Aphrodisiacs – Fact or Myth?

Sexy Swingers in embrace

Aphrodisiacs are generally based more on cultural myths than fact, but that doesn’t stop their allure which continues to this day, as people still experiment with them in an effort to rev up their sex lives. Some aphrodisiacs are just common sense (anything that makes us feel good when we eat it), some are medical advances (not sure if Viagra qualifies as an aphrodisiac but is sure works), and some are just silly and not worthy of our attention. Want to know what to try and what to avoid? Just read on.

Throughout history, people all over the world have tried certain foods, beverages, drugs, and chemicals in the hopes of being bestowed some magical aphrodisiac powers. The fact that some look similar to men’s and women’s genitals, or are even derived from animal sex organs, was no accident. Named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, aphrodisiacs are substances that supposedly elicit sexual desire and arousal, enhance sex drive and sexual “performance,” and extend sexual energy.

You must have heard of the most famous reputed aphrodisiac of all, made from ground-up beetles of the Lytta vesicatoria species, it is know as Spanish Fly. Its active ingredient, cantharidin, irritates the bladder and urethra, causing increased blood flow to the genitals and sensations of warmth there, but can permanently scar urethral tissue and infect the genitourinary tract with continued use. It may also lead to an abnormally prolonged or constant erection (priapism) or an engorged vulva and vagina, both of which are often painful. Spanish Fly can be poisonous or even fatal with prolonged use.

At one time or another all of the following have been believed to be aphrodisiacs. If something sounds good to you, why not try it… who could resist the temptation of Chocolate or Strawberries?

* Oysters and clams. Also other seafood resembling sex organs.
* Ground rhinoceros horn. The term “horny” was apparently coined from this “sexual enhancer.” Just don’t ask me where you can buy some.
* Bananas, celery, asparagus. Also any other phallic shaped foods.
* Honey, it’s reminiscent of sweet vaginal fluid.
* Ginseng, which is also supposed to increase your energy, and we all know what a workout good sex can be.
* Chocolate, several components in chocolate have been linked to mood and potential “aphrodisiac” effects, with many women preferring chocolate over sex there must be something to it.
* Strawberries and Champagne, what a way to get a woman in the “mood”.
* Chillies, curries, and other spices and spicy foods. They make the heart beat faster and produce perspiration, which commonly occur during sex.
* Raw bull’s testicles, again don’t ask me where to get some.
* Yohimbine – an extract from the bark of the West African yohimbe tree

According to a review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, no purported aphrodisiac has been scientifically proven to be effective at meeting its claims. In fact, as in the case of Spanish Fly, some can be harmful and even potentially dangerous. It’s also important to remember that, because aphrodisiacs, similar to other herbal supplements, are not regulated by the FDA, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting when you pick up a bottle of “liquid love/lust” from your local sex shop. If you do decide to give store-bought aphrodisiacs a try, make sure you know enough about all the ingredients and buy from a company with which others have had good experience. This is more important when dealing with ingestible sex “enhancers”, topically applied ones generally do not have any side effects.

Sometimes drugs are used as aphrodisiacs. Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and barbiturates, for example, help reduce or remove inhibitions and/or produce pleasurable feelings and sensations that could lead one to feel sexually aroused. However, instead of this intended outcome, decreased or no sexual response and functioning could occur, often when taking moderate or larger amounts, or from long-term usage. Dependency and other more serious harms can also result. In addition, people’s judgment is often impaired, leaving them more vulnerable to sexual assault, as the recipient or perpetrator.

Another drug, amyl nitrate (aka “poppers”), apparently intensifies and prolongs sensations of orgasm, probably by increasing blood flow to the genitals and distorting time perception. But, it can also cause dizziness, severe headaches, unconsciousness, and a drop in blood pressure which could become dangerous.

Regardless of whether or not aphrodisiacs actually work, the power of suggestion, psychologically and emotionally, is key. If one believes using any particular substance, alleged aphrodisiac or not, will help enhance his or her sex life, and s/he is receptive to that longing, then it can help bring about sexual desire and arousal, at least in the short-term. Of course, a good night’s sleep, time, privacy, confidence in your contraception, self-confidence, and a turned-on partner may do the same thing.

~ Krystal (writing for SandiOnSwinging.com)

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