Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is it Chocolate Really Sex Food Or Is It Just A Myth?

I started to wonder whether or not chocolate was really an aphrodisiac. Aphrodisiacs, as you know, are those things that are supposed to make you sensitive to erotic stimulation. The name itself comes from the Ancient Greek goddess, Aphrodite, who was both feared for her might and worshiped for her beauty.

Chocolate's "love" qualities though could come from our own cultural understanding. We think that it is an aphrodisiac, so it becomes one. I mean, it tastes good. And, then there is that smooth, melting sensation on the tongue, since chocolate's melting point is just below human body temperature. That's sort of stimulating in itself, don't you think? But then we ought to consider the chemical composition of chocolate. What exactly is in the stuff? And where did this idea of it being an aphrodisiac come from in the first place?

The answer to whether or not chocolate is an aphrodisiac differs from person to person, but I will tell you what I found out and let you decide on your own.

According to some sources, the Aztecs, the first people to cultivate cacao, celebrated chocolate's aphrodisiacal powers. They used to eat vast quantities of food cooked with chocolate during the harvest time, and then engage in raucous orgies during festivals. But there are also reports that say that the men in Aztec society forbid chocolate-cooked food to women, because of its power as an aphrodisiac.

While both of these reports could be factual, I am not sure of them. Because it seems to me that if the men forbid women to eat chocolate, why did they have wild orgies during harvest time? Something doesn't add up. They would seemingly be forcing it on their women! But that's just the humble opinion of this author. Nonetheless, the Aztecs thought chocolate had erotic powers.

History is also replete with examples of others who were convinced of chocolate's powers. The courtesan of French King Louis XV, Madame du Barry, apparently made sure that her lovers drank a brimming cup of chocolate before they were granted entrance to her boudoir. And Casanova, the famed Casanova, drank chocolate daily at the Florian Cafe in Venice, proclaiming the drink to be better, that is, more stimulating, than champagne. And these are just some of the examples.

So obviously people throughout history have considered chocolate to have aphrodisiacal properties. But what gives it those properties? Chemicals! Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, an amino acid that occurs naturally. Some claim that phenylethylamine can even cure hangovers, but it certainly is related to love. Your body, apparently, secretes it when you are struck head over heels. And that's not the only brain chemical that chocolate contains. It also has levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are pain killers and put you in a better mood. Serotonin even causes you to have a pleasurable feeling akin to the one you get when you stand in the sun.

Its no wonder that chocolate's so popular! Tasty, uplifting, stimulating, what more could you ask for? Oh, aphrodisiacal? Well, none of the sources I could find gave a concrete opinion on whether or not chocolate was really an aphrodisiac. But, in all honesty, who cares? With all the other stuff going for it, does chocolate need to be an aphrodisiac for you to want to eat it? Now if you'll excuse me, I have some exquisite dark chocolate to nibble on.

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