During the year that I lived in northeast Thailand, a friend of mine told me that, in their culture, it was considered “sexy” to eat very spicy food. At first, I was baffled. Why would someone find it attractive to see someone panting, red in the face, and sweating profusely? But as I started to observe the locals more, it seemed that they had developed an unimaginable tolerance to this incredibly spicy food.
Finally, it made more sense why you could go to any Thai street market and find people eating bowls of noodles that would make you cry just from smelling them. It was a society-wide game of one-upmanship, an evolutionary force of sorts, that resulted in most Thai food being unbearably hot (unless served to a non-Thai person, in which case those devilish Thai chilis were left out). I don’t know if the chicken or the egg came first, but it seemed as if the Thai population’s spice tolerance and the Scoville ratings of Thai foods were steadily coevolving upward.
Of course, after eating such spicy food for their entire lives, my local friends in northeast Thailand were disgusted by anything that wasn’t blisteringly spicy. And, of course, if eating spicier food improved your chances to get laid, they were going to crank the heat levels up as high as they could go. While this may seem strange to our Western sensibilities, there have been some curious studies done recently that have shown there may be a connection between eating spicy food and having a fruitful sex life.
Spicy Food and Your Sex Life
That’s right, how much heat you like in your food may have a correlation to the heat you’re making between the sheets. One survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the hot sauce brand El Yucateco suggested that people who prefer very spicy food have about double the amount of sex compared to people who don’t. Of course, we have to remember that sex sells, and the fact that these results come from a study sponsored by a hot sauce brand raises some serious questions about its objectivity.
Still, other studies have shown that preferring hot sauce to other condiments correlates to enjoying things like roller coasters, loud music, and driving fast. If we imagine the kind of person that enjoys roller coasters, loud music, and driving fast, it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to say that they probably have more sex than someone who enjoys crocheting, libraries, and antique shopping. Maybe people get frisky at the antique shop once in a while, but I highly doubt it.
On a more serious note, dousing your food with hot sauce and taking the risk of potentially burning away all of your tastebuds probably means that you’re a more adventurous person. According to another study, people who said that they liked spicy food were 45% more likely to have gone skydiving, rafting, or scuba diving. People who are more adventurous, if they’re single, are probably more willing to strike up a conversation with potential bedmates than those who aren’t. If you’re already in a relationship, people who are more sexually adventurous tend to have more active sex lives than those who aren’t. So, it’s no surprise that the more adventurous of our species are shagging like rabbits.
Of course, there’s also the whole “alpha male” element that seems pretty overt throughout this whole discussion. Those guys who have push-up contests in the middle of a party? Well, they’re probably going to lather their entire plate in hot sauce just to show that they aren’t a pussy. And people like that probably have a stronger sex drive. I mean, let’s be honest, they’re thinking about one thing for most of the day, and it isn’t theoretical physics. To be clear, there’s no scientific basis for this “alpha male” theory of mine. Still, it seems like a fairly logical conclusion to me.
But, there’s a far more logical explanation for why people who like spicy food are having more sex (or so people claim), and it’s that people who like spicy food are healthy. Yeah, according to some studies, eating spicy food is a great way to boost your metabolism and keep yourself feeling and looking younger.
Spicy Food and Your Health (and Your Sex Life)
According to a 2015 study by the Harvard and China National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eating spicy food six or seven times a week (even if it’s just once a day) lowered mortality rates by 14%. Eating spicy food showed an inverse relationship with mortality factors like cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Unfortunately, the positive effects of spicy food were less pronounced in those who consumed alcohol, so it might be best to avoid the margaritas with your spicy shrimp tacos.
Certain spices including turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and chili peppers have also been shown to speed up your resting metabolic rate and slow down your appetite. So, people who eat spicier food are naturally going to have a faster metabolism and thus have an easier time staying in shape. And, yes, people who are in shape tend to have more sex. To be clear, eating more spicy food doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in better shape. If you eat three bean and cheese burritos smothered in hot sauce, you’ll still gain more weight than if you’d eaten a bland salad.
Spices have also shown health benefits such as reducing inflammation, killing off harmful bacteria, and even killing cancer cells, according to some studies. So, on the whole, it seems that adding some spicy food to your diet will help you stay more youthful and healthy. And, you guessed it, people who are more youthful and healthy tend to have more sex.
What if I Hate Spicy Food?
Look, if you just read this whole article and you don’t like spicy food and now you’re ready to join the priesthood because you think you’ll never have a shot at getting laid again, just relax. Not liking spicy food doesn’t mean that no one will ever find you attractive ever again, it just means that the capsaicin receptors in your mouth are more sensitive. Don’t go online and start chatting with those weird incel guys and blaming your barren sex life on your natural aversion to habanero peppers. That’s absurd.
These studies show correlations, not causation. That means that eating spicy foods won’t cause the sky to open up and rain down sexual partners upon you. If you started chugging hot sauce halfway through this article to try to increase your spice tolerance because you think it’ll get you laid more, then you should do some serious rethinking about your own self-image and the ways in which you relate to other people.
Personally, I love spicy food. As I mentioned, I lived in northeast Thailand for a year, so I didn’t really have a choice but to learn to love spicy food. Learning that it may actually be healthy to eat spicy food was just an added bonus. But do I walk up to a bar, sit down next to someone I find attractive, and start wolfing down pickled jalapenos? No, I do not. Do I walk down the street exuding the energy that I have a particularly high spice tolerance for a white boy and suddenly everyone gets all hot and bothered? I highly doubt that.
If you want to eat spicy food, do it because you like the taste (and maybe because some masochistic part of you likes sweating and panting). Don’t eat spicy food because you think it’ll get you between someone’s knees.