Do aphrodisiacs really work?

<p>Are chocolates the way to woo?</p>

According to Filipino folk belief, there is actually a solution to unrequited love. (That is, other than cry yourself to sleep every night for a month.) Gayuma, or love potion, makes use of boiled herbs, plant roots, animal parts, or other equally savory ingredients. The juice that comes out of these is put in small bottles and sold to the lovelorn who flock, with their prayers, to Manila’s popular churches, such as those in Quiapo and Baclaran.

Gayuma supposedly works best when it is slipped into the food or drink of one’s object of desire. The promised results should be adoration and complete abandon.

However, there’s a less sleazy way to get someone to fall in love with you; or at least, to go out with you. Feed them chocolates and oysters, and then intoxicate them with rounds of alcohol.

But do these really work?

Chocolates
Psychologist Sue Wright told the BBC: "Chocolate contains phenylethylamine which can raise levels of endorphins in the brain. It also contains caffeine which has a stimulatory effect on the brain. This would explain why chocolate can give people a buzz."

The theory is, if the chocolates make you happy, then you tend to think of the giver favorably.

Sadly, science has disproved that chocolates can help you sexually. Mostly for this reason: For you to get that buzz, you’ll have to eat lots and lots of chocolate. Aztec king Montezuma was said to have drunk 50 goblets of hot chocolate a day to increase his libido. Fifty goblets daily! Nutritionists and doctors will guarantee that drinking and eating that much chocolate can only make you fat.

Oysters
Just one look, and the first body part you think of is the female genitalia. Its slipperiness in the mouth also adds to its attraction as an aphrodisiac. At least that’s what makes this particular seafood so popular with men.

Oysters are known for fostering feelings of passion. Science has an explanation for this: This mollusk is chock full of the mineral zinc, which boosts testosterone production. So if you’re a man, it’s definitely a good idea to eat oysters (if you want to woo a lady). Casanova, the legendary lover, was known to eat 50 oysters for breakfast to increase his sexual prowess.

And science has proven that oysters can actually help you sexually. A 2005 study led by George Fisher, a professor of chemistry at Barry University in Miami, found that oysters are rich in amino acids called D-aspartic acid (D-Asp) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), which trigger the increased production of testosterone and progesterone, also known as sex hormones.

"They are not the normal amino acids that mother nature uses," says Dr. Fisher. "You can't just find them in a vitamin shop."

Just remember this tip: to get the full effect of oysters, you must eat them raw.

Alcohol
Much has been said about alcohol’s potency as an aphrodisiac. In fact, many a college student will attest—either with triumph or regret—that getting drunk ended in getting laid.

Also read: How to pair wine with Pinoy food

There’s no real proof that alcohol itself can increase libido but studies—and countless men and women throughout history—have proven that alcohol decreases inhibitions. After all, the mind is the biggest sex organ and what holds you back from having fun with the opposite sex is usually fear. You fear rejection, you’re insecure about your attractiveness, you’re afraid you’re not charming enough, you’re scared you might not be good in bed. All these fears contribute to you staying home and watching DVDs instead of you going out and meeting people. In this case, an ice-cold bottle of beer in your hand is your friend. 

But remember, don’t drink too much. As the Porter said in Macbeth: "[Drink] provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance."

Now go throw a little party for you and your significant other, serve oysters with a glass or two of beer (or try white wine for a touch of sophistication), and finish off your delectable meal with chocolates. What comes after is up to you. Let’s hope it’s unprintable.


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