Have you ever tried to tuck your partner’s shirt into a Ziploc bag to preserve his/her smell embedded in it? I am talking about a subtle smell - not the sweaty body odor someone has after doing hard manual labor for a few days without washing. This is an inherent smell that we carry and we can't change it by washing or perfume.
The fact is, sex is central to a relationship, and smell is part of sex. Scent-sexual connection is what makes a monogamous relationship different from a friendship. It is like a glue to hold partners together. Of course there are many factors that influence sexual attraction but it is not far-fetched to believe that biology plays a role. Our noses are good at picking someone who is compatible with us. While kissing we also taste a person's odor-type, which in turn will help determine whether that person could be our perfect mate. That is a good setup for long-term monogamy. The fact is you want to know that your partner is committing to you the person YOU really are, not the self you have to pretend. The one who easily accepts your past and wants you just the way you are. If you want to feel inspired to stay committed, you need to find a person who inspires you, and turns your body, heart and mind on in a variety of ways. This may take time and several false starts. If you are in a long term relationship with someone but you start out comparing your partner to others and wishing your partner was different in this way or that way, I would say it is better not to eat the soap!!!
In this plate, I’ve combined microbial samples from my self, my husband and our son, Vasco (1 year old). The brown is an acrylic paint - each spiral is drawn with the Qtip carrying each sample.
After one week of growth (see below), all three circles have grown showing interesting similarities. The top left is Dad, top right is me, and the one below is Baby.
A digitally painted version:
The petri dish below was painted with acrylic paint, the yellow part was then swabbed with a sample from my side of the bed (yellow) and my husband’s (white).
See the result below after a week of culturing. While the resulting image itself is not particularly striking, the microbial behavior lends itself to much tea-leaf reading. The swab marks have not originated individual circles of microbes, instead an all-over giant white colony has grown smack in the middle of the “bed” ignoring completely the artificial boundary indicated by the paint.
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Pooneh Heshmati is an award-winning cognitive neuroscientist, physician, and post doctoral researcher at Northwell Health in New York.
Joana Ricou is an award-winning NYC-based artist, and creative director of Regenerative Medicine Partnership for Life.