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Food can be very sexy. Not just the mascots hawking our favorite treats (lookin’ at you, Chester Cheetah), but how the actual dishes look, the way in which we eat them, and the occasions we associate with particular meals. Date night or not, there are certain combinations of ingredients that are so harmonious they can be, dare we say, orgasmic.
But what of the ingredients themselves? If you’re trying to put together the most sensual Valentine’s Day meal possible, where do you start? These aphrodisiacs all come with their own lusty histories, visual associations to our reproductive organs, and even some scientific reasoning that’s sure to get you in the mood. And lest you worry that you’ll be forced to down straight oysters and pistachios for a night of pleasure, fear not. We’ve included recipes (or simply serving suggestions) for each ingredient to help you create some unexpected carnal concoctions.
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While most of the aphrodisiac qualities of artichokes are attached to folklore, well, that lore must have come from at least a morsel of truth, right? According to Greek myth, the very first artichoke was a woman who scorned Zeus—he turned her into the vegetable as an act of revenge. Perhaps it’s that association to womanhood that makes this edible thistle particularly sexy. There are records from a 17th-century sexologist reporting that Swedish women who were feeling sexually rejected would serve their husbands artichokes to get their blood pumping. Whether or not you believe the lore, these babies are loaded with nutrients so they certainly won’t hurt your stamina.
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Asparagus falls into the category of “phallic and therefore sexy.” Back in the day it was the French who really pushed its sensual properties, allegedly eating three meals of just asparagus the day before their weddings for a libido boost. What these little guys are probably actually doing to help is cleansing your urinary tract and providing much-needed extra energy for getting down to business.
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Doesn’t just thinking about chocolate get you in the mood? It’s said that Moctezuma II used to drink 50 cups of chocolate a day to keep his sex drive at full throttle. While modern day doctors haven’t proven the connection directly to your libido (and would probably recommend drinking way less chocolate), eating the stuff does provide feelings of euphoria and dark chocolate in particular features antioxidants that promote sexual health.
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A honeymoon can be the sexiest time in a couple’s life. One piece of lore is that it was so named because in the fifth-century couples would be gifted a month’s supply of honey mead to assist the newlyweds with procreation. Scientifically speaking, the boron in honey can boost your sex hormone levels—but you’d probably have to eat more than an entire jar to physically feel the effects. Still, why not have just a little taste to see?
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Casanova himself was rumored to eat 50 oysters before each date, so why should you be any different? When it comes to shellfish, it’s all about the zinc, which not only positively affects your dopamine levels, but in large quantities can boost fertility and keep blood flowing right along. Go ahead and slurp up!
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Consider pistachios nature’s Viagra—there are honest to goodness studies that have been done proving these little guys’ erectile dysfunction fighting power. The men in the study saw a difference after eating 3.5 ounces of the nuts a day for three weeks. If you’re looking to get busy sooner than that, better start pounding the pistachios in any form you can.
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There are many a fruit that are yonic in nature, and pomegranate just happens to also appear as if overflowing with fertility. In Greek mythology, the goddess of love, Aphrodite, was the one who planted the first pomegranate tree, so it’s said to have those lovey-dovey feelings built right in. In recent years, pomegranate juice has been advertised as the sexiest drink alive, and while there might be some truth to its support of sexual health, the only studies that exist were conducted by those same juice companies. Time to take the experiment into your own hands.
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Nothing phallic or yonic here—strawberries are shaped like hearts, the ultimate representation of not just sex but love. In ancient Rome, strawberries were said to be the fruit of Venus, the goddess of love. These days they are touted as one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits out there. And remember, antioxidants = healthy bodies for boning.
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