Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness and nutrition courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
Because Aphrodite was supposedly born from the sea, lots of fish are reputed aphrodisiacs. Oysters top the list for two reasons. Just looking at them is a turn-on: Their shape and sensuously soft feel are wildly suggestive. And the fancy mollusk is loaded with zinc, a mineral essential for sexual endurance, as well as sperm and testosterone production. Casanova must have had a leg up on this data. Legend suggests he ate 50 raw oysters every morning in the bathtub.
Like oysters, asparagus gets its titillating reputation because of its close resemblance to a certain male body part. “There’s an ancient medical concept called the Doctrine of Signatures, which suggests the way a plant looks reflects its potential use,” says Chris D. Meletis, naturopathic doctor and author of Better Sex Naturally. “In fact, early Arabs and Greeks cultivated it specifically for use during sex. Today, many herbalists believe asparagus works because it stimulates the urinary tract and related tissues.”
All nuts are reputed sex enhancers because they contain arginine, a chemical that increases stamina and blood flow. “Pine nuts and almonds were reportedly mixed together 2,000 years ago throughout the Mediterranean,” says Meletis. “The blend included honey and was eaten for three days before seeing its full effect. The quick energy from the honey, which is a carb, combined with the staying power of the time-released energy of protein, made for a potent paste.” The Romans used walnuts in their fertility rites and tossed them at weddings, the way we toss rice. And ancient texts from India suggest the betel nut brings feelings of love to the surface.”