Why Don't we Smell Good?

Aug 2016
977
US&A
It occurs to me that many animals produce bodily odors for very good reasons. How come my Mom keeps bugging me to take a shower?
 
Aug 2013
169
Finland
Our smell is what it is because we have no benefit from smelling good to other species.

Why we don't consider all our own smells good, is another question. Small babies smell good, but unwashed adults don't. Either there is a benefit to not thinking sweat smells good or it doesn't matter what we think. Or then, there would be a benefit, but evolution just didn't take us there.

Humans are very good at differentiating fresh from spoiled food by smelling, perhaps the benefits of this is so much bigger than thinking other people smell good, that out sense of smell ended up like this.
 

Moros

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,099
We smell 'bad' as a product of our diet, wearing clothes, and being indoors too much.
 

Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,595
Planet Nine, Oregon
We are big walking talking bacterial colonies, inside and out and we slough off dead skin cells constantly. Some of what we would define as "bad smelling" could be due to inactivity combined with poor hygiene. If you've ever been hiking outdoors with others for a solid month, one's definition of good and bad smells changes, as the body functions optimally. There is a spectrum of good and bad odors, and there are also pheremones involved, eliciting certain responses.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
Sweat generally doesn't smell bad. It's old sweat that smells bad because of the bacteria.
 

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
We smell "bad" because we've been conditioned by advertising to think that natural body odor is offensive.
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
social construct.

in paleolithic times, when we evolved, there were hardly times to take showers. i think once humans started to live in more permanent communities, we had to have means of cleanliness. one could **** outside a cave in 15000 BC, but after the Neolithic, it made less sense and would have pissed a lot more people off.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Odor is in the nose of the beholder. Anybody who has pets knows that dogs and other animals seem to enjoy the smell of what most humans would consider putrid. Now, most humans seem adverse to certain odors from natural bodily functions. Maybe this is nature's way to remind us to bathe.:)
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
We smell "bad" because we've been conditioned by advertising to think that natural body odor is offensive.
I can't agree with this. Even most small children will make a frowning face at an odorous smell. It seems natural, not learned to me.