The surprising impact of red wine on your sexual well-being

Science and Health

New research suggests that indulging in the occasional glass of red wine can bring excitement to your sex life, but not in the way you might have assumed. A comprehensive review of studies spanning 30 years reveals that men who drink one or two cups of red wine daily have a decreased risk of erectile dysfunction, while women tend to experience increased libido.

According to researchers, certain plant compounds found in red wine can improve blood circulation, boost testosterone levels, and stimulate sexual desire.

How can red wine improve your sex life?

In their report published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the authors highlighted polyphenols as the driving force behind red wine’s aphrodisiac effects. These compounds, predominantly flavonoids, are not only present in red wine but also in various plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea, and dark chocolate.

Apart from their role as antioxidants, which help prevent oxidation in the body, polyphenols exhibit properties beneficial to the reproductive system, as stated by the review authors.

Regarding the challenges of maintaining an erection, the antioxidant properties of polyphenols in red wine can contribute to enhanced blood vessel health. This, in turn, facilitates increased blood flow to the penis—an essential factor in sustaining an erection. Furthermore, red wine’s potential to elevate testosterone levels, the primary driver of sexual desire and male fertility, was also suggested by the researchers.

Wine festival in Jerusalem (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The research team reviewed numerous studies between 1993 and 2022, encompassing men and women across different age groups and demographics. These studies covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of red wine on oxidative stress, blood vessel health, heart health, hormone balance, and testosterone levels. Comparisons were made between red wine and other alcoholic beverages, with red wine consistently demonstrating superior effectiveness for sexual well-being.

For instance, one study involved nearly 800 Italian women, showcasing that those who consumed red wine in moderation exhibited higher levels of libido than those who consumed less than one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverages daily. Another study found that both men and women experienced increased testosterone levels when consuming red wine, subsequently leading to heightened libido.

The researchers caution that further investigations are still necessary to determine the specific effects of polyphenols on sexual function. It’s important to note that the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement in January emphasizing that no amount of alcohol is entirely safe and Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks or less for men and one drink or less for women.