Do aphrodisiacs really work to boost your sexual desire and performance?
A little bit on aphrodisiac history
We are sure you’ve heard about aphrodisiacs and all the myths and facts that surround them. They have been around forever. If you happen to search through medical texts from ancient Egypt, China and India you’ll find how each of them proclaims the sexual benefits of certain products and practices.
When it comes to finding “the secret” to a great sex life (regarding performance and everything in between), different cultures over history have lists of what aphrodisiacs can do to help you achieve it. And as it happens people have tried them… the goal’s worth it.
Let’s begin with some context before we dive into the myths and facts surrounding aphrodisiacs.
Where do aphrodisiacs come from?
Aphrodisiacs have their origin in Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty. Aphrodite’s name comes from the Greek word “aphros” which means foam and it relates to her weird origin.
According to the Greek myth of her origin, Aphrodite was born from the foam created when Zeus’ dad, Cronus, cut off Zeus’s grandad, Uranus’ penis and threw it into the ocean. Yeah, he (Uranus) was that potent. Sorry if we shattered your romantic notion about Aphrodite, but that’s how the myth rolls.
What is an aphrodisiac and how does it work?
If we go with a broad definition, an aphrodisiac is any food, drink, and drug that arouses sexual desire. The general consensus is that aphrodisiacs are sex enhancing foods like oysters and/or potent potions like the famous “love potion #9.
For an aphrodisiac to actually work, it’ll have to create desire. What drives or what controls our sexual desire (in both men and women) is the level of our hormones (specifically testosterone). When the balance is off, things don’t function as they should, but when it’s right, all’s good.
Scientifically, no food has been proven to stimulate the sex organs, but some foods and the act of eating them can suggest sex to your mind and that can stimulate a sexual desire.
Throughout history, aphrodisiacs have fallen into different categories regarding what they can do, but basically, they can work in two ways:
- The ones that create a sexual desire by working on the mind (some foods were considered aphrodisiacs simply because they looked like a sex organ)
- The ones that create a sexual desire by affecting some parts of the body (something that increases the blood flow in the sex organs might stimulate feelings of sexual intercourse creating a sexual desire).
Let’s start with what medical science has found about some aphrodisiacs and what they can do to help you with your sexual desire.
When you think aphrodisiac, one of the foods that come to mind is oysters. Some people swear on it working, one of them was Casanova (he ate fifty oysters for breakfast, at least), he said he did it to maintain his virility and stamina. Is it true? Oysters do help but in regards to nutrition and sexual health.
Oysters are rich in zinc and zinc is an essential nutrient for sperm development. There are no studies to back eating oysters can help your sexual response and satisfaction, but it’s components sure can help you.
2. Peruvian maca
The maca root is grown in Peru and it’s been used by the locals since ancient times to boost their sex drive. There actually have been studies of the Maca where the benefits were confirmed. Peruvian maca has been shown effective for female sexual dysfunction and for treating men’s erectile dysfunction too.
Ginseng has some unique properties that have been confirmed to helped with male erectile dysfunction. Ginseng root also can help women during menopause because it can enhance sexual arousal.
Cardamom is high in cineole, this component is known to increase blood flow in areas where it’s applied. In certain cultures, it was deemed as a powerful aphrodisiac and it was believed beneficial in treating impotence.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used the aniseed or anise because they believed it could increase desire by sucking the seeds. This seed like the papaya are estrogenic, some compounds that act like the female hormone estrogen.
The following are aphrodisiacs that may work but it also may not. If they have any effect it may be more psychological than physiological.
Some foods are considered aphrodisiacs because of their shape, and bananas are considered at the top of that list. Sure, bananas contain B vitamins and potassium, both needed in your body to make sex hormones but there’s no evidence eating them will enhance your sexual desire.
Almonds are good for your heart and your weight (this has been proven) but to put you in “the mood”… not so much. They contain the amino acid L-arginine, which in your body helps with the blood flow (handy for men with erectile dysfunction) but there is no certainty on how many almonds you have to eat for it to really work.
When Aztecs looked at avocados they saw fruit in the shape of testicles and that was (maybe) the reason why they ate them as aphrodisiacs, but nothing has been proven to cause any physiological changes to help your sexual desire.
Chocolate is delicious and dark chocolate is beneficial to your health but regarding your sexual desire, it does nothing special. Chocolate contains some stimulants that were believed to help your sexual desire but it was not confirmed in any studies.
10. Green M&Ms
What?! Really? There was a myth around green M&Ms during the ’70s and ’80s (nobody knows where it began). Maybe it was because the color green is associated, throughout history, with fertility. Not true at all about the green ones or any candy color, no evidence at all.
We’ll just finish by saying that despite medical evidence or not, an aphrodisiac work if you want it to work. Sometimes just believing it works can be enough.