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Scientifically Unlikely But Keep Giving Them Anyway!

Ahh… chocolates. Who doesn’t love them? Even the people who claim not to love chocolates actually like chocolates. Chocolates have been serving as a bridge for centuries—serving as part of diplomatic gifts from one kingdom to another and more popularly, serving as the bridge in countless courtships. Traditionally, men who are wooing the woman of their dreams would give the lady a dozen red roses, a card with saccharine words and a box of luscious dark chocolates.
Why did this tradition start anyway? For some it may be an innocent gesture, since chocolate is sweet, then the gesture may be appreciated as sweet too. But there is a less wholesome history to giving chocolates to the apple of one’s eyes: chocolates are thought to be aphrodisiacs that can mystify and allow women to fall under a man’s spell.

Alright, maybe that’s a bit much. But chocolates do have a reputation for increasing a person’s libido. Even the Aztecs have said as much and emperor Montezuma is said to have consumed copious amounts of chocolate to fulfill his sexual obligations. The fact is, there is actually some basis for chocolates being seen as a sexual stimulant and the key is in its chemical makeup.

Chocolates contain the chemicals tryptophan and phenylethylamine. Tryptophan is a chemical that is a building block of serotonin, more commonly known as the “happiness hormone” because it induces in humans a feeling of well being. Phenylethylamine on the other hand is a stimulant which is related to amphetamine, and it is partly responsible for the process of falling in love. Phenylethylamine causes people to be more awake and more focused—and lovers are probably wishing that their eyes would be trained on them when the pheylethylamine hits their significant others.

But can chocolate truly, actually, perk up the libido? To tell you frankly, science says no. According to a study that was conducted on women subjects (since women are thought to be more sensitive to the effects of chocolates) by scientists from Italy, the chemicals in chocolates that are responsible for the feelings of arousal are too small in quantity to actually have any significant effects. The study looked at 163 adult women and there were no reported rates of increased sexual desire or decreased sexual desire between those who consumed no chocolates in a day, those who consumed one, and those who consumed three or more.

So there you have it. This doesn’t mean that you should stop giving your loved one chocolates though, the gesture is still terribly romantic and will very likely to get you romantic perks anyway. Experts agree that whatever sexual benefits chocolates might bring is more psychological rather than physical.