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Pheromones

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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. In many cases they are even portrayed as a means of mind control.

Super-Trope to Smells Sexy or some versions of Love Is in the Air.

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Examples

Anime and Manga

  • In an episode of 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.
  • Warden Love from Toriko 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.

Comic Books

  • X-Men villain Omega Red can produce lethal pheromones that weaken or kill everyone else in the vicinity.
  • In the Marvel Universe, the Purple Man secretes pheromones that can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. They allow him to control affected creatures with verbal commands.
  • 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 is a scientist however, Ivy is also able to upgrade her abilities or develop new pheromones that compel a person regardless of sexual orientation or target. For instance, one concoction caused two men (who were previously shown to be attracted to women) to start making out with each other uncontrollably.
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  • 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.
  • The D-lister mutant supervillain "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. Having begun as a recurring villain for Shanna the She-Devil and Daredevil in The '70s, it is no surprise he swiftly vanished into obscurity after the The ’80s. The character has been used as a foe for (among others) Shanna, Daredevil, the Thing, The Defenders, the Grim Reaper (an Avengers' villain who killed Nekra, Mandrill's only friend), Alpha Flight, Spider-Man, the Thunderbolts, She-Hulk, the New Avengers, the U-Foes (a super-villain team who double-crossed him), Kraven the Hunter/Alyosha Kravinoff (a super-villain who kidnapped Mandrill for one of his plans), The Punisher, Tigra, various Asgardians (with Loki being the one to depower him), Emma Frost, Spider-Woman (the Jessica Drew version), Gambit, MI13, the Uncanny Avengers (Avengers Unity Squad), the Sandman, Doctor Doom, Iron Man, and War Machine. He has been a rather busy villain for the last 45 years (since debuting in 1973), but he has spend the last decades mostly as a henchman for The Hood.
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Fan Works

Film

  • When the replacement Starship Troopers 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.
  • The main characters of Max Keeble's Big Move sabotaged their principal's mouth spray with animal pheromones.

Literature

  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe 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".
  • Frank Herbert's Hellstroms Hive. Key workers in the Hive can release pheromones that affect the emotions of other members of the Hive, as well as human intruders.
  • In Larry Niven's & Steven Barnes' 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.
  • In the 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.
  • In the Liminal World books by Ayize-Jama Everett, pheromone control is one of Samantha's powers.
  • In the James Patterson novel on which Zoo is based, it's pollution-altered pheromones — Hive Mind-generating ones in other mammals and attack-inciting ones in humans — that are to blame for the animal uprising.

Live-Action TV

  • In Torchwood, Owen Harper controversially (with the viewers, as the effect was depicted as so strong that it approached a drug-rape metaphor) used alien pheromones to make people of both sexes want to have sex with him.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise shows that Orion women produce pheromones that induce lust in men and illness in women.

Tabletop Games

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shadowrun 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.

Video Games

  • The upgraded CASIE enhancement in Deus Ex: Human Revolution 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).
  • The Ant Lions in Half-Life 2 are controllable by acquiring a queen Ant Lion pheromone gland.
  • The elcor in the Mass Effect universe 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.
  • In 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.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduced the species 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.
  • In 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.

Webcomics

  • In 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 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.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons, 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."
  • In 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.
  • In Futurama, Professor Farnsworth creates a pheromone to catch fish with. He accidentally sprays some on himself, causing several marine animals, and Dr. Zoidberg, to become attracted to him.
    Zoidberg: I'm so into you.

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