Morning Breath: A Turn-On?


couple in bed morning breath
Morning breath's mysterious appeal, when it comes from someone you love.

Anyone who's been in love, lust or a variation of the sort knows about becoming attached to a scent. Tommy Hilfiger cologne, Old Spice deodorant with a hint of sweat, and Trident gum all come to mind. The funky side of this olfactory attraction is when the reminding scent happens to be an unpleasant one.

Armpits, for example, are not famously sweet smelling. Yet, nestling into a man's nook and inhaling a mix of his natural body odor (with a trace of deodorant) can be comforting, arousing or both. The same goes for morning breath.


One of Nerve's "Date Machine" bloggers recently wrote an insightful ode to morning breath—a lover's morning breath, that is. (Smelling last night's French onion soup on the breath of a random subway commuter doesn't have quite the same charm as the unmasked scent of a mouth you've willingly kissed and slept beside.) He writes about the intimacy and potential hesitation that accompany the morning breath kiss, as it represents a sort of test "to see if your love and attraction can stand up to the physical realities of your partner's most unromanticized form."

Morning breath, as we know it, results from our diet, dental hygiene (clearly), and the amount of bacterial buildup that's been fostering in our mouths during sleep. Add in extreme flavors like garlic or cigarettes, and the scent of a lover's trap can be bold, to say the least. But, even then, a smell we might otherwise consider noxious can be—lucky for humankind!—appealing.

Nerve's blogger writes that he has been particularly fond of all his girlfriends' morning breath.

Two women I've dated had the distinct taste of broccoli in the morning. I remember noticing it for the first time, recognizing the taste, and then quietly marveling at the fact that I actually liked it. If this were my brother, or some one-night stand, it might have been overwhelming. With someone I cared about it was sweet, another part of them that I wanted to touch and hold (or lick, as it were). That's the great trick of falling in love. It can teach you to crave everything in life, even the things that once might have been nauseatingly inconceivable.

I'm not sure if I have a "type" of woman, but if I do, I imagine her breath tastes like broccoli in the morning.

Which scent triggers memories for you? Share a comment below.