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10 Aphrodisiac Myths

        Health | Sexuality

1
Chocolate
Chocolate is so yummy, does it even matter if it’s an aphrodisiac? © Nikolay Trubnikov/iStock/Thinkstock
Chocolate is so yummy, does it even matter if it’s an aphrodisiac? © Nikolay Trubnikov/iStock/Thinkstock

There's a reason we give gifts of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on Valentine's Day — and it's not the chocolate lobby. In addition to finding chocolate tasty, many of us believe it's an aphrodisiac.

Here's the thing about chocolate, though: Despite how much we want chocolate to be an aphrodisiac (even emperor Montezuma reportedly believed it to be one) it's actually not. But on paper, it does look like it could be, and here's why. Chocolate contains three natural stimulants: tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin (which improves your mood); theobromine, which also elevates your mood; and phenylethylamine (PEA), which triggers your body to release endorphins that make you feel like you've just fallen in love.

In 2006 researchers almost linked chocolate and sex — almost. They found though, when they adjusted their data to account for age, there was no difference in sexual function between women who ate chocolate and those who didn't [source: Salonia]. In the end, most scientists consider the amounts of these chemicals in chocolate too low to have any significant physiological effect on sexual function or satisfaction. So enjoy your chocolate for its taste and — if you choose dark chocolate — for its healthy heart benefits.


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