Chocolate's Effect on Women's Sex Drive

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The Core Assessment topic that I chose was “Chocolate’s Effect on Women’s Sex Drive.” I thought this to be an important topic since I am a man who is married to a woman who loves chocolate and that I have always heard that chocolate tends to curb a woman’s sex drive. In an effort to find the truth, and possibly rid my household of any form of chocolate, I researched the topic and found that chocolate has an interesting history and does indeed contain many chemicals that are found to provide a settling or euphoric state in the brain. Chocolate is a derivative of cocoa or cocao (pronounced “co-cah”) and can only be grown in hot, rainy environments, mostly in areas near the equator. This doesn’t mean that you have to live near the equator to grow cocoa trees, but it is helpful. Cocoa is such a delicate and sensitive crop, that a grower must look after the trees, making sure the trees are protected from the wind and sun. Cacao seedlings are often sheltered by other trees, like banana, plantain, coconuts or hardwood trees. Seedlings take a few months to grow before they are ready to be transplanted. Once the trees are established, a grower must fertilize the soil and watch the trees closely for signs of distress. Most cocoa trees begin to bear fruit in the fifth year, although some cocoa trees can yield pods in the third and forth years. A cocoa tree reaches peek production in approximately 10 years and will continue producing pods at a high level for an additional 12-13 years. It is not uncommon to find trees 30 to 40 years old, still producing pods. A single pod from the cocoa tree can contain up to 50 cocoa beans (www.icco.org). With such a labor intensive process, it is any wonder why chocolate isn’t more expensive…I am glad because my wife would make us chocolate poor! From the time the first cocoa beans were harvested by the Mayans, there has been the belief that chocolate has a euphoric impact on the body's senses. The conquistadores saw the Emperor Montezuma of the Aztecs consuming a large quantity of cocoa in the form of a beverage called chocolatl before entering his harem. The invading Spaniards spread the Emperor's belief that cocoa was an aphrodisiac and brought it to Europe. If chocolate does, in fact, suppress the sex drive in women, this could be considered Montezuma’s Revenge on the rest of the world.. and not the kind you get from drinking the water in Mexico. The belief that chocolate is an aphrodisiac was also shared by one of history's most famous lovers, Giacomo Casanova. Casanova was thought to have used chocolate to lure women into his bed. It was even rumored that he lured attractive nuns with chocolate, but that has never been substantiated as no one has ever seen an attractive nun. Since then, the use of chocolate as part of the mating ritual has been firmly established. More recently it has been shown that not only does chocolate increase the sexual appetite but also produces a sense of elation similar to an orgasm. As you can probably tell, the complete removal of chocolate from my household is becoming closer than ever and my wife will not consider me to be her Casanova! It has only been in recent times that scientists have unraveled chocolate's psychotropic properties and the effects it has on us. Chocolate has been found to contain modest amounts of the stimulant Theo-bromine, or caffeine, but much less than in coffee or tea. The Hershey’s Chocolate company website indicates “Due to its natural occurrence in cocoa beans, Theo-bromine is also a component of all chocolate products, though the amount will vary depending on how much and which ingredients are used. Dark chocolates, unsweetened baking chocolate, and cocoa powder contain more Theo-bromine than milk chocolates and chocolate syrups. For example, a 1.55 ounce (43 g) HERSHEY’S milk chocolate bar contains about 64 mg of Theo-bromine. In comparison, the same weight of HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolate contains...
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