Aphrodisiacs are named for the Ancient Greek goddess of love, lust and beauty Aphrodite. These items are meant to stimulate the sexual appetite, sometimes of one partner or of someone that you’d like to be your partner. However aphrodisiacs have been around for a long, long time and time, tradition and the placebo effect have muddied the waters about what works and what doesn’t.
Many traditional aphrodisiacs that immediately come to mind are absolute bunk. Powdered rhinoceros horn has no effect on a person who consumes it for instance, and it’s an illegal substance to procure since the rhinoceros is an endangered species. The famed Spanish Fly, which is actually the powdered wings of a Spanish beetle, is also dangerous for you to consume and you’re more likely to get stiff through rigor mortis than you are through sexual desire. Other methods, from herbal remedies to spiritual meditation, show mediocre results at best and they’re downright hazardous to your health at worst. Fortunately there are some aphrodisiacs that do work, in a roundabout way.
Sexual health is like any other aspect of your health; it has to be improved holistically. Vitamins and proper eating habits can help increase your libido and your function for instance, because you have more access to the healthy minerals and materials your body needs to function properly. Alcohol is certainly not healthy, and while it doesn’t create desire what it does do is lower inhibitions… of course too much alcohol will make it impossible for either party to perform sexually. Though there aren’t any hot foods that stimulate sexual desire, contrary to those who swear by chili peppers, foods like cheese and oysters do contain necessary vitamins and materials to help stimulate the body’s sexual ability. So if you can get your head into the right mood, the rest of your anatomy should be able to follow.
For those who want a sure fire hit on sexual stimulants, what you really need to do is talk to your doctor. Chemistry, not Mother Nature, can create the perfect blend of what you need to persuade your body into a sexual state. However, even scientific remedies don’t come without risks and Viagra along with all of its contemporaries can be hazardous depending on the health and body composition of the people taking them. It is safer to take something prescribed to you by your doctor though than it is to try and by a rumored cure illegally through the black market or an untested product off of eBay that might, maybe, sort of, kind of make you a better lover. If you really want it to… because thus far placebos are some of the most effective aphrodisiacs that money can buy.
“Ten Aphrodisiacs That Really Work,” by Neal Santelman at Forbes
“Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?” by Brian Handwerk at National Geographic