Is chocolate an aphrodisiac?

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A recent study by independent research company The Mind Lab, found that chocolate is apparently four times more exciting than kissing. And if you search for ‘chocolate’ and ‘sex’ in Google, you’ll get thousands of results advocating the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate, or women’s apparent preference of chocolate over sex.

Of five studies conducted 2006-7 asking if women preferred chocolate to sex, three found chocolate the winner, one that they preferred sex and one that women would rather just have some toast. Of course methods varied and there has never been a conclusive answer to this age old question. And anyway, women preferring chocolate to sex doesn’t necessarily make chocolate an aphrodisiac.

But, beyond these studies, chocolate is also said to contain certain components classed as ‘love drugs’:

Tryptophan is the thing that makes you snooze in front of the TV after Christmas dinner. It’s used to make serotonin in your brain and causes feelings of sleepiness and elation. In fact, the drug Ecstacy works in a similar way, increasing serotonin levels.

Phenyl-ethylamine (PEA) occurs naturally in the brain and its levels peak during orgasm. Additionally, PEA increases dopamine levels which stimulate the brains pleasure system. PEA is akin to amphetamine chemically, and has been shown to cause similar effects of excitement and attraction.

Anandaminde means ‘internal bliss’ and mimics the effects of cannabinoid drugs, such as euphoria and heightened sensitivity. Chocolate also contains components called N-acyl-ehanolamines (NAEs), which prolong the effects of anandamide.

Along with the studies cited above, Italian scientists recently reported that women who each chocolate feel more sexually fulfilled than those who don’t. However, when it comes to behavioural science studies, there is very little evidence for chocolate being an aphrodisiac. Then again, if it makes you feel good, you can’t really argue with that – just don’t claim it’s scientifically proven, in order to persuade your date to treat you to some chocolates!


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