Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?

Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?

Read about the author Samantha Evans

Can oysters put you in the mood for sex? A centuries old way of boosting your libido is to eat certain foods to put you in the mood. Many ancient civilisations attributed aphrodisiac properties to specific foods which have developed a mythical status, even though they vary from culture to culture.

The Chinese believed that warm snake’s blood gave men prolonged sexual stamina: the more venomous the snake, the better. Snake is still served on the menu in many restaurants in China today.

The Aztecs were more practical and believed that avocado was endowed with magical powers of arousal and the Romans used garlic to pep up their virility and fertility.

But how true is this? Scientific studies have shown that foods associated with sexual enjoyment have merely a placebo effect and the US Food and Drug Administration even went as far as declaring that aphrodisiac foods have no effect upon sex drive.

Sex takes place in the mind and in your imagination, so certain foods can affect our sex lives differently from person to person.

Some foods contain substances which can affect the body physiologically by lowering inhibitions, increasing blood flow to the genitalia, and some can cause the release of mood boosting hormones which may lead us to believe that they can enhance sexual desire and enjoyment. Many foods, with their suggestive aromas, visual appearances or the sensual or luxurious surroundings in which we eat them can prove to be highly seductive.

Visual foods

Foods with sexy or phallic shapes create visual stimulation. Oysters, fresh figs, carrots and even avocados are said to look like genitalia and anything which is visually erotic may trigger your brain to think sensual thoughts. Phallic-shaped foods being eaten by a woman may arouse some men but it all depends on how you eat it.

Aromatic foods

There is a whole host of foods that can turn us on just by smelling their aroma. Parsley, cooked chestnuts, truffles and nuts have smells similar to the musky scent of males; while champagne, camembert, olives and fresh figs give off fragrances which are stimulating to both sexes.

The A-Z of Sexy Foods


A super-alkaline food, the Aztecs called the avocado tree ahuacatl or “testicle tree”. Avocado helps to increase sex drive for both males and females. As it contains very high levels of folic acid, it assists in metabolising proteins, thus providing you more energy. Avocados also contain vitamin B6, a nutrient which improves male hormone production.

Considered as shapely as a woman by some, avocados were once regarded so obscene in Old World Spain that Catholic priests forbade their parishioners from eating them!


Long regarded as a symbol of fertility, almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre – but it is the smell of almonds which is said to arouse desire and passion in women.

Selenium can help with infertility issues, zinc is important for the production of testosterone which boosts libido, Vitamin E can increase cardiac function and omega-3 fatty acids improve blood circulation to the genitalia.


“Asparagus stirs up lust in man and woman,” wrote Nicholas Culpepper in the 17th Century.

Apart from its phallic shape, asparagus is high in potassium, fibre, vitamins B6, A and C, thiamin and folic acid. These nutrients can boost the production of histamine, necessary for the ability to reach orgasm in both sexes. The act of eating buttery asparagus may be seen as erotic but beware, asparagus can make your urine smell unpleasant!


Bananas are another super food that can help improve sexual function and increase sexual virility. Bananas are high in bromelain and B vitamins, both of which are potent sexual hormone regulators that boost sexual desire. According to an Islamic myth, after Adam and Eve ate the apple in the garden of Eden, they covered their nudity with banana leaves. They also have a phallic shape which may be sexually arousing for men when eaten by a woman.


Seen as one of the most luxurious foods, caviar is a good source of Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Iron, Magnesium and Selenium. It also contains vitamins B5 and B6 which help balance hormone levels and fight stress: two things that are crucial to a healthy libido. The down side is that caviar is very high in cholesterol and sodium. It is also extremely expensive but this may make it seem more luxurious and sexy!


Chillies are not only ideal for spicing up your food but they can spice up your sex life too. Chillies contain a chemical called capsaicin, known for improving blood circulation and stimulating nerve endings. The hot flush you get to your face after eating spicy food is due to increased blood flow. This process can also affect the blood circulation in your groin area and help you have an erection. Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings, raises the heart rate and triggers the release of endorphins to create a natural high and improve sexual health.


A girl’s best friend (after her vibrator of course), chocolate is the best way to improve your mood. Chocolate has a long history associated with feelings of well being. Originally thought to be an aphrodisiac by the ancient Aztecs, chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA) and serotonin, natural feel good substances believed to evoke the same reaction in the body as falling in love.

PEA is known as “chocolate amphetamine” because it causes blood pressure and blood sugar levels to rise leading to feelings of excitement and alertness. It works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression but does not result in the same tolerance or addiction. Phenylethylamine is also called the “love drug” because it causes your pulse rate to quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to being in love.

Chocolate also contains lipid anandanide which is similar in structure to a chemical found in marijuana, both of which create feelings of euphoria. Theobromine is another substance found in chocolate which affects the nervous system by causing mental and physical relaxation. Even the meanings of these words imply pleasure. Anandamine is derived from the word ‘ananda’ which is Sanskrit for “bliss” and theobromine is derived from the Greek word ‘theobroma’ meaning “food of the gods”. Start eating dark chocolate now!


Eggs are rich in vitamins B6 and B5. These help balance hormone levels and fight stress: two things that are crucial to a healthy libido. Eggs are also a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Eating raw chicken eggs just prior to sex is said to heighten libido and maximize energy levels. Yummy…!


High in an ingredient called Alicia, garlic can help stimulate circulation and blood flow to sexual organs in both men and women. Eat garlic in moderation because the intense aroma on the breath may kill the mood, or you could take garlic pills to avoid the mood-killing odour altogether.


Honey has long been linked with fertility and increased libido as well as tasting very sweet. The word ‘honeymoon’ comes from the ancient practice of guests giving honey to newly-weds before their wedding night to boost their sexual performance.

Eating honey regularly increases the production, quality, and motility of sperm cells and stimulates the production of testosterone, thus increasing libido.

The drizzling nature of honey also makes it conducive to pouring over your partner’s body and licking it off. You may need to keep some wet wipes close to hand as this is a sticky process!


Oysters may not look very pretty but are a well-known aphrodisiac. They are supposed to resemble the female sex organs and contain amino acids and chemicals which can boost your libido. Their high zinc content can increase sperm and testosterone production and dopamine which can increase libido. Zinc also increases vaginal lubrication.

Oysters are best eaten raw and are low in calories. They are not the cheapest of aphrodisiacs and need to be bought from a sustainable source.


Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which improve blood circulation by preventing the build up of plaque in the arteries. Improving blood flow is essential in enhancing sexual stimulation. Men need enhanced blood flow to achieve and maintain erections, and good circulation helps women achieve clitoral orgasms.


Sushi is full of zinc, just like oysters and therefore is a great sex food. Because it is light, most people don’t over eat sushi so it is a perfect date food.


Watermelon contains ingredients that can deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido. It contains the amino acid L-citrulline which naturally increases blood flow to the sex organs. Scientists know that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system. Also, being so juicy, watermelon can be fun to share during food foreplay and is the perfect pleasure inducing food to enjoy with your partner.

There has always been a link between food and sex because they are the two greatest pleasures known to mankind and both appetites need to be fulfilled. The effects caused by the taste and aroma of certain foods differs from person to person.

The most erotic organ is the brain and if you think something will turn you on, it probably will. So let your imagination run wild with ideas and start stocking up your fridge and cupboards now.