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aphrodisiacs overview

When we hear the word 'aphrodisiacs' we are inclined to think of ancient times, love potions, witches and medicine men.  In an age of sexual openness, you'd be forgiven for wondering why men and women need aphrodisiacs.  First of all, what does the word mean?  It has its origin in the name Aphrodite, who was the goddess of Love, and in general usage, it is taken to mean anything which causes increase in libido and sexual interest.

In order to present a balanced picture, I decided to consult three professionals who work in related areas: a naturopath, a gynaecologist and a sexual counsellor.  Let me tell you their overall views — then I'll examine the range of direct and indirect aphrodisiacs that are available to us today.

The naturopath had no doubt that certain substances can alter and increase sexual interest and activity.  She went on to list some of the ones she has used effectively for this purpose.  We've all heard about ginseng and vitamin E, but she also mentioned licorice, sarsaparilla, cell therapy and a herbal tonic wine.

The gynaecologist felt that many so-called aphrodisiacs are, in fact, psychosomatic; in other words, they operate by the placebo effect — if you belive it works, it works.  In particular, he dismissed the Asian offerings that employ rhino horn, snake venom, poison fish, and other well-known ones like 'Spanish fly'.

Finally, I asked the counsellor if she had ever suggested aphrodisiacs to individuals or couples who were having problems in the bedroom.
Her answer was yes — but not in the sense of substances or potions.  The mind is the greatest aphrodisiac, she contended, and can be employed in the same way as vitamins, exotic powders or particular foods to create the illusion or fact of increased libido.

So, I was left with one definite vote in favour of aphrodisiacs and two leaning strongly towards the view that 'it's all in the mind'.  I'll let you decide for yourself.



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