Little girls may be made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but their armpits smell of onions. And while free of slug or snail odours, men’s armpits pack a powerful cheesy whiff.

That’s the conclusion of research in Switzerland that involved taking armpit sweat samples from 24 men and 25 women after they had spent time in a sauna or ridden an exercise bike for 15 minutes.

The researchers found marked differences in the sweat from men and women. “Men smell of cheese, and women of grapefruit or onion,” says Christian Starkenmann of Firmenich, a company in Geneva that researches flavours and perfumes for food and cosmetics companies.
The men, meanwhile, had relatively high levels of an odourless fatty acid which turned into a cheesy odour when exposed to the same types of bacteria.

The balance of oniony to cheesy precursors in women’s sweat made it smell worse than men’s as rated by independent smell assessors.

  1. fwc says:

    Its going to be hard to eat sour cream and cheese Pringles after this

  2. Ubiquitous Talking Head says:

    looks like a taco, smells like a fish.

  3. Tim Yates says:

    I’m glad that’s settled. Now how about figuring out Ball Lightning.

  4. acumen_123 says:

    I wonder if there’s a difference in smell between straight men and women and homersexual men and women?

  5. I am all for science … but wasn’t there some more pressing issue requiring study?

  6. Joe says:

    Aren’t pheromones grand.

  7. Patrick says:

    Could this have anything to do with men in Switzerland eating Swiss cheese?

  8. amodedoma says:

    Somehow I suspect diet has a lot to do with it. I had a girlfriend doing a fruit diet and everything about her got alot sweeter, sweat included.

  9. Hmeyers says:

    Women tell me my sweat has the scent of vanilla.

  10. faxon says:

    What about differences in races? Or is that totally outside of the current BS mindset that all human beings are identical?

  11. Patrick says:

    #10 This is more than one race of humans?

  12. #11 – Patrick,

    No. There isn’t. 70-80,000 years ago, there were just 2-7,000 people on the entire planet. We do not have a big gene pool, despite having many copies of the same genes.

    We’re really all just a tribe of mutant inbred piglets with cloven hooves.

  13. JimR says:

    ” … men’s armpits pack a powerful cheesy whiff.”………” the conclusion of research in Switzerland….”

    …and so, we have discovered the secret for authentic Swiss Cheese.

  14. Uncle Patso says:

    What, not a single “Bolivian unicyclist’s jockstraps”?

  15. Rick's Cafe says:

    Cheese & Onions?
    I smell pizza!

  16. Dave W says:

    #4..”homersexual” ?

    From Springfield???

  17. acumen_123 says:


    Of course from Springfield. Where else?

    Mmmmmmm, cheese and onions…

    (copious drool)

  18. amodedoma says:

    #12 Actually it’s worse, we all share the same mitochondrial ancestor. The entire human race sprung from just one womb.

  19. Pheromones says:

    I think they would have to try their testing with men and women of different nationalities before concluding that all men and women smell this way.

    Heck, it could even be diet.

  20. Work At Home says:

    It’s disgusting to even think about smelling someone’s armpit. I don’t know how this thing can be done as a research in first place.

  21. Uncle Patso says:

    # 20 Work At Home said:

    “It’s disgusting to even think about smelling someone’s armpit. I don’t know how this thing can be done as a research in first place.”

    Easy. They give the subjects cotton pads to wear under the arms for a few minutes (not sure how long); the pads are sealed in airtight containers (Ziploc bags?) and collected to the lab. The second group of test subjects sniff the cotton pads, not actual under-arms. All quite prim and proper.


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