Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Monday, May 5, 2008

Bom-Chick-A-Wow-Wow...Aphrodisiacs Throughout History

It would be no wonder to many that the word aphrodisiac comes from the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, for aphrodisiacs themselves are meant to stimulate us sexually and to enhance desire.

All of the five senses can get use out of aphrodisiacs, sight, scent, taste, sound and feeling. I love the smell of certain colognes…Armani Night being one of my absolute favorites. But of course there is one thing that isn’t a sense that also increases sexual desire, and that is love, ***sigh***

So today I thought I would bring you the lists of all five senses and aphrodisiacs associated with them, and then the history... Bom-Chick-A-Wow-Wow…


Sight can cover many different topics, romantic or pornographic movies, romance novels, erotic books, erotic dancing, sexy clothing…whether you and your partner do these things with each other, for each other, or separately, you get the picture, let your mind do the wandering if you don’t…

It doesn’t necessarily have to be erotic either. You may love a certain style of jeans on the perfect butt…or you see a total hottie walking down the street. Maybe all it takes is the sight of your spouse even if you’re together 24/7. I know they say that looks don’t attract…but, you can’t tell me they really don’t can you?


As I mentioned above I love certain colognes. If I catch a whiff of it, my nose turns without any regard to whether or not I want it to… So what other scents are there? Oils are a big one, with scents such as rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, myrrh, lavender, geranium, patchouli, pine, nutmeg, clary sage, cinnamon, and ginger.

Food scents are also on the list. For men, black pepper, buttered popcorn, vanilla, pumpkin pie, doughnuts and licorice (no I’m not kidding!) For women, licorice, cucumber and pumpkin pie. If one of these scents turns you on, I have to know about it! I’ve never met anyone that got hot and heavy just from making salads and pie!

Most obvious of sensually enticing aromas are natural body scents. Pheromones are also made and sold…some people add them to their perfumes and colognes.

Believe it or not but our brains associate certain smells with activities we’ve done, so if the smell of the beach turns you on... naughty naughty.


There have been many foods around for centuries that have been claimed to increase our desire and sexual prowess. Some of these foods are considered aphrodisiacs because their shapes are suggestive, others have actually had studies done that show they will increase libido. You wouldn’t believe how many of these foods are actually good for you too, so chow down and then get down…

Agave, artichoke, arugula, asparagus, bananas, caviar, celery, chocolate, epimedium grandiflorum (aka Horny Goat Weed…wonder where it gets its name from?), figs, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, honey, kelp, maca, mamey sapote, mucuna pruriens (legume), mussels, oysters, peaches, pimento, pineapple, pomegranate, puffer fish, radish, sea beans, squash, sweet potato, strawberries, thorn apples, tomatoes, truffles, turtle eggs, Walking Palm, wild lettuce.

Some spices are, basil, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, horseradish, jasmine, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, saffron, time, vanilla and white pepper.

Alcohol is also an aphrodisiac in limited quantities as it lowers inhibitions, champagne in particular.

Warning! Red meat is actually a turn off and has been proven to lower testosterone! So if you plan on getting a little action, don’t have a steak dinner :)


Certain types of music are considered aphrodisiacs, whether it’s a song’s words that heighten your senses, or the instruments strumming a tune to your body. As it is with all of your other senses you may have a particular memory with a song that may get you going.

Of course other sounds may be the sound of someone’s voice while talking or the sounds they make while you are “together.” It could be listening to others making love, for example if you are watching a movie. You may also enjoy listening to your partner read you an erotic story or just telling you one from memory.


Besides the feelings a lover may give you physically that will have your body humming, there are several other things that can come into play. Anything that makes your body feel relaxed, completely free. This could be getting a massage, laying on the beach, going for a swim, feeling the warm breeze against your skin as you watch the sunset or rise. It doesn’t just have to be relaxing however, you may get all worked up from exhilaration. Riding a motorcycle or horse, racing down the highway in a convertible, going dancing out on the town, skydiving, skiing, etc… Exercise is considered an aphrodisiac, because it gets your body’s endorphins flowing. This may explain your panting over the sexy specimen working out next to you.

We as humans are sexual beings. We may not be the only species that has sex for recreation, but we certainly are the only ones that have developed thousands of products for sexual play. We are also most certainly the only ones that prepare a meal together or a sensual situation to turn each other on.


How did aphrodisiacs play out in history? Since the beginning of human time there have been mentions of aphrodisiacs. They are mentioned in the Bible in Genesis when Leah exchanges mandrakes with Rachel…mandrakes were used again in the Song of Solomon.

The Kama Sutra, an Indian book about the art of making love written somewhere between the 1st and 6th centuries, mentions aphrodisiacs as well, encouraging the consumption of chick peas and anointing your organ with black pepper, white thorn apple powder and honey. (Warning before you try this…white thorn apples are toxic, so you may want to skip that part…)

Foods throughout history have been used to heighten libido. It was often said that food should be served warm and moist… You’d find a variety of spices in the dishes, many of which I listed above. Carrots, asparagus, anise, mustard, nettles, and sweet peas were often served with meals as they were seen as aphrodisiacs as well. As we know now, aphrodisiacs are used to heighten amorous feelings, and don’t have anything to do with the actual mechanical workings. But in the past that wasn’t common knowledge. A man who wasn’t able to get an erection may chow down on a pound of carrots at dinner, just as a woman may munch on asparagus all day if she is trying to conceive.

The Greek goddess Aphrodite supposedly held sparrows as sacred because of their “amorous nature,” and so throughout history, people would consume the bird hoping to gain some of her lustful inhibitions.

Tomatoes in history were called the “love apple,” before they were called tomatoes, just as potatoes were at one time called the “apples of love.”

Cleopatra was said to use many oils and perfumes to seduce her lovers. Love potions have been concocted from the beginning of time. In the middle ages, alchemists would make a concoction with gold in it. Women who wanted to become pregnant often sought out midwives who would make them a potion of different types of herbs.

Shakespeare often made reference to aphrodisiacs in his works. In Macbeth he writes that alcohol “provokes the desire, but it takes away from the performance.”

The Greek poet Ovid admits in his work that he knows the power of his erotic words, and how they may act as an aphrodisiac. His poem Remedia Amoris (The Cure for Love) published in 5 BC, is filled with how to make love and even suggests that a man might have two girls at once… In his poem Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love, 1 BC) he writes:

Wine rouses courage and is fit for passion:care flies, and deep drinking dilutes it.

Have you ever heard of the Marquis de Sade? He is known for some very erotic writing…120 Days of Sodom, is his most notorious work. He is also known for his affinity for aphrodisiacs in which he was arrested in the late 1770’s by the French court. Why you ask? Because at a private party he slipped some chocolate covered Spanish Fly, a very potent aphrodisiac into the deserts, which then turned quite a few people very randy indeed. At least one of the girls became sick and was hospitalized for poisoning which is why he was arrested. This party is now known as the Cantharidic Bon-Bon Orgy. There is a quote from ball-goer who relates a similar story, so either it had happened more than once, or the ball incident was just a rumor…

Spanish doctor Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, wrote that chocolate “…vehemently incites to Venus, and causeth conception in women, hastens and facilitates their delivery…” in his book Curioso Tratado de la Naturaleza in 1631.

What turns you on? Have you ever tried any of these aphrodisiacs? Have you tried one not listed?


Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Awesome post Eliza. I have to admit that the smell of vanilla turns me on as well. Something about warm cookies coming out of the oven. I wear perfumed oils that have strong hints of vanilla and I get quite a reaction when I wear it. As for aphrodisiacs, apart from the usuals of champagne, lobster, etc. not so much. Interesting about the chick-peas though. I might have to keep a stock of hummus in the house!

Eliza Knight said...

Thanks Elizabeth!

You know in the movie, Because I Said So, with Mandy Moore and Diane Keaton, when she was having a guy come over for a first date she baked chocolate chip cookies, just so it would have the scent in the house! She said something to the effect of guys love warm baked cookies.

I love petchulli, I don't know something about it, so earthy!

Hummus is awesome! Although I haven't particularly noticed whether or not it turns me on, I'll have to check next time I eat it!

Pat McDermott said...

Eliza, your post reminded me of the famous and funny food orgy in Tom Jones where Albert Finney and Susannah York chomp on various dishes as they stare ravenously at each other. Thanks for another informative andintriguing post!

Eliza Knight said...

Thanks Pat! I have not seen that movie, I'm so glad you mentioned it to me I will have to check it out!

http://kriskennedy.net said...

Sorry to be a day late! I love this blog topic, and must say, I'm also am really looking forward to your upcoming blogs, about tournaments, from different participant's perspecitives! What fun.

Did you ever read any Marsha Canham? She has scenes in a few of her novels, the medievals ('Through A Dark Mist' / 'In The Shadow of Midnight' / 'The Last Arrow series) that are so vivid, they always brought it alive to me. Esp. the 3rd one, for tourney scenes.

Thanks for another great blog!

Eliza Knight said...

Thanks Kris! I haven't read her books, thanks for the suggestion!