These Are The Aphrodisiacs That Actually Work, According To Science

Sex, and how to make it better, has long been a topic of study – and a much-needed one: 43% of women and 31% of men report having sexual dysfunction, according to the Cleveland Clinic. From ancient fertility deities to modern erectile dysfunction drugs, we’ve literally tried every so-called miracle cure in the pursuit of great sex.


Worth trying? Not really.

Legendary lover Casanova supposedly downed 50 oysters a day to boost his virility and sexual stamina. Why? Because they contain zinc, which is essential for testosterone production. They also contain certain amino acids and serotonin, two factors linked to feeling pleasure. However, research has failed to connect the mollusks with actually enhancing sexual drive.


Worth trying? Yes.

This herb is already a popular herbal remedy, but preliminary studies show that it may help with erectile dysfunction. Research on its effect on women is limited, but one type, Korean red ginseng, has been shown to boost sexual arousal in menopausal women. Ginseng is generally safe, the Mayo Clinic states, but may cause insomnia.


Worth trying? Nope.

Even the early Aztecs believed chocolate boosted virility – an attitude probably shared by loads of Russell Stovers-bearing men on Valentine’s Day. Cacao does contain components linked to increased serotonin production, which was believed to boost desire. Heartbreakingly, though, the scientists found no evidence to support this claim. When they compared chocolate consumers and non-consumers, there was no difference. But don’t throw out your chocolate bars yet: There is still evidence that it has other benefits from increasing heart health to boosting memory.


Worth trying? Nope.

For centuries, honey has been attributed with injecting romance into marriages. (The term “honeymoon” is rumored to have originated in 16th century England with the newlywed tradition of drinking mead, made from fermented honey, for a month after their vows.) Unfortunately, no reliable studies prove it’s aphrodisiac effectiveness. And researchers warn against trying “mad honey,” a product made in Turkey that claims to be a sexual stimulant. Made from a specific type of nectar, it contains toxins that can lead to heart complications.


Worth trying? Yes.

While researchers say most vitamins don’t do anything significant to boost sexual function, they found that the combination supplement ArginMax has more potential do the trick. A blend of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, zinc, Korean ginseng, ginkgo, and Damiana leaf, it had a demonstrable effect on women’s desire and satisfaction in some small pilot studies. As always, consult with your doc before starting any supplement regimen.


Worth trying? Maybe.

Nearly 20 years after Viagra hit the market, the FDA finally approved a prescription medication for low sexual desire in women in 2015. Flibanserin – sold under the trade name Addyi – is a daily pill that may boost sex drive, but can cause potentially serious side effects like low blood pressure, sleepiness, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and fainting, especially if mixed with alcohol, according to the Mayo Clinic.