Aphrodisiacs: Sex up your life

Since the time of Adam and Eve, certain foods, including apples, have been synonymous with temptation and desire. Aphrodisiacs, which the Food and Drug Administration define as something that is meant to arouse or increase sexual drive and improve sexual performance, have been hot since the Romans created Spanish Fly.

The term aphrodisiac is derived from the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The goddess was said to have come forth from the sea on an oyster shell, which explains one of the most famous sex foods – oysters.

Food with a reputation of being an aphrodisiac could have gained that status for many reasons. According to WebMd.com, a site of medical advice and information, a food can be an aphrodisiac because of its chemical makeup, reported effects on the body or even phallic shape.

However, the research on the effects of aphrodisiacs is inconclusive. “Most reported aphrodisiacs are cultural myths. There’s no real scientific evidence there. However, there are no negative issues with these so called aphrodisiacs, and if you expect something to happen from eating them, it probably will,” Cincinnati’s Clinical Psychologist Barbara Brewer, who specializes in sex therapy, said. “Most of the hype about aphrodisiacs is just people looking for an easy answer to their sexual issues.” The FDA agrees with Brewer. Although aphrodisiacs have been experimented with and researched since people started having sex for more than reproduction, the FDA’s article on aphrodisiacs said it has been unable to cement any findings in fact.

Although the FDA hasn’t proven the effects of aphrodisiacs, many are still confident of their potency. To give you a little more time to warm up, here’s a brief introduction to some famous sex foods.

Oysters are most frequently reputed to be sexually conductive because of their resemblance to the female genitalia, but this seafood is more than meets the eye. According to Discovery Health’s Web site, oysters are also a rich source of zinc, a mineral required for the production of testosterone. Testosterone has long been shown to increase libido in men this chemical increases the sexual drive of women as well. Legend has it that Casanova ate dozens of oysters a day, once even seducing a virgin by sliding an oyster from his lips to hers.

Resemblance to the female genitalia may be a tough shape for foods to take, but imaginations have been long as work when it comes to genital-shaped aphrodisiacs – bananas, cucumbers and popsicles are among the most obvious. Although these foods are considered to be aphrodisiacs, their only proven effects are those within the imagination. Some might make for a healthy breakfast, but according to About Aphrodisiacs, a Web site-based company that specializes in sexual stimulants, the buck stops there. The chemicals in these phallic shaped provisions are not inherently sexually stimulating, but About Aphrodisiacs said it isn’t hard to understand why bananas, “a sweet, creamy and soft-fleshed fruit that’s generally between seven and nine inches long,” is an aphrodisiac.

The chemicals in many foods can be inherently sexually stimulating on their own. WebMd.com says asparagus’s effects are not only due to its phallic shape but also because it is rich in vitamin E – considered to stimulate sexual hormones. Then again, asparagus may not be quite as stimulating to your palette.

On the more burning side of your taste buds, chili peppers are another aphrodisiac. Discovery Health said the heat in peppers comes from “capsaicin,” a chemical that stimulates nerve endings, resulting in the raising of the pulse and sweat