TWO THIRDS of UK adults would ditch a prospective partner because of the way they smell – a new survey by has revealed. And the pandemic is partly to blame.

According to experts the pandemic has left us ‘hypersensitive’ to the personal scents of those around us (a concept known as sumehara in Japanese culture).

  • Almost half (45 per cent) of those questioned admitted that they had become more sensitive (and less tolerant) to smells around them because of social distancing and various lockdowns resulting in less exposure to other people for the first time in our lifetimes
  • 65 per cent also claimed that they would ditch their first date because of their aroma

And it’s not just the obvious body odour issues that are turning Brits off potential partners.


Not being able to tolerate a person’s perfume or aftershave was ranked fifth (behind sweat, bad breath, smelly feet and cigarette smoke) in the top reasons why smell would stop someone going on a second date!

As such, one in ten have cut short a date in the past 12 months because they didn’t like a person’s scent.

When asked what puts people off a particular scent in a prospective partner, the most popular answer was because their mother, father, mother-in-law or teacher used to wear the same fragrance. Because it reminds them of an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend was the next top reason.  Not liking the celebrity associated with the fragrance also came in the top five.


Scent-sational Smells

The survey by also revealed the scents that give us the most pleasure – and unsurprisingly it seems that more time spent at home over the past two years has left us longing for home comforts when it comes to our favourite smells. The top five included:

  1. Freshly baked bread
  2. Clothes straight off the washing line
  3. Freshly brewed coffee
  4. Cut grass
  5. Old books


Commenting on the findings, Jonny Webber from said:

“The pandemic has sparked a huge step-change in the way that we buy, consume and appreciate scent and the fact that people have become hypersensitive to smells is not surprising.

“Our routines and the way we experienced the world changed in an instant and it’s no wonder that after being told to keep two metres away from each other and wear a face covering, being confronted by other people’s scents again has taken some getting used to. Not to mention the fact that we have become so accustomed to the comforting smells of home – taking us back to basics and a simpler way of life.

“When it comes to perfume and the pandemic, we have seen many people turn to fragrance as a pick me up and mood booster, as such sales have soared. But that’s not to say that the fragrances we choose are always going to resonate with a prospective partner.

“It seems that our increased hyper-awareness around smell could be impacting on the nation’s love lives, with many people unable to tolerate a fragrance that they don’t like. That said, the scent a person chooses to wear can say a lot about their personality so perhaps our noses have become even more attuned to seeking out our perfect partner that we may think!”