Scarlett Johansson's lips are sexily parted. She's wearing a black lacy something. Her eyes? Smoky black and completely "come hither." Photographed by the classically unsexy photographer Terry Richardson, she sexily stars in an ad for Desire, Dolce & Gabbana's newest fragrance. And to celebrate the launch, the perfume team brought in sex therapist Dr. Stephen Snyder to shed some doctorly light on which smells are sexiest.
"I spent a lot of time with people in the office who want to create desire, and basically you can’t do it," he says, referencing the efficacy of pheromones and the power of a dude's Brut. "If a fragrance is announcing desire, what it’s doing is altering you to pay attention to the potential, for inviting you to experience aspects of your desire." So it's not necessarily a specific note (vanilla, say, or musk) that brainwashes the sniffer into pulling a Magic Mike party in your pants, but your own confidence, happiness, and relaxation vibes that specific perfumes can evoke, thereby making you send off sexy signals. For others, it's not even a scent that does the trick: It could be a swipe of red lipstick, mussed-up tousled hair, or wearing your own favorite pair of Hanes. Those are the things that'll make sexy times happen, not because you rubbed a certain smell all over yourself.
Despite that, here's the breakdown on some notes within Dolce & Gabbana's Desire that evokes the sensual:
"This is a hypnotic scent; it draws you in and takes you captive. It stops you in your tracks, so that it’s hard to think about anything else and that’s going to really evoke the desire. Especially with e-mails and stuff all day long, people just want to be able to stop, and to shut off and just be taken over."
Caramel and Vanilla:
"These are the edibles that literally get your mouth watering a little bit. When young men come to me and ask me what women want in bed, I say that she wants you to hunger for her and feel your hunger, and have you just eat her up like a cupcake. Hunger is very much a part of desire, obviously."
"The aspect of this, the quality of specialness or of sacredness, really peaks desire."
"It's not an aphrodisiac as we used to think in the seventies, but it’s rather something that is a relaxing part of the scent. Sexual arousal and desire are part of the relaxation response."
Now, Axe has some explaining to do.
Most Viewed Stories
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I’m Falling Asleep?
From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
The World’s Easiest Way to Highlight Your Face
A Pregnant Supermodel Explains What She Eats
Meet the Prom Queen of Instagram
Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
Sleater-Kinney on Riot Grrl, Reuniting, and Portlandia
Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
Guess Who Renovated This Grand Upper West Side Penthouse
From Our Partners
The Truth About How (& Where) Hair Extensions Are Made
The 7 Best Disney Halloween Movies
Here's What To Buy From J.Crew's HUGE 75-Percent-Off Sale!
How This Woman Lost 30 Pounds After Years of Ignoring Her Weight Gain
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Beauty FeaturesEven Barbie Wants Kim Kardashian’s Makeup Artist
Life in plastic, it's fantastic.This Is How You Should Smell for Fall
Hint: not like a pumpkin.A Lesson in Beauty Grammar at Dior
What "past future perfect" means in terms of hair and makeup.Why Does My Heart Feel Like It’s Exploding?
A girl's guide to chest pain.The World’s Easiest Way to Highlight Your Face
How to strobe like a pro.A Pregnant Supermodel Explains What She Eats
"Don't be afraid of the fat."It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
Hate you, boomers.Inside a Beauty Editor’s Insane Skin-Care Routine
A minimum of 12 products.Pat McGrath Wants You Dipped in Gold
The legendary makeup artist launches an exclusive product.Let’s All Get High on Cold-Pressed Juice!
Juice Crawls just killed nightlife.
"A modern-day romantic comedy."3 Fall Polishes to Express Your Inner Angst
For the #FallGoth inside you.Margiela Did Crazy Beauty, Again
Glam rock meets geisha meets nestlike hair.Dump Someone If You Hate Their Smell
And other revelations from the Hermès perfumers.All You’re Going to Want for Christmas Is Mariah’s M.A.C Collaboration
A Dreamlover of a beauty collection.Do I Make This Quesadilla Look Fat?
A new study suggests that weight bias affects how we perceive food info online.Want Soft Hands? The Olsen Twins Can Help.
Their latest beauty launch is surprisingly effective.The Angelina Jolie of China on Fame and Power
A rare interview with activist actress Yao Chen.Mindy Kaling’s Book Is Full of Beauty Wisdom
Six of our favorite insights.How to Look Amazing in Under 10 Minutes
A makeup artist's everyday skin routine.