Sex and Wine: Valentine's Day Edition
Wine and sex go better together than caramel and cheddar popcorn, imho. But, what is it about wine that gets people going?
For starters: alcohol
Alcohol in general has been known to loosen people up; acting as a depressant, it can cause you to relax, maybe even feel sexier. The area of the brain that is most affected by alcohol is the hypothalamus. This region is responsible for regulation of functions such as appetite, hormones, sex drive and temperature. So, moderate consumption can actually increase factors like body temperature and sex drive - both good excuses for stripping down.
It is said that wine, among other things, is an aphrodisiac. One theory behind this is that wine contains small amounts of amines, and certain amines (such as histamine and spermidine), have been correlated with increased sex drive. The wines that tend to have the highest level of amines often:
- are oaked
- go through malolactic fermentation
- are wild fermented (use of naturally occurring yeast)
- are unfined and unfiltered
- are red wines
So, we've covered that wine and alcohol in general can cause increased libido, but according to experts, red wine is the beverage that will lead to the greatest sexual pleasure. As with alcohol, it has a relaxing effect in both men and women. However, it differs from other beverages in that, it actually increases blood flow to erogenous areas. This leads to feelings of arousal and increased sensitivity.
For men, this also goes a step further, as red wine increases testosterone levels in the blood. Normally, extra testosterone would be bound by a particular enzyme (UGT2B17) and get excreted through urine. However, a phenolic compound in red wine, called quercetin, blocks this enzyme and allows for testosterone to rise, leading to increased sexual desire.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that there is a sweet spot. Moderate intake of alcohol will lead to the best sexual experience, while excess consumption will lead to, well... the opposite: decreased sensation and arousal, as well as decreased testosterone levels.
Furthermore, the role of scent plays a part in arousal. I realize that not everyone who drinks wine really stops to smell it, but here is why you should:
Certain aroma compounds (especially in red wine) are actually linked to arousal. Men and women experience scents differently, so are attracted to different aroma compounds. Women tend to be attracted to aromas of earth, wood, leather, cherry, liquorice, etc. While men associate pleasure with scents of vanilla, spices, lavender, orange, liquorice, caramel....
You can find these aromas in many different styles of wine, so you can actually choose a wine that is going to be extra stimulating for your partner!
Positive Feedback Loop
The use of aromas to get your partner going, can actually be used as a positive feedback loop. Olfactory memory is extremely strong, and we often associate different scents with past experiences and sensations. This means, if you have a hot and heavy night with your partner after sniffing and sipping a particular wine, you may be conditioned to associate those aromas with sexual pleasure.
if you're looking for a last minute Valentine's present, wine might just be the perfect choice. AND, it may turn out to be a gift that keeps on giving.