Behind the Scenes: Aphrodisiacs
Aphrodisiacs – The Weird and Wonderful by Shelley Munro
Since I’ve started to write erotic romances, research for my books has become extremely interesting. One of my stories, Interplanetary Love has a hero with impotence problems. This led to a search for information on aphrodisiacs.
The name aphrodisiac comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Aphrodisiacs are defined as a substance that arouses sexual desire, heightens pleasure during the sexual act or staves off exhaustion. Throughout the years mankind has turned to some weird and wonderful aids to achieve satisfaction and revive flagging libidos. Some of the items used were pretty disgusting. Imagine rubbing your man’s special part with the melted fat from a camel hump or adding semen to food or wearing a donkey’s right testicle on a bracelet all in the name of increasing pleasure. Other items used were foodstuffs that many of us still eat on a regular basis. A lot of the substances were used because of their suggestive shapes or because the plant e.g. figs and pomegranates or animal e.g. tigers are extremely fertile or sexual, and man sought to emulate.
Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat today, such as avocado, asparagus tips and beans were forbidden to virgins or nuns because their shapes were suggestive of genitals. Herbs and spices, especially the ones that produce heat like ginger and pepper, were rubbed on genitals or taken internally to stimulate the system.
Several types of seafood are considered aphrodisiacs, mainly because of their resemblance to genitals. Oysters are famous aphrodisiacs and were used by people such as Casanova to keep things moving along. Note – you’d have to pay me to eat a raw oyster. They don’t do a thing for me.
In some parts of the world, bones, testicles, fat, organs, horns or the penis of certain animals are considered beneficial in sexual matters. Unfortunately, this has resulted in animals such as rhinoceros and tigers being hunted almost to extinction.
Chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate. Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean and has long been considered a sexual aid. The Aztec emperor Montezuma reputedly drank a large goblet of chocolate before bedding the women in his harem. Casanova also allegedly consumed chocolate before making love with women. Tests conducted on chocolate have shown that it increases the brain’s level of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Women have more serotonin in their systems than men and appear more sensitive to chocolate. In fact lots of people consume chocolate as a form of self-medication. I do it all the time!
Impotence or decreased sexual urges are often caused by stress or other factors such as tiredness or too much alcohol. Depleted minerals and vitamins in the body can also cause these symptoms. This is why eating meat, seafood or fruit and vegetables has helped to alleviate the problem in the past and thus the particular item has been added to the list of aphrodisiacs. For example seafood contains zinc, which steps up the libido, while meat contains a high amount of protein.
Here’s a suggested menu for a romantic dinner for two. This meal is high on aphrodisiac qualities and is designed to drive a relationship to a physical union…
• Aubergine confit with pitta bread
• Thai king prawns with chilli and ginger
• Coconut ice cream
• Figs poached in Shiraz
Aphrodisiacs used in this meal are: aubergine, various spices, prawns, chilli, ginger, coriander, coconut, figs, and cinnamon.
Add in a glass or two of wine and this couple is in big trouble!
A modern day aphrodisiac is Viagra. It’s used to help combat impotence problems, but the drug was originally developed to help angina sufferers.
Some people think the powers of aphrodisiacs are largely exaggerated, and it’s the power of suggestion that puts lead in the pencil. Others are strong believers in these magical substances. Whichever team you belong to, the subject makes for fascinating reading, and I came away from my research with some interesting ideas to use in future books.
Hot Plants by Chris Kilham
Hubble Bubble – Titania’s Book of Magical Feasts by Titania Hardie
Sex: A User’s Guide by Stephen Arnott
Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and writes hot and spicy erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave. She learns a lot of interesting things while researching her books. Who knew writing books could be so interesting? Visit Shelley at www.shelleymunro.com