The Sexy Meaning Behind These So-Called Aphrodisiac Foods

If you're planning a romantic date night with bae, chances are food is going to be involved. Maybe you're splurging on dinner at a swanky restaurant. Perhaps you're ordering them a pizza. Or maybe you've already started loading up a shopping cart of oysters in hopes that they will help you seal the deal.

Sadly, unless your date's kink is eating raw mollusks (in which case, that's totally cool), there's very little legitimate evidence that aphrodisiacs have any magical sex powers. Most of the hype surrounding certain foods can be attributed to cultural lore, or perhaps a placebo effect. That said, there's nothing wrong with trying — so long as you don't expect anything extraordinary to happen.

Ahead are some foods that people claim are aphrodisiacs, and their erotic origin stories. And hey, if you want to incorporate other types of food into your Valentine's Day sex routine, there are certainly ways to do that.

Photographed by Andy Price.

Our obsession with chocolate around Valentine's Day might be fueled by capitalism, but there are actually some scientific properties that might make cocoa a particularly sexy food. According to a 2013 study, cocoa contains compounds, such as serotonin, tryptophan, and phenylethylamine, which can boost your mood and possibly make you feel more aroused.
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Legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and pleasure, planted the first pomegranate tree ever. Due to the myriad seeds inside the fruit and the blood red color, pomegranates are often associated with female fertility and loss of virginity (even though most people agree virginity is not a real thing anymore).
Photographed by Erin Phraner.

Apparently, Zeus once fell in love with a gorgeous mortal woman named Cynara, and he transformed her into a goddess so she could hang. But she missed the mortal world, so she decided to go back. This bothered Zeus, so he turned her into an artichoke — as one does.

Later in the 16th century, eating artichokes was seen as scandalous, and Catherine de Medici once said: "If one of us had eaten artichokes, we would have been pointed out on the street. Today young women are more forward than pages at the court." Perhaps because of their steamy reputation, in 1948, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the "Artichoke Queen" of Monterey County.
Photographed by Nicole Maroon.

When the Aztecs first introduced avocados to explorers, they noted that their name, "ahucatl," also means testicles. They also claimed that avocados would enhance male sexual desires, so virgins weren't allowed outside while they were harvested. See, even back then avocado was extra.
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Slippery, slimy, and sometimes reminiscent of genitalia, oysters are one of the most commonly referenced aphrodisiacs. Casanova allegedly ate 50 oysters for breakfast, and during the Roman Empire, oysters were sought after for their aphrodisiac properties.

But oysters' hype can actually be attributed to a 2005 study that found that mussels contain D-Aspartic acid, a chemical that regulates testosterone. There were some major flaws in the study, though: Researchers didn't test the chemical's effects on humans, and mussels aren't the same as oysters. Despite the discrepancies, lots of people assume that oysters have some magical sexy powers.
Photo: Pexels.

When Adam and Eve, the O.G. couple, first realized they were naked, what did they do? They sewed together fig leaves of course. Some historians say that figs were Cleopatra's favorite food. Besides their leaves, figs are considered sexy because of their plump shape and fibrous pinkish insides.
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The same stuff that makes your pee smell weird has also been regarded as an aphrodisiac. The Kamasutra, for example, recommends that you eat asparagus paste before having sex to increase your libido. According to PBS, asparagus helps your body get rid of ammonia, which is known to make you sleepy and "sexually disinterested."
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