Aphrodite’s Appetizers: Foods with Sex Appeal

| 21 Jun 2024 | 03:35

From the gorgeous erotica of the classic dinner scene in Tom Jones to the exuberant “I’ll-have-what-she’s-having” moment that was filmed in Katz’s Deli in the blockbuster film When Harry Met Sally, our movies have delivered a strait forward romantic message: When setting a sexy mood, think food.

No surprise there. After all, long before Viagra, our ancestors were embracing aphrodisiacs, foods named for Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, because they were thought to enhance sexual desire and performance. Some were chosen for their appearance (think asparagus), others for their function (caviar is fish eggs).

Do they work? To date, the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t said yes, no, or even maybe, but AARP says, “Could be.” You can read their assessment with a list of appropriate confirming studies at https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2024/aphrodisiac-foods.html

The list includes some items that may have not occurred to you such as pistachios which one small study endorsed due to pistachios’ ability to increase blood flow thus promoting erectile function, and watermelon which is labeled ‘Nature’s Viagra” due to its rich supply of several phytochemicals including phenols and flavonoids, which some consider to have a role in maintaining reproductive health. To back up that claim, nutritionists such as Jamie Mok, a registered dietitian nutritionist and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, are likely to cite data from the journal JBRA Assisted Reproduction crediting watermelon with improving sperm quality, male sexual dysfunction, and testicle function as well as relaxing blood vessels, improving blood flow and potentially enhancing arousal.

Chile peppers, though, may produce what some seem as an invitation to intimacy. All hot peppers, black, red, and yellow, capsaicin, which creates a bodily sensation of warmth. “They also make your tongue tingle, so they start making you think about kissing someone. Cookbook author Amy Reiley “They can even bring a flush to your cheeks, which some psychologists suggest may make the person across the table who’s attracted to you think of a sexual flush.”

But when all is said and done, pay close attention to everyone’s ultimate conclusion: Neurologists know that the body’s most important sex organ is the brain which directs everything else. In this case, believing may create reality as the placebo effect does it’s magic. In short, if you think one food or another will make you sexy and you really like the person you’re with, Bingo! says Waguih W. Ishak, M.D., vice chair of education and research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai. Placebos, he notes, work well in sexual medicine, scoring a 50 percent success rate.

Dinner is served.