Study: meat as an aphrodisiac - a misconception?
Men prefer to eat more meat than women. According to a recent Australian study, there could be more to the male hunger for meat than just the pure taste experience. Meat is obviously a status symbol for men and helps male meat lovers to have more sexual pleasure.
In a large study involving 1,600 participants, researchers from Monash University in Melbourne investigated the motivations behind men's decision to eat a meat dish instead of a vegetarian dish. Two motivations emerged in particular: status and the increase in sexual desire. The study results were recently published in the journal "Food Quality and Preference".
The desire to mate affects the choice of food
"Sexual desire and the desire to mate are the basis for the existence of humanity," says study leader Dr. Eugene Chan in a press release on the study results. According to Chan, the search for a partner is so fundamentally entangled with the psyche that it also influences the diet, especially if it means that those affected have more chances of achieving the mating goal.
The relationship between meat and social status
According to the study, meat was originally a rare and valuable food in the course of human evolution. Due to the rare availability, meat was considered a real superfood that strengthens the body and at the same time conveys a status of wealth. As the researchers report, this also increased the will to mate in the female population.
Relics of the past
"The connection between meat and status is based on evolutionary causes of consumption," adds Professor Natalina Zlatevska, who also participated in the study. Meat was the preferred food among cave dwellers that made the organism strong, healthy and powerful enough to survive in an inhospitable environment. In the later course of evolution, regular meat consumption was reserved for the royal houses and the nobility. In banquets, they displayed their wealth through lavish meat dishes.
Even today, meat is not lacking in any big ceremony
According to the study, the special position of the meat has persisted to this day. "To this day, we still celebrate mainly with meat, especially at Christmas, at weddings and on occasions that we share with family and friends," said the professor. Against this background, the Australian researchers examined the current relationship between sexual motivation and meat consumption in three behavioral studies.
Meat as a reward
In the first behavioral study, 268 Australian students were asked to look at pictures of attractive men and women who were neither particularly revealing nor provocative. As a reward for participation, participants were able to choose between a meat dish and a vegan meal without knowing that this was part of the study. 86 percent of the male subjects chose beef. In contrast, only 54 percent of the female participants took the meat meal.
Beef for sexual motivation?
The second part of the study included a survey of 878 participants. Half of the subjects were asked to indicate which meal they would choose for a romantic evening with a desirable person. The other group should indicate which meal they would choose for a social evening with friends. The result showed that men chose a beef steak particularly often when there was sexual motivation.
Beef and pork to increase potency
In the third part of the study, 489 UK participants were asked to indicate which meal they would choose to improve their sexual condition. The majority of the participants considered the consumption of beef and pork to be suitable to improve their own sexual condition. Instead, a vegan option was rejected with an overwhelming majority.
Do we hold on to archaic structures?
"If exposure to sexual stimuli can affect food choices, policy makers, health officials and food sustainability advisors need to be aware of this context," the study's authors conclude. The researchers' conclusion is that today's attitudes towards meat have become outdated and have to change. (vb)
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