We'll preface this by saying that a good dose of common sense, not to mention sound science, says that libido is far too multi-faceted to be induced by a single magical food, drink or nutritional supplement.
However, aphrodisiacs -- and their potential ability to increase libido -- have held people's fascination across time and cultures. The idea seems to translate well in our own historical moment, where there is seemingly a pill for everything. Viagra could be seen as today's answer to the oysters favored by ancient Romans -- though it does not stimulate desire per se, but instead addresses the performance issue for someone who is already feeling amorous.
Huff/Post50 decided to do some digging and found five foods that reportedly increase libido. While we would recommend you try getting in shape and eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet first, as well as assessing the health of your relationship and your physical and mental well-being, an oyster dinner can't hurt either. Featuring any one of these foods at your next romantic occasion can be an additional way to get the sparks flying between you and your partner.
Oysters have a well-established history as an aphrodisiac (just look at that suggestive shape!): Romans believed in their libido-increasing abilities and Casanova wrote that he ate 50 for breakfast in "The Story of My Life." Well guess what? The mollusks are packed with the feel-good hormone dopamine. Zinc -- a mineral linked to stimulating testosterone, a hormone key to sexual arousal, can also be found in oysters, <a href="http://women.webmd.com/guide/food-spicier-sex-life" target="_hplink">according to WebMD</a>. A past study also suggested a link between <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1486054/Raw-oysters-really-are-aphrodisiacs-say-scientists-and-now-is-the-time-to-eat-them.html" target="_hplink">raw oyster consumption and sex-hormone production</a>, after researchers discovered that they contain rare amino acids previously found to stimulate testosterone and progesterone production in rats, <em>The Telegraph</em> reports.
2. Peppers (And Other Hot And Spicy Food)
The <a href="http://www.integratedsociopsychology.net/What_is_Love2/'LoveonaSuspensionBridge'-DonaldDutton&A.html" target="_hplink">"shaky bridge experiment"</a> is probably familiar to anyone who took Psych 101 in college. In the study, men were asked to walk across a tall, shaky bridge, and then asked by an attractive researcher to fill out a survey. They were more likely than those who walked across a less scary bridge to give the researcher a call later on, mistaking the physiological arousal from their fear response to the shaky bridge (increased heart rate, feeling a bit warm, breaking a sweat) for sexual attraction and arousal. In the absence of terrifying suspension bridges, you might try chomping down on a hot chile for the same physiological arousal. And just like hot peppers, <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/59801-libido-enhancers/" target="_hplink">spices like curry and cumin can also increase blood flow</a> and in turn, your libido, according to Live Strong.
Another provocatively shaped food, garlic is associated with <a href="http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/garlic-000245.htm" target="_hplink">increased blood circulation</a>, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Better blood flow to the genitals creates greater arousal for men and women," <em>Men's Health</em> reports. Garlic is also a traditional aphrodisiac in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It is one of the five pungent roots monks were told to avoid because of its effect on sexual desire (according to the Surangama sutra: <a href="http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/surangama.pdf" target="_hplink">"if eaten cooked, they are aphrodisiac..."</a>).
As Shakespeare wrote in "The Tragedy of Macbeth": "Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance..." In moderation, however, alcohol can lower inhibitions without the unfortunate side effect of decreased performance. A 2009 study conducted by the University of Florence also found that women who drank one to two glasses of red wine a day reported <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01393.x/abstract;jsessionid=7176BC0E5E8A69E77FFEEC523925B8C2.d03t02?systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+will+be+disrupted+on+4+August+from+10%3A00-12%3A00+BST+%2805%3A00-07%3A00+EDT%29+for+essential+maintenance&userIsAuthenticated=false&deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=" target="_hplink">"higher...sexual desire, lubrication and overall sexual functioning."</a>
Sex isn't all about the physical act; there's a good deal of mental stimulation necessary before one is in "the mood." Taking a bite or two of chocolate can help. The <a href="http://fitbie.msn.com/slideshow/7-sexy-foods-boost-libido" target="_hplink">cocoa-packed treat contains a compound called phenylethylamine, which floods the body with serotonin and endorphins</a> creating that loving feeling, according to Fitbie. While a study found that a boost in sexual desire after eating chocolate was all in participants' heads, we'll take it where we can get it!