How Aphrodisiacs Work

Is it All in Our Heads?

Some say the power of aphrodisiacs is all in our heads. In other words, it's a placebo effect -- if we think something is going to put us in the mood for love, we'll find ourselves there. The aphrodisiac we consumed may or may not have anything to do with it.

Are we already halfway there simply by thinking it's going to work? The answer, according to most sources, is yes. Some studies have shown that agents that appear to work amazingly well one time might have no effect the next time, even on the same people. This leads most scientists to believe that aphrodisiacs have a greater effect in our heads than in other parts of our anatomies. After all, the body's most powerful sex organ is the brain. If your head isn't in the right place, nothing is going to happen.


It's possible that historic claims about the aphrodisiac effects of certain foods or supplements could have held more truth at the time than they do today because overall nutrition wasn't as good then. Food was not as readily available and undernourishment was common. Taking or eating something that was rich in nutrients would have had a more profound effect on overall health, which in turn affects sexual desire, making it appear that the food, herb, or supplement had aphrodisiac qualities. People are simply healthier now than in the past, so it's more difficult to see the effects of particular nutrient-rich foods.

For more information on aphrodisiacs and related topics, check out the links below.

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More Great Links


  • Uses of rhino horn. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
  • Rhinoceros Trade. World Wildlife Fund.
  • Aphrodisiacs: Their Biological Basis.
  • Exercise As An Aphrodisiac. Discovery Health.
  • Aphrodisiacs Make Better Flirts and Lovers. University of Pennsylvania.
  • What Some Scientists are Saying about Supposed Aphrodisiacs.
  • Kamhi, Ellen, PhD RN. Natural Aphrodisiacs.
  • The Myth of Spanish Fly.
  • Inhibited Sexual Desire in Women.
  • Take Two Anchos and Call Me in the Morning: The Medicinal POwer of Chiles.
  • The Effects of Odors On Penile Blood Flow.
  • Designer Aphrodisiacs.
  • Aphrodisiacs: Love Potions or Poisons?
  • The Scent of Seduction: How to Use Scent to Your Advantage in the Game of Love
  • "Plants of Love: The history and aphrodisiacs and a guide to their identification and use," by Christian Ratsch, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, ISBN: 0-898915-928-8