No matter how high you crank up Marvin Gaye, sometimes it's just hard to get it on for any number of reasons. Now I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of my time thinking about food. So what's better than foods that will amp up your sex life?
Aphrodisiacs (defined as agents that arouse sexual response and desire) have been floating around different cultures throughout history. Though often contested as mere myth and folklore that may just reduce the experience to a placebo effect, science supports that there are foods that can target issues from a lack of libido to help improve sex. As Cynthia Sass, RD, said to Health's Ashley Macha, "Studies show that certain foods or nutrients do play a role in boosting libido and supporting a healthy sex life."
So whether it's fueling sexual desire, suppressing performance anxiety, maintaining energy, or reducing any bloating that may kill the mood — these are some foods you should eat before sex.
As if we didn’t obsess over avocados enough, here’s one more reason to praise this heavenly fruit of green goodness. According to The Global Healing Center, because they’re so high in folic acid, they can quickly break down protein and give you that immediate, long-lasting, and healthy energy boost you need for sexual stamina. They also contain what The American Heart Association calls the good fat (monounsaturated fat), which optimizes hormone production. And according to the Modern Medicine Network, hormones contribute to improving overall sexual function for both sexes.
Along with other berries, especially blueberries, WebMD confirms that strawberries are high in antioxidants, which are chemicals that help tidy up your circulation system by eliminating free radicals. So how does this help your sex life? As explained on The Alternative Daily, by freeing up your blood vessels of some of that junk, antioxidants increase much-needed blood flow throughout your body, including your sex organs. As clinical health psychologist Lynn Edlen-Nezin, Ph.D. pointed out to NBC, "As a rule of thumb, what’s good for the heart is good for the genitals." If your heart is clear above, you'll just have better flow and more sensation below.
3. Dark Chocolate
My fellow chocoholics out there in the world, as we all know chocolate is love and love is chocolate. It’s been long hailed as the classic melt-in-your-mouth sensual treat that can get you in the mood. But for the ultimate healthy sexual benefits, make sure you're opting for dark chocolate, because that’s where phenylethylamine (PEA) likes to chill.
Dark chocolate is packed with this compound (PEA), according to Psychology Today's Anneli Rufus, which is the endorphin released in the brain that triggers those warm lovey-dovey feelings. It also helps optimize levels of dopamine, which — as Slate's Bethany Brookshire puts it — is the molecule behind all our most sinful behaviors and secret cravings; most notably because it elevates mood and pleasure, it’s definitely something you’ll be wanting plenty of in the bedroom.
4. Oysters And Other Seafood
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? It would be sin to talk about sex without inviting the queen of aphrodisiac royalty to the conversation — Her Majesty Queen Oyster. The oyster’s close resemblance to the vagina coupled with its slippery texture makes for an erotic eating experience in and of itself. Add the nutritional value of the testosterone-producing mineral zinc, and you’ve got the ultimate sexy treat.
According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, gynecologist and author of The Hormone Cure, testosterone is a hormone that actually benefits both men and women with increasing libido and sexual function. She tells Everyday Health's Vanessa Caceres that a diet rich in zinc can increase sperm count and sexual potency in men, while also keeping women’s ovaries healthy.
If you’re not the biggest fan of this mollusk queen, not to fear! You can welcome the entire aquatic family if you so please. WebMD lists fatty and oily fish like salmon or cod as great sources of the essential (your body can't produce it) omega-3 fatty acid that’s great for your heart and increasing dopamine levels that lead to better libido and orgasm potential.
Oh, you know what I mean. *Insert smirking emoji here.* Nuts are also aphrodisiacs, according to Reader's Digest, that hold a variety of nutritional benefits for sex. And there are so many to choose from! For example, as chef and raw food expert Alex Malinsky explained in NaturalNews, cashews and almonds contain significant amounts of zinc, which we’ve learned is the mineral we definitely want to load up on. And according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, like fish, walnuts are especially high in omega-3. And as we also learned, omega-3 is great for helping with sexual response because of that increase in dopamine production.
Increasing research has been suggesting that watermelon can act like a natural Viagra in the body. Bhimu Patil, PhD, told WebMD that this is because of a nutrient called citrulline, which boosts nitric oxide and relaxes the blood vessels, mirroring the effects of drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. And of course, women directly benefit too — any time increased circulation comes into the picture, we’re talking more energy and more pleasure-inducing endorphins.
For any time you've ever wolfed down on some foods that make you bloated, try opting for these little guys instead. While they’re also rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc, figs are a great source of fiber, according to BBC Good Food's associate nutritionist Jo Lewin. And, as Lewin points out, we love our fiber because it satisfies hunger and keeps us full longer. So snack on some of these without worrying about adding any uncomfortable bloat.
Of course — with all the food out there, it's important to keep in mind the importance of eating what you like. Countless debates go on every day about aphrodisiac food myths and what really works or doesn't. But I don't need science to tell you that if you and your partner are craving pizza, that can be just as sexy.