Do Aphrodisiac Foods Actually Stimulate, or is the Link Between Food and Sex a Myth?

Aphrodisiac foods have a reputation for increasing a person’s sex drive. Some believe eating these foods or feeding them to their significant other will kickstart the mood and lead to lovemaking! But in reality, the effects of aphrodisiacs are more complicated than that. Aphrodisiacs aren’t love potions that flip a switch inside someone’s head and make them want to have sex. If aphrodisiacs had that power, they’d be a regulated substance!

Aphrodisiacs may still help with your sex life, though more on a microscopic level. Nutritionists have discovered vitamins and amino acids in certain foods that promote good sexual health. Even if the effect is all in your head, there’s no harm in trying them out. You might be surprised what simple foods can do to get you in the mood!

What’s an aphrodisiac?

Aphrodisiacs are an alluring concept and you’ve probably eaten these foods without realizing their implication. A lot of foods are aphrodisiacs, including avocados, chocolate, pomegranates, and bananas. The name is based on Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It’s a fitting name because many couples serve aphrodisiacs at a romantic dinner in the hopes of getting in the mood.

People feel turned on when they eat aphrodisiacs because their ingredients exaggerate physical symptoms that are associated with arousal. They quicken your heart rate, increase body temperature, and give you more energy. Basically, aphrodisiacs put you in a physiological state that makes you want to have sex.

Five foods to… get you going?

  1. If you or your partner have never eaten oysters, now would be the time to do so! They’re loaded with zinc, which helps produce testosterone and sperm production. Oysters also boost dopamine levels with an amino acid called tyrosine. Dopamine is key to avoiding a weak libido.
  2. Have you ever wondered why stores sell chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Besides being a sweet treat, chocolate is a great way to get your partner in the mood! It contains phenylethylamine, which is a fancy way of saying it gives you feel-good vibes. But contrary to popular belief, chocolate is not technically considered an aphrodisiac.
  3. Of course, one of the most romantic treats is chocolate-covered strawberries. The fruit is packed with Vitamin C and helps increase blood flow. This is an important aphrodisiac to try with your partner because healthy blood circulation is necessary for sex organs to perform well.
  4. Chili peppers are a great aphrodisiac because their oil has capsaicin, which makes your tongue’s nerve endings more sensitive. This could make kissing more enjoyable for you and your partner! On top of that, chili peppers increase adrenaline, a key component to sex.
  5. While figs aren’t an aphrodisiac, they can still promote relaxation and are generally good for your health. This is because they contain antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols. At the very least, being relaxed might ease your nerves before getting intimate with someone!

Can food really set the mood?

Nutritionists emphasize that aphrodisiacs alone won’t get your partner in the mood. You have to consider multiple other factors, like the environment. For instance, chocolate-covered strawberries probably won’t be effective if you two are sitting at the DMV—unless that’s what you’re into.

Some foods are considered aphrodisiacs simply because of their reputations. For instance, the Romans fancied strawberries because they’re shaped like hearts and oysters are known for resembling female genitalia. Whether the food boosts your sex drive or not, some are at least worth a good laugh.

See what foods work for you!

Once you find an aphrodisiac you like, remember that food is best in moderation. Don’t overdo it on those oysters! If you consistently eat copious amounts of the same thing, your body will adjust to it. After a while, your adrenaline might not be racing the way it used to. Save aphrodisiacs for a special occasion.

Foods are most effective in a relationship when they hold meaning for the people involved. Maybe you two have a favorite restaurant because that’s where you had your first date. Or maybe you bonded over your shared obsession with chocolate.

Most importantly, do what feels right to you and your significant other. If aphrodisiacs aren’t hitting the spot, that’s okay. No one knows better than you what works and what does not. Also, your partner might have an aversion to foods you enjoy. Everyone is different. Just be attentive to your partner’s needs and desires, whether they involve fun foods or not.

Evan DeMarco

Evan DeMarco is a leading sports medicine and nutrition expert, published author, public speaker and frequent guest on television, radio, and digital platforms.

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