Wine and sex is definitely not a pairing that instantly comes to mind. However, even though we don’t talk about it, wine is used as a social lubricant all the time, which left us wondering …
Why is wine and sex a thing?
In 2009, an Italian research group published a study that showed a correlation of drinking wine – specifically red wine – increased the sexual appetite of women. The study queried 800 Italian women who drank red wine, other alcohol, or no alcohol at all. The red wine drinkers scored 2 points higher than other alcohol drinkers, and 4 more points than teetotallers.
Overall, the study isn’t enough to support wine and sex drive, but it did inspire more research.
Why does alcohol make you horny, hungry and hot?
Alcohol in small amounts will increase your libido. It will also make you hungry and feel flushed. This is because ethanol stimulates a primitive part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which is located right above your brain stem. This portion of the brain regulates basic human functions, including body temperature, hunger, hormone levels, parental attachment behaviour and, of course, sex drive.
Moderation is key: You only need a little bit of wine to feel these effects. You’d be surprised how many people don’t realize this, but too much wine over your weight limit is bad for you. Not that I don’t trust you, but one can never stop talking about the importance of moderation.
FACT: It’s been shown that alcohol tends to arouse women more than men.
Smelling wine turns you on
Several studies have been conducted over the last 10 years or so attempting to identify what smells activate the sex drives in women and men. While this science is still very new and also pretty complex, it’s been suggested that certain smells turn us on. Oddly enough, a lot of the aromas found in wine are the aromas that turn us on.
Women are aroused by different smells than men
Women tend to get turned on by musky, earthy, woody, licorice-y and cherry-like aromas.
While we don’t have conclusive evidence, these flavour descriptions sound a lot like words used to describe fine nebbiolo, barbera, sangiovese, zinfandel and even rustic pinot noir.
Men tend to get turned on by with lavender, caramel, butter, orange, licorice, baking spice and vanilla-like aromas.
We can’t make definitive claims, but many of these aromas are commonly found in fine Champagne, moscato, dry sherry, Tawny Port, grenache, syrah and even rosé.
FACT: People with anosmia (a condition where you lose your sense of smell) typically have lower sex drives.
Your smell memory unconsciously conditions you
Smell memories, or olfactory memories, are some of the strongest and longest lasting memories we have. You’ve probably experienced explicit olfactory memories in which certain aromas bring back specific memories from the past. However, you might not know that there are also implicit olfactory memories that are unconscious, priming or conditioning us to behave in a certain way.
Thus, if you’ve had really wild nights in the past with a particular wine, it’s quite possible that you’ve unconsciously conditioned yourself to become aroused with the wine’s aromas. Of course, to build these aroma memories, you need to start taking the time to really sniff your wines.
Other strange reasons why wine is an aphrodisiac
Perhaps you’ve heard that wine and chocolate are aphrodisiacs. So why is this? Well, it’s been suggested that it’s because of the presence of amines. Amines are organic compounds that are present in very small amounts in wine.
Several analyses of red wines, including merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, indicated that wines with the highest amounts of amines tend to be made with natural yeasts, oak-aged, unfined, unfiltered and had undergone malolactic fermentation.
A few of the common amines found in red wine are histamine, tyramine, spermidine, putrescine and serotonin. Histamine correlates to an increased sex drive, alertness and weight loss. However, despite its positives as a stimulant, histamine can also cause inflammation and hypertension in people who are highly sensitive to it.
So again, as with all things … moderation is key.
(Source: Wine Folly)