We Put These Aphrodisiac Foods to the Test, & Here’s What Worked

People love food, and people love sex, so it makes sense to combine the two. Better yet, there’s the idea of aphrodisiac foods, which have the reputation of helping to increase the libido. But do aphrodisiac foods actually work? Sure, the idea sounds amazing. That said, I’m the kinda gal who has a healthy sex drive and experimental outlook on life.

In the name of DIY science, I decided to give a handful of foodstuffs a try in hopes of a stepped-up sex drive.

Oysters

Image: Charyn Pfeuffer.

It is said that Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, the infamous 18th-century lover, ate 50 oysters each morning for breakfast to increase his sexual stamina. I’m a frequent eater of oysters, and I cannot dispute the theory that bivalves will get one hot and bothered.

I don’t know if it’s because I like to pair them with Champagne (bubbles make everything better) or that consumption involves a sexy slurping action or that the salty seafood vaguely resembles a vulva, a part of the female anatomy that I really, really like. Nevertheless, I sucked down oysters in the name of science, and it totally made me want to have sex. (Like usual.)

Dark chocolate

Image: Alex Garland Photography.

Let’s face it. Everything about dark chocolate is sensual. From its deep, dark color to its luscious aroma, dark chocolate has also been shown to cause an increase in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure. I fully admit I eat a square of dark chocolate daily (at the very least). I crave the flavor, and it makes me happy.

Does it make me horny? Not so much. I love how it tastes and melts on my tongue, but beyond my taste buds, it doesn’t inspire any sexual desire — whatsoever. I wish it did since this food is such a mainstay in my life.

Chili peppers

Image: Alex Garland Photography.

With their showy red and green colors and exotic reputation, chili peppers are considered a natural aphrodisiac and symbol of love. Chili peppers kick-start endorphins (the brain’s feel-good chemicals), speed up heart rate and make you sweat (thanks to capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers).

All these elements will make you feel aroused, Dr. Meryl S. Rosofsky told The New York Times. I cook a lot and use chili peppers on the reg. Sure, they make my cheeks flush and sometimes step up my heart rate, but when I put them in a recent breakfast casserole, they didn’t make me crave sexy time — though they made me thirsty for more mimosas.

Bananas

Image: Alex Garland Photography.

Bananas have an advantage with their phallic shape. I mean, c’mon. This fantastic fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme that triggers testosterone production, and potassium and vitamin B, which elevates energy levels. I eat a lot of bananas, but they’ve never inspired straight-up horniness.

Sure, if I think about the demos of my younger years and putting a condom on a banana or if I simulate oral sex on the fruit, I can definitely get in the mood by the associative thought of sex. But it’s mostly mental, and the banana is just a bright-yellow vehicle for my sexy thoughts.

Honey

Image: Alex Garland Photography.

There’s a reason “the birds and the bees” is a saying, right? Honey contains boron, which helps regulate estrogen and testosterone levels and provides a natural energy boost, as well as lots of B vitamins, which are crucial for testosterone production. “Honey” is also a super-sweet term of endearment, if you think about it.

In the name of this aphrodisiac experiment, I sampled some honey a friend gave me from the Big Island of Hawaii. I don’t know whether it was the act of sharing this precious liquid, the sensual licking of my lips as I put spoonfuls of the nectar in my mouth, or that I made out with my partner with a sweet slick on my lips that made it so sensual. All I know is that a drizzle of honey on a mouth or body can step up sexy time exponentially.

Avocado

Image: Alex Garland Photography.

I’m a woman who loves curves, so the avocado and its sensuous shape speak to me. I merely hold this fruit in my hand, and I find it inherently sexy. Don’t get me started on its versatile flavor — I can’t get enough. And health advocates speak of the fruit’s high levels of vitamin E.

Sure, I love the act of smearing creamy goodness across a piece of toast, but that alone doesn’t arouse me. It’s almost like peanut butter but in far sexier packaging.

The verdict

Sharing food with someone I care about is inherently sexy. All these so-called aphrodisiac foods are seductive in some way, from way they look to their mouthfeel. Sure, there may be science to support their potential to boost sex drive, but oysters were the only item with any noticeable effect on my libido. Honey and banana didn’t spark romance but did give me a heightened sense of sensual awareness. The bottom line: These aphrodisiac foods may not send you running for the bedroom, but can add a tasty element of play to your relationship. 

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