All photos by Kirsten Stamn
Dim the lights, crank the D’Angelo, pop the champagne, and fill your sockets with vanilla-scented Glade PlugIns—we’re mere hours away from the year’s most revered greeting-card-company holiday of true love and palpable loneliness known as Valentine’s Day. After somewhere between two weeks and half a century of dating, it becomes your obligation to bestow upon your sweetheart not only an enchanting and dignified evening of wining and dining but also a heavenly round of mutually orgasmic boning. Should your desire for your beloved be insufficient even after a half-dozen chocolate-covered strawberries and three glasses of bodega-bought Shiraz, I’ve gathered and tested five powerful aphrodisiacs from around the world that are alleged to inspire stirrings in even the most frigid pair of panties or boxer briefs. Try surprising your boo by feeding these love foods to him or her blindfolded, and watch your heartthrob melt into a humanoid puddle of sexual ecstasy on the spot.
Well, we’ve all heard this one. Slurp down a dozen or so of these mucousy little dudes, and Cupid’s arrow will get your briny blood yearning. Most would assume that this is because of oysters’ cunnilingual attributes; indeed, they do look, smell, and taste not unlike spread-eagle, aroused, but mysteriously cold and graying vaginas. It may shock you, but you are not the first person to notice this.
Yet there's actually some legitimacy beyond the fact that they look like a Lindsay Lohan crotch shot. They’ve got tons of zinc and amino acids that scientists say actually increase blood flow, testosterone, and sperm count. If this is true, it’s curious that the Grand Central Oyster Bar doesn’t have more fistfights and public handjobs.
Basically a refrigerated rock with a particularly rubbery loogie on it, like when you cough up some creepy green stuff and know you’re about to get the flu.
Kind of horny. No physical awareness of stirrings on our end, but anyone who has worked in a restaurant has witnessed a weird date between middle-aged divorcées in which they’re getting super turned-on just by slurping these while gazing into each other’s eyes.
Not the chocolate ones, the black spongy fungus (a.k.a. Burgundy truffles) that disciplined beagles sniff out in hollowed-out tree trunks in Western Europe. A seventh-grader could tell you that a heart-shaped box of Godiva truffles will take you pretty far, but these love foods are for those whose will to sexually perform goes above and beyond the proletarian chocolate-assortment buyer. There are two significant reasons why black truffles are a food of love. The first is that they’re super fucking expensive ($400 a pound on a good day). Most people wouldn’t know the difference in flavor between the world’s rarest black truffle and a cremini mushroom, but it’s the mental association with a Scrooge McDuck–inspired indoor swimming pool of gold coins that puts a glimmer in your date’s eyes. The second and more legit reason is that they actually emit a musky pheromone similar to that of the invisible, panty-dropping armpit juice that wafts out of men’s locker rooms at Crunch gyms. This also explains why putting even slightly too much truffle oil on something makes it taste like a crotch. So that’s fun!
Remember hearing those stories about how airplanes used to have their toilets connected to the outside air so that, on occasion, frozen chunks of shit would just land in people’s yards in, like, Kansas? Alternatively, maybe a small brain soaked in espresso.
Maybe a little horny, if you can look past the overwhelming associations with self-congratulatory foods like “truffle mac-‘n’-cheese” and just meditate on them in a red-high-heels, Skinemax kind of way.
Despite its contemporary associations with fedora-wearing pick-up artists and tacky sex shops that also sell edible panties made out of Fruit Roll-Ups, Spanish fly is actually a semi-legit aphrodisiac that dates back centuries and was even allegedly used by Hippocrates. Traditionally made from pulverized blister beetles, it was typically found in the form of a powder that would irritate your junk and increase genital blood flow, inducing a sort of artificial boner, or at least a sense of agitation that some might confuse with horniness. The downside: It’s poisonous, and a bunch of people who ate it and thought that they’d wildly improve their “performance” just ended up ODing and dying. Thus, these days the “Spanish fly” that you’ll find at your local sleazemonger is made out of far more boring Red Bull-esque ingredients like vitamin B3, ginseng, and guarana. Some have horny goat weed (actual name of herb), which is actually supposed to relax muscles and increase penile blood pressure. Kind of like a less fun, holistic version of poppers.
The bikini-heavy packaging with faux-Latin flair is significantly more exciting than the actual product. Sometimes looks like Red 5–laced vitamins, sometimes looks like those mini packets of flavored lube that they give out in sex ed.
No one I knew was willing to take this, likely because the real version is illegal and kills you and the fake version is probably cut with baby aspirin and/or lighter fluid. The thought of people buying this for themselves in earnest is so sad that it’s actually kind of boner-killing.
Remember sea cucumbers, those cute, giant, underwater caterpillars that you got to touch in the tide pool at the aquarium? Well, you can also boil them and eat them as a nutritious delicacy. Usually you’ll find them dried in Chinatown, but once you reconstitute them by a soaking and boiling process that takes at least three days, they look pretty much exactly as they did in the tide pool. They share calamari’s quality of tasting almost like nothing, or in the words of my friend Charley, “like a dick made out of wet travel pillows.” But in spite of their flaccidity, they are supposed to prevent blood clotting, be anti-inflammatory, prevent cancer, and even make your wounds heal faster. They definitely possess some magical qualities, but it’s at the cost of eating something that looks like a dildo (thus the “aphrodisiac” aspect) and feels like a wet zucchini that you left in the back of your fridge until it turned into mush. Another reason that sea cukes make people horny is that their defense mechanism is to stiffen and puke a stream of gut water when provoked. Sound familiar?
Really looks like a large, petrified phallus excavated from an Egyptian tomb.
If you want to eat a dick, just eat a dick. There’s no need for a proxy. But it’s pretty cool that it makes your wounds heal faster.
Ah, good old balut. For those of you unfamiliar with this Filipino delicacy, don’t worry—it’s just a duck egg! Well, it’s a boiled duck egg with a heavily developed, beaked and feathered fetus inside. In Filipino culture, it’s pretty popular and largely considered a masculine food, and pregnant women are often advised against consuming it lest they have “hairy babies.” But it’s densely nutritious, super high-protein, and tastes like chicken.
From the outside, a boring, totally normal egg. Once you crack it open, it’s a deflated duck fetus nestled up against a veiny yellow placenta, pleading through its white, vacant eyes for you to have mercy on its soul.
Mixed reports. My friend Kevin claims that he lost his virginity after first eating balut with his older Filipino girlfriend when he was 16, so that’s something. We can't verify the horniness factor, but we're certainly not here to shame anyone for enjoying it. For perspective, a lot of non-Americans think gravy and peanut butter are disgusting. Whatever tickles your fancy; we’re not here to judge.