Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?

The idea of the aphrodisiac is as old as the hills. Cultures across the globe, in ancient and modern times, seek out or claim substances to enhance sex.

An aphrodisiac is a substance that claims to increase sexual pleasure, desire or attraction. Do any aphrodisiacs really work? Are they all placebos, or complete fabrications?

It depends what you mean by “work.” A substance can improve low libido—medications that balance hormones, for example—or sensation over time, but not at this moment.  Some can give you an erection but no pleasure. Others feel great but are dangerous.

We have ingested everything from drain cleaner to toad juice in search of a higher high. Let’s look at some more popular aphrodisiac claims.

Popular Aphrodisiacs: Do They Work?


Commonly known as “the little blue pill” Viagra is a medication for erectile dysfunction.

It works. Generally speaking, when an “aphrodisiac” works, it is called medication and loses its mysticism!

Viagra allows older gentlemen or those with erection issues to participate in sex. It’s not for men who have healthy erections already, so don’t bother if that’s you. Having a hard-on that doesn’t go away or feels like it will burst is not as fun as it sounds.

Horny Goat Weed

Epimedium grandiflorum, or barrenwort, is an herb that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat libido issues or orgasm problems.

It does show modest improvements to erection, sensation, lubrication, as well as women’s orgasm. Menopausal women find it offers mild help to their symptoms. This is likely because of the herb’s effect on circulation as well as its boost to testosterone and its plant estrogens. It also has compounds that block “cock blockers”—enzymes that inhibit erections.

Science magazines have reported that horny goat weed works. It’s not as strong as Viagra for ED but safer. This one is crossing over into the “medicine” category, but since many herbs are unregulated, best to check with a doctor.

Spanish Fly

Once synonymous with the word aphrodisiac, no one talks about Spanish Fly anymore. It is beetle dung, and causes a rush of blood to your genitalia. Also, it is poisonous, burns the throat, scars the urethra, and sometimes kills you. No thanks.


They look and taste like luscious labia, but their real reputation has a simpler source.

Oysters  are incredibly nutritious, holding more power in a bite than nearly any other food. The sky-high zinc content improves testosterone in both men and women. It’s not an instant fix, but they contribute to health overall.

Read: Superfoods to Increase your Libido


Poppers are amyl nitrites, a godsend for angina pain. They were popularized in the 70s in gay and disco club culture for their ability to relax your ass muscle along with that heart muscle.

That has its benefits, I suppose, for anal sex, although I prefer patience, lube, and arousal—poppers can burn your skin, but that’s the least of your problems. They can also cause lowered immunity, low blood pressure, migraines, fainting, and heart problems.


There’s a whole underground scene—a laboratory of people exploring illicit drugs for sexual thrills and orgies.

Ecstasy creates a sensation for many of being connected sensually to everyone and the universe. It’s ironic then that it’s really hard to climax on the stuff.

Methamphetamine is the favorite in chemsex groups because of longevity. It’s a megawatt amplification of stimulation. Many report being “turned into an animal.” But the love affair is short—the waste effect happens fast, hollowing out your physical and mental health. Tooth loss, open sores, psychotic behavior—not hot.

GHB enhances all kinds of sensations, but it’s really easy to overdose and vomiting is frequent. Also, not hot.

Most agree that a simple glass of wine, if you imbibe, is best. It mildly enhances sex by relaxing us. Too much more becomes a turn off fast, so stick to a couple drinks and nothing more.

Do you use anything to enhance your libido or make you last longer? Please share in the comments!

Tell us what you think

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments