Did anyone see the tweet, that raw onions are good for sexual health?
I thought it was hilarious. The author claims that marinating a raw onion in honey, then chewing a chunk before bedtime will solve your sex problems! - I agree totally of course - as your partner has probably retired with undue haste to the spare bed! Oh - and if you keep watching the video, the presenter suggests rubbing raw onion into the scalp twice a week - to treat dandruff! The aroma in the bedroom sounds tantalising.
It got me thinking about aphrodisiacs. What are they? Do they work? Is it all just one big fad?
Top of the list is asparagus. In the 16th century, it was widely believed that the shape of a particular food, gave a clue as to what it could be used for. Hence the phallic shape of the asparagus spear meant it must be good for sex. The chief protagonist of this theory at the time, Paracelsus, was well known to use plants and herbs to heal the sick. He is credited with the first theories on antisepsis, the use of laudanum (opium) and the first accurate description of syphilis. I would only comment that if asparagus was used because it looked phallic, 16th century women must have been easily pleased!
Another well known aphrodisiac is the avocado. It gets its name from the old Aztec word for testicle, as the Aztecs thought that avocados resembled testicles hanging from a tree. The avocado certainly has an erotic shape. The flesh is packed nutrients such as vitamin B6, and potassium, all important for energy and vigour. I will be putting some in my shopping basket today, and we'll see what happens tonight!
What about chocolate - this we all know and love? Chocolate contains a number of substances which facilitate the release of dopamine. This is the chemical which floods the brain when we fall in love. However, sadly the effect of eating chocolate is very short lived and has not been shown to have any significant biological effect. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, failed to substantiate that women who ate chocolate regularly had any difference in sexual function than those who did not. I think I might just carry on eating chocolate anyway!
Now apparently a certain coffee, known as 'Stiff Bull' coffee contains a chemical very similar to Viagra. This is not always going to be good news however, as there is concern that men with high blood pressure or diabetes who are also taking nitrates, could experience drug interactions if they drink this coffee. It doesn't say what these might be - low blood pressure, fainting and collapse? Nevertheless, this coffee has been marketed as "the relationship saver" and was featured as such on American TV - it sounds like the bedroom could serve in the future as a suitable venue for an episode of Holby City!
Honey is next on the list. There is medical evidence that a good dose of honey can double blood levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that causes blood vessels to dilate. This may then be favourable for men with erectile dysfunction who are not getting enough penile engorgement. However, to achieve this effect means ingesting of 100g honey - about 1/3 of a jar. Can anyone eat that much honey in one go? - I think I would be sick!
Could there be an alternative? Researchers have now demonstrated similar results in rats, by injecting their penises with tiny beads that release nitric oxide. These studies showed that the beads were more effective in producing erections than Viagra! Human studies are planned.
So, what's the next aphrodisiac on the list? What about oysters? Some say the shape of the oyster mimics the shape of the female pelvis. In addition, the sucking and slurping involved in ingesting them has erotic connotations. But there is some scientific evidence. Scientists managed to extract some chemicals from oysters, which when injected into rats increased testosterone concentrations in men, and progesterone concentrations in women. Hence oysters, it is now agreed, are indeed a true aphrodisiac.
(I am not a fan of shell fish! The sight, the smell, the sucking and slurping would not do it for me! - let's have chocolate mousse instead shall we?)
I was interested to read Korin Miller who ate only aphrodisiacs for a day to see if it affected her libido. Sexologist Kat Van Kirk, advised her on her so called "aphrodisiac fest." The menu involved bananas with honey and coffee for breakfast, pumpkin seeds and avocados for a snack, raw oysters and champagne for lunch, and cinnamon coated churros with chocolate sauce for desert! Korin sadly reported that she didn't feel any different, at least not until the day after, when maybe there was a slight feeling of being a little different! Not a very convincing result of the effect of aphrodisiacs - but a whole lot of fun anyway!
Wine in small quantities may be a slight aphrodisiac, but studies show the best effects are with small amounts. Often it is the smell of the wine that triggers a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. Women are apparently turned on by musky, earthy aromas, where as men respond to lavender, caramel and vanilla!
It's a fact apparently, that people who have lost their sense of smell have lower sex drives. Probably because these people by definition have hypothalamopituitary dysfunction.
I was amused while writing this to see that Love Honey produce two pheromone aphrodisiac sprays, one to attract men, the other to attract women! I wonder what the science is behind these products? Perhaps I'll try and find out. (If you've read my book Dating Daisy you will know there is a whole chapter on pheromones, it's one of my key areas of interest!)
Almonds, liquorice, aniseed and bananas, figs, chilli pepper and ginger. These are a few more foods listed as aphrodisiacs! It seems the food stuffs with strong flavours are most linked to our libido. Is this a coincidence, or is there just something sensual about strong tasting/spicy foods?
Well, writing this article is food for thought anyway. I'm not sure I've found the answer to my questions on aphrodisiacs. There don't seem to be many, if any, that are truly scientifically proven.
- Only the oyster! But that just wouldn't do it for me! And I think I'll be giving the raw onions a miss!
- However - I do like the idea of more chocolate, and more champagne, anyway!
Don't you? - Cheers!
Dating Daisy on Amazon
Chocolate and Women's Sexual Health: An Intriguing Correlation. Salonia A et al.
First published: 27 February 2006Full publication history
DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00236.x View/save citation
FDA: Viagra-like effect from Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee can pose serious health risks
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 by: JD Heyes
Tags: FDA, Still Bull Herbal Coffee, Viagra
Nitric Oxide Beads Beat Out Viagra In Treating Erectile Dysfunction Oct 1, 2013 03:51 PM By Chris Weller
The truth about Aphrodisiac Foods or do Oysters really make you horny? By Kaitlin Steinberg
I Ate Only Aphrodisiacs for a Day Just to See What Would HappenFind out if it led to uncontrollable desire.
BY KORIN MILLER May 22, 2015
Wine and Your Sex Drive