Let’s talk about sex. I know, I know. You are probably thinking “Yeah, been there, done that, nothing new for me here” – but hold on for a moment. This one will be different. Pinky promise. We are about to check out ways to jumpstart your sex-life onto the next level – or are we?
This week is also a bit different than usual. For the first time, I will provide an audio version of this article. Maybe I do this more often in the future. Check here
You may forgive me the clickbait title for this week’s topic – but since I have now your (hopefully) undivided attention, you may as well stay and follow me into the rabbit hole of aphrodisiacs.
The many things you could consume to significantly enhance your sex-life, increase your affection for someone and feel in general way better than before.
I have to give kudos to @isa93, who inspired me to write about this specific issue. Without her suggestion, I would have probably been stuck with something like “Why it’s really not a good idea to drink your own pee” (but no worries, we will get to this one soon…). Sex is way more interesting anyway. At least, so I’ve heard.
So, tell me, eternal master of enlightenment and bad jokes – what are these mystical aphrodisiacs exactly?
This is quite the excellent question, my curious fledgling.
Simply put, aphrodisiacs are making you to want to have more sex(1) than usual, thus increasing your so-called “sex drive”. If you happen to have at least some kind of knowledge in Greek mythology, you should connect the obvious dots. The term “aphrodisiac” is, of course, derived from the ancient Greek goddess “Aphrodite” – the goddess of love. How poetical.
So, hypothetically, does that mean, if I mix some of these aphrodisiacs into the food of my crush, she is going to jump me in a nymphomaniac frenzy?
Well, only hypothetically spoken, of course, this could happen – IF aphrodisiacs actually do work as intended.
So, don’t let’s jump to any hasty conclusions. We are only at the beginning and still have a lot to discover.
And to avoid any legal issues:
DON’T mix anything into your beloved’s food. Never. Ever. Don’t even think about it. It’s just an extremely disgusting behaviour to force feed others something they did not intend to eat. Imagine they are allergic to it and die from an anaphylactic shock. Well, you just killed your crush. Congratulations, dumbass.
An easy way to cum
The search for aphrodisiacs which can help to improve one’s sexual experiences is as old as humanity itself. This is, of course, not surprising at all. Humans of all ages were always looking for ways to increase their life’s quality and since sex is, at least for most of us, an important indicator of our general happiness, it’s only logical to make it even more awesome.
So, what are some of the important aphrodisiacs people believe in?
For you, my dear readers, I even travel into the darkest abysses of the internet – namely, I read an “article” on the Cosmopolitan’s website. And yes, it was such a traumatizing experience(2) as one would expect.
But I have to give them credit for one thing: at least they were linking to some studies supporting their claims – which is more, than I usually can hope for when looking at these kinds of articles. Well played, Cosmopolitan.
There are quite a lot of alleged aphrodisiacs, but I will only show you the (in my opinion) most important ones – otherwise I would risk killing you by sheer boredom. If you are interested in more of them, you can always check my references, of course.
Among the most famous aphrodisiacs is red ginseng, which is also quite often sold in capsules. So, it can’t hurt to take a look at its properties, can it?
This one has indeed received quite some attention from the scientific world. There are several studies which showed promising effects for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men(3)(4)(5)(6). It seems, there might be some potential to treat ED with the prescription of ginseng supplements. In addition to the treatment of ED, there are some signs, that red ginseng could also be used to treat the usual lower sexual arousal in menopausal women. Those who received 300mg ginseng each day reported a significantly higher sexual arousal than a placebo group(7). Some researchers are arguing, that this means, red ginseng has the potential to be used as a treatment for physiological as well as mental issues when it comes to sexual capacity(8).
With that being said, one should remain still sceptical.
Jang et al. pointed out during their review of 28 articles, there were only seven which were methodological strong. Meaning, these were performing double-blind trials in combination with a placebo group(6). But even this meta-analysis concluded, that red ginseng seems to have a stronger effect on sexual arousal of patients suffering from ED in comparison to placebo groups.
Current conclusion of research on increasing sexual performance: probably.
Another aphrodisiac could be saffron. Regarding this interesting spice, the current state of research is actually quite conflicting. Some evidence seem to point towards positive effects for the treatment of ED(9), which resulted in general higher sexual satisfaction, desire and performance.
No improvement at all was found in subjects of another study(10), which provides at least the question, what the reason for this difference could be. Melnyk et al. argue, this is mainly due to the different methods used – and, quite importantly as well, both trials were conducted without a placebo group.
There is one more interesting study to take note of though. Kashani et al. were conducting a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study in 2012, which showed promising findings in the treatment of sexual dysfunction in women who used Prozac (a widely used antidepressant)(11). They concluded, that an increased consumption of saffron could lead to therapeutic effects regarding lubrication, sexual arousal and pain. It is yet to be seen, whether these effects can be replicated in further research.
Current conclusion of research on increasing sexual performance: maybe.
Well, this is probably the most famous aphrodisiacs of all. And maybe the most useless as well. How ironic.
You will probably not read a single “top ten aphrodisiac foods” list without seeing oysters among them. Why do people think, that oysters will boost their sexual performance then? It can’t be only because of the evidently sexual way we eat these slimy little creatures (out).
Most people maybe think of a false causality of zinc deficiency. While it can indeed cause infertility, there is no evidence at hand, that it works vice versa. Hence, only because you suddenly ingest a lot of zinc will not transform you into a Greek Adonis-like sex god. Sorry, lad.
Current conclusion of research on increasing sexual performance: very unlikely.
Yum! Sweets! Nice! Finally, something to which most people can relate to. Everybody likes to eat some chocolate every so often – if not, you are probably not a human being, because only the hostile aliens from planet G’Rumpy despise chocolate. Gotcha.
Anyway. Does it increase your sex-drive?
I have some sad news for you: it’s probably not the case. Although there was a study which investigated the connection of sexual desire in women and their self-reported chocolate consumption(12). It seems like the women who ate chocolate everyday felt increased sexual arousal – but this might also have been due to their expectation to do so, hence a placebo effect.
But this is something you can easily test yourself: just offer your significant other some chocolate over the period of several weeks and you might observe a change in their behaviour – or at least their weight. Hey, it’s better than nothing, right?
Current conclusion of research on increasing sexual performance: very unlikely.
I did not know about this one. Apparently, it is a widely used drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. So far, the evidence suggests it has some effectiveness in treating patients with mild ED caused by psychological issues(13)(14).
In addition to that, there are some evidence which show a relaxing effect of yohimbine on the corpus cavernosum smooth muscle (the part of the penis which is mostly affected by an erection due to the amount of blood in it). Thus, the drug can maybe be used to increase the sexual performance of men affected by mild ED.
Current conclusion of research on increasing sexual performance: probably.
Another one, I was not familiar with. I guess, after finishing this article, I will have even more ways of finishing as well. Ahem.
It seems, there are some evidence, which suggest there are indeed aphrodisiacal properties at hand. Men as well as women reported significantly increased sexual desire after the consumption of maca(15)(16)(17) but – yet again – only in patients with sexual dysfunctions. Take note, that in the methodologically strongest study by Zenico et al. (16) there was no significant difference when measured by the International Index of Erectile Function and compared to a placebo group. But the subjects who received the maca treatment reported a significant increase in overall well-being – which can probably be attributed to the healthy dietary ingredients contained in maca, rather than sexual arousal.
Current conclusion of research on increasing sexual performance: maybe – probably
So much for these. Now I know a lot, which could come in handy for my next date. Or not. Maybe. Probably. Ah, fuck it. Why does science always have to be that complicated?
For once, I want simple answers. Jeez.
Train hard, be harder
If I haven’t lost you by now, there is something you should have noticed.
But what, oh, great sensei?
Well, all the time I was talking about subjects with some kind of sexual dysfunction, which were sometimes be able to be treated with the above described foods.
What does this mean?
It appears to be the case, that some of the so-called aphrodisiacs can indeed have a therapeutic impact on those who already suffer from sexual dysfunction – but as far as I can tell, there is no evidence which supports the idea of creating a nymphomaniac frenzy in normal, healthy people.
Not even a significant increase of sexual arousal can be noted. Everything one might experience is probably mainly due to a placebo effect. They WANT to feel hornier – hence, they feel like rabbits on MDMA.
Ha. Speaking of which. I only looked into natural foods/drugs – but there are, of course, a lot of other possibilities to alter your experiences and perception. Artificial drugs are one of the best options to go for, if you wish to intensify your own emotions and feelings. Not, that I recommend it, but I want you to know the tools you could use.
But in general, if you are healthy and young individual, you will have no need for any kind of alleged aphrodisiac.
There are no other ways of achieving the status of an Olympic sex god but by intense and constant training. Some day you will get there, so I have heard.
Feel always free to discuss my ideas and share your own thoughts about the things I’m writing about. Nobody is omniscient and if we all walk away a bit smarter than before, we’ll have achieved a lot.
Thanks for reading and stay sceptical.
Make sure, to check out #steemstem for more science related content.
(3) Choi, H. K., Choi, Y. D., Adaikan, P. G., & Jiang, Y. (1999). Effectiveness of Korean red ginseng in erectile dysfunction—Multi-national approach. Journal of Ginseng Research, 23(4), 247−256.
(4) Choi, H. K., & Choi, Y. J. (2001). Evaluation of clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction by international index of erectile function (IIEF). Journal of Ginseng Research, 25(3), 112−117.
(5) de Andrade, E., de Mesquita, A. A., Claro, J. D., de Andrade, P. M., Ortiz, V., Paranhos, M., et al. (2007). Study of the efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Asian Journal of Andrology, 9(2), 241−244.
(6) Jang, D. J., Lee, M. S., Shin, B. C., Lee, Y. C., & Ernst, E. (2008). Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: A systematic review. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 66(4), 444−450.
(7) Oh, K. J., Chae, M. J., Lee, H. S., Hong, H. D., & Park, K. (2010). Effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual arousal in menopausal women: Placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover clinical study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(4), 1469−1477
(8) John P. Melnyk, Massimo F. Marcone. Aphrodisiacs from plant and animal sources –
A review of current scientific literature. Food Research International 44 (2011) 840–850
(9) Shamsa, A., Hosseinzadeh, H., Molaei, M., Shakeri, M. T., & Rajabi, O. (2009). Evaluation of Crocus sativus L. (saffron) on male erectile dysfunction: A pilot study. Phytomedicine, 16(8), 690−693.
(10) Safarinejad, M. R., Shafiei, N., & Safarinejad, S. (2010). An open label, randomized, fixeddose, crossover study comparing efficacy and safety of sildenafil citrate and saffron (Crocus sativus Linn.) for treating erectile dysfunction in men naive to treatment. International Journal of Impotence Research, 22(4), 240−250.
(11) Ladan Kashani, Firoozeh Raisi, Sepideh Saroukhani, Hamid Sohrabi, Amirhossein Modabbernia, Abbas-Ali Nasehi, Amirhossein Jamshidi, Mandana Ashrafi, Parisa Mansouri, Padideh Ghaeli, Shahin Akhondzadeh. Saffron for treatment of fluoxetine-induced sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Hum. Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2013; 28: 54–60. Published online 20 December 2012 in Wiley Online Library
(12) Salonia, A., Fabbri, F., Zanni, G., Scavini, M., Fantini, G. V., Briganti, A., et al. (2006). Chocolate and women's sexual health: An intriguing correlation. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 3(3), 476−482.
(13) Morales, A., Condra, M., Owen, J. A., Surridge, D. H., Fenemore, J., & Harris, C. (1987). Is yohimbine effective in the treatment of organic impotence—Results of a controlled trial. The Journal of Urology, 137(6), 1168−1172.
(14) Teloken, C., Rhoden, E. L., Sogari, P., Dambros, M., & Souto, C. A. V. (1998). Therapeutic effects of high dose yohimbine hydrochloride on organic erectile dysfunction. The Journal of Urology, 159(1), 122−124.
(15) Gonzales, G. F., Cordova, A., Vega, K., Chung, A., Villena, A., Gonez, C., et al. (2002). Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia, 34(6), 367−372.
(16) Zenico, T., Cicero, A. F. G., Valmorri, L., Mercuriali, M., & Bercovich, E. (2009). Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: A randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia, 41(2), 95−99.
(17) Brooks, N. A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K. Z., Ashton, J. F., Cox, M. B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause—the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 15(6), 1157−1162.
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