Remember that time you went to an excellent oyster happy hour and encouraged your date to slurp 40 oysters because the Internet once told you they strengthen sexual appetite? Remember how you still went home alone? The internet lied!
Everyone has heard about aphrodisiacs, the foods that supposedly increase sexual desire. Oysters, chocolate, avocado, pomegranate, coffee, and a handful of others are among them. But are they a myth? Is there science behind this or is it all anecdotal? Is it all placebo effect?
We asked certified sexologist Barbara Carrellas, the incomparable Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Supercompressor writer Jeremy Glass, who is paid to put weird things in his body and his body in weird things, to give us the scoop. Here's what these folks had to say:
What are your personal opinions on aphrodisiac foods as a sex expert?
Barbara Carrellas: I don’t believe that the average person could eat enough of these so-called aphrodisiac foods to have any noticeable or provable effect on either sexual desire or performance. Oysters, for example, probably made the sexy-food list because of their resemblance to genitalia. Plus, they are high in zinc, which was lacking in people’s diets at one time, so in that situation, eating oysters could result in an overall improvement in health. This could affect desire and performance. Many so-called aphrodisiac foods fall into this category.
Chocolate probably does not increase desire, but the theobromine, caffeine, phenylethylamine, and anandamide are definitely feel-good chemicals. Theobromine and caffeine are stimulants. The phenylethylamine combines with dopamine in the brain to produce a mild antidepressant effect, and the anandamide produces feelings of calm and well-being.
Dr. Ruth: There is no scientific evidence to suggest that these foods affect the libido but if someone believes that one or more do, then that placebo effect might kick in. On the other hand, a glass of wine -- and not much more -- can relax a person and that might make sex more enjoyable.
I do know that eating too much food can make the thought of having sex unappetizing. Couples should have sex before they go out to dinner so that they can just flop into bed when they return.
Jeremy Glass: If you think food aphrodisiacs are a myth, you can f*ck yourself right in your own mouth.