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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Of Bacchus and Aphrodite

What exactly do alcohols do to you?
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - June 25, 2010
By: Wong Wei Chen
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Of Bacchus and Aphrodite

In the ancient Greek pantheon, Bacchus was the god of wine who inspired intoxication and hedonistic frenzy. Aphrodite, on the other hand, was the goddess of erotic love and sexuality. So what has one got to do with the other?

Not much, it seems (at least in Greek mythology). But in our modern-day context, their connection is apparently quite intimate. As many are wont to claim, certain types of wine are potent aphrodisiacs. Thus, when viewed in a metaphorical way, Bacchus and Aphrodite go hand in hand indeed.

In this article, I’ll rummage through the gamut of popular lore on the topic, and put some juicy tidbits together for you. I’m a wine drinker, and boy, I’m getting all excited already. Aren’t you?

What is an aphrodisiac?
In a nutshell, an aphrodisiac is a substance that increases a person’s libido. Aphrodisiacs include stuff ranging from certain herbs and vegetables to animal foods and beverages. Some well-known examples include: horny goat weed, avocado, oyster, ginseng and dark chocolate. Of course, we won’t rule out the possibility of chancing upon the ever-elusive but all-mighty love potion!

Obviously, the aphrodisiac derives its name from Aphrodite.

Bacchus steps in Wine has acquired a wide reputation for being an effective aphrodisiac. It helps the imbiber relax and lower his or her inhibitions. As sexual dysfunction is at times caused by psychological factors (such as anxiety), the soothing effect that wine produces is in itself a good thing, and could be a precursor to a potentially bacchanalian episode later!

Some people also claim that alcohol unclogs your arteries and keeps your blood flowing well. I won’t get too explicit here, but keeping the blood flowing is important.

Some researchers have also found that red wine increases female libido. According to a study conducted by a hospital in Florence, Italy, women who drink one to two glasses of wine on a daily basis are more sexually active than those who abstain. Of course, there are people who dispute the study’s methodology and conclusions, but provided that you drink in moderation, there’s little harm factoring some booze into your lifestyle.

As a saying goes, alcohol may increase the desire, but too much decreases the ability. Too much of a good thing always leads to bad outcomes. The idea is not to drink until you fall asleep, before you get to do anything. The optimal amount to imbibe varies from person to person, so you’ll have to find out how much works for you.

Studies have also indicated that long-term alcohol consumption has suppressive effects on testosterone production in men. So alcohol, including wine, should only be used as an ad hoc measure, on occasion. Excessive consumption over a prolonged period may lead to impotency, and a host of other ailments arising from alcoholism.

The grey matter, matters!
After all that has been said about wine and libido, the most potent aphrodisiac may turn out to lie elsewhere. In the final analysis, perhaps the most important sex organ lies between our ears – and Athena, the goddess of wisdom, trumps Bacchus and Aphrodite. So in addition to drinking wine, use your imagination too, all right?


Red wine for the clueless