Is chocolate better than sex? While some may argue yes, it turns out that you may not have to choose. Chocolate may be just as delicious as it is sexually propitious, according to a recent study.
Italian researchers found that women who ate chocolate on a daily basis had higher libidos than those who didn’t. They also found that chocolate-fed women had better sexual arousal and more sexual satisfaction. Their scientific conclusion: The craving of choice for many women has some real benefits for our sex lives.
While science is just catching up, the Mayans and the Aztecs knew this as far back as 600 A.D. They believed that cocoa was the food of the gods, which they ground into a paste and consumed as a rich, frothy beverage. (Hot chocolate, anyone?) Cocoa was among the most expensive of foods. The liquid chocolate was considered so sacred it was reserved for nobility and religious ceremonies only.
Thankfully, we have plenty of access to chocolate in the modern day. Candies, drinks, and cakes, you name it, and you can find this once-rare substance just about anywhere you look. Butit’s important to balance chocolate’s benefits against its perils. And I’m not just talking about the risk of eating an entire box of chocolates left over from Valentine’s Day. Too much chocolate can make you gain weight, which is definitely not a boost for your sex life (or your health). Like all things delicious, moderation is the key. And just because it’s chocolate doesn’t mean it has to have sugar: The candy counters are overflowing with chocolate options that are sugar-free.
Chocolate’s sexy power comes from its psychoactive properties. The head researcher of the Italian study even went so far as to compare it to a drug, rather than a food. In fact, chocolate contains small quantities of anandamide, a cannabinoid found naturally in the brain. But the real substance that makes chocolate so sensually pleasing is an ingredient known as phenylethylamine, or PEA. This substance releases dopamine in the brain’s pleasure centers. It also, coincidentally, peaks during orgasm. Like it, chocolate works chemically to usher in feelings of euphoria, excitement, and contentment. Maybe it is chocolate’s unique combination of good chemistry and good taste that helps explain its allure.
Eating creamy, sweet chocolate is a sensory experience, much like good sex. It is a delightful form of foreplay to nibble on a decadent chocolate dessert together. In fact, chocolate seems to be good for the heart in general. Dark chocolate contains plant substances called polyphenols, the ingredients scientists think are responsible for the heart-healthy attributes of red wine. Polyphenols have also been shown to lower blood pressure.
So the next time you’re feeling guilty about your sweet tooth, you can give into your craving. Choose a bit of chocolate, and your health — and your sex life — will benefit.