All you need to know about aphrodisiac food

Take some honey and nutmeg oil, black pepper, moss, and make a paste to anoint the penis or the perineum. Do this for three days, as it is in this fashion that the pleasures of love are excited.

Amedée Doppet

This is a potion extracted from an aphrodisiac treatise written in 1788 [1].

What do we know about aphrodisiacs? There are several things to consider when attributing aphrodisiac qualities to food. Let’s take a look at the most common factors:


What do carrots, asparagus, cucumbers and eels have in common? You got it. Foods that present a phallic physiognomy are often considered aphrodisiacs. On the other side, foods like figs, oysters and caviar, due to their hypothetical mimetic of the female anatomy, also find followers in the world of aphrodisiacs.

comida afrodisíaca
Cenouras com diferentes tamanhos, formas e cores. / Carrots with different sizes, shapes and colours. Image by Christian Guthler from Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Smell is one of the most important senses as far as food goes, and it also plays an important role in aphrodisiac food. Truffles are a great example of this, since, in spite of their warty exterior, they conquer the status of an aphrodisiac due to the fact that they contain high amounts of androsterone (a sexual hormone).


Symbolism appears in all things in life, and it is also a thing to consider when aphrodisiacs are concerned. Either because it is immoral, rare, inaccessible, expensive or luxurious – such as the parts of certain animals that are used for “aphrodisiac” purposes – or because it’s the exact opposite. This is the most widespread factor in which each person has, or does not have, the freedom to impose their own gastro eroticism. We only ask you to leave out the innocent rhinoceros, sharks, tigers and others, since cruelty is the opposite of an aphrodisiac.

comida afrodisíaca
O único efeito afrodisíaco da barbatana de tubarão / The only aphrodisiac effect of shark fin. Image by Blowing Puffer Fish from Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

What does science have to say about aphrodisiacs?

You know that friend that always finds things hard to believe, especially if that information comes from a magazine or an afternoon show? That stubborn friend is like science. What science has to say about aphrodisiac food can diverge from popular knowledge.

Indirect aphrodisiacs

Science gives the designation of indirect aphrodisiac to anything that may enhance the erotic appetite. Thus, alcohol comes on the list (like other drugs), since at the right dose, they enhance the sensory perception. In a certain manner, everything you can think of may be an indirect aphrodisiac.

Aphrodisiacs - the reality

The famed Yohimbe (Pausinystalia johimbe) is, in fact, the only true aphrodisiac of vegetable origin. This plant contains the compound yohimbine, which is responsible for vasodilatation in the lumbosacral region, which irrigates the genital region and… you know where it goes from here.

In a general manner, all nutritional components, be they carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, are necessary for food to act as an aphrodisiac. The fundamental chemistry that constitutes our day to day food is unequivocally responsible for our basic vital functions, and this also applies to our sexuality. It does not come to a surprise that certain nutritional deficits may create difficulties in this field.

However, it is important to stress that context is just as important as food. The environment that surrounds the act of eating a meal, whether deliberately aphrodisiac or not, may strongly stimulate sexual interest. Thus, the presentation of food, the drinks that accompany it, as well as visual and auditive stimuli at the restaurant (or wherever the meal is eaten) may help develop the eroticism.

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