It’s date night. Should you serve oysters? Ask your significant other to feed you clusters of grapes? Are chocolate-covered strawberries worth the effort? There are a lot of rumored libido boosters, but only some will actually help you get in the mood. We’ve separated the fact from fiction below.
Libido Booster: Oysters
Verdict: Mostly Fiction.
In theory, oysters contain testosterone-boosting iodine and zinc, and trace amounts of amino-acid-interacting “triggers” that should boost libido. Here’s the catch: you’d have to down about 50 of these famous aphrodisiacs for any real benefit. Binging on seafood is hardly attractive. Pumpkin seeds also contain that libido-boosting zinc. Fun note: pumpkin pie and lavender are listed among the most arousing scents for men; so eat the seeds and make a pie! Almonds, walnuts, arugula and avocadoes are better food choices than raw oysters when it comes to eating for your sex drive. Even better? Cook your romantic meal together. Foreplay begins in the kitchen.
Libido Booster: Chocolate
Verdict: Mostly Fact.
Just make sure that it’s dark. Studies have shown that dark chocolate increases the levels of feel-good dopamine and its bioflavonoids open up blood vessels to improve blood flow. Should you choose to dip strawberries in that chocolate, the natural sugars in the fruit will give you a gentle energy boost. Dark chocolate and peanut butter is another combination to consider. The monosaturated fats in peanut butter can heighten sexual arousal in women.
Libido Booster: Alcohol
Verdict: Mostly Fact — if you order red wine.
A drink can reduce anxiety and help relax on date night, and studies have shown higher levels of sexual desire in women who drink a glass of red wine daily. Researchers suspect the red wine’s high levels of polyphenols widen blood vessels and subsequently allow for increased blood flow to key arousal areas. Be careful, however. Too much alcohol can act as a depressant and can dampen desire or impede sexual performance, so stick to just a glass or two.
Libido Booster: Grapes
The only libido boost you’ll get out of eating grapes in bed is the fun in spending time together. Pomegranate seeds, while messier, are potent with antioxidants and will get your blood flowing and are a more strategic fruit option. Eat a banana for a high dose of potassium and vitamin B, which can help boost energy levels and regulate the release of sex hormones.
Libido Booster: Garlic
Verdict: Sort of fact — but not if you’re the only one eating Caesar salad.
Garlic contains allicin, which can help with the blood circulation necessary for an erection. Because of this, its long been used as a natural remedy for impotence. Garlic’s physical-endurance-boosting aspects won’t necessarily trump bad breath with your loved one, however, so dine with caution. Other cooking flavors have benefits too: Saffron relieves pain and tension; its picocrocin content can also boost skin’s sensitivity to touch. It may be an expensive spice, but it’s worth it. Chilies’ capsaicin also stimulates nerve endings and speeds up your heart rate.
Libido Booster: Wearing Red
And it works both ways. Studies have found that the color red enhances men’s attraction to women, likely a subconscious turn-on related to fertility. In the animal world, male chimps are attracted to the redder females; most female chimps redden as they approach ovulation. For women, the color red signals status and power in a man. So maybe you should try the color-coordinated-couple thing and both wear red.
Libido Booster: Sweat
Weird, but true: your partner’s sweat can boost your arousal. Catch a whiff of your partner during or after a workout and your levels of the stress hormone cortisol will increase. That said, hitting the showers after the gym is still recommended. Working out together has other in-the-bedroom payoffs: studies have shown that people who exercise consistently have better sex lives. An exercise routine can help you sleep better at night, too. And getting enough sleep is what many experts consider the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Most of the triggers that cause a budding relationship to detonate are not that mysterious. Here are nine of the most common: