The Durex Guide to Sex Toys: Do Aphrodisiacs Work?


It’s as simple as that.

At least not in the way that you might be thinking…

There are no magic potions that are going to make anyone electric in bed, although some of the traditional choices like oysters, figs, chilis, and chocolate all hold surprising bedroom benefits, that you could be taking advantage of.


Oysters are probably the food that comes to mind for most people when they think of aphrodisiacs, thanks to their many appearances in Film and TV. They’ve had this romantic reputation for thousands of years, long before any scientific benefit could be measured, and their reported powers are actually based on their appearance, and their similarity to… well, you can take your best guess.

Or you could google it.

As it happens however, for those thousands of years they may have been on to something. Oysters contain very high levels of zinc and folic acid, which are important in the production of semen and sperm[1]. Added to this, is the fact that oysters are often perceived as a luxury food (and often paired with champagne) and a little bit of decadence can go a long way for your libido.


Figs are another famous aphrodisiac, revered by almost every culture in history that look like a body part… well, the same body part.

… apparently.

But this is another case of form coincidentally meeting function, as figs are filled with anti-oxidants, flavonoids and potassium, which are all beneficial for circulation.



Chillies definitely tick the box for similarity to a male body part, although the same could be said about a lot of different fruits and vegetables. Chillies have a far greater claim to this mantel however, as eating them sparks a number of reactions in the body. Feel good endorphins are released, and the body’s temperature is raised, along with increased heart rate and sweating – all body functions that are also triggered by sexual arousal[2]. One thing to remember with these though, is that caution should be taken when eating chillies, and then being too eager to use your mouth on your partner – as the capsaicin in the chilli can be a powerful irritant for sensitive areas!

This level of tapering may or may not be normal.


Of all the supposed aphrodisiacs, chocolate is the one that holds truest. It has a melting point of just below body temperature, making it feel closely linked with the body. All the more so, when you eat it off your partner’s body. At the chemical level, chocolate contains serotonin, a chemical associated with feelings of euphoria2. It is said that Montezuma, the last ruler of the Aztecs, drank fifty cups of chocolate a day, for the sexual properties that it possessed – it’s probably best if you start with a bar or two, and work your way up from there.

One Aztec ruler, fifty cups.


[1] S.S. Young, B. Eskenazi, F.M. Marchetti, et al

The association of folate, zinc and antioxidant intake with sperm

aneuploidy in healthy non-smoking men Hum. Reprod. (2008) 23 (5):