For many people, two things dominate the mind, so it’s no wonder they go hand in hand. Food and sex are closely linked – romantic meals, sweet treats, and let’s not forget that scene from Nine and a Half Weeks.
In fact, we’ve been firm believers in aphrodisiacs for about as long as we’ve been preparing food. But is there any truth in the libido-boosting claims, or are all the theories as limp as a lettuce leaf?
Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and it would appear that a lot of our common aphrodisiacs and associations of love stem from that time.
Other, more obscure – and bonkers – aphrodisiacs have waned in popularity over the years. Spanish fly, cobra blood, Japanese blowfish and baboon urine have all been ingested in the hopes of a good time. So, sadly, has rhino horn, pushing the animal to the brink of extinction.
Not to be outdone on weird and wonderful miracle cures, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop recommends ‘sex bark’, an innocent enough looking chocolate recipe until you hit your local Sainsbury’s in search of the ingredients – including ho shou wo (a Chinese herb) and “Sex Dust”.
But what of the old favourites, including our old friend chocolate? Here are a few of the more common aphrodisiacs.
In itself a sensuous food, plus it contains the chemicals anandamide and phenylethylamine, which boost serotonin levels – the feel-good hormone. However, there is debate over how much of the chemicals our brain actually absorbs, and gorging ourselves on a family-sized Dairy Milk to make up the difference could actually be a passion-killer. However, a strawberry or two dipped in dark chocolate couldn’t hurt.