In the next few weeks, expect an increase in the demand for these so-called “aphrodisiacs”. Don’t be surprised if oysters are priced higher than usual, and even the lowly ginger might experience a price increase even by a few cents. How about those chocolates? Are adding ribbons enough to make them extra special and extra pricey? Can these foods really help your sex life?
True to the mystery and intrigue surrounding love potions and other concoctions, aphrodisiacs have been supported by history and cultural. This is not to say that an aphrodisiac actually works. Not to spoil your plans and schemes this Valentine’s Day, but the scientific backing of these morsels for increased libido is as strong as oral tradition and folklores. Even though this is the case, how come aphrodisiacs remain to be a very revered component for seduction and the erotic?
Aphrodisiacs are substances that are known to cause sexual arousal and the intensification of sexual desire. These “substances”, however, are debatable especially when found in food. Oysters, for instance, do not cause any direct effect on the libido by means of its natural components. What can make oyster an effective aphrodisiac is based on its shape that can cause a placebo effect or other causes of sympathetic magic.
In a scientific context, an aphrodisiac is supposed to create an effect on the brain that can rouse sexual desire. This effect can start from the levels of sex hormones, especially the testosterone. Aphrodisiacs can thereby enable arousal through the senses such as the increase in blood flow in the genitals and certain chemical releases in the brain that can cause attraction and arousal.
At this point, those that are proven to be aphrodisiacs happen to be formulated by pharmaceutical companies. Components such as Yohimbine, Bremelanotide, Alkyl nitrites and Melanotan II have been developed to increase sex drive and address sexual dysfunctions. Unfortunately, and expectedly, these drugs can cause negative side effects.
Of course, there are some natural aphrodisiacs as well coming from natural components like Crocin (as found in saffron) and phenylethylamine (as found in chocolates). These aphrodisiac properties mostly cause reactions in the brain such as the case of Crocin which basically has antidepressant properties. Chocolates, as we all now, can create the same effect.
What about those famous aphrodisiacs that our ancestors have sworn by? Even though they do not have the scientific evidence to prove that they contain aphrodisiac substances, there is something about these aphrodisiacs that can help people believe they will do wonders in the bedroom. Some of them may do but some of them can cause more harm.
Rhinoceros horn – because the horn looks like an erect penis, its penile implication can bring visions all-night satisfaction and all-out masculinity. Rhino horn does not have sexual powers and is in fact an illegal commodity although used in Chinese medicine.
Spanish fly – the Spanish fly seems like a mythical insect that boarded the ships states-bound but this is in fact a ground-up blister beetle that can be actually toxic. Because of its cantharidin content, the ingested powder can cause a warm feeling in the urinary tract which is actually an infection and not a sign of increased libido. Next time you want to fulfill your curiosity, use Spanish fly as pepper and not as a powdered drink.
Alcohol – ah, how alcohol has caused nights you will never forget, nights you have forgotten, and nights you wish you’ll forget. Alcohol can twist one’s perceptions thus will not make you think straight. It’s not libido, it’s merely an increase in the blood flow. Not an aphrodisiac.
Chocolate – as chocolate contains phenylethylamine and serotonin, these chemicals can make nice wonders to the brain because they light up the pleasure areas. Can chocolate increase sexual desire? Not really, but if feeling good makes you want to jump into the hot tub with your partner with a massage oil waiting by the bedside table, why not?
Oysters – yes, an oyster look like a vagina. Is the sight of a vagina on an open shell a fuel for one’s libido? Oysters do not contain any substance that can directly affect a person’s libido, but there were studies that showed how oysters increased the testosterone levels of male rats. It is also high in zinc that can jack up sperm production. But whether oysters can do these chemical wonders, Casanova probably ate those 50 oysters for breakfast because he woke up hungry and had a craving for these lovely mollusks.
Yohimbe, Tribulus and Maca – any combination of these three herbs may form the “natural Viagra” but they are more known to cause side-effects that can even cause death. Don’t believe in those ads that say “natural sex wonders” or “sex herbs”. Their medicinal properties are not proven, and they are indeed not aphrodisiacs.
Viagra – this treatment for erectile dysfunction is not an aphrodisiac. Although it increases blood flow into the penis, sexual desire stems from something else. It also has critical side effects in some cases.
January 31st, 2011