How old are you?
Man A: 29.
Man B: 28.
Woman A: 52.
Who do you typically date?
Man A: Women.
Man B: Women.
Woman A: Both and all genders.
When and how did you first realize you had a thing for armpits? Do you have a thing for your own armpits, for your partners, or both?
Man A: This past year is when I realized it. I don't have a thing for my own, it seems to only be my partner's armpits.
Man B: It's hard to pinpoint, but I first began to realize I had a thing for armpits during my teen years. I didn't know why at the time but I was really interested in girls that were either sweaty or if they had body odor. After one of my friends was explaining to me what a fetish was, I put two and two together and realized "Oh, I guess that's what armpits are for me..."
I don't particularly enjoy my own armpits to any extent, I'm only attracted to my partner's. The only thing I really get from my own is that I'm incredibly ticklish there, something my fiancé takes advantage of.
Woman A: I’m very scent motivated. I love the smell of good food cooking, unique perfumes, and the bodily smells of my lovers' and my own. I think I became aware of my love of armpits when I had a French lover, who had a very distinctive smell that I found incredibly arousing. He too, found my smells distinctive. Years later, I had an Irish lover who would smell and lick my armpits. I not only found it incredibly arousing but also orgasmic. I’ve also had female-identified lovers who truly enjoyed sniffing and licking my armpits. And in all cases it was reciprocal. Although I do not care for body hair anywhere else, I keep about a quarter of an inch of hair in my pits, as it seems to help retain the odor and I very rarely wear deodorant and almost never wear antiperspirant.
What is it that you like about armpits?
Man A: Generally nothing appealing with regards to visual simulation, for me it's more of the body odor of my partner... It's a real turn on.
Man B: It's tricky to explain what I really enjoy about them in general, but aside from them being a turn-on, I think some of the fun is that they have a little bit of a taboo to them but without being too gross as far as body parts go. Plus besides that, they also act as kind of a nice "tease" in that even if your partner has no sleeves on, their arms are usually down most of the time.
Woman A: The scent, the distinctive smell each lover has, the incredible orgasmic rush at having them sniffed and licked. I will add I’m also very ticklish, perhaps connected?
Is there something about certain armpits that you like more than other armpits? Like shaved, hairy, stubbly?
Man A: I can't say I'd prefer hairy but I don't mind stubble and the clean shave is nice. I really like the natural body odor of my partner's armpits. I don't like it when my partner uses deodorant.
Man B: As far as what I specifically enjoy about them, the smell is more or less the main attraction for me. For example, my fiancé's body odor is an instant and immediate turn-on for me and is enough for her to put me in the mood on the spot at any given time. It's to the point that she actually doesn't bother wearing deodorant anymore since she knows I enjoy her smell so much.
Aesthetically-speaking, though, I actually prefer for them to be hairy since I feel shaved or bald is kind of prepubescent looking, the same way some people feel about genital pubic hair.
Woman A: I prefer trimmed or hairy pits. Some of my preferred smells are like Irish moss or grassy. I cannot understand the absence of smell, which is very rare and always request my partners do not wear antiperspirant or deodorant.
How do you incorporate your attraction of armpits into sex? Have you ever sexually “penetrated” an armpit, or had yours penetrated? Is there genital rubbing? Is it oral? All of the above?
Man A: Sexually I find myself just digging my face into her shoulder or just under her arm when we're intimate so I can smell her underarms. It's a real turn on for some reason. I've never before even thought of armpits being sexy or been into armpits sexually before this year. I still don't have interest in penetrating armpits.
Man B: When it comes to involving them in sex, I'm mostly just interested in sniffing and licking them. I've never been into the idea of underarm penetration since I'm not really keen on the idea of sticking my junk somewhere my face is going. When my fiancé and I are doing it, before we're ready to finish up, I guess we engage in some light BDSM in which she forces me to smell them and lick them. Usually this is the best right after we've been exercising at the gym, or if it's been a while since she last showered (which can sometimes be up to a week!). Basically, when she stinks, it drives me crazy. Fortunately, she's a good sport about it and has sort of embraced being smelly as a sort of rebellious, au naturale kind of lifestyle, so it works out perfectly.
Woman A: Yes, all of the above!
Do you prefer giving or receiving armpit play?
Man A: Neither, [it's about odor].
Man B: I'm only interested in "giving" armpit play unless you count being forced to smell her armpits as "receiving." Also, I guess you could consider the aforementioned being tickled as receiving, though it's not always sexual.
Woman A: Both, although I probably receive more than give.
How do you bring it up with partners?
Man A: Well, this year, when I was lying with my partner I noticed I could smell her underarms. When I smelled it, I didn't react to it at first but started to realize I really liked it. I kinda lay there and then turned my head to under her arm and smelled it. It was pretty funny actually, she looked at me and asked if I had just smelled her armpit. I had to kinda bashfully admit that, yeah I actually did and I kinda really like it. We both laughed about how weird it was and since then, it's evolved into her not wearing deodorant around me and even leaving me her shirts.
Man B: Obviously, bringing this turn-on up with partners has always been kind of a tricky situation. Generally, I've always tried to wait a couple months into a serious relationship before revealing it. When I did, I'd usually ask my partner if they had any kinks of their own to break the ice and then at that point, I'd try and be really upfront about it and try to play it off as no big deal.
Woman A: I tell them that I prefer the way they smell and that I want to smell them and I request they not wear deodorant or antiperspirant.
What are their reactions like?
Man A: At first, she thought it was strange but laughed because she found it cute. I guess now it's almost normal to her and she even lets me know when it's getting smelly so I can get up in there.
Man B: Fortunately, I've never had any strong negative reactions to it, with the general consensus just being confusion, and overall, it's never really caused any problems with any of my relationships.
Woman A: Sometimes a little surprised, but they usually start to really get into it themselves. And, as stated above, I’ve often had lovers who were into it themselves.
What else do you want people to know about incorporating armpits into sex?
Man A: It's all dependent on the individual and the dynamic of the relationship. I've never smelled another girl's armpit and felt turned on until now. It's her and it's something that feels almost primal and at the end of the day. To each their own.
Man B: I mean, it goes without saying, not everyone is gonna find them attractive, and I can't really recommend going out of your way to try it out unless it seems like something you're actually interested in. That said, I've read a lot of articles over the years that theorize armpits are naturally tied to human sexuality due to the presence of pheromones and can even help you find partners that you're meant to be with. I'm not sure how accurate those claims are, but I like to think there's at least some credence, if only just to make it feel a little less weird than other turn-ons.
Woman A: It can be incredibly intimate and orgasmic!
Are there any misconceptions about your attraction to armpits that you’d like to clear up?
Man A: I don't think there's anything to be ashamed of. I totally tell and suggest people to see what it's like and if they like it themselves.
Man B: I guess I could say that there are so many people out there with weird turn-ons that you'd be surprised what some of your friends are into! Either way, just because someone is attracted to, for example, their girlfriend's armpits, doesn't necessarily mean they're a sex maniac or a creeper that goes around sniffing strangers. Plus, I'll also add that despite my fiancé catering to my turn-on, it's interestingly never really affected our social lives either. She does tend to be smelly pretty often, but my closest friends know the reason why and are usually cool with it. So I guess that's more of a reflection on making sure your friends are chill, open-minded people.
Woman A: Not sure. I would add that I’m grateful for the time I've spent in Europe where there is so much less shame around bodily smells.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.