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10 Aphrodisiac Myths

        Health | Sexuality

Plenty of people love chocolate, but does chocolate make them better lovers? © chan_vargas/iStock/Thinkstock

Having a bit of a slump in your love life? Or looking to kick things up a notch? Stop before you reach for the guacamole and shots of tequila.

Sure, aphrodisiacs can be found in the most unexpected places. Spicy foods, erotically shaped foods, and the smell of pumpkin pie are all considered ways to boost your sexual desire and performance (although pumpkin pie apparently only works for gentlemen). Many are simple things like chili peppers and chocolate, which are probably already in your kitchen. But do they actually work? Maybe, but maybe not — and even if there's any inkling of a special tingle, it might be more psychological than physiological. Science has yet to prove that any popular sexy-time foods are actually stimulating more than our imagination [source: Magee]. So what gives? It turns out your brain is the best aphrodisiac you have.

The power of the placebo effect can have better results than what's scientifically proven simply because we believe something will increase our sexual desire. Sometimes it really is just all about expectation. So if it makes you feel sexy to believe that what you're ingesting (or smelling or touching) is a tried-and-true aphrodisiac, then, by all means, help yourself. Many alleged aphrodisiacs won't hurt you if you want to dabble, but always double check. Spanish fly, for example, is toxic, which is kind of the opposite of what you're going for here.