12 Aphrodisiacs to Fire Up Your Sex Life
Ever since mankind started to experiment with diet, we have sought out substances to boost our sex drive. That's why every hunter-gatherer culture has its own aphrodisiacs which people have returned to for thousands of years. And it’s why research institutes around the world are putting every imaginable food or supplement to the test.
Thankfully, we now know a lot more than we used to about what foods to eat if you want to enhance your sexual potency. And it turns out, there are quite a lot of options. So, let's set out 12 of the most powerful, and help you find a way to mix the erotic and the edible, turbocharging your sex drive in the process.
Adaptogens are supplements derived from herbs that have been used for generations as aphrodisiacs.
Their main physiological role revolves around their ability to help individuals balance their hormonal systems, and to counteract the effects of stress (which all-too-often blights modern life).
This doesn't always make them aid to love-making, but some adaptogens are renowned for being a sexual stimulant. Here are five that we're confident will give you a boost whenever you need it:
1. Ashwagandha - Derived from an Indian herb, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) plays an instrumental role in Ayurvedic treatments for low sex drive and is becoming more popular in the west as well. Studies have found that it is particularly powerful in heightening the sexual arousal of women, while less is known about its role on male physiology.
2. Maca - An edible root that's native to Peru, Maca is another herbal miracle drug that's making a name for itself in the bedroom. Back in 2002, researchers found that 8 weeks of Maca treatment has a significant effect on male sexual desire.
3. Mondia Whitei - Native to the forests of West Africa, Mondia Whitei has been found in rodent studies to improve male sexual assertiveness (apparently it has a particularly impressive influence on "inexperienced male rats"). It's also been used for centuries in Gabon.
4. Saffron - A staple of rice dishes and desserts, Saffron isn't just a flavor enhancer. It's also one of the most potent adaptogens around. Studies have found that a substance in saffron called crocin can be a powerful male stimulant.
5. Eurycoma longifolia - Hailing from southeast Asia, this herbal remedy has legendary status among Malay men, and numerous scholarly studies have backed this up. So if you suffer from ED or low libido, it may be worth giving Eurycoma a try.
Easing your sexual worries don't have to involve dosages of exotic herbs (though it may be worth giving them a go). Researchers are now starting to understand how more familiar vitamins and minerals influence our libido, and it turns out that plenty of supplements could have an impact.
6. Zinc - Zinc is vital for general cellular health, but now we know it's also a key part of the male reproductive system. When scientists administered controlled doses of zinc to a group of wrestlers, they found that testosterone levels had increased in those taking the mineral than with a placebo. So, adding some metal to your diet could make a big difference.
7. Iron - Zinc isn't much good for women who want a sexual boost, but help is at hand in the form of iron supplements. According to a 2018 study of Iranian women, a direct relationship exists between iron levels and libido. Sexual satisfaction was higher as well - a double benefit.
8. Vitamin D - People in colder climate often suffer from vitamin D deficiency, and it could be hurting them in bed. At least according to a 2018 study which found huge gains in sexual arousal for women administered the vitamin (who had a deficiency, to begin with).
Everyone knows that there is a connection between lovemaking and eating, and every culture in the world has myths about foods that promote romance without fail. But what does the science say about miracle sex foods?
Actually, there's a lot of evidence that our diets affect our sexual fortunes, and these foods have been highlighted as having a particularly important role to play:
9. Oysters - Shellfish have long been thought of aphrodisiacs, but now we know for sure that oysters possess stimulating qualities. Apparently, the high concentrations of flavonoids, zinc, and taurine in oysters make them one of the most potent sex foods for guys.
10. Cayenne Pepper - You may be aware of how Viagra dilates blood vessels leading to the penis, making it easier to achieve prolonged erections. But did you know that cayenne pepper does the same thing?
11. Chocolate - Don't get too excited. Not all chocolate works miracles in the sack. But dark chocolate (the darker the better) is renowned for its high concentrations of flavonols. These substances have all sorts of beneficial properties, no least of which is in enhancing blood flow to the sexual organs. So, brewing a cup of chocolate before retiring to bed could be just what you need.
12. Watermelon - Dubbed the equivalent of Viagra by some scientists, a refreshing slice of watermelon every day could revolutionize your sex life. And it's all about an amino acid called citrulline that's contained in the flesh.
It's worth stressing that some researchers focus on the general benefits of eating a balanced diet, losing weight, and exercising. There's no doubt a healthy lifestyle contributes to your sex drive. However, if you feel like your libido is struggling, it's essential to know that sex foods exist and that they genuinely have an impact on the way your reproductive system operates.
As we've seen, our digestive and reproductive systems work extremely closely. The food we eat (or, more accurately, the micro-nutrients our food contains) has a direct relationship with the way our bodies synthesize sex hormones or circulate blood to our sex organs. All of this means that, if you want to maximize your sexual arousal, it makes sense to incorporate natural aphrodisiacs into your diet.
Dongre, Swati et al. Efficacy And Safety Of Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) Root Extract In Improving Sexual Function In Women: A Pilot Study. 2019.