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Aphrodisiacs


Are Oysters Really an Aphrodisiac?

In the case of oysters, probably the classic among the alleged aphrodisiacs, chemical analysis shows that it consists of water, protein and carbohydrates, plus small amounts of fat, sugar and minerals. None of these components is in any way known to affect sex drive or performance. The psychological impact of believing that oysters, raw bull's testicles ("prairie oysters", as they are called), clams, celery, or tomatoes are aphrodisiacs is sometimes strong enough to produce, at least temporarily, greater sexual desire or performance. The experience of enhanced arousal or performance is then falsely attributed to the wonder food, and this discovery is passed on to the next person wishing to experience new heights of sexual experience.

Eating certain foods to increase sexual power, while ineffective, is generally harmless. Other supposed aphrodisiacs, however, are not so innocuous. Spanish fly (cantharides) is one such substance. It is made from a beetle found in southern Europe. The insects are dried and heated until they disintegrate into a fine powder.

When taken internally, the substance causes irritation of the bladder and urethra, accompanied by a swelling of associated blood vessels, all of which produce a certain stimulation of the genitals that is interpreted by some men as a sign of lust. The drug can cause an erection, but usually without an increase in sexual desire. Furthermore, if taken in excessive amounts, it can cause violent illness and even death.


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