The science of aphrodisiac cuisine is a slippery one: Some studies suggest that the scent of certain foods can trigger sexual reactions, while other foods have been shown to boost sex hormones or contribute to the health of sex organs. For years researchers have analyzed the connection between food and pheromones: chemicals agents emitted by our bodies that incite instinctive reactions — in the case of sex pheromones specifically, desire — in others. We break down the information by ingredient, with scientific insights from health guides and tips from cookbooks on incorporating them. If you're planning an at-home dinner date, consider throwing a few of these items in. If you're out at a restaurant, spring for the oysters. Hey, it can't hurt to try.
Casanova famously ate 50 oysters for breakfast every morning to supercharge his libido, but now hard science is backing up the lothario's superstition. According to a story in The Telegraph (UK), a team of Italian and American researchers discovered that the mollusk contains two types of amino acids that trigger a "chain reaction of hormones" leading to increased sex drive in both females and males. Prior to these findings, many pointed to oysters' high quantity of zinc, a mineral present in male sperm.
Scientists say that, for best results, oysters should be eaten raw. The Hog Island Oyster Lover's Cookbook by Jairemarie Pomo contains 40 variations, as well as rundown of oyster culture (it does exist). For a history of the mollusk, and its libidinous associations, look to Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster.
The Smell & Taste Research Foundation conducted a study to determine which aromas elicited a sexual response in males. In the words of the foundation: "The effects of 30 odors on penile blood flow were assessed by comparing a subject's brachial penile index while wearing an odorized mask." The winner of the study? The combined aroma of pumpkin and lavender. (Doughnut and black licorice, together, finished second.)
How aromas — especially in odd combinations — can have such an effect on sex drive (let's not beat around the bush — lavender and pumpkin increased penile blood flow on average by 40 percent) is one of the many mysteries Rachel Herz, a psychologist and smell expert, plumbs in her book, The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell. To test the findings yourself, try Recipe Lion's "Lovely Pumpkin and Lavender Mousse Parfait," The Baking Bird's "Lavender Pumpkin Bread," or Eau Flirt, a "love potion" perfume that combines the two.
Read the rest over at Bookish: Can Certain Foods Enhance Your Sex Appeal? Aphrodisiacs To Pheromone-Boosters
More juicy content from Bookish:
- Holy Guacamole: 30 Days On Tim Ferriss' '4-Hour Body Diet'
- Mindy Kaling Talks Sex
- Find Your Next Erotic Read
Written by Daniel Lefferts for Bookish.