Does Chocolate Really Put You In The Mood?

Every year, as you approach Valentine's Day, you are bound to see chocolate-filled hearts and roses everywhere. According to AOL, chocolate is the number one purchased Valentine's Day gift, possibly due to the romantic packaging, or perhaps because chocolate is sexy and scrumptious. But is there any truth behind the theory that chocolate is an aphrodisiac?

Unlike some proven aphrodisiacs — such as oysters, which boost the hormone dopamine and can make both sexes feel a bit friskier — chocolate may still be up for debate (via CBS News). There are many foods believed to be sexy and thought to get people "in the mood," and chocolate is typically considered one of them. Yet, there is still speculation on the actual effects chocolate has on your libido.

According to Huffpost, there is no existing research supporting chocolate as a sexual stimulant, physically or psychologically. The BBC also reports that there is no evident connection that chocolate enhances sexual desires. There do seem to be romanticized feelings that can accompany eating chocolate, but those may simply be a placebo effect (via Howstuffworks).

Is there any research supporting the romantic effects of chocolate?

The theory behind chocolate being an aphrodisiac must have come from somewhere, right? According to Howstuffworks, in the 1980s, there were two doctors from New York State Psychiatric Institute who studied the effects of phenylethylamine (PEA) in the brain, a chemical that stirs up excitement, which is also found in chocolate. One of the doctors, Michael R. Liebowitz, authored a book called The Chemistry of Love, which at that time, was promoted by the media. 

Today there are still some experts that believe chocolate is an aphrodisiac, like Dr. Diana Hoppe, author of Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You: What Your Libido Reveals About Your Life. Dr. Hoppe says the PEA stimulant found in chocolate does produce some pleasure and a feeling of content (via Cosmopolitan). Furthermore, Fox News reports that PEA is an "influential love compound" as it stimulates the release of endorphins, which studies show, not only make you happy but can also make you feel more sensual. While more research may be necessary to confirm chocolate as a true aphrodisiac, chocolate-covered strawberries still seem like a sexier choice than oysters.