V's Take

Dear V: My beau’s B.O. is bodaciously bad

Dear V,

I have a problem that I am embarrassed to discuss with anyone. I am planning to marry my boyfriend after he finishes law school. I couldn’t have found a better match for myself. We have common cultural backgrounds and get along without problems. Our future together is rosy. But I can’t stomach the way he smells. This is not bad breath or odor from sweat, but rather just his natural skin smell. Sometimes, if I am not feeling well, the smell of him makes me want to vomit. What can I do? Are we doomed?

-Love Stinks

Dear Stinks,

We all know how important it is to be physically attracted to one’s partner. We are fully aware of how crucial it is that we love what they say and appreciate the pleasant, minty fresh taste of their kiss. But who talks about smell?

The sense of smell, in my opinion, is the most influential sense in romantic relationships. Why else would people drop $90 on a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume? Yet, for some reason, smell is overlooked when it comes to attraction.

While it is not fully confirmed by science, it is highly suggested that pheromones, or chemicals that travel within species that trigger responses from the opposite gender, are present in humans. In fact, brain imaging studies have shown that men’s and women’s brains react similarly when introduced to scents related to sexual arousal, such as sweat.

It’s natural for you to be turned off by your beau’s B.O., and there are a ton of factors that can be contributing to it. Diet is a common cause of stench. If a food is pungent enough, its smell can make it all the way through your system and come out through your pores when you sweat. Does your boyfriend eat a lot of garlic? He could also be zinc deficient or have a sugar imbalance.

I can’t give you medical advice, or else I would ask that you call me Dr. V. But I can place a recommendation. Try a diet makeover, eliminating caffeine and foods on the more repugnant end of the spectrum. Adding boric acid to a bathing regimen can also decrease B.O. You can get it at any pharmacy. Just have him apply it after he gets out of the shower. If this does not work, a prescription might be in order.

Of course, not everyone wants to muster up the cojones to tell someone, “You stink!” You could opt for something a tad subtler. For instance, find an excuse to get him some cologne as a gift, or when the two of you eat together, avoid places like the Olive Garden.

But, if your vomit will not subside, you’re going to need to say something. If you plan on marrying this guy, you’re going to have to be honest with him. Be frank, but kind. If he is not willing to scrub his pits in the name of love, write back and remind me why you want to exchange vows with him.

Best of luck!

March 4, 2009



Advice Columnist

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Dear V: My beau’s B.O. is bodaciously bad”

  1. TH says:


    Studies that were briefly noted in Allure and Self magazines state that being on the birth control pill can alter your attraction to men; it messes with the olfactory system. Ordinarily one of the factors in attraction to opposite sex is scent, but while on the pill, the signals are reversed. I would double check all that in the above link, I just typed that based on what I remembered reading a while back. I’m not in anyway implying that you are or are not on the pill, but when I read this Q&A I remembered reading that blurb and thought I might share! :)

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