This chemical is a muscle relaxant that depresses the central nervous system, relaxing both stress and inhibition. While those are positive things, romantically, it should be noted that in large amounts alcohol inhibits arousal and obstructs orgasm.
All that you probably knew. But there’s more…
A little-known but useful fact about alcohol is that it increases testosterone production. Quite honestly, there is a boatload of contradictory information on the subject, mostly caused by lumping too many factors and ranges together. Binge or excessive regular drinking messes with insulin reception, testosterone production, and who knows how many other things. Modest or moderate or occasional alcohol consumption has quite the opposite effect. Yes, moderate use actually improves glycemic control and insulin sensitivity. But let’s cut to the sexy bits, shall we?
Actual science indicates an enormous increase in testosterone in men, within certain limits. What are those limits? Well, to lower T (testosterone) levels much at all, you have to have about 10 shots of 80 proof stuff, and the effect lasts 16 hours. But with the correct (that is, sane) doses, one’s T level may triple or even quadruple.
Testosterone is a key factor in aggression and sex drive. A woman with fully functioning ovaries produces, on average, three-tenths of one milligram of testosterone per day. That’s an average of 15-70 ng/dL, compared to the average man, who will produce more than 20 times as much, 270-1070 ng/dL – a higher concentration in a larger body. That’s the level men are used to dealing with, which is something you might want to ponder deeply, some time. Those numbers all boil down to this: Women are much more sensitive to changes in androgen levels, and far less used to (or trained for) coping with those changes.
Oh, and women produce smaller amounts than men of a gastric enzyme that helps metabolize alcohol, causing women to be still more susceptible to its effects. So there is that, too.
All in all, reasonable use of alcohol does have a strong increase in sex drive and aggressive behavior for both sexes, but much more so in women.
So: in the correct amounts it both increases the amount of libido and reduces the resistance to the effects of having a sex drive. If that isn’t an aphrodisiac, I have no idea what is.
There are social factors involved with alcohol as well, allowing people to drop inhibitions beyond the chemical effect of the drug. A friend of mine has tested this with interesting results. His test is simply to accompany dinner with a very nice nonalcoholic wine.