Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?

We find out out if it's possible to eat your way to better romance.

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Photo by: Sofie Delauw/Getty Images

Sofie Delauw/Getty Images

Looking to spice up your love life? Is the secret to unlocking your deepest desires hidden at the grocery store or in the nearest raw bar? There have been lots of myths about food as aphrodisiacs, but regardless of the food you choose, there is something to be said for simply believing a food will light your fire. If it’s good enough for the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the namesake behind this lore, who’s to say it isn’t good enough for you? Here's some of the science behind these storied foods and whether or not they're perfect for romance.



Pile of Delicious Chocolate Brownies

Photo by: tyncho



The romantic powers of chocolate date back to ancient Mayans and Aztecs. A long-standing Valentines treat in present day, chocolate does have the ability to spark the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which in turn boosts mood. We're not sure we can make the jump to sexual desire, but the bottom line here might just be who cares?! If you love chocolate, eat it.



Photo by: Wojtek Skora/Getty Images

Wojtek Skora/Getty Images


Another food for sweet romance. Sharing your favorite varieties of honey with your sweetie is highly encouraged, but there is one type that may be dangerous. According to a study published in 2015, a particular type of honey (that you thankfully won’t find on grocery store shelves) called “Mad Honey” contains a compound known as Grayanotoxin that has been linked to hallucinations and heart problems.



Fresh oysters in a white plate with ice and lemon on a wooden desk

Photo by: Boltenkoff ©Boltenkoff

Boltenkoff, Boltenkoff


Slurping on slimy oysters may appeal to some and these shellfish are loaded with the mineral zinc, which is involved in testosterone production. While most studies can’t seem link the mollusks to being a true aphrodisiac, getting more zinc in folks who are deficient may help regulate proper function of sex hormones.



Photo by: diego_cervo/Getty



There is some research to substantiate claims that ginseng can have a positive impact on blood flow and neurologically impact sexual stimulation, but there are several reasons to be cautious. Use of this herb can also have side effects and interactions with certain medications. Herbal products that promise sexual enhancement are also some of the most dangerous according to the FDA tainted supplement database.



Photo by: Michael Marquand/Getty Images

Michael Marquand/Getty Images

Hot and Spicy

Thanks to the compound capsaicin, fiery spices and flaming hot peppers can get your heart racing and enhance blood pressure. However, it's unlikely you'll feel "in the mood" if your mouth and stomach are on fire. We recommend steering clear of these if you've got plans for a romantic dinner date.

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