Gay bomb

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The "gay bomb" and "halitosis bomb" are informal names for two non-lethal psychochemical weapons that a United States Air Force research laboratory speculated about producing. The theories involve discharging sex pheromones over enemy forces in order to make them sexually attracted to each other.

In 1994 the Wright Laboratory in Ohio, a predecessor to today's United States Air Force Research Laboratory, produced a three-page proposal on a variety of possible nonlethal chemical weapons, which was later obtained by the Sunshine Project through a Freedom of Information Act request.[1][2][3][4][5]


No well-controlled scientific studies have ever been published suggesting the possibility of pheromones causing rapid behavioral changes in humans.[6]

Some body spray advertisers claim that their products contain human sexual pheromones which act as an aphrodisiac. In the 1970s, "copulins" were patented as products which release human pheromones, based on research on rhesus monkeys.[6] Subsequently, androstenone, axillary sweat, and "vomodors" have been claimed to act as human pheromones.[7]

Despite these claims, no pheromonal substance has ever been demonstrated to directly influence human behavior in a peer reviewed study.[6][7][8]

Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that when homosexual and heterosexual males are presented with two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal their brains tend to respond differently, and that the homosexual men tend to respond in the same way as heterosexual women, though it could not be determined whether this was cause or effect.[9] The study was expanded to include homosexual women; the results were consistent with previous findings meaning that homosexual women were not as responsive to male identified odors, while their response to female cues was similar to that of heterosexual males.[10] According to the researchers, this research suggests a possible role for human pheromones in the biological basis of sexual orientation.[11]

Leaked documents[edit]

In both of the documents, the possibility was canvassed that a strong aphrodisiac could be dropped on enemy troops, ideally one which would also cause "homosexual behavior". The documents described the aphrodisiac weapon as "distasteful but completely non-lethal".[2][12]

Body odors[edit]

Body odor remote-engineering, involving compounds found in halitosis and hyperhidrosis, was another possibility discussed. Again, these effects would be produced by a non-lethal chemical weapon—possibly one that would affect the hormonal and digestive systems. It appears that a 'heavy sweating bomb', 'flatulence bomb' and 'halitosis bomb' were also considered by a committee at the time. The plan was to make an enemy so smelly they could be quite literally sniffed out of hiding by their opponents[citation needed].

Ig Nobel Prize awards[edit]

Wright Laboratory won the satiric 2007 Ig Nobel Peace Prize for "instigating research & development on a chemical weapon—the so-called 'gay bomb' / 'poof bomb'—that will make enemy soldiers become sexually irresistible to each other."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pentagon toyed with 'gay bomb'". France 24. Agence France-Presse. 15 June 2007. Archived from the original on 16 June 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2015. Alt URL
  2. ^ a b "Houston Voice Blog". 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2015. Alt URL
  3. ^ Bernard, Jerome (16 June 2007). "Pentagon once mulled 'gay bomb' to promote love, not war". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  4. ^ Hambrick, Greg (12 June 2007). "Gay Bomb, For Real". Gay Charleston. Archived from the original on 16 June 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  5. ^ Kay, Jonathan. "Jonathan Kay on the Pentagon's plan to build a "gay bomb": Why is this 2005 story news again?". National Post. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Wyatt, Tristram D. (2003). Pheromones and Animal Behaviour: Communication by Smell and Taste. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-48526-6. p. 298 Quoting Preti & Weski (1999) "No peer reviewed data supporting the presences of ... human ... pheromones that cause rapid behavioral changes, such as attraction and/or copulation have been documented."
  7. ^ a b Hays, Warren S. T.; Human (2003). "Human pheromones: have they been demonstrated?". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 54 (2): 89–97. doi:10.1007/s00265-003-0613-4. S2CID 37400635.
  8. ^ Bear, Mark F.; Barry W. Connors; Michael A. Paradiso (2006). Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0-7817-6003-4. neuroscience exploring the brain. p. 264 ... there has not yet been any hard evidence for human pheromones that might [change] sexual attraction (for members of either sex) [naturally]
  9. ^ Savic I; Berglund H; Lindström P (May 2005). "Brain response to putative pheromones in homosexual men". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102 (20): 7356–7361. Bibcode:2005PNAS..102.7356S. doi:10.1073/pnas.0407998102. PMC 1129091. PMID 15883379.
  10. ^ Berglund H; Lindström P; Savic I (May 2006). "Brain response to putative pheromones in lesbian women". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 103 (21): 8269–74. Bibcode:2006PNAS..103.8269B. doi:10.1073/pnas.0600331103. PMC 1570103. PMID 16705035.
  11. ^ Wade, N. "Gay Men are found to have Different Scent of Attraction." NY Times, 9 May 2005
  12. ^ Glaister, Dan (13 June 2007). "Air force looked at spray to turn enemy gay". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Winners of the Ig Nobel Prize". Improbable Research. 2007. Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2007.


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