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Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?
Mankind has been fascinated for ages with any powders or fluids that can make the blood run faster and stop inhibitions from interfering with a good time. From the exotic tales of Arabian Nights, where cunning sultans slipped aphrodisiacs into the wine of beautiful women, and on to the tale of Tristan and Isolde, who fall in love after drinking a special potion, men and women have been dreaming of such a magic way of finding love. And through the ages they have also searched for it, experimenting with many natural and artificial substances.
Most of the natural aphrodisiacs are based on the ancient idea of sympathetic magic. For instance a powder obtained from ground rhino horn was thought to be a highly effective aphrodisiac because the horn looked similar to a huge erect penis. And so were bananas. Clams and oysters were also used because of their appearance. Smell, taste and appearance were all taken into account in order to determine the properties of a fruit, vegetable or exotic ingredient.
Onions, pepper, garlic or ginger were the leading foods thought to be aphrodisiacs because they give a person the appearance of sexual arousal. More sophisticated approaches involved complex formulas, such as dishes of onion seeds and honey or peas boiled with onions and spiced with cinnamon and ginger.
It is unclear whether such foods actually work or whether the lovers chose them simply for the placebo effect. There is some controversy about the potential aphrodisiac effect of chocolate, mainly because the substance supposed to have this effect is broken down by the liver very fast and only minute amounts actually reach the brain.
Spanish Fly, Yohimbe, Ginseng, Kava Kava and other natural substances are widely used even today to awake the fire of passion. However, one should be very careful when employing such substances because not all of them are safe. The Spanish Fly works by irritating the water passages in the bladder and is a toxic substance. Yohimbe is known to increase blood pressure, which is very risky for people who suffer from heart disease.
Psychoactive substances are widely used today both to arouse and to heighten the experience, although this is not generally a good idea. MDMA (Ecstasy) and alcohol make people feel closer together and dispel inhibitions, but also decreases the flow of blood to the genital area as a side effect. Cocaine or amphetamines are associated with arousal and ‘hypersexuality’, but both tend to impair sexual functions.
Bremelanotide is a generic name given to a new medication that was hailed as the first synthetic aphrodisiac. Unlike Viagra or Cialis, Bremelanotide is not as mere vasodilator, but a complex substance that directly increases sexual desire. Lab tests have shown this substance to be effective in treating sexual dysfunction in both men and women.
However, two healthy adults should not have to resort to drugs of any kind. Some free time spent relaxing together, followed by an intimate dinner is enough to set the mood. Use slow music, incense and candle-light if you want to add a touch of sophistication and choose foods that you can feed each other across the table.
Get in the mood while enjoying sexy food like oysters, quail’s eggs with champagne or asparagus. Exotic fruits and chocolate should mark the end of the dinner, after which you can retire to the bedroom for a night of passion.
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