How Many Oysters Does it Take to Get Horny: An Investigation

Turns out if I ate over a certain amount, I got very, very horny.

by Laura Roscioli
25 June 2019, 7:07am

This article originally appeared on VICE Australia

A few weeks ago, I went on a date with a handsome guy who didn’t like seafood. I ordered a full dozen oysters and took his polite refusal as fortuitous, then proceeded to tuck in while he watched on, looking half disgusted, half bemused, until I finally caught his expression.

“What?” I asked, mid-chew.

“You know oysters make you horny, right?”

I rolled my eyes and decided I probably wouldn’t sleep with him, then wondered if there was any merit to his claim. Later that night, after I’d ditched my date, I went home and googled “do oysters make you horny?” only to find nothing conclusive. I discovered they’re loaded with zinc, which aids in the production of testosterone and increases sex drive for both men and women, but beyond that most of the scientific literature seemed very non-scientific.

So, in the name of good science, I decided to put myself on a one-week oyster diet. The plan was to eat an increasing number of oysters every day at noon, exponentially upping my intake over a week. Aside from that I’d attempt to live normally, while journaling my sex drive, and hopefully discover whether there’s any correlation between oysters and libido—and, if so, how many oysters it takes to get horny.

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All photos by Celeste De Clario

Monday: one oyster

I started off with a single oyster, which was inadequate to sate my hunger or increase my sex drive. I spend my evenings working in a cocktail bar full of babes who smell of Tom Ford and wear expensive shoes, so I went to work as I always do, but I didn’t feel anything. Of course, there was flirting—there always is—but I think I was more interested in the shoes than the men.

As a side note, I discovered the first recorded mention of oysters and horniness came from Roman Emperor Aulus Vitellius, who allegedly consumed some 1,200 oysters at a dinner feast in the year 69 AD. This is cute, but it was famed Venetian womaniser Giacomo Casanova who really fortified the oyster myth. According to his own diary, Casanova would slurp his way through dozens of oysters at breakfast, specifically for their affect as an aphrodisiac. He even wrote about using oysters in a game of seduction:

“I placed the shell on the edge of her lips, and after a good deal of laughing she sucked in the oyster, which she held between her lips. I instantly recovered it by placing my lips on hers…”

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Tuesday: two oysters

Tuesday was overcast and gloomy and I was in a terrible mood. I felt grumpy and hormonal so I went to a wine bar to eat oysters and get a drink. The guy behind the bar gave me his number, which seemed against the rules. Is that a thing you can do at your own workplace? In any case I felt better walking out, although it was hard to know exactly what had elevated my mood: the alcohol, the phone number, or the two oysters.

That night I went to a friend’s birthday and kissed an ex-flame. We still run in the same circles but I’d been avoiding her, so the run-in wasn’t planned. We’d had a pretty unpleasant break-up and I hadn’t thought about her in a sexual way since. But guess what? We totally had I-hate-you-but-you’re-hot-and-I’m-horny sex. Why did I do that? I knew it’d cause drama but I did it anyway. Could I blame it on the oysters?

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Wednesday: four oysters

I started the day by speaking with a woman named Emily Currie, who is the lead dietician at the RDNS Clinic in Adelaide. Emily thought the association between arousal and oysters would rely heavily on my mood, and that pharmacological effects were unlikely.

“The association of the food has a big impact,” she told me. “Its value, taste, texture, appearance, and the food’s status in your mind affect any potential arousal you’ll experience.”

Emily raised some excellent points… because obviously oysters look like vaginas. Soft folds of salty flesh swirled around bulbous pearls make for an easy comparison—combined with the fact that oysters are expensive. These are all benefits I project onto oysters, which perhaps makes them arousing.

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“We savour expensive foods when we see value and status in them,” Emily explained. “And if we’re savouring food and taking our time, the experience is heightened and therefore more pleasurable.”

With that in mind, I headed to a wine bar to savour my four oysters and down some champagne. Admittedly I was feeling pretty good. Not horny; just in a mood that required champagne and a good book. But then this guy I’d been crushing on for a while happened to walk past. I motioned him to sit down and by some twist of fate, he had no plans. So we got drunk.

Naturally, we ended up making out and I felt horny af… but we didn’t shag. I wanted to but it was just one of those nights it didn’t happen. Ugh!

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Thursday: eight oysters

I went to the Queen Vic Markets and ate a tray of oysters all to myself. The oysters were delicious. So fresh, so juicy, but honestly, they didn’t fix my hangover. I went home and briefly considered sex as a cure/distraction, but I just didn’t feel up to it. Definitely the most disappointing day yet.

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Friday: 16 oysters

What I’d noticed so far was that oysters worked differently depending on mood. On optimistic days, oysters seemed to lend life a subtle aura of arousal, but on shit days oysters brought me only culinary joy, and were unable to make me feel sexy.

Friday belonged in the latter category. I began at a bar with a nip of liquor and 16 oysters, when suddenly I looked up to find I’d been surrounded by men. It’s true, they were all men I knew, but I hadn’t invited them. They'd all just… appeared. But I just looked around at them, then back to my plate of empty oyster shells, and felt nothing. No warmth between my legs, no urge to kiss someone’s face, no tingling anywhere in my body. And at that moment I decided an oyster’s medicinal effects were dependent on pre-existing emotions, and fairly ineffective on their own.

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Saturday: 32 oysters

I didn’t actually have time for breakfast, which meant the first thing I ate was 32 oysters. Yep, that’s right. 32. I ate them in a park and honestly, I felt kind of sick. The oysters were aggressively fresh; I think maybe too fresh. I needed some topping or something to eradicate that seawater flavour, and I actually had to go and lie down after eating them. But then, while I was napping, something unexpected happened: I got incredibly horny.

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I had all these weird oyster-infused sex dreams. I was rolling around naked in the desert, making out with someone—I can’t remember who—and he kept telling me I tasted like oysters. Then I awoke from my nap feeling ready for some fun.

I worked another shift at the bar, where I acquired two numbers, and then finally slept with the guy I’ve been crushing on for weeks (refer to Wednesday’s entry). Wow. THANK YOU OYSTER FAIRY. I mean, I feel like this dude had been on my mind for so long, and it all came to fruition in only a few days—which couldn’t be a coincidence, surely. It was the best sex I'd had in months and I felt exhausted, satisfied, and free.

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Sunday: lots of oysters, but not the full 64 because I felt sick

Again, I woke up horny. In fact, as I lay in bed thinking back over the week I decided I’d been probably more horny than usual, all week. I’d spent every day thinking about oysters and their nutritional content, which made me think about my own body, which in turn led me to think about sex—which meant I was thinking about sex more than usual. Generally, I think this made me more outgoing in situations where I wanted sex to happen, which led to more sex.

Take Sunday for example. I started eating a mountain of oysters, but then felt sick and gave up. I was more horny than hungry, so I went out, drank some cocktails, and wound up back at the same guy’s house from the previous night.

It’s difficult to measure the average amount of sex I have each week because I’m not in a relationship and so it wildly varies. I had sex three times with two different people during Oyster Week, which isn’t a ground-breaking tally. I’ve definitely had more sex with more people before. That said, the challenge wasn’t to see how much more sex I’d have, but how much hornier I'd feel overall—which, now that I think about it, is a cruel experiment to do to yourself. And it definitely worked. I was pretty horny, most days.

Really, I think oysters might be a subtle aphrodisiac, as long as you eat heaps of them. Anything sub-10 is a waste of time. Anything above 16 is heading in the right direction. But if you eat 32 or more on a good day, you'd better have someone ready to shag.

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Photos by Celeste De Clario. You should also follow her on Instagram