Introduction: Historically chocolate has been reported to exert several effects on human sexuality, mainly acting as an effective aphrodisiac, increasing sexual desire, and improving sexual pleasure.
Aim: The aim of our study was to assess whether there is an association between daily chocolate intake and sexual function in a convenience sample of Northern Italian women.
Methods: A convenience sample of 163 women (mean +/- SD age: 35.3 +/- 9.2 years; body mass index [BMI]: 22.5 +/- 3.5 kg/m2), recruited through advertising, completed an anonymous semistructured interview on recreational habits and questionnaires to assess sexual function (Female Sexual Function Index [FSFI]), sexual distress (Female Sexual Distress Scale), and depression (Beck Depression Inventory and Center for Epidemiological Survey Depression Scale).
Results: Complete data were available for 153/163 (93.8%) women. Participants who reported daily chocolate intake (Group 1: 120 women) were significantly younger than those (Group 2: 33 women) who did not report to eat chocolate (33.9 +/- 0.8 years vs. 40.4 +/- 1.6 years, respectively) (P = 0.0003), despite a similar BMI. Participants in Group 1 had significantly higher total (P = 0.002) and desire domain (P = 0.01) FSFI scores than participants in Group 2. No differences between the two groups were observed concerning sexual arousal and satisfaction, sexual distress and depression. Our data also confirm that aging has a high statistically significant impact on women's sexual function.
Conclusions: It is alluring to hypothesize that chocolate can have either a psychological or a biological positive impact on women's sexuality. In our sample women reporting chocolate consumption have higher FSFI scores than women who do not eat chocolate. However, when data are adjusted for age FSFI scores are similar, regardless of chocolate consumption.