Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
Derived from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, aphrodisiacs have a long, well-documented history of making women hornier, men stronger and love-making longer. While the Romans used crocodile semen and the Chinese dig rhino horn and tiger penis, we prefer these everyday foods to get those sexy juices flowing.
Asparagus: The high amounts of folic acid in this phallic veggie help your body produce and regulate histamines—a chemical released during orgasm. Asparagus was lauded as an aphrodisiac in 15th century Arabic and Indian sex manuals, and bridegrooms in 19th century France were served three courses of green spears at dinner before their weddings. Warning: The various sulfur-containing compounds in this vegetable can cause foul-smelling urine, so avoid it if your sexy time involves golden showers.
Almonds: For centuries the aroma of ‘deez nuts has been thought to arouse women. In the Bible, Samson won Delia over with an offering of almond branches; author Alexandre Dumas (“The Count of Monte Cristo,” “The Three Musketeers”) reportedly ate almond soup on the nights he visited his mistress. Almond milk and oil are also purported to be a natural cure to premature ejaculation.
Avocado: The Aztecs called the avocado ahuacuatl, or “testicle tree,” thinking the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled a big, sturdy ball sack. Conquistadors brought the fruit to Europe, where Louis XIV became a huge fan of what he called la bonne poire (the good pear), crediting them with restoring his slumping sex drive. The avocado was thought to be so powerful that Spanish Catholic priests forbade their followers from indulging in them. Actress Mae West also advocated avocados as an aphrodisiac, reportedly eating at least one a day to feed her notoriously healthy sexual appetite.
Oysters: Perhaps the most well-known aphrodisiac—Casanova was said to have eaten a dozen oysters a day off the breasts of beautiful women while bathing in a giant tub—oysters are rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. They are also said to resemble lady parts, but if you ever pull down some panties and see something that slimy, run away.
Chocolate: There’s a reason for the love affair between women and chocolate: Chocolate contains the essential mineral magnesium, which women crave more strongly before menstruation. On the sexier side of things, chocolate also contains phenethylamine, aka “the love chemical,” which releases peak levels of dopamine in the brain during orgasm. The famed Aztec king Montezuma was alleged to down 50 cups of hot chocolate a day to enable him to satisfy his harem of 600 women.
Caviar: While fish eggs might not sound sexy, they’re chock full of zinc, which promotes healthy blood flow to your naughty bits. Eggs have been a symbol of fertility throughout history, and famous sexpots from Casanova to Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky have extolled their virtues. Henry Kissinger famously said, “I’d do anything for caviar and probably did.” Even if none of this were true, anyone with enough cash to buy some Iranian Beluga and a bottle of Dom is probably going to get laid quicker than you, whose last food-and-drink purchase was a half dozen chicken wings and a pitcher of PBR.
Garlic: Because garlic breath is about as sexy as pregnant Snooki in a bikini, the inclusion of garlic here may seem counter-intuitive, but its high levels of allicin help increase blood flow and sexual stamina. Tibetan monks were once forbidden from entering the monastery if they had eaten garlic for fear it made them too horny. The Romans used garlic in love potions to reverse impotence and increase sexual desire. Henry IV ate entire bulbs before bumpin’ uglies.
Onions: Onions were used in ancient Egypt and Rome to enhance endurance and boost sperm production. “If your wife is old and your member is exhausted, eat onions in plenty,” said the Roman epigrammatist Martial. Pharaohs banned Egyptian priests from eating onions to keep them from becoming sexually impure. They were the most used aphrodisiac in ancient Greece, and it became tradition in France to serve onion soup to couples after their wedding night to restore their libidos.
Honey: There’s a good reason it’s called a “honeymoon”: Honey—often called the nectar of Aphrodite—is a good source of the mineral boron, which helps the body use estrogen and enhance testosterone levels, promoting a healthy sex drive and better orgasms in both sexes. In olden times, mead (honey wine) was drunk to increase sexual desire. The sticky substance was espoused as an aphrodisiac in the “Kama Sutra” and “The Perfumed Garden,” a 15th-century Arabic sex manual, which states honey mixed with nutmeg will make the Big O more intense.
Pine nuts: Bodybuilders love pine nuts for their zinc, a mineral essential in the production of testosterone. Used for centuries in love potions, pine nuts also improve cardiovascular health, which leads to improved stamina and wards off pesky limp dick. The Arabian medical scholar Galen recommended eating 100 pine nuts before bed.
Bananas: “I had a banana with Lady Diana” is an early-20th-century British way of saying you just got some ass. Their shape lends well to sex-ed demonstrations and has helped reinforce their status as a supposed aphrodisiac. Islamic cultures once believed bananas were the fruit of knowledge Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. Hawaiian women were once forbidden from indulging in the phallic fruit.
Licorice: In ancient China, licorice was used in potions and powders to increase desire. It was also an important staple in ration kits for Roman soldiers sent on long military campaigns, as it was thought to increase physical stamina. The smell of licorice has been proven to evoke arousal, and one study found that the scent of black licorice increased blood flow to the penis by 13 percent.
Nutmeg: This spice has been proven to increase mating behavior in mice, but sadly not in humans. Still, nutmeg was a coveted aphrodisiac in ancient China, possibly due to its ability to increase blood flow. Women in Zanzibar still put nutmeg in their porridge on their wedding night to ease the pain of losing their virginity. Taken in large quantities, nutmeg is a powerful hallucinogen, so if it doesn’t help you get laid, at least you’ll catch some wicked visuals.