Chocolate: The Science Behind its Sexual Benefits

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Roza, Sweet Fig Contributor, Sexual Wellness Enthusiast


Throughout time, chocolate has been touted for numerous health benefits – among them, perhaps surprisingly, improving your sex life.  Even early civilizations, like the Aztecs believed the cocoa bean had aphrodisiac powers!       


Chocolate – particularly dark chocolate that is between 65 – 80% cocoa, has become synonymous with romance for good (and scientific) reason.  There are numerous pharmacologically active compounds that make it a robust enhancer of mood and body, for example, serotonin, phenylethylamine (PEA), tryptophan, tyramine, theobromine and cannabinoids.


Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are brain chemicals that control, among other things, a healthy libido, or sex drive – they inspire your sexual desire and arousal.


Tryptophan is a type of amino acid that is plentiful in chocolate, and which is a precursor to serotonin.  According to some researchers, serotonin – also referred to as the “happiness” hormone - is very interesting in its relationship with love and sex.  For instance, it’s said that low serotonin levels contribute to a lower sex drive, whereas high serotonin levels increase a hormone called oxytocin, which is associated with feelings of love, so make you feel more loving. 


Dr. Laurie Steelsmith says that chocolate is recognized as a super libido food in part because it is an abundant source of PEA or phenylethylamine, which is referred to as the “love supplement” or the “romance chemical”.  It can stimulate and elevate your mood, initiating euphoric sensations, similar to those when you are in love.  PEA activates the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is released into the pleasure centers related to orgasms.  These endorphins are the same as those released while having sex.


Also according to Dr. Steelsmith, chocolate contains L-arginine, an amino acid that can be an effective natural sex-enhancer for both women and men, increasing nitric oxide and promoting blood flow to your sexual organs – particularly the penis.

Theobromine is the primary and bitter alkaloid (similar to caffeine) found in cocoa beans and of course, chocolate.  It impacts the central nervous system, causing a rush of energy and excitement and so, contributes to chocolate being an aphrodisiac. Chocolate contains anandamide which contributes to its aphrodisiac qualities as well as cannabinoids that make us feel happy, relaxed and good. 


It’s no surprise that chocolate is so integral to Valentine’s Day!  May you and your lover indulge in copious chocolate fantasies!

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