=are any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two principal groups:
- (1) psycho-physiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, aural)
- (2) internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations).
It has been suggested that man’s universal attribution of libidinous effects to certain foods originated in the ancient belief in the therapeutic efficacy of signatures: if an object resembled the genitalia, it possessed, so it was reasoned, sexual powers. Thus the legendary aphrodisiac powers of ginseng root and powdered rhinoceros horn.
With the exception of certain drugs such as alcohol or marijuana, which may lead to sexual excitation through disinhibition, modern medical science recognizes a very limited number of aphrodisiacs.
TestosteroneLibido is clearly linked to levels of sex hormones, particularly testosterone. When a reduced sex drive occurs in individuals with relatively low levels of testosterone (e.g., post-menopausal women or men over age 60 ) ,testosterone supplements will often increase libido. Approaches using a number of precursors intended to raise testosterone levels have been effective in older males, but have not fared well when tested on other groups.
Melanotan IIMelanotan II, bremelanotide's precursor has been demonstrated to have aphrodisiac properties.
There is some debate in lay circles as to whether a chemical called phenylethylamine present in chocolate is an aphrodisiac. There is some evidence to support the theory that phenethylamine release in the brain may be involved in sexual attraction and arousal but this compound is quickly degraded by the enzyme MAO and so it is unlikely that any significant concentrations would reach the brain when phenethylamine is taken orally.
Alkyl nitritesAlkyl nitrites, (poppers), have a long history of use as a sexual enhancement aid, going back about fifty years. According to the text "Isobutyl nitrite and Related Compounds", many researchers agree that the alkyl nitrite may be a true aphrodisiac in the sense of promoting and enhancing sexual response.
Other drugsStimulants affecting the dopamine system such as cocaine and amphetamines (e.g. methamphetamine, aka crystal meth) are frequently associated with hyperarousal and hypersexuality, though both may impair sexual functioning, particularly with long term use.
Some directly acting dopamine agonists may also cause increased libido, although they can also cause various side effects. Pramipexole is the only dopamine agonist used in medicine as an aphrodisiac, and is sometimes prescribed to counteract the decrease in libido associated with SSRI antidepressant drugs. The older dopamine agonist apomorphine has been used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, but is of poor efficacy and has a tendency to cause nausea. Other dopamine agonists such as bromocriptine and cabergoline may also be associated with increased libido, as can the dopamine precursor L-Dopa, but this is often part of a spectrum of side effects which can include mood swings and problem gambling and so these drugs are not prescribed for this purpose.
The libido-enhancing effects of dopamine agonists prescribed for other purposes has led to the development of a number of more selective compounds such as flibanserin, ABT-670 and PF-219,061, which have been developed specifically for the treatment of sexual dysfunction disorders, although none of them have yet passed clinical trials.
Drugs not considered aphrodisiacsSome psychoactive substances such as alcohol, cannabis, methaqualone, GHB and MDMA can increase libido and sexual desire. However these drugs are not aphrodisiacs in the strict sense of the definition, as they do not consistently produce aphrodisiac effects as their main action. However, these drugs are sometimes used to increase sexual pleasure and to reduce sexual inhibition.
Anti-erectile dysfunction drugs, such as Viagra and Levitra, are not considered aphrodisiacs because they do not have any direct effect on the libido, although increased ability to attain an erection may be interpreted as increased sexual arousal by users of these drugs.
Aphrodisiac foods and herbsSome natural items purported to be aphrodisiacs when ingested or applied to the body.
- Arugula (Rocket) (Eruca sativa)
- Atta laevigata
- Cow cod soup (Jamaican Aphrodisiac)
- Borojo (Borojoa patinoi)
- Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
- Deer penis and antlers (in Taiwan and China)
- Epimedium grandiflorum (Horny Goat Weed)
- Eurycoma longifolia
- Ginkgo biloba
- Lettuce, considered an aphrodisiac in Ancient Egypt. Eaten by the sexually potent God of Chaos, Seth.
- Mannish Water (goat soup, Jamaican Aphrodisiac)
- Mucuna pruriens
- Mamajuana Dominican Republic alcoholic sex drink
- Dark Chocolate
- Mead (especially spiced mead varieties)
- Socratea exorrhiza
- Spanish fly (cantharidin)
- Tribulus terrestris
Some newly introduced exotic foods often acquire such a reputation, at least until they become more familiar; for example:
- Asparagus In 19th-century France, bridegrooms were served three courses of the vegetable at their prenuptial dinner
- Bananas The sap of the red banana is considered an aphrodisiac in Central America
- Tomatoes (allegedly to the French term pomme d'amour as a misrendering of pomme de Maure)
- Aphrodisiac http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodisiac
- Testosterone for Low Libido in Postmenopausal Women: Not Ready for Prime Time http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/584650
- Why men lose interest in sex - tips to rekindle desire. http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/loss-of-libido-in-men