On the long list of reasons why Valentine's Day is a ridiculous holiday, "aphrodisiac food" is one of our favorites. Foods that are supposed to make us feel sexy belong right in the category of cheesy cards, sh***y candy, overpriced prix-fixe menus and stupid products that give Valentine's Day a terrible name.
The food-as-aphrodisiac phenomenon is nothing new, and in fact has a storied history. The shape and texture of certain foods has long been said to arouse the mind (it's not a physical reaction but a mental one).
Curvaceous, smooth-skinned pears? Firm, scented bananas? Ripe figs dripping with sweet juice? Under the right circumstances, it doesn't take more than a well-endowed fruit basket to awaken the coiled snake of lust.
The idea that certain foods will turn you on is practically shoved down our throats this time of year -- appearing all over magazines, menus and the Internet -- and we at HuffPost Taste are certainly guilty as charged. Whether you read into the power of food to rev up your sex drive or not, the claims are hard to escape around Valentine's Day. Like anything else, however, we think it's always important to question the status quo. Here are some aphrodisiac foods that may turn us off more than they turn us on.
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The classic "aphrodisiac" -- but does anyone know why? They're slimy and gross-looking and offend probably half of the population. Oysters are high in zinc, and a deficiency in zinc has been linked to lower testosterone levels, but research isn't conclusive that zinc actually increases your sex drive. Zinc and testosterone aside, do these squishy, ugly little guys make you think "sex?"
We're not sure why garlic appears on everyone's list of aphrodisiac foods. We see it as more of an obstacle to intimacy. Anyone else?
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Chili peppers are hot, yes, but does your mouth feeling like it's on fire make you want to kiss? What about a runny nose -- does that turn you on? Maybe you like it when your partner's eyes water and his/her face sweats? We thought not.
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Ok, chocolate is a food we can sort of see, thanks to Johnny Depp's wildly underrated performance in the movie "Chocolat." But a little bit can too easily turn into too much. See how sexy you feel after polishing off a huge slice of chocolate cake or eating an entire bar of chocolate because why wouldn't you? Chocolate makes us want to eat all the chocolate, not have sex.
Really? Oatmeal is supposed to get us in the mood? Oatmeal? You mean the least sexy food of all time? The oh-so attractive breakfast mush is high in an amino acid called L'arginine, which is supposed to be "key to your partner's sexual readiness and yours." We don't really care what oatmeal does to our bodies. It definitely doesn't put us in the mood.
English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper said that asparagus "stirs up lust in man and woman." But really, what's sexy about a skinny, limp vegetable like asparagus? And the real question is: asparagus pee. Does that really get you going?