Aphrodisiacs (Food for Love)


A food, scent, sound, idea, or substance, that arouses or intensifies sexual desire.

For human beings, the foremost aphrodisiacs are our hearts, minds, spirits and souls.

The food you eat has a direct impact on your sex life, affecting your hormones, brain chemistry, energy and stress levels. Some foods have psychoactive properties, others arouse because they’re psychologically suggestive, some can actually increase blood flow to the genitals. Even if all of the top aphrodisiac foods don’t have an aphrodisiac effect for everyone, they’re still healthy.

Men and women have sought aphrodisiacs, natural substances that arouse or increase sexual response or desire, since the beginning of time. Aphrodisiacs may well be the one thing that crosses all barriers — race, culture, ethnicity, age — making it unanimous: We want to have heavenly sex.

Is the way to yours and your beloved’s heart through your stomachs?
Try these mouth-watering foods for love whenever you want to invoke the mood.

Top Aphrodisiacs

Asparagus: 17th century English herbalist and author Nicholas Culpepper, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.” In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served three courses of the sexy spears at their prenuptial dinners. Apparently for a good reason: asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin and folic acid. The latter is said to boost histamine production necessary for the ability to reach orgasm in both sexes. The best way to eat this member of the lily family is steamed or quickly sautéed and dressed with butter, olive oil, aioli or Hollandaise sauce.

Avocado: The Aztecs called the avocado ahuacuatl, or “testicle tree” because they thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled testicles. Catholic priests in Spain found this fruit so obscenely sexual that they forbade it. Nutritionally, avocado is rich with folic acid, vitamin B6 and potassium said to boost immune systems.

Bananas: By shape its connection with sexuality is obvious, but you’ll also find that bananas are loaded with potassium, magnesium and B vitamin, also chelating minerals and the bromeliad enzyme, said to enhance male libido.

Basil: Basil makes meals smell and taste better, and has a beneficial effects on the human body. Basil has a fantastic aroma said to have an aphrodisiac effect. Using sweet basil in a pasta sauce may this explain why Italians are romantic!

Chocolate: Pure dark chocolate (not milk or white chocolate) is at the top of most lists of natural aphrodisiacs.  The dark chocolate contains a host of compounds including anandamide, the psychoactive feel-good chemical, and PEA (phenylethylamine), the “love chemical,” which releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain and peaks during orgasm. PEA is said to help induce feelings of excitement, attraction and euphoria. Cacao also contains tryptophan, a key component of the neurotransmitter serotonin known to promote a sense of well-being and relaxation.  The Aztecs were the first chocoholics. They ground cocoa beans, added spices, and drank the bitter brew without sugar. Legend has it that Montezuma drank 50 cups of cocoa before entering his harem of several hundred women.

Figs: An open fig is believed to emulate the female sex organs. Figs are steeped in history and are one of the oldest-recorded fruits. They’re mentioned in the Bible (Adam and Eve wore fig leaves to cover their private parts), are reported to be Cleopatra’s favorite fruit, and ancient Greeks held them as sacred and associated them with love and fertility.

Garlic: Garlic is full of allicin, an ingredient that will increase blood flow. This pungent member of the lily family has been used to treat a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to heart disease. If used, both lovers should consume it at the same meal. Garlic has been used as an aphrodisiac by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Japanese. Garlic mixed with lard used externally to bring on an erection has been suggested by a professor at USC medical school. (Do not try this around a hungry German Shepherd.) Garlic stimulates the appetite, awakens the senses and makes food taste great.

Oysters: Oysters may be thought an aphrodisiac because of their high zinc content, which helps produce sperm and increases libido. One of the world’s classic love foods. Legend has it that Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every morning in the bath tub using a beautiful woman’s breasts as a plate. Oysters are very high in zinc. Research has found that a low sperm count is connected to low zinc levels.

Honey: Good source of boron, a trace mineral that helps the body use and metabolize estrogen, the female sex hormone. Studies show that this mineral may also enhance testosterone levels in the blood, the hormone responsible for promoting sex drive and orgasm in both men and women. In addition, honey contains B vitamins needed for testosterone, as well as other nutrients, enzymes and phytochemicals.

Additional Aphrodisiacs from around the world

Good food and sex have been linked for centuries.
It seems that almost every food from apples to zucchini
was considered to be an aphrodisiac
by one culture or another at some point in time.
Food and sex are intimately entwined.
Both ensure the survival of the human race.
A good meal enhances love-making and
love can make even an ordinary meal taste divine.

Vegetables and fruit are best eaten raw, or barely cooked, to maintain flavor, texture and vital nutrients which are compromised by over-cooking.

Almost any food can ignite passion if it’s prepared and eaten with love. (See the movie: “Like Water for Chocolate”) Here’s a list from across the globe of foods that have a reputation for igniting love and lust.

Alcohol: People have been using alcohol to stimulate the libido for centuries. But while a moderate amount of alcohol will reduce anxiety and release inhibitions one glass too many is more likely to put you asleep than put you in the mood.

Aioli: A popular garlic recipe from the southeastern region of France. In summer, entire villages hold food festivals featuring this sauce called the “Butter of France.” For an aphrodisiacal treat use it as a dip for either artichokes or asparagus. Simple quick recipe: ½ C Best Foods or Hellman Mayonnaise; ¼ C fresh squeezed lemon juice; 1 T leveled, fresh minced garlic; tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (a few grains), in descending order of quantity in the sauce. Mix well, adjust seasoning and ingredients to taste. Enjoy with artichokes, asparagus, calamari.

Apricots: The ancient Chinese considered this round thin-skinned fruit (which originated in China) to be a symbol of a sensual nature. Try feeding your lover fresh apricots which are usually available from May to July. Look for fragrant fruits with a red blush that gives slightly to pressure.

Artichokes: Katherine De Medici was considered scandalous by the French court for eating large quantities of artichokes. Her husband, Henry, didn’t seem to mind.

Bananas: Sweet, creamy, soft-fleshed fruit that’s generally between 7 and 9 inches long. Slowly, carefully, sensuously, peel and eat raw in an unhurried manner. Check recipes for Bananas Barbara, Banana Fritters, etc.

Basil: This flavorful herb is used in Voodoo love ceremonies in Haiti. It’s also good in a pesto with pinole nuts, in a tomato marinara sauce, in delicious Vietnamese noodle soup as a condiment.

Beef: Meat works wonders on your libido and brain, if you’re an omnivore. After a high protein meal, your blood stream is flooded with the amino acid tyrosine. The chemicals made from tyrosine, dopamine and norepinephrine, trigger brain cells that enhance mental alertness and concentration. Note: Use organic grass-fed beef. For love-making benefits, limit fat at all times.

Carbohydrates: If your libido is out to lunch you may be low on serotonin (a brain chemical that effects mood) and energy. A carb fix combined with a little tryptophan (an amino acid found in a variety of meat and dairy products) may increase serotonin levels, energy and desire.

Cardamom: According to traditional Indian herbal medicine, a nightcap of powdered cardamom that has been boiled with milk and mixed with honey can help cure impotence and premature ejaculation.

Carrots: This popular root vegetable, with its phallic shape and sweet flavor, was used to seduce lovers by Middle Eastern royalty. It is also considered by Ukrainians to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Caviar: Caviar is considered an aphrodisiac for several reasons. Eggs are a symbol of fertility. Caviar, like Aphrodite who was born from sea foam, comes from the sea. Caviar, like many aphrodisiacs, is a very precious food that is reserved for special occasions. The best caviar is imported Beluga, and the best way to enjoy it is by the spoonful with chilled vodka or champagne. Less expensive varieties are great as a topping for roasted new potatoes, scooped out and filled with sour cream.

Celery: The Swedish cookbook author, C.E. Hagdahl wrote: “Celery is suspected to be somewhat sexually exciting or even straightforward arousing.” Men, forget phenol sprays that supposedly make you more attractive to the opposite sex. Celery contains androsterone, a powerful male hormone that researchers believe is released through sweat and attracts females.

Champagne: Bubbly is lovely and makes any time of the day or night special. Note: The bubbles actually help the alcohol get into the blood stream a little quicker. A decent sparkling wine need not be expensive. For those with a sweet tooth, consider Martini and Rossi Asti Spumante.

Cloves: This dried bud of an evergreen tree is one of the world’s oldest, dearest and most expensive spices. Cloves were probably first used by the Chinese around 200 B.C. The word clove comes from the Roman word for tack, clovis. They were believed to have medicinal powers and still have a reputation as a powerful love food. Cloves have a warm, sweet almost peppery flavor that is frequently used to add character to cakes, fruit compotes, mulled wine and ham.

Coffee: Fatigue can really squash romance. A quick jolt of caffeine can perk you up and put you in the mood for amour. Coffee drinkers are more likely to describe themselves as sexually active than are non-coffee drinkers.

Cucumbers: The Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found that some women become aroused by the scent of cucumbers.

Dates: In Iran dates are used to help people whose sex life is withering.

Donuts: According to the Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, the smell of donuts combined with black licorice significantly increases penile blood flow.

Eggs: All eggs, from chicken to fish eggs (caviar), have been thought of as fertility symbols and by extension aphrodisiacs.

Fennel: The Greeks and Hindus considered fennel to be a potent sexual stimulant. A Hindu formula for sexual vigor includes: fennel juice, honey, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and licorice. In the Mediterranean fennel soup is thought to increase sexual desire.

Figs: One of the sexiest fruits on the planet. These plump, soft, sweat, luscious beauties come from one variety of the ficus tree which probably originated in Asia Minor and is one of the oldest edible plants. Try feeding fresh figs to your lover, or, serve figs with sliced melon or pears and prosciutto as an appetizer. If fresh figs are not available, dried figs probably are, year ‘round.

Fish: Aphrodite, the goddess of love was born from sea foam, so in general any type of seafood is considered to be an aphrodisiac. The high phosphorus, zinc and iodine content of seafood may have a beneficial effect on sexual potency.

Fois Gras: This rich, sensual, expensive food (the liver of over-stuffed ducks or geese) was a favorite of the famed lover Casanova. See recipe section this website for a Fois Gras recipe you can easily make at home from inexpensive ingredients.

Frogs Legs: In the second half of the nineteenth century, French soldiers stationed in North Africa got severe cases of priapism (prolonged, painful erection) from eating frogs legs that had eaten meloid beetles which contain the substance used in Spanish Fly.

Fruit: A perfectly ripe piece of fruit shared sensuously with your lover is a true romantic moment.

Ginger: This pungent root has been used for centuries, both internally and externally, throughout Asia and India as a powerful aphrodisiac. To combat impotence Indian herbalists recommend eating a mixture of ginger juice, honey and half-boiled eggs. In Europe, young maidens baked and ate ginger bread men believing the ritual would bring them a husband. Also good for relieving motion sickness.

Ginko: Ginkgo has been known to increase blood flow throughout the body, especially in the brain. It may also increase penile blood flow resulting in better erections. There are several varieties of this root, some of which might be grown in this country. If on any kind of blood thinner, seek medical advice before using gingko.

Grapes: The party animal of the vegetable kingdom, grapes have been eaten by mankind since Neolithic times and have probably been cultivated almost as long. Dionysus (known as Bacchus by the Romans, hence the name bacchanalia) was the god of wine as well as fertility and procreation.

Honey: One of the ultimate love foods, honey is sweet, spreadable and perfect for dipping or spreading. The word honeymoon derives from the ancient custom that for the first lunar month after marriage a newly married couple would drink mead (honey wine). Some cultures spread a little honey on the palms of the bride and groom and have them lick it off each other to ensure a sweet life together. The Egyptians offered honey to the God of fertility, Min.

Licorice: According to the Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation the smell of black licorice combined with donut significantly increase penile blood flow. Red licorice doesn’t work. Eating double the amount of licorice does not double your fun.

Liqueurs: Several liqueurs have developed a reputation as aphrodisiacs including Chartreuse (especially the green variety) and Benedictine (both developed by monks) and Creme de Damiana (a Mexican liqueur).

Low Cholesterol: High cholesterol levels are one of the leading causes of sexual dysfunction. While an occasionally high fat indulgence is fine, eating a low-fat, high fiber diet most of the time to help keep cholesterol levels low is better.

Mango: This exotic, sensual fruit has a moist flesh resembling peach, papaya and apricot. There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes which are extremely popular in India, Mexico and the Caribbean. Fresh mangoes are available from May to September. Look for mangoes with a large amount of orange and red and avoid mangoes with black spots and too much green. Ripe mangoes are messy, juicy and luscious. Caution, ripe mangoes are rated R in some states. Please consult local ordinances before eating.

Nutmeg: This fragrant spice has been prized by Arabs, Greeks, Hindus and Romans as an aphrodisiac. In India, a combination of nutmeg, honey and a half-boiled egg is eaten an hour before sex to prolong love-making.

Nuts: Whether you prefer walnuts, almonds or macadamias, nuts have had a reputation as aphrodisiacs for centuries. During harvest festivals in Rome, maidens passed out bowls of nuts as symbols of fertility.

Onions: A common ingredient in almost all cuisines, have been used for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac. Onions are recommended in both ancient Hindu and Arabic texts on the art of making love. In France, newlyweds were served onion soup the day after their wedding to restore sexual vigor, and Egyptian priests abstained from onions because of their lusty reputation.

Peaches: Native to China, peaches have long been associated with ripe sexuality by the Chinese. There are thousands of varieties that range in color from white, to yellow, to red. Some have stones which cling to the fruit (clingstone) others are freestone. Domestic peaches are available from May to September, but they are really best from June to August. The best peaches have a wonderful aroma and give in to slight pressure. Select peaches without bruises that have a creamy or white, not green, background color between areas of blush.

Peppers: According to The Perfumed Garden (an ancient Arabic love manual), ground pepper mixed with cardamom or lavender, galanga root, musk, honey and ginger may be a potent topical aphrodisiac for men. In India pepper corns are crushed with almonds, mixed with milk and consumed as an aphrodisiac.

Pine Nuts: These nuts (actually seeds of the pine tree) have been used as an aphrodisiac throughout the Mediterranean and the East. The Roman poet, Ovid, included pine nuts in his list of aphrodisiacs. The Perfumed Garden, (an ancient Arabic love manual), contains many references to pine nuts including this prescription to restore a man’s sexual vigor: “A glass of thick honey, plus 20 almonds and 100 pine nuts repeated for three nights.”

Pomegranates: This deep red fruit is recommended in the Karma Sutra (an Indian love-making manual) as an erotic aid.

Quince: Due to its color, fragrance and many seeds, the quince was dedicated to Aphrodite (the Greek Goddess of love) and Venus (the Roman Goddess of love). Quince is eaten at some weddings to ensure a sweet life for the newly married couple. Some say quince was the fruit that tempted Eve.

Rice: Rice is a symbol of fertility and a staple food in Asia. In some cultures if a couple eat out of the same rice bowl it is a declaration of their engagement. Rice is thrown at wedding ceremonies for good luck and many children. There are many varieties of rice. Avoid polished white rice.

Roses: Roses are by far the most popular flower given to lovers. Roses have been used for centuries in love potions and the petals are edible. (Just make sure those you eat are grown without chemicals.) Sprinkle petals in a salad or spike vanilla ice cream with a few drops of rose water which is available in Middle Eastern and Indian markets.

Saffron: This expensive spice has been reputed to work like a sex hormone and make erogenous zones even more sensitive. Saffron is made from the dried stigmas of a type of crocus. About 225,000 stigmas are needed to make one pound of saffron. (Each crocus has about 3 stigmas which must be picked by hand.) Try adding a pinch of saffron to East Indian, Mediterranean, North African or Middle Eastern grain dishes such as Paella, a traditional Spanish rice dish that contains sausage, chicken, seafood and additional ingredients. Or, just steam up some saffron flavored and colored rice with nuts, raisins spices and other goodies in it.

Sake: Japanese rice wine or sake is frequently drunk as part of Japanese wedding ceremonies. In the orient rice is a symbol of fertility.

Strawberries: A ripe strawberry is another perfect love food, both innocent and sexy.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are reputed to expand your ability to give and receive love. In late 16th century Europe sweet potato tarts were recommended to increase sexual desire.

Tequila: This spirit made from cactus has been used for centuries to promote sexual desire, or at least break down inhibitions.

Tomatoes: Known as love-apples by the French, the humble tomato may have been the real culprit that got Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden. Fresh, ripe tomatoes, locally grown and eaten in season are a very seductive food. Tomatoes are rich in the phytochemical lycopene which can help prevent prostate and other cancers.

Truffles: The fragrant musty smell of this precious, rare fungus contains chemicals that are similar to male sex hormones. According to the famed French gastronome Brillat-Savarin: “Whoever says ‘truffle’ utters a great word which arouses erotic and gastronomic memories.” Truffles are the most expensive mushrooms. However, Costco online under food category or limited time deals, may have them in one form or another.

Turnips: Iranians use this vegetable to rekindle a dwindling sex life.

Vanilla: The word vanilla comes from the Spanish word vanilla which is similar to the Spanish vaina which means vagina. A powerful aphrodisiac, vanilla has a wonderful aroma and probably puts people in the mood through its delightful fragrance. Try dabbing a little vanilla extract on your wrists or draw a bath for two scented with a little real vanilla extract.

Yohimbe Bark: Also known as Mate, Paraguay tea and South American holly, this hormone-like stimulant is used to increase libido, testosterone levels and blood flow to the penis. It’s sold as a dietary supplement.

Zinc: Is linked to both fertility, sexual desire and potency. Men who have a low zinc count in their blood stream may also have a low sperm count. Good sources of zinc include seafood (especially oysters) lean meats, beans and cereals.

Zucchini: The phallic shape says it all.


Anything inhibiting, reducing, or impairing capacity to experience profound sex, love and orgasm.