So much for the "Axe Effect."
From a news article about aphrodisiacs:
THE MYTH: Many spices and scents get a reputation for turning on the love hose, but licorice seems to trace back farther than most — to ancient China and to India, where it can be found in Kama Sutra preparations.
Recently, studies have claimed men were aroused by the smell of licorice and women by a combination of cucumber and Good & Plenty, a licorice-like candy.
THE REALITY: Those reports stem from research by Alan Hirsch, M.D., director of the Chicago-based Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Hirsch exposed Chicago-area men and women to various scents, and measured penile and vaginal blood flow as a signal of sexual arousal.
Among men, black licorice increased blood flow 13 percent; when combined with the smell of doughnuts, it jumped to 32 percent. A mix of lavender and pumpkin pie scored 40 percent, compared to just 3 percent for perfume.
While women were apparently aroused by the candy-cucumber mix, cherries actually decreased blood flow, as did the smells of barbecued meat and mens' cologne. (Sorry, guys.)