Scientific Railgun, Kuroko tried ways to get Misaka to drink a love potion she ordered via delivery, but ended up drinking the potion herself by mistake.
  • In Episode 15 of Inukami!, Keita obtained a "love" medicine that makes anyone he sees fall for him, but doesn't seem to work towards Yoko, his love interest.
  • Franken Fran tries to make an actor more "charismatic" using Pheromones in chapter 36, but her calculations are a little off and the situation gets out of control. Notably, she acknowledges that pheromones don't normally have much of an effect on people, but somehow makes it work anyway.
  • In the first arc featuring Peorth in Ah! My Goddess, she tries to convince Belldandy that she hasn't given Keiichi everything he wants by giving him a potion which causes every woman he locks eyes to fall in love with him, including his sister! The spell is broken when he makes eye contact with Belldandy herself.
  • In Chapter 40 of Tales of Wedding Rings, the elven Elder floods her lab with an aphrodisiac mist so that Satou and his wives (whom the Elder has locked up in said lab) will get in the mood, allowing her to watch them go at it. Nothing comes of it, as Satou proves to be Above the Influence and he finds a way to disperse the mist.

    Comic Books 
  • The Batman villainess Poison Ivy secretes potent Pheromones from her skin. In her first canonical appearance, it's enough (combined with her generally desirable appearance) to make a man leave his wife on the spot to accept a hallucinatory kiss from her. Batman himself is affected, and later on in the Batcave he won't stop talking about how beautiful and sexy Ivy is... until Alfred turns the water in his shower freezing cold.
  • Marvel Comics has a surprisingly large number of characters who have this ability.
    • New X-Men: Academy X featured Wallflower, a mutant girl who could cause people to experience any variety of emotions through pheromone release. She inherited her powers from her father, who had used them to seduce her mother. The father was also introduced in the series, but Wallflower was killed off before the subplot could go anywhere.
    • Daken, the long-lost son of Wolverine, has the ability to emit hyper-arousing pheromones. Combined with his inherited Super-Senses allowing him to detect receptiveness, and he's incredibly adept at seducing anyone he desires, which he exploits shamelessly.
    • One of the oldest examples is the minor villain Zebediah Killgrave, also called "The Purple Man", because a secondary mutation is that his skin, eyes and hair are all different shades of purple. Best known as an arch-enemy of Jessica Jones, he largely drifts under the radar of most superheroes because he's incredibly unambitious; despite being able to affect More than Mind Control on a vast scale (in one story, Doctor Doom uses him as the key component in a device that lets him take over the minds of everyone on Earth), he has no real goals beyond living the most comfortable life he can, which his powers enable him to do by sponging off of everyone he encounters. He shamelessly exploits this ability to sleep with any attractive woman he wants, and then wipes her memory of it — this has led to him becoming the father to at least half a dozen children who have inherited his purple coloration and mental powers. The first of these offspring, Kara Killgrave "The Purple Girl", appeared in Alpha Flight #41 in 1986 and was introduced using her powers to mind control Northstar into going swimming with her. Five of her younger half-siblings, calling themselves "The Purple Children", appeared in Daredevil Vol. 4 #8 in 2014; they can only exert their pheromone powers when they are united in a group.
    • One of Marvel's squickier examples is The Mandrill, a mutant who combines the powers and appearance of a humanoid ape with the secretion of mutated sex pheromones, which infatuate women exposed to them to the extent that they will unthinkingly kill, steal and even die for him. To make things worse, the effect is actually addictive, and Mandrill is such a misogynistic scumbag that he gladly takes sexual advantage of his infatuated minions in addition to using them as disposable mooks.
    • The Jessica Drew Spider-Woman was initially introduced with an uncontrollable pheromone generation power that made men attracted to her, and thus more compliant with her wishes, but which triggered a hostile reception from women that was only amplified if their husbands or boyfriends were the ones drooling over her.
  • When the Dancing Master visits Astro City, he has this effect on the citizens, stirring up the sparks of love in the hearts of those around him.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Anime Addventure features a hentai story thread where an actual infection called the Lemon Flu infected the globe. Its effects include gifting men and women with perfect bodies, and behaving like an aphrodisiac.
  • In the novelization of "Banned from Argo", the "green potion guaranteed to cause pon farr" is dumped in the water-distribution center of Argo Port, turning the massive political protests into a massive public orgy.
  • Nobody Dies has this as the effect of Lilith's Anti-AT Field: any men and women caught in it immediately feel compelled to make babies. It takes extreme willpower to resist (although repeated application of cold water can help). Family members are exempt from this, fortunately. Hilarity Ensues when Shinji accidentally starts projecting the same Field at his school.
  • There's a Harry Potter fanfiction out there somewhere that's based on the premise that Love Potion Number Nine (described below) is Very Loosely Based on a True Story, one that the Ministry of Magic couldn't quite cover up. And then Neville accidentally mixes it in Potions class, and it turns out that if anything, the film understated just how powerful the stuff is. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In The Swarm of War, the entire royal family and the court are destroyed by Alena’s Pheromones. And perhaps her psyker power as well.

  • Love Potion Number Nine starts with a basic Love Potion (although one that works continuously and can affect anyone with the right orientation that hears the imbiber's voice), but moves into this trope when a prostitute takes the concentrated version and empties a church just by clearing her throat.
  • A variation was used in Max Keeble's Big Move. The titular character and his friends ended up adding in animal pheromones into Principal Jindrake's mouthspray, so whenever he ends up using it, Animals will end up either crawling over him, biting him in the leg, pouncing and jumping on him, and chase him, and was primarily done to humiliate him.
  • Shivers (1975): A variation with the love plague being the result of a parasite that makes people lose all inhibitions. With very few exceptions (such as the lesbian couple), this is not sexy at all. Imagine people suddenly making out with everyone else, whether the other person wants to or not, and regardless of things like attractiveness, age, or relatedness.
  • In Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy uses her pheromone love dust to get anyone who smells it to fall in love with her. She conceals it in a small leaf hidden in her palm and blows it into the face of her victims.

  • Perfume is about a sociopath who is trying to create the perfect smell. The catch? His perfume is made from the scents of murdered virgins. Once finished, the perfume is so potent and delightful that it induces a massive orgy in an enormous crowd with just few drops.
  • Ringworld has a rather nightmarish example in the Ringworld Vampires, a species of non-sentient hominids which use Pheromones to draw in other hominids so that they can feed off of them. This gets even more disturbing when it is revealed that they would have been destroyed long ago, except that every time there was a serious push to eradicate them, some City Builder with more lust than sense would keep a secret enclave of de-fanged vampires as sex toys, or in order to make perfume from their pheromones, and sooner or later a breeding pair would escape into the wild...
  • Memorias de Idhún: Life goddess Wina's manifestation on the mortal world is essentially this, combined with instant maturity and accelerated pregnancy.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has at least two different alien species packing cross-species Pheromones. Both of them seem to have weird effects on people, and questionable ideas as to what constitutes consent. Oh yeah, and one of the two species can bottle pheromones and produce a Love Potion for anyone who can pay. Surely such things are always used responsibly.
    • One of the two species mentioned above is the Falleen. There is, against all reason, a Falleen Jedi. He does, in fact, use his pheromones to help on Jedi missions (it helps that this is the new Jedi Order) - but then, everybody else would just use the Mind Trick. And one of his squadmates threatens bodily harm if she ever finds out he's using it to "get dates".
    • The other species is the Zeltrons, a race of rosy-skinned near-human hedonists with powerful pheromones. However, they also have strong receptive empathy, so it really is in their best interest to make sure everyone around them is truly happy and consenting.
  • Bruce Coville's book Juliet Dove, Queen of Love had the protagonist Juliet Dove come into possession of a necklace formerly owned by Helen of Troy. The necklace causes every boy in her school to fall in love with her (and cause a commotion by piling up in front of her house), and cannot be removed after being put on.
  • Henry Sackerman's novel The Love Bomb fits in here better than anywhere else: A Human Alien from a peaceful and uninhibited planet lands on earth, and is mystified and chagrined with how violent and prudish the natives are. So, after many misadventures, he ends up getting his buddy to drop a chemical weapon which neutralizes people's hostilities and inhibitions. (For example, two juvenile delinquents are fighting on account of one of them having slept with the other's sister. They destroy their knives, talk the situation over like civilized young men, and Air Hug. A man who despises his wife for a spiteful old cow—and is despised by her in return for a sorry old slacker—buys her roses before he comes home, convinced that the gesture will be lost on her. He finds her cooking his favorite dish—which, for that very reason, she'd previously vowed never to make again—and looking dewy-eyed. And so on.) In many cases, it acts as an aphrodisiac.
  • On Darkover, the kireseth pollen laden Ghost Winds have this effect. Another of the many effects is temporary amnesia, which can result in paternities being in doubt.
  • In the second book of the Sir Apropos of Nothing series, Apropos comes into the possession of the "One Thing to Rule Them All". This...thing...attaches itself to his...southern region...and once it does, he can't get it off. And every woman he comes into contact with jumps his bones. In fact, at one point they tie him down just so every woman can have a turn. He's freed of the Thing by a set of adventurers and a quest he'd rather not go into.
  • In Isaac Asimov's George and Azazel series, one of the stories is about a man whom the titular demon made emit a massive amount of Pheromones. The girls are all so jealous of each other that he ends up forced to marry the strongest one.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Blödhgarm gives off a scent that attracts women, which distracts Nasuada when they meet. She gets over this through thinking about an acrid-tasting candy she once ate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Young Dracula in the second series; Vlad and Robin are wrestling over a bottle of the stuff and smash it, covering themselves with love potion... in the presence of a load of tween girls. Hilarity Ensues.
  • A few Star Trek episodes do this over the various series, notably also causing drunkenness as a symptom.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", Xander tries to get Cordelia attracted to him again by casting a love spell; it backfires, and every female he gets near except Cordy starts throwing herself at him, including the person who cast the spell. Probably only 'didn't work' on Cordy because she already loved him.
    • In "Him", a guy has a magic jacket that makes any girl who sees him wearing it fall madly in love with him, making Xander fondly remember his own adventure years before. Made even more amusing because by this point, Willow has come out as a lesbian, and still falls for the guy. When this is pointed out to her, she tries to use a spell to turn him into a girl.
  • In Red Dwarf, Rimmer tries some of the 'sexual magnetism' virus that causes every female to be smitten with him. He is later seen limping round the corridors after having injecting his groin with anesthetic (and smacking it with a hammer) with women still looking at him suggestively. In the same episode, Lister tries some as well as a test for his ex — when she starts tearing his clothes off, he quickly (and inadvertently) has some of the 'luck' virus to cancel the effect.
  • There was one episode of Eureka where Sheriff Carter was exposed to some weird, ancient spores in the sewer that made every woman in the town want to tackle him, rape him, and eat him.
    Sexual Harassment Officer: I can't believe I did that.
    Alison: It was horrifying.
    Stark: I can imagine.
    Carter: [behind a glass wall] ...I can hear you!
  • Lois & Clark has the villain of the week, after causing limited chaos with her love potion, trying to invoke this trope by spreading a potent form of the potion over Metropolis in a crop duster. Fortunately, Superman is immune.
  • In The 10th Kingdom, Kissing Town makes this trope quite literal, since not only are there magical hearts floating everywhere around every happy couple getting married, but every time Virginia seems ready to dismiss Wolf as a love interest, in swoop the hearts to change her mind and turn her into a hopeless romantic. They even form a gigantic heart over the pair's heads when they share their first kiss.
  • The Cirque du Soleil production Solstrom uses a variation on this concept as the premise for the episode "Wind of Romance". The "solar wind" blown about an Italian village has mostly positive effects, from bringing a bickering couple back together to bringing a painted poster of Columbine to life for a lonely fellow.
  • Toby from Wicked Science creates superpheromones in an episode aptly named "Love Potion Number 9".
  • Stargate SG-1 villain Hathor does this, though she uses it (and in show, it's treated as) Mind Control.

  • In Kyle Minogue's music video for her song "All The Lovers", people in a large city interrupt what they are doing at the moment and suddenly begin to take off their clothes (but remain in underwear), then they search for any sexual partner to make out with. All the while, Kylie is singing the lyrics to the song, and a human pyramid of writhing, underwear-clad people begin to form under her, until it reaches the size of a skyscraper.
  • In Santana's single "The Game of Love", from the album Shaman, feat. Michelle Branch, the singer wakes up on a sofa on the streets and wanders the streets. During her trip, several couples are seen in the background, some nuzzling, many making out: in the streets, on the bus, in the store, in a diner (while a waitress is pouring coffee on a customer's cup, and both start to kiss each other).

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Fraggle Rock, Wembley makes friends with a girl Fraggle named Lou. Mokey, convinced that Wembley is in love, takes him to the Trash Heap to ask how to make sure Lou returns the sentiment. The Trash Heap gives Wembley a bottle of Love Potion #9 to use on Lou. Unfortunately, it spills into the pond, producing a gas that the whole Fraggle colony inhales. They immediately go berserk, mobbing Wembley with amorous attention. Fortunately, the potion works for only twenty minutes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Batrean women in Talislanta give off Pheromones that are just this side of mind control. Luckily, not only are most Batrean women nice people, but the pheromones can be countered by wearing nose plugs.

    Video Games 

  • In El Goonish Shive, some of the Transformation Ray variants (especially Ellen's Venus Beam) cause the target to produce super-pheromones, which makes them attractive to everybody regardless of gender and sexual orientation. The effect wears off after about 48 hours. One result of this was that Nanase acknowledged her feelings for Ellen by rationalizing them to be a result of the latter's pheromones, then found out that there were no such things. (Dan Shive has explained that he originally intended for Ellen to be a recurring villain, and that the pheromones were meant to make her a super-seductress; when this was dismissed as being far too silly, they were adapted into a part of a Coming-Out Story.)
  • In this The Perry Bible Fellowship comic, Cupid stores his arrows improperly and accidentally sets them on fire, resulting in the acid rain from the love smoke washing the love potion all over a city. The result: massive orgy in the streets.
  • While (thank DEITY NAME HERE) it's not love but rather unwavering loyalty, the Jägermonsters of Girl Genius apparently identify Agatha as a Heterodyne heir by her scent.
    "She smells very nize"
  • A Phil Foglio comic that does play this trope straight is Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, in which brothel-madam-porn-superstar Louisa Dem Five has apparently had a procedure done enabling her to produce massive amounts of pheromones on cue. To the point of being able to charm both Buck, who is of a genetically-altered Heavyworlder subspecies and explicitly shouldn't be capable of finding low-grav women attractive, and a cyborg space pirate, who is mostly machine and shouldn't be finding her attractive. This becomes a plot point; she can't turn on anyone else on the Gallimaufrey, leading to the discovery of a motivation-sapping bioengineered virus on the station...
  • Heartbreaker from Dino-Boy uses this as her weapon du jour, brainwashing men into doing her bidding (which includes stealing, opening bank vaults for her, you get the picture). It works on the titular hero too, but this is justified because he is part-human.
  • Janine from Murphy's Law drank a Love Potion which caused this effect.
  • Marena from Keychain of Creation, here.
  • In The Challenges of Zona, Mentl, before realizing how powerful his music-based magic really is, accidentally causes all the woman in a ballroom to fall for him by singing "Love Is All Around" by the Troggs.
  • In The Dragon Doctors, The Capricious Spirit of Love suggests this was an effect of the Spell Gun — although they claim it was nonsense right after.

    Western Animation 
  • In an Ed, Edd n Eddy Valentine's Day special, two cupids who resemble Sarah and Jimmy make Edd and May Kanker fall in love, and at one point defuse a food fight by making everyone in the room fall in love. This was finally counteracted by Rolf with dirty mop water: "The harsh realities of your miserable lives have been restored! Thank you."
  • Harley Quinn (2019): In "A Very Problematic Valentine's Day Special", Harley (hyped up on a sex spell) gives Poison Ivy the best orgasm she's ever had... resulting in Ivy's pheromone powers enveloping Gotham City and causing everyone to become horny for whoever's next to them.
  • In an episode of the animated Jumanji series... that one was the result of a Love Potion that was just a BIT too effective...
  • The Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode, "Where Walks Aphrodite" has the whole town under a love spell. Animals (Like Scooby Doo) are the only one's unaffected by it. Interesting in the fact that other than being overly mushy with each other (and occasionally trying to kill Scooby on Aphrodite's command), the spell doesn't do much to affect people's personalities.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: The Love Potion Jimmy Neutron created on said series. Used not once, but twice.
  • Cupid of The Smurfs (1981) has been responsible for some unusual expressions of love, even among the Smurfs' enemies.
  • In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Mudd's Passion", the crew of the Enterprise are affected by an airborne love potion.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Rick Potion #9", Rick creates a sci-fi Love Potion for Morty (using Morty's own DNA as a template to target the attraction) that causes those affected by it to become obsessively in love with Morty to the point of wanting to have sex with him then and there. The problem, though, is that the person he uses it on — his school-crush Jessica — has the flu. The love potion somehow combines with the flu virus to become airborne and self-replicating, and before long, the entire town (except his blood-relations) is lusting after Morty, regardless of who they are, if they ever met Morty, or what their sexual orientation was before.
  • Zig falls victim to this in the Zig & Sharko episode "The Scent of The Hyena", caused by a deodorant that attracts everyone around him whenever he raises his arms.

    Real Life 
  • The US Army worked upon, but finally dropped, development of a weapon dubbed the "Gay Bomb" — a chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers fall for each other. The reasoning was that it would not only incapacitate them, but also embarrass them enough to lower their fighting potential afterwards. Apparently, they never thought about what might happen if they turned out like the Sacred Band of Thebes...