Food and sex have a long, complicated history. For years we’ve heard that what we eat can have sexual effects that work on both a psychosomatic level and a physiological level. Supported in part by mythological beliefs and in part by actual science, we have widely accepted that what turns us on could very well start in the kitchen. But did you ever consider that there are also some foods that could slow your sex drive down to a near screeching halt?
Let’s back up and discuss the basics. Sexual desires are controlled by what is known as the libido — a fancy word for sex drive. Libido is determined by a number of factors that include sociological, psychological, and hormonal influences.
“In both men and women, the hormone testosterone drives much of human libido,” explains Dr. Michael Hirt, founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine in California's San Fernando Valley, who often hands out a list of foods to patients who complain about a lowered sex drive. “Low testosterone means a lower sex drive.”
This is why the idea of aphrodisiacs, foods that stimulate your sex drive, is widely accepted — though there is little scientific evidence that such foods can really rev up your sex drive.
While there isn’t much scientific evidence that such foods can really rev up your sex drive, many still believe that certain foodstuffs can help us become aroused through their smell, taste, and texture (slurping oysters, anyone?).
To help you make sure your romantic evening isn’t cut short, we’ve put together the following list of hormone-altering, sense-changing foods and drinks. To help keep the proverbial fires burning, you might want to keep these foods off your date-night menu.
Holly Van Hare, Lauren Gordon, and Christian Kogler contributed to this roundup.