Whether or not you like oysters, you may have heard the rumor that they can increase your sex drive. For many years, oyster sales have spiked on Valentine's Day from people hoping to have a romantic night. But, what's the truth? Are oysters really an aphrodisiac?
What Makes A Food an Aphrodisiac?
The aphrodisiacs definition is food that incites sexual desire. These foods (supposedly) work by stimulating the senses and putting people in a sensual mood. People often search for an aphrodisiac in food if they've experienced some sort of sexual dysfunction or have a lull in their sex life.
These foods fall into five categories:
Oysters fall into the last category, as they make their claim to fame due to their resemblance of female genitals.
History of Oysters as an Aphrodisiac
Many people cite the Roman Empire as one of the first recorded instances of claims about this food. In his memoir, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova said that he seduced more than 100 women in his lifetime. How? By eating 50 oysters every morning for breakfast.
Cassanova claimed that the food gave him energy and desire. His claim began to hold more weight in 2005 when a study of bivalve molluscs came from a professor at Barry University in Miami, George Fisher. At an American Chemical Society presentation, the chemistry professor said that mussels have D-aspartic acid. In studies with lab rats, D-asp amino acids increased sex hormones.
After the release of this information, other researchers began to wonder about the effect of the amino acids on humans. Today, it's not clear whether the D-aspartic acid amino acid does anything to people.
Experts say there is not enough information out there to make a strong claim about food as aphrodisiac in general. In a paper published in a 2015 medical review journal, doctor and counselor Michael Krychman states that oysters have zinc, which is "an essential nutrient for testosterone production." (1)
The food also contains serotonin and n methyl d aspartate. Both of these factor into the pleasure response we get from eating raw oysters. However, these properties are not enough to give them aphrodisiac powers.
Scientists say that desire is a complex response, and it relies on many different things. Your general well being affects your sexual health, so it's hard to attribute one treat or substance to an increase in your libido.
Other people attribute the aphro pleasure from an oyster to the eating experience. They are fun to eat and squishy and delicate like a body part. Unfortunately, many experts say that getting pleasure from oysters is only due to the placebo effect. If you feel like they work for your libido, there's no reason not to continue trying. In fact, you can get some with a seafood subscription box.
There is not enough research to prove that oysters help sexually. However, the food does boost dopamine hormone levels, which positively affects the libido of men and women.
They also have lots of zinc. Zinc is known for increasing the production of testosterone. The two factors and more lead some people to believe that fresh oyster will solve their sexual difficulties.
Theoretically, oysters have amino acids that may enhance pleasure and increase testosterone in males and females. For that reason, believe that raw oyster in the shell will help them get it on. However, the effectiveness of these substances on a person is not fully understood.
One study of shellfish showed that mollusks with bivalves could increase sensuality. Others have the belief that the texture of the food is what sparks arousal. The fact is, there is little evidence that eating oysters or seafood every day factors into your sex life.
Over the years, people have gravitated to certain Valentine's Day snacks and dinners that they believe will set the mood. Though there is little proof that something like this works, there are some things you can try to spark passion. Foods with aphrodisiac qualities tend to spark a good feeling or subtlety resemble a sex organ.
Some suggestions include:
Often times, our brain makes us believe that certain items are stimulants. So, if you believe it will work, then it might just work according to psychology. If you want a romantic dish for a special function, try serving something that your partner enjoys, or something that is fun to eat together.
Wine may help you and your love release some inhibitions as well. However, science shows that alcohol is not a source of sexual drive. Too much can actually have opposite effects.
The short answer to this question is no. At least, not all on their own. Many scientific findings conclude that we attribute our own desires to certain foods.
Oysters are full of amino acids such as d-asp and other compounds and minerals that may make you feel good. Because of these benefits, they make a lot of lists for "foods that increase stamina." That list also tends to include coffee, salmon, and avocados. The truth is, the effect on our bodies is unknown.
However, the power of suggestion comes into play. If you think a certain quantity of food will help you in the bedroom, it can't hurt to try.
So, Are Oysters Really Aphrodisiacs?
Oyster has a reputation for its texture, appearance, and effect on the nervous system. It's one of those stories that you hear a lot, and it leaves many people wondering whether it's a myth. All over the world, people have the idea that they should put out an oyster plate when they want to impress someone.
To find it's true influence on humans, we need more controlled studies. But hey, if you have a romantic dinner planned with music, flowers, and a plate of oyster, there's no reason to cancel it!
West, E., & Krychman, M. (2015). Natural aphrodisiacs—a review of selected sexual enhancers. Sexual medicine reviews, 3(4), 279-288.