Through the pages of women’s magazines, lurking between the typical fad diets and the latest trends in fitness, has been an urban legend known to many as The Sex Diet. If you were to Google this diet, you would see many different articles discussing its specifics, all from what foods you can eat to improve your sex life to the theory that engaging in sexual activity more often can actually lead to weight loss. In an effort to dispel some of the myths and finally get the medical truth about this diet, we enlisted a few experts to give us the low-down on the details and whether or not The Sex Diet could work for you.
To begin, let’s discuss the correlation between the brain’s craving for sweets and carbohydrates and the brain’s craving for sexual activity. According to Dr. Jeanette Raymond, PhD, “There is an emotional and psychological component. When a person isn’t naturally satisfied and/or soothed by intimate contact with loved ones, there is a permanent shortfall of serotonin and dopamine due to the insecurity that goes with a lack of reward from regular interactions. The person then resorts to taking care of their needs themselves. They use external things like sweet things or substances.” This means that when you are craving affection, be it sexual or simply to be hugged or held, and are not given that satisfaction by your partner, your body then begins to crave other substances in an effort to fill that emotional and physical gap. For most of us, that substance is a giant piece of chocolate cake or a huge slice of pizza.
So why is it, that when we engage in more satisfying sexual activity we seem to have less cravings, or at the very least, are able to ignore them? Dr. Rouya Shamsai of Amazing Health Consulting, says, “The primary brain chemicals produced in intimacy are adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. Adrenaline causes your heart to race when you see your lover. Dopamine stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. Finally, Serotonin is the chemical that causes you to constantly think about your lover. When you are in the state of love and brain chemical bliss (happiness), and as though all your needs are met, food cravings becomes the last thing on your mind.” Her belief is that the body reacts to sex and arousal similar to the way it would a drug. If the body is receiving the pleasure it craves from the source from which it is craving it, there is little need to seek satisfaction outside of that source.
With all of this in mind, one might wonder if an actual sexual encounter must take place in order to receive the rush of chemicals to stop the cravings. According to Dr. Raymond, sometimes even thinking about sex can be enough. She said that although some people do require the actual release of a sexual encounter, for many, flirting, teasing and discussing the possibility of sex with their partner is enough to trigger those chemicals and get their brain waves moving in a direction that’s headed away from the cookie jar.
As far as the connection between certain foods and an increase in libido, Dr. Caroline Cederquist, medical director of bistroMD and author of The MD Factor Diet had this to say, “While there is no evidence that certain foods increase libido, I think the best libido booster would be a meal prepared for a mom that is full of flavor, no chemicals and requires no work, no cleanup and is balanced with protein and healthy carbs and fats. As a busy working mom, the fact that my time is valued and protected would make me more likely to be in the mood than any meal ingredient.”
So there you have it ladies. While there is no solid proof that spending a little more time in the bedroom will lead to weight loss, there certainly seems to be a strong argument to support the possibility of sex being able to help you kick your cravings. The only way to know for sure if The Sex Diet will work for you is to give it try. The next time those cravings start creeping into your head, try giving your husband ‘that look’, and see where it leads you. We certainly can’t think of a more satisfying experiment to try!