Trying to find libido boosters to improve their sex lives has been a hot topic throughout history, and people have gone to a lot of trouble—not to mention putting their health in danger, to come up with a list of real solutions. Today pleasure seekers have it easier because, as it turns out, the grocery store is the perfect place to find natural aphrodisiacs. Bonus: In addition to making sex a little steamier, nearly all these foods have health benefits beyond the bedroom.
This dark, delicious dessert has long been associated with indulgence, but that’s not the only reason chocolate puts you and your guy in a sensual mood. The treat contains caffeine, which helps perk you up and also boosts serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness, according to Kerry Neville, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Chocolate brings on feelings of euphoria—it’s a psycho-stimulant so it has an arousal effect. That’s because chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical with an amphetamine-like affect that temporarily mimics feelings of falling in love. In fact, a 2007 British study found that letting chocolate melt in your mouth is more stimulating and raised heart rates more than kissing. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is also loaded with antioxidants that improve circulation and lower cholesterol.
The next time you want to seduce a guy, bake a pumpkin pie. A study by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that the measured blood flow south of the border in men ages 18 to 64 found that the scent of pumpkin pie rated the highest response—a 40 percent increase to be exact. Lavender rated equally high, while close runners-up included donuts and black licorice, which boosted blood flow to men’s nether regions by more than 31 percent. In fact, when it comes to sex, scent offers a greater libido lift than ingestion: Ninety percent of what people call taste is actually smell. The scent of these foods may reduce anxiety, which helps remove inhibitions.
These delicacies from the sea are aphrodisiacs for reasons more than the sensual act of slurping them down. Oysters are bursting with zinc, a mineral used in the production of testosterone (and sperm), which plays a role in fueling the sex drive of both men and women. American and Italian chemists who looked at oysters, mussels and clams found the shellfish were packed with rare amino acids that triggered increased levels of sex hormones in animals. Oysters also contain taurine, an amino acid with a caffeine-like effect (used in Red Bull) for alertness and physical endurance.
Sold at candy counters in most movie theatres, smelling this Good & Plenty treat, the popular licorice-flavored candy, caused a 13 percent increase in vaginal blood flow, according to research conducted by Hirsch. The scent may trigger olfactory nostalgia, such as positive memories from childhood as well as feelings of security and safety—a state of mind that helps make sex more relaxing and enjoyable. Oddly enough, the smell of cherries had the opposite effect on women, causing an 18 percent reduction of vaginal blood flow (in other words, a real turn-off).
You may not have heard of L-arginine, but this common amino acid is a precursor to nitric oxide, a substance that enhances the arousal response. Good food sources of L-arginine include oatmeal and granola as well as nuts, seeds, dairy, and seafood. So the next time you’re on a date at a romantic restaurant, suggest the pasta with pine nuts or salmon—sexy, mutually beneficial menu options such as these will ensure your evening ends on a high note!
Like oysters, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts are rich in zinc, which help the body produce testosterone—and, in your man’s case, sperm. Nuts, including almonds, are also good sources of the aforementioned omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent plaque accumulation in the arteries and improve blood flow throughout the body (including to the genitals). Nuts and seeds are also amazing powerhouse foods, full of protein and healthy fats, which give you a boost of energy both in and out of the bedroom.
It may sound a bit fishy and not so sexy, but foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, wild salmon, halibut, and sardines as well as flaxseed, nuts and oils (think olive and soybean) can take your sex life from lukewarm to hot. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of sex hormones in men and women and help fight the buildup of plaque in the arteries, thereby improving circulation and increasing sensation. Omega-3 fatty acids help with sexual response, by helping to raise dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal. They are important for energy, memory, mood, and libido. If you are not a fan of seafood, try taking 1,000 milligrams (or 1 gram) of fish oil supplements daily and be sure the supplement includes the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The deep green fruit contains vitamin B6, which helps produce serotonin, the feel-good hormone, says Neville. Another bonus for you and your partner: Avocados are also loaded with vitamin E, which enhances circulation and is believed to stimulate the production of passion-stimulating testosterone. Research published in the journal Archives of Andrology showed that vitamin E helps improve semen quality and motility.
9. GarlicAlthough people may reframe from garlic because of the lingering bad breath, it turns out that garlic contains allicin, an ingredient that increases circulation, including below the belt, which helps improve sexual sensation. The action of finely chopping garlic releases allicin, so be sure to crush the garlic first and then add it to pasta sauce or garlic bread. The key to not getting knocked out by garlic breath is to make sure you and your mate are both enjoying a garlic-heavy meal.
Popping a mint before kissing your partner is not only courteous, it’s also a turn-on. A study surveyed both married couples as well as single men and women about what they wanted kisses to taste like in a mate or a date, found that the scent of mint makes people want to smooch even more. But while married people and single women wanted their men to taste fresh, clean, and minty, like toothpaste, single men preferred women to taste like alcohol.
Resources: womenshealthmagazine.com, droz.com, naturalnews.com, webmd.com