According to new research, the unique repellent smell activated in the Invi Bracelet significantly reduces sexual arousal. The groundbreaking findings of the study suggest that smell can be used effectively as a self-defense method in situations of sexual assault.
During the development of the Invi Bracelet, Roel van der Kamp, founder of the Dutch social startup Invi, wanted to better understand the potential of using malodorants to protect individuals from violence and in particular sexual violence. “Nature shows us that smell can be powerful. For example, skunks use scent to deter predators and foul smells trigger disgust, which help humans to avoid disease. In the military malodorants are already used to control aggressive crowds. However, in the context of sexual behavior, the use of malodorants is unprecedented.” As such, Invi approached Dr. Charmaine Borg, psychologist at the University of Groningen, who already studied the relationship between sexual arousal and disgust, to research the effectiveness of the Invi Bracelet.
Dr. Borg pioneered this first of its kind experiment researching the impact of smell on sexual arousal whereby men (n=78) were exposed the malodorant developed by Invi (n=42) or an odorless substance (n=36) while watching a pornographic video. Sexual arousal was measured through both self-reports and penile circumference (state of erection). The disgusting odor was released when participants were already sexually aroused and it resulted in a significant decrease of both mental and physical arousal compared to participants in the control group.
The research provides important practical relevance and further strengthens the evidence that malodorants can be used effectively to prevent sexually coercive behavior. Van der Kamp: “Sexual violence is a widespread societal issue. Invi is committed to preventing this violation of human rights by empowering people with a nonviolent self-defense solution, the Invi Bracelet. This groundbreaking study supports that malodorants can be used to prevent sexual violence.” He notes that we should be careful to generalize findings of the study. “Controlled experiments are different than real life situations and sexually violent behavior isn’t always primarily driven by sexual excitation.”