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In real life, one of the primary means of communication between animals is scent. Pheromones may be used to attract mates, mark territorial boundaries, signal danger, or leave a trail for others to follow.

In some works of fiction, characters might be able to communicate by pheromones too. Those with a superhuman sense of smell may be able to sense these, even to the point of sensing sexual attraction. In many cases they are even portrayed as a means of Brainwashing.

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Super-Trope to Smells Sexy. May lead to Living Aphrodisiac, Love Is in the Air, Supernatural Fear Inducer, or Hate Plague.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Franken Fran uses these in chapter 36 in an attempt to make an actor more "charismatic", 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.
  • Gakuen Alice: Narumi-sensei is able to emit pheromones that can make anyone, regardless of age or gender, become infatuated with him. In some cases (such as Natsume), the target may become so enamored that all they can do is faint from the shock.
  • Killing Bites: Brute Civet has the ability to disperse pheromones into her surrounding area. Not only does it cause intense feelings of lust in the victims, it also causes them to temporarily Feel No Pain.
  • Toriko: Warden Love can manipulate pheromones to tame the ferocious giant monsters in her jail and to fight. More often than not, she uses them to make others see her as a gorgeous, scantly-clad beauty, rather than the short granny she is.
  • Urara Meirocho: When exposed to alcohol, Chiya releases wild pheromones that attract and put in heat animals and humans equally. It also works with the same sex, considering that she successfully attracted Koume and Nono.
  • Yondemasu Yo Azazel San: Azazel Atsushi has the ability to elevate a man's pheromones to make him irresistible to women. It works too well.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Poison Ivy can use pheromones to get men to do her bidding. Depending on the Writer, it can also work on women as well, especially if that woman is a lesbian or bisexual. Since she's a scientist, however, she's able to upgrade her abilities or develop new pheromones that compel a person regardless of sexual orientation or target. For instance, one concoction causes two men (who were previously shown to be attracted to women) to start making out with each other uncontrollably.
    • The Scarecrow uses these for his Supernatural Fear Inducer. Sometimes he calls it his 'Fearomone gas'.
  • Desolation Jones: Emily Crowe underwent an experiment to augment her pheromone production, but it backfired and she now triggers fear and revulsion in everyone she meets.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Daredevil: The Purple Man secretes pheromones that can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. They allow him to control affected creatures with verbal commands. And for extra-special-squick, he used it to father at least one daughter with a mind-controlled ladyfriend. That daughter, known as the Purple Girl, inherited the power, and used it to mind control Northstar in her first appearance (though unlike her father, she didn't take it past going swimming together).
    • Spider-Man: Several spider characters have pheromone abilities, particularly Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), who has them as a major gimmick. Likewise, Veranke, the Skrull Queen, who impersonated Drew. However, it is also revealed that Spidey himself and Silk also have them, and they work exponentially well on each other. When Peter and Cindy are anywhere near each other, they are compelled to start making out on the spot, and can only resist for so long.
    • X-Men:
      • Omega Red can produce lethal pheromones that weaken or kill everyone else in the vicinity.
      • Wolverine's son, Daken, can produce pheromones that he uses to manipulate people.
      • Stacy X was a former prostitute who could control other's pheromones through skin contact, producing sensations and physical reactions in anyone she touches. Yes, she can make people orgasm just by touching them.
      • New X-Men 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.
    • "The Mandrill"/Jerome Beechman has mutant sex pheromones that turn him into a Living Aphrodisiac with More Than Mind Control tier potency for women. His pheromones have even been established as being addictive with prolonged exposure. As he is a raging misogynist, he has no hesitation about raping the women he enthralls.

    Fan Works 
  • All-American Girl: Aroused Equestrian mares emit a pheromone called phenethylamine, causing them to smell of dark chocolate.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: In "Papa's Big Crush," Papa Smurf pursues Smurfette following his Hulking Out moment because he can smell her pheromones.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft: When Fluttershy talks about her Hilariously Abusive Childhood, one of the things she mentions is that her Abusive Dad wrote her a message in an ant pheromone. It attracted dangerous ants that attacked her, and tried to get to the queen larva her father had stuck in her Cheerios.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Some fanfics utilize the premise that bonds with Miracolouses create "mating cycles" in humans, with accompanying production of mating pheromones.
    • Lady and the Tomcat: Marinette learns that, thanks to her bond with Tikki, she has a "mating cycle" (despite the same bond making her temporarily infertile) in which she gives off pheromones that will make people around her more relaxed, but will have a much more intense effect on her partner Chat Noir. "If he's around you too much during this time, it'll set off the mating hormones in him too. And those will reflect back at you, and the connection will drift back and forth until it's painfully hard to manage." Unfortunately, while Ladybug can alert Chat to this and tell him to stay away from her outside of battle, the two have no idea that their civilian identities are in the same class.
      Tikki: You two can fight akumas together, but long periods of time where he's exposed to the pheromones will be the most detrimental. Like if you two were to sit near one another for an extended period of time.
      Marinette: Well, we don't do that.
      Tikki: Exactly.
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    Film 
  • Max Keeble's Big Move: The main characters sabotage their principal's mouth spray with animal pheromones.
  • In Ocean's Thirteen, Linus uses a powerful pheromone that makes Abigail Sponder go crazy for him, successfully distracting her and buying time for the other team members.
  • Starship Troopers: When the replacement soldiers arrive at the outpost, they find everyone dead, the corpses ripped to shreds. The commanding officer, however, is intact except for a hole in his skull where his brains were sucked out. One soldier remarks about the dead officer's odor, and is told that the enemy "bugs" use that scent to mark the man as "important", so that the mooks don't destroy useful intelligence.
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Ilia emits sexual pheromones that can create reactions in other species. Unfortunately you'd have to read the novelization to realize why men are acting strangely around her, as this is never mentioned in dialogue.
  • Transformers: Ratchet apparently has the ability to sense pheromone levels; specifically, he can sense Sam's pheromone output whenever Mikaela is around.

    Literature 
  • Dream Park: Pheromone technology plays a big part of one part of the plot. Dream Park's Chief of Security works to solve a murder that occurred when an industrial spy stole some emotion-enhancing pheromone technology from the park's labs.
  • One of the stories in George and Azazel has the titular demon grant the power to produce these to a man who has problems with girls. The girls are all so jealous of each other that he ends up forced to marry the strongest one.
  • Gor: The Priest-Kings communicate exclusively through scent.
  • In Hellstrom's Hive by Frank Herbert, key workers in the Hive can release pheromones that affect the emotions of other members of the Hive, as well as human intruders.
  • Liaden Universe: The aelantaza are genetically-engineered assassins whose enhancements include the ability to emit pheromones that make people more trusting and likely to accept their cover story.
  • Liminal World: Pheromone control is one of Samantha's powers.
  • Perdido Street Station: The khepri (humanoid people with giant scarab beetles for heads) communicate with each other by emitting scents. To communicate with humans, they have to use sign language.
  • Ringworld: "Vampires" are a nearly mindless branch of the Pak (ancestors of humans, and also of every humanoid species on the Ringworld) that secrete pheromones which are "close enough" to affect all other Pak-descendants (it's implied there are some hallucinogenic properties as well). The pheromone-fueled orgy that follows serves as a distraction to allow the vampires to feed.
  • The Runelords: The Reavers 'speak' by pheromone scents (and anti-scents, since they have to erase the previous 'word' before they can say anything else).
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Weequay have the ability to communicate by pheromones with members of their own clan. A complete language even.
    • In Shadows of the Empire Prince Xizor's species, the Falleen, have pheromones that can basically drain the willpower of females of most species. Even Princess Leia falls to his "charms" temporarily, before getting interrupted by Chewbacca plus her own strong willpower throws it off (cue a groin attack. He also says females have the same ability, with it being very difficult for male Falleen (or presumably those of other species) to resist when they "blossom".
    • The Zeltrons are 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.
  • The Sword of Truth: The mriswith, a race of eusocial Lizard Folk, are ruled by a dragon-sized Hive Queen that communicates through pheromones.
  • David Harstein, AKA the Envoy from Wild Cards. Harstein's ace gave him the ability to emit pheromones that made anyone who scented them immediately like, trust and listen to Harstein above all others. The only weakness of this skill was that the effects of the pheromones vanished when Harstein left the vicinity, but the influenced individual still retained the memories of what they had done while affected.
  • Zoo: Pollution-altered pheromones — Hive Mind-generating ones in other mammals and attack-inciting ones in humans — are to blame for the animal uprising.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eclipse Phase has the Enhanced Pheromones biomod that gives the user a bonus to social tests against other creatures that can smell. There's also a number of drugs that cause the user to emit pheromones, Alpha stimulates threat pheromones that make the user seem more threatening (and has other effects that make him a domineering asshole), BringIt calibrates the pheromones so that others want to stab the user instead, while Hither makes you smell sexier of course.
  • Guardian parahumans in GURPS: Bio-Tech have a combination of Sex Pheromones and Dominance Pheromones. They're specifically designed to be masters of normal humans.
  • Rocket Age: Some Martian castes appear to have modified pheromones to make them more attractive, more persuasive and commanding, or both. The Royal and Priest castes tend to have the full package, while the Courtesan caste appear to only have pheromones designed to enhance their attractiveness, although given how often they seem to rise to power...
  • Shadowrun: In the 1st Edition supplement Shadowtech, the Tailored Pheromones bioware is an alteration to the recipient's sweat glands that causes them to release pheromones. The pheromones only affect normal humans and metahumans (i.e. elves, orks, trolls and dwarves). The game effect is to provide a bonus to the user's Charisma and Social Skill use.
  • Talislanta: Batrean women 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.
  • Warhammer 40,000: One theory for the way Tau Ethereals get Undying Loyalty from their troops is via pheromones that cause More Than Mind Control in their subordinates.

    Video Games 
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The upgraded CASIE enhancement allows Adam to emit pheromones that make his vis-a-vis more receptive to his suggestions and demands (provided the player had figured the NPC's personality type correctly in the preceding dialogue).
  • Drunk On Nectar: The ability to sense pheromones as an insect is a major gameplay feature. Depending on your chosen class, they allow you to detect both predators and potential food sources. Certain animals also might only release pheromones at certain times as well, which can make them much more elusive to the player.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: The Mantis cruiser Gila Monster and its variations come equipped with Mantis pheromones, an augment that makes your crew walk much faster.
  • Half-Life 2: The Ant Lions are controllable by acquiring a queen Ant Lion pheromone gland.
  • Halo: Pheromones are a part of the Drones' Starfish Language.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend: Anghel Higure has a condition causing his body to produce hallucinogenic pheromones... to which he is himself not immune. His odd behavior and confusing descriptions of things are both caused by him being on a permanent acid trip. Though sometimes, there seems to be more to it.
  • Mass Effect: The elcor communicate between each other using pheromones, along with infrasound and incredibly subtle body language. Their speech is otherwise so monotone, they preface it with the intended tone when communicating with other species in order to minimize misunderstanding.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces Salandit, Salazzle, and Pheromosa. Females of the former two species produce pheromones that can control males of any species, human and Pokémon alike, and there is some implication that this is how they find mates. The latter's pheromones make opponents hesitant to fight, and thus serve as a defense mechanism.
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    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • Blood Bank: The vampires in the comic can produce pheromones that enslave human minds, allowing them mastery of the human race. One's immunity is what drives the comic.
  • Does Not Play Well With Others: Craig claims that his Dad is remembered by the public as a great and noble superhero, despite being an asshole to everyone, thanks to his mood altering super pheromones.
  • 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.
  • Harbourmaster: Entomorphs apparently have an olfactory language.
  • Quantum Vibe: Terra has a caste system enforced by genetic engineering to produce pheromones. Executives have pheromones that make them seem more likable and attractive than their personalities would suggest, Associates make you want to kick them, and both castes are susceptible to the effects of their own scents. Not clear what the other castes have in regards to pheromones but they probably follow the pattern.
  • In Steel City Moon, werewolves release pheromones that make them incredibly attractive to the opposite sex the day before they transform. (And possibly more attracted, considering that the amount of PG-rated Male Gaze that coincides with this.) To his credit, protagonist Justin is much more concerned with avoiding girls during these periods than trying to take advantage of the situation.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: In "The Deep South", Professor Farnsworth uses a pheromone a fish-attracting pheromone to speed up fishing. He accidentally sprays some on himself, causing several marine animals, and Dr. Zoidberg the lobster-like alien, to become attracted to him.
    Zoidberg: I'm so into you.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Scarlemange's sweat is a powerful mind-control agent that works on any primate, including humans, due to all the experiments done on him.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: Jake and Adam use a perfume that says "100 percent animal pheromones"... which leads to them being chased by all the animals in the school.
  • The Simpsons: In "Bye Bye Nerdie", Lisa discovers a pheromone given off by nerd-types which forces bully-types to beat up on them. She experiments by spraying Drederick Tatum (the show's version of Mike Tyson) with the scent, which compels school bully Nelson to beat up on Tatum, even though Nelson doesn't want to. Lisa names the new discovery "Poindextrose".

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