Light to moderate consumption of red wine may lead to improved sexual function in women, according to a study in the October issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Women who drank one or two glasses of red wine a day scored higher on a questionnaire concerning sexual health and enjoyment, according to the study’s authors, members of the departments of Urology and Public Health at the University of Florence.

The team wanted to see if red wine consumption, as described by the Mediterranean diet, has an impact on women’s sexual function.  Past studies have found that adherence to the diet improves cardiovascular health, possibly due to a glass or two of red wine per day.  Cardiovascular health has long been linked to sexual health. 

The scientists selected nearly 800 women for the study, ages 18 to 50, who visited the Santa Maria Annunziata Hospital, part of the University of Florence.  Women who drank more than two glasses per day, smokers, and those with sexual disorders were excluded.  

The women completed a questionnaire, the Female Sexual Function Index, which is used by doctors to assess women and sexual health.  It includes 19 questions and has a total score range between 2 and 36, with higher scores indicating better sexual health.  

Overall, women who drank two glasses a day scored an average of 27.3 points, compared with 25.9 for those who drank one glass and 24.4 for nondrinkers.  Even more surprising was the fact that the two-glass-a-day drinkers were, on average, older than the other two groups, age tends to be associated with a declining sex drive.