An aphrodisiac is a substance that is said to increase ones sexual desire, enhance arousal, and amplify libido. Aphrodisiacs can cause an increase of sexual desire through changes in chemical balances, physiological responses, or symbolic representations. Some foods and drinks may contain certain chemicals that elicit aroused physiological responses. Other aphrodisiacs may evoke sexual desires solely through their symbolic representations. In the Ancient times, undernourishment created a loss of libido and a reduction in fertility rates. Substances that represent seeds or semen, like snails and eggs, were seen to inherently have sexual powers, and increase libido. Similarly, other foods were considered to be sexually stimulating due to their physical resemblance to genitalia.
Alcohol: Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases confidence.
Bananas: If not already obvious, the shape of a banana is a phallic symbol. On top of this, some studies have shown that one of its enzymes, bromelain, can enhance male performance.
Caviar: Not only is caviar considered to be a sexy food due to its exotic nature, but it also contains high amounts of zinc, which stimulates the formation of testosterone in men.
Chocolate: Chocolate is known to contain both a sedative, which relaxes while lowering inhibitions, and a stimulant, which increases one’s physical activity levels and desires for physical contact.
Ginseng: Ginseng is known to increase one’s desire for physical contact.
Puffer fish: In Japan, the puffer fish is considered both a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. This fish has a poisonous gland that if not properly removed, can instantly kill. The sexuality of this food comes with the flirt with death that the consumer plays with in eating the food.
Oysters: Oysters have long been considered an aphrodisiac. One reason for this lies in the sexual nature of the oyster. Some oysters repeatedly change their sex from male to female and back. This gives rise to the thought that oysters can let one experience the masculine and feminine sides of sex and love.
Wine: Wine relaxes you and helps stimulates your senses. The experience of drinking the wine, examining its colour, caressing the glass, swirling the liquid and sipping it slowly is known to be a highly sexual one. Be careful how much wine you drink though. Too much wine can make you drowsy, and falling asleep on your partner is hardly sexy.
Truffles: Truffles are said to arouse the palate and stimulate the body. The rarity of this food gives it an exotic and sexual feel.
Strawberries: Strawberries earned their reputation as an aphrodisiac from their large number of tiny seeds, which symbolize fertility. Throughout literature, art, and Folklore, they have been portrayed as symbols of sexuality. Containing more vitamin C than any other berry, this fruit is said to aid in strengthening the libido by providing the body with essential vitamins.
At the end of the day, and after much scientific research, there is inconclusive evidence as to whether aphrodisiacs truly exist. This being said, the mind and the imagination are one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. While a food in itself may not cause an aroused physiological reaction, the hope of a certain response may lead to an additional sexual reaction, but attributed back to the consumed food. This heightened sexual awareness can then be passed onto their partner, increasing the overall sexual experience.