Aphrodisiacs are substances and foods that heighten erotic arousal, sexual attraction, and pleasure in love and sexual relations. Aphrodisiacs can enhance the sensual pleasure that both men and women get from their sexual relationships. The term “aphrodisiacs” comes from the name of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
The Cultural History of Aphrodisiacs
Throughout the course of human history, aphrodisiacs have been sought after and used by people. They have created them using a variety of materials, including foods, plants, and minerals. There have long been aphrodisiac superstitions in many different cultures around the world.
How People Use Aphrodisiacs in Modern Love and Sexual Encounters
The history of human cultures has preserved the recipes for making aphrodisiacs from plants, minerals, and foods. This variety of substances is what men and women have used to boost sexual desire, erotic attraction, and enjoy sex and sensual pleasures in love relationships.
The hedonistic wish of great sex has always been appealing to people in their lives. So, it is not surprising that they were interested in something that would increase desire and pleasure in sexual affairs.
Subsequently, cultural beliefs evolved that aphrodisiacs could increase the qualities of sex, making it more desirable, exciting, and pleasurable. However, researchers still need to investigate whether or not aphrodisiacs are actually capable of doing what they promise to do. According to some studies, substances like aphrodisiacs may even have adverse side effects (Brunetti et al., 2020).
The Types of Aphrodisiacs
Among the substances that people commonly use as aphrodisiacs are
- Certain sorts of herbs, such as sage and cloves.
- Some kinds of food, such as dark chocolate and oysters.
- Alcohol and psychoactive substances, such as marijuana.
- Supplements that contain the ingredients yohimbine, ambien, ginseng, and horny goat weed.
How Aphrodisiacs Work
People widely use certain types of food that evoke the senses of sight, smell, and taste. They believe that spicy foods and substances work as aphrodisiacs. For instance, chili pepper tends to boost body temperature and, therefore, induce feelings of arousal.
Kendra Cherry, for example, reviewed some types of aphrodisiac foods and natural supplements that can boost libido and sexual pleasure.
What Foods Are Aphrodisiacs?
There are two categories of foods that can be used as aphrodisiacs: those that are easily accessible and those that are extremely uncommon and difficult to find. Studies haven’t linked specific foods to changes in libido or sexual performance. Nevertheless, it may be worthwhile to order or cook certain kinds of food that can be presumably conducive to feeling energetic and excited. All these can boost sexual motivation and emotions.
Certain foods may contain properties that are advantageous to your sexual life. Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, for example, can help improve blood flow throughout the body, including the genitals (Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Health Professionals/National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements)
Some sources mentioned specific kinds of food and substances as having an aphrodisiac effect. Among those are various nuts and fruits, such as figs, pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, watermelon, bananas, pomegranates, strawberries, and honey. Various kinds of vegetables, such as asparagus, avocado, saffron, garlic, pumpkin, and celery, can also have an aphrodisiac effect.
There isn’t much scientific evidence that these foods actually affect sexual desire. Yet they can enhance positive emotions, pleasurable feelings, and well-being because they contain potassium, zinc, and phytochemicals.
Aphrodisiac Effects of Dark Chocolate and Wine
Dark chocolate and coffee can have a possible aphrodisiac effect. Some studies have shown that they may improve blood flow, while other studies found no aphrodisiac evidence for dark chocolate (West & Krychman, 2015, West et al., 2014).
Alcoholic beverages have an effect on enhancing sexual arousal. Regular yet moderate consumption of red wine is good for better sexual health in women. Daily consumption of one or two glasses of red wine increases sexual desire and sexual performance in women. Low to moderate alcohol consumption can reduce inhibitions and increase desire. It is still worthy of note that excessive alcohol consumption can hinder sexual performance (Mondaini et al., 2009; Prabhakaran et al., 2018).