Sex, Libido and Food: Can What You Eat Improve Your Sex Life?

        Karen Fisher      Healthy Food, Lifestyle

Since the beginning of time, humans have sought ways to increase sexual desire and prolong the sexual experience.

Ancient cookbooks frequently discussed the aphrodisiac properties of foods.  Consider this excerpts –

“Vegetables, eaten raw or cooked, nourish libido. Turnips increase sperm and stimulate desire.  Leeks favorably influence coitus; when prepared with honey, sesame, and almond they are particularly effective stimulants.  Onions are particularly felicitous to sexuality”.

Though there is limited scientific evidence regarding the benefits of specific foods in enhancing one’s love life, there are foods consistently recommended as aphrodisiacs that are worthy of discussion.

Whether it’s the food’s shape (phallic or labial), the chemical compounds in foods that affect our brain (our largest and most important sex organ), or a food’s ability to affect blood flow, (which impacts performance and pleasure in both men and women), there are likely multiple links to food and sexual desire.

We’re all familiar with setting the mood with wine and chocolate. Are there other ways to “turn up the heat” using food as a sexual stimulant?

First, let’s state the obvious: an unhealthy diet filled with processed, refined foods high in sugars, fats and preservatives does nothing for libido and the joy of sex.  It saps our energy and verve for life and often promotes weight issues that further reduces our energy levels and lowers self-esteem.

Aphrodisiac foods on the other hand have benefits outside of the bedroom and should be considered as a part of anyone’s healthy diet.

Consider pistachios which may enhance sexual pleasure and performance from their ability to increase blood flow.  In addition to being rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats, pistachios may also help lower blood pressure, control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.

Chocolate, more accurately the cacao it contains, may be particularly amorous for women, producing mood-lifting results in both sexes.  Cacao may also reduce risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, aid in management of glucose levels, and lessen inflammation.

Shooting a few oysters before getting one’s groove on is a long-standing love food ritual.  While one study showed it may have some libido-boosting effects in rats, no studies exist to support the benefit in humans.  But, if you like oysters, go for it.

Hot chilies contain capsaicin, the compound that gives hot chilies their heat, which stimulate nerve endings on the tongue, purportedly causing the release of sex drive-boosting chemicals.

Alcohol in moderation may act as an aphrodisiac for both sexes by promoting relaxation and reduced inhibitions, but heavy drinking may reduce arousal and sexual function, so pace yourself.

Do you want to turn up the heat in the bedroom? Then consider food as an integral part of the ancient ritual of sex.  Chocolate. Oysters. Wine. Let the games begin.


Karen Fisher, MS, RDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection.  Find her website at

More Posts