The idea of aphrodisiac foods is nothing new. Virtually every culture stretching back centuries has a menu of delicacies designed to ignite passion and enhance performance.
Wannabe Casanovas have tried a litany of weird cuisine in hopes of supplementing their stiffies, from cobra blood, to sea cucumber, to rhino horn, to baboon urine. Some of it is questionable from a health and safety standpoint, some is straight-up illegal, and the rest requires an iron stomach if you want to do anything between the sheets except sustain the fetal position until the nausea passes.
Fortunately, you don’t have to subject your tastebuds to a trial by fire if you need a boost in the bedroom. These 10 aphrodisiac foods are delicious and readily available for your next romantic dinner.
Suggestive appearance aside, these shellfish are one of history’s most notorious aphrodisiacs for good reason. Oysters are brimming with zinc, a mineral that can boost semen production and regulate sexual hormones. It’s also believed that the sensual, slurping eating method helps get your engine going.
There’s a reason you’re inclined to spread chocolate over your lover’s body but not Vegemite or marmalade. Cocoa contains the chemicals phenylethylamine and anandamide, which boost levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin in your brain. Those euphoric vibes set the stage for some prime thigh thumping.
Spicy foods have a variety of health benefits, not least of which is their effect on arousal. Chili peppers stimulate nerve endings and increase blood flow so you feel more turned on. They also encourage the release of endorphins, which play a role in sexual pleasure. Just make sure you wash your hands between touching the peppers and touching your partner.
The pomegranate, intimidating though the messy eating process can be, packs plenty of passion-promoting power. A study by The Male Clinic in California found that pomegranate juice had a positive effect on erectile dysfunction. Pomegranates are also high in antioxidants, which boost blood flow and in turn increase genital sensitivity.
Foods that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids – like salmon – help keep your sex hormones in peak condition. Salmon is also an excellent source of stamina-boosting protein. If you don’t eat fish, omega-3s can be found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds instead.
Like oysters, pine nuts are high in libido-stimulating zinc. The small seeds have reportedly provided men with sexual stamina for centuries. Mentions of their properties can be found in the work of Roman poet Ovid and in The Perfumed Garden, an ancient Arabic sex manual.
The avocado’s sensuous shape and mouthfeel are just part of the reason the fruit has a long-standing reputation amongst aphrodisiac foods. As far back as the Aztecs, humans have embraced the avocado for its high levels of vitamin E, which helps your body produce essential sex hormones and stimulates sexual responses.
The sun isn’t the only thing turning up the heat come summer. Watermelon contains a phytonutrient called citrulline. When consumed, citrulline can relax blood vessels and speed up circulation. That’s the same thing a certain little blue pill does, without the side effects of taking a prescription drug.
Celery doesn’t immediately come to mind as a sexy vegetable, but what it lacks in girth it makes up for in length and aphrodisiac magic. Celery is said to stimulate the pituitary gland, a part of the brain that plays a key role in releasing sexual hormones. It also contains androsterone, a potent male pheromone.
Olive oil: what can’t it do? Experts sing its praises for all manner of things, including sexual stimulation. Olive oil is rich in essential fatty acids that supply the sex organs with important nutrients and enhance testosterone production. Its many other health benefits will help keep you in peak physical condition which, duh, is also a must for an A-list sex life.