Red wine and women, what problema?
Researchers concluded that levels of sexual desire were higher in women who were moderate drinkers of red wine.
Than in their counterparts who preferred other alcoholic drinks, or were teetotal.
One theory put forward by the team of Italian doctors who carried out the study is that chemical compounds found in wine may improve sexual functioning by increasing blood flow to key areas of the body.
The researchers said: “While this finding needs to be interpreted with some caution, it nevertheless suggests a potential relationship between wine consumption and better sexuality.”
In the project, described as the first to examine red wine intake and women’s sexual function, doctors at the University of Florence recruited 800 women aged 18 to 50.
The women, none of whom had reported a sexual health problem, were split into three groups – those who regularly consumed one or two glasses of red wine a day, those who consumed less than one glass a day of any sort of wine or other alcohol, and those who were teetotal.
Women who drank more than two glasses a day were excluded from the study to avoid the possible confounding effects of drunkenness.
All participants completed a questionnaire, the Female Sexual Function Index, which is used by doctors to assess women and sexual health. It includes 19 questions with a total score range between two and 36, with higher scores meaning better functioning.
Overall the red wine drinkers scored an average of 27.3 points, compared to 25.9 for the less-frequent tipplers and 24.4 for the non-drinkers.
The researchers, who reported their findings in the Journal of Sexual Medicine last week, say the outcome is even more striking because the red wine drinkers were, on average, older than the other two groups, and age tends to be associated with a declining sex drive.
Just how red wine could have such an effect is not clear, although there are a number of theories.
One suggestion is that antioxidants in red wine have a beneficial effect on the lining of blood vessels, widening the vessels and increasing blood flow to key areas of the body.