You guys, we need to talk about musk. When we initially set out to explore why your girlfriend is always stealing a spritz of your sexy, earthy cologne, we assumed the answer was just because, well, we like smelling like you, in the same cozy way we like wearing your hoodies and basketball shorts around the house. As it turns out, that’s just the tip of the musky iceberg, which isn’t a thing but trust: our attraction (hint, hint) to musk is actually incredibly primal.
According to an oft-quoted study by social anthropologist Kate Fox, women are 1000 times more sensitive to musk than men. Let that sink in for a second. 1000 times. According to Fox, musk is the fragrance note most associated with desire, and since scent and sexuality are so closely linked—pheromones and all that—you can see where we’re going with this.
This heightened sensitivity explains why we like it on you... And why we might like it even more on ourselves. But here’s where things get fun: Since we’re so much more sensitive to musk, we’re actually more likely to turn ourselves on by wearing a musky scent than get you going. To bring it full circle, that internal va-va-voom we’re feeling can translate to more outwardly sensual, flirty behavior, which you (obviously) find attractive, and then everybody wins.
Along with giving us all the below-the-belt feels, musk is a grounding element that helps all perfumes and colognes linger on the skin, so you’ll find it in a ton of fragrances. Below, a few of our favorite musky scents that you and your boo will both… Enjoy. (Yeah, we mean that in a fun sexy innuendo way.)
Kiehl’s has sold their legendary musk oil since 1963, and this fragrance is a more modern, layered extension of that straightforward scent (at a great price point, we might add). Top notes of citrus-y Bergamot Nectar and middle notes of floral rose give it a warm, inviting finish that’s less straight-up-sensual than pure musk.
While the original Acqua Di Gio has a distinctly bright, fresh scent, this iteration is grounded with elements of musk and patchouli. The layers, inspired by the meeting of water and wood, make for a fresh-yet-masculine vibe that smells light and doesn’t overpower on the skin. It’s the way Italians do sexy—obvious, but in all the right ways.
The folks over at Le Labo describe this scent as a “dirty potion,” and honestly, now we can’t stop thinking of it that way. The fresh-smelling blend, that Nordstrom reviewers swan over as being subtle, unisex and “your-skin-but-better,” includes jasmine, moss and ambrette seed absolute (a musky, woodsy element).
On the luxurious end of the fragrance spectrum, there’s Creed Tabarome, a classic and super-luxe option. It has a base of musk and tobacco (woody and masculine) with middle notes including sandalwood and jasmine (warm and creamy) and finishes with top notes of ginger and lemon (bright and spicy), making it a rich and slightly complicated scent. Not unlike your relationship, perhaps? Wear it in good health...because we know you’re not trying to sit at home wearing a fragrance that pricey!