Aphrodisiac food myths

You’re about to meet Wei Jie from Tinder for your first date, and while you both agreed on just “dinner and see how things go lor”, you know you wouldn’t mind taking things to the bedroom. 

And that’s why you suggested going to that lovely oyster restaurant in town that also serves great chocolate desserts. Y’know, to get him into the mood. After all, oysters and chocolates are known to be aphrodisiacs – but do such food aphrodisiacs actually work?

That is what we’re here to find out. We’ve researched 10 foods commonly believed to be aphrodisiacs, to explore if they really do have that special touch to make you all horned up.

 1. Oysters

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Ah, the humble oyster. This poor mollusk is popularly maligned as an aphrodisiac because it’s loaded with zinc, a chemical that encourages the production of healthy sperm. Adding to the myth is a 2005 study that found D-Aspartic acid in oysters, an amino acid known to increase sex hormone levels in lab rats.

But in reality, there is no conclusive evidence that oysters are the amorous amphoras of the sea. The test on D-Aspartic acid was done on rats, yes, but their response doesn’t necessarily apply to humans. Also, there are only trace amounts of zinc in oysters – not quite enough to give you that sweet jolt of lust.

All you’ll really get from eating oysters before sex is a fishy hint on your lips and breathhardly sexy now, don’t you think?

Verdict: Mostly false

2. Chocolate

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I have a love affair with chocolate and I don’t deny it. I’d eagerly tuck into it no matter what form it turns up in; bar, cake, pudding, milkshake, ice cream – you name it. Oh, and I’m always sure to make it at least 70% dark for that rich, lightly bittersweet tang. Some of you might share the same passion for this decadent treat as I do. 

However, as much as you and I derive pleasure from savouring chocolate, it can’t actually make us hornier. Okay, the Aztecs did establish this link over 3,000 years ago. Scientists even found tryptophan and phenylethylamine in chocolate, chemicals that are linked to sexual arousal and love respectively. 

But as is the case with our mollusk friends, these chemicals are only present in tiny amounts that cannot significantly impact our bodies. So really, even if we do feel more battle ready after eating a chocolate bar, it really boils down to the classic placebo effect: the more we think chocolate is the horny drug, the likelier we’ll crave sex after eating it.

Verdict: Mostly false

3. Honey

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Fun fact: the term “honeymoon” traces its roots to 5th century Europe, when newlyweds commemorated their first month of marriage with mead, wine made from honey, to increase fertility and sexual desire. Mmhmm.

And to add to that, scientists later identified boron and vitamin B in the sticky substance, both of which are known to regulate testosterone and estrogen.

But Green Facts found that honey only contains 7.2 mg of boron per kg. Asheville Bee Charmer went on to run the math, concluding that you’d need to devour a whopping half kilo of honey to get enough boron to horn you up.

Just make sure to bee prudent with your honey.

Verdict: True if consumed in large amounts.

4. Chilli peppers

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As the suggestive saying goes, we can “spice” up our sex life – and some believe chilli peppers can attribute to that. Lame pun aside, chilli peppers have actually been proven to boost your sexual energy. NBCI research found that the capsaicin content of these fruits releases endorphins, speeds up metabolism, and increases your heart rate. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a banging good time with bae.

Or maybe not. As much as I love chillies in my food, I’m still skeptical of their supreme horny capabilities. I’d imagine that the heat from the fruits will toss all desire out of my mind as I rush to soothe my poor tongue. And let’s not talk about how painful subsequent bowel movements will be.

If you’re feeling adventurous though, just be sure to wash out all traces of the fruit from your mouth and hands before doing the deed – you don’t want to get capsaicin on any sensitive parts. 

Verdict: Likely true.

5. Alcohol

aphrodisiac-myths - alcoholSource

The answer to alcohol being an aphrodisiac is yes and no. Yes, but only when you drink in moderation—enough to help you relax and increase your libido. Some men even reportedly find erections easier to maintain after downing a nice alcoholic drink.

After all, alcohol is scientifically known to be a depressant to your central nervous system, producing a nice sedating effect that makes you feel warm and relaxed.

But if you drink excessively, alcohol actually loses its aphrodisiac properties. For women, you may find it harder to climax, and even if you do, the orgasm is not as intense and enjoyable. 

For men, they’ll still feel horny, but their willies will have other ideas and droop like a wilted flower. This condition even has a cute lil’ slang: whiskey dick! Essentially, alcohol-induced intoxication interrupts the signals that the brain sends to the penis to get hard during sexual arousal, and hence ED happens. 

Also, excess alcohol dehydrates the body, causing blood volume to drop. And what fills the penis to achieve an erection? Blood. So you thought that extra glass of Sex On The Beach would get you up and rearing for the deed, but where did that get you in the end?

Bottom line: Drinking helps, but not when you do so heavily.

Verdict: True, but only in moderate amounts

Also read:

7 Lesser-Known Sex Myths Debunked So You Get It Right In The Bedroom, According To A Sex Therapist

6. Durian


Thorny be the King of Fruits, but horny doth it maketh us? Many Southeast Asian countries seem to think so. There’s even an old Indonesian saying that goes: “when the durians fall down, the sarongs go up”. 

Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to prove durian’s effect on sex drive. Although the Malaysian government launched a study to explore the claim of durians to be the horny fruit in 2017, there are no conclusive results to this date.

If you plan on giving the spiky fruit a go anyway, just remember that it lingers on your breath for a long time even after you brush your teeth. Let’s also not forget how much you’d belch after a good ol’ tuck in. Even if durian does initially get you all hot and heavy, the smell would set in to be a mood-killer.

Verdict: Probably false. 

7. Greek Yoghurt


Greek yoghurt is just fermented milk, but some people still consider it to be an aphrodisiac, thanks to the Greek honeymoon tradition that encourages newlyweds to consume the creamy, white stuff with some walnuts.

I eat the occasional Greek yoghurt as an after-dinner snack, and I can definitely attest to not feeling any hornier. Good for beating the heat though. 

Verdict: False

8. Avocados


Who ever expected this popular ingredient in salads and milkshakes to be regarded as an aphrodisiac? The ancient Aztecs, a Mesoamerican people who once populated central Mexico during the Age of Discovery, certainly thought so, lovingly calling it āhuacatl, or “testicle”. But does the avocado really have the ability to put you in the mood for sex?

Nah, but hey, at least these bad boys are packing Vitamin E that’s great for your skin. And if you’re vegan, you can get your omega 3 fix from them.

Verdict: False.

9. Wild Yam

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Just because wild yam looks vaguely phallic doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to make you horny. To be fair, this root vegetable does contain diosgenin, a plant-based estrogen that can be chemically converted into progesterone—the very hormone that helps treat menopausal symptoms.

Unfortunately, the human body cannot convert diosgenin into progesterone. So the next time you see creams with wild yam extract claiming to be the miracle cure for low libido, do yourself a favour and walk away.

Verdict: False.

10. Kale


Kale was all the craze back when the world was gripped by a wave of health fads. But apart from all the supposed health benefits that these leafy green packs, there are claims that they boost your libido too. Wow, truly a “superfood” indeed.

Not really though. Kale is bursting with B vitamins and pantothenic acid that are linked to increased sexual energy and performance. But as with the other foods on this list, there aren’t nearly enough of these chemicals in your kale servings to make a significant impact.

Verdict: Mostly false.

Aphrodisiac food and drinks are mostly well-woven lies

As this list of foods shows you, apart from alcohol and chilli peppers, there is no food that will truly enhance your sex drive. After all, sexual desire must be distinguished from sexual performance. While some foods like chilli and alcohol can enhance your performance in bed, there isn’t any that can make your lust tick. 

Instead of trying strange foods with questionable libido-stimulating effects, why not turn to the classic art of flirting and seduction instead? You can take a leaf out of Jade Rasif’s makeup and flirting tips, or you can just ditch another person entirely and get a sex toy instead.

Cover:  Source, source, source
This article was first published on 9 June 2021 and last updated on 2 April 2024. 

Also read:

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