Do some foods really act as aphrodisiacs ?

Or is that just an old wives’ tale I was planning to cook a special meal for my girlfriend and thought it would be exciting to try some foods that would get us in the mood for later, but I don’t know where to start. I’ve heard oysters do the trick, but neither of us really likes shellfish.

Since there are few people interested in conducting clinical trials on the sexual potency of the banana, no one can say categorically that aphrodisiacs do, or don’t work.

Before the invention of the banana milkshake, the banana muffin or, my personal favourite, banoffee pie, banana consumption may well have increased libido because the fruit contains potassium and B vitamins, which are necessary for sex hormone production.

Oysters contain high quantities of zinc, which can stimulate and increase blood flow, and a scientific study unveiled at the American Chemical Society, indicated that eating oysters and other bivalves can raise the levels of sexual hormones. But how many oysters do you have to eat?

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, an ingredient that is said to promote feelings of well-being and sexual arousal, but according to the aphrodisiac expert Amy Reiley, you’d have to eat so much chocolate to experience the effect that you would be more likely to go into a diabetic coma. Reiley, who has a degree in gastronomy and is the author of Fork. Me,

Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook, says that cheese contains ten times more of the same components, so you would be better off eating Stilton.

When it comes to aphrodisiacs you’ll have to factor in a large placebo effect. If a person believes that foods have sexual properties. he or she has at least a 30 per cent chance (the placebo effect is generally about 30 per cent in clinical trials) of experiencing a boost to libido.

The beauty of aphrodisiac foods is that, while they might not do much good, they certainly won’t do any harm, so it’s worth giving them all a try.

Oysters are obviously a good place to start. And ginger is said to stimulate the circulatory system which makes the tongue tingle. swells the lips and raises body temperature. Spicy foods, such as chillies, are thought to boost the libido by increasing your heart rate.

And according to the Vegetarian Society, consumed consecutively over three days, asparagus – which contains vitamins A, C and B6, folic acid, potassium, fibre and thiamin – can have a powerful effect on libido.

If you want to create something a little special, you could try this recipe.

Truffles were favored by the Ancient Greeks who believed that their musky scent stimulated and sensitized the skin. If you can get your hands on some fresh white or black truffles, the following recipe is a simple and delicious way to start your weekend.

Plan your romantic breakfast for a Saturday morning when neither you nor your partner have any commitments. On the previous Thursday, put your truffles in an airtight container with four raw eggs in their shells. By Saturday morning the truffles will have impregnated through the shells of the eggs and perfumed the egg with their aroma .

Crack the eggs into a bowl and gently whisk with a little salt and freshly ground white pepper. Then bring about 4 tablespoons of double cream to the boil in a saucepan and add a knob of butter. Add the eggs and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Meanwhile, toast some white bread.

Continue to stir the eggs and remove from the heat when they are still soft and fluffy. Butter the toast and spoon on the scrambled eggs. Grate some of the truffles over the eggs and serve immediately with a glass of champagne garnished with a vanilla bean. Enjoy!

I’m 45 and want to Improve my performance In bed without resorting to little blue pills. I’ve read about a natural supplement called yohimbine, but I’m nervous about buying anything over the internet because I wouldn’t be sure what I was taking. I have also heard that watermelon has the same effect, but not on me so far. Can you separate fact from fiction?

First the boring, responsible bit. Softer erections can be caused by age, alcohol use, diabetes, kidney disease, neurological disease, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalances, stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem, vascular diseases such as hypertension. high cholesterol or atherosclerosis. or as a side-effect of medications.

Before experimenting with ‘natural’ anything, you should consult your doctor and get a clean bill of health. You should also do whatever you can to improve your circulation. including exercise and cutting out fatty foods that could be clogging your arteries, knackering your hydraulics and turning you into a tub of lard.

Though your desire to avoid chemicals is admirable, 40 per cent of prescription drugs – antibiotics, opiates, anticancer drugs, steroids, cardiac glucosides, antimalarials, statins – have natural origins, so if your doc says you are a good candidate for Viagra, weigh up the benefits before ruling it out.

A natural alternative to Viagra like Prosolution Plus is less likely to cause blue-tinged vision, deafness, possible infertility and, rarely, priapism – erections that won’t go down – but then, a natural alternative to Viagra is less likely to work.

Although the internet is awash with recommendations for the magical sex powers of avena sativa, damiana, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, maca, muira puama and zinc, there is no credible evidence to show that any of them improve sexual function.

There is, however, evidence to support the efficacy of yohimbine. A 1996 review of 16 studies at Syracuse University, and a 1998 British analysis of seven studies, showed yohimbine to be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.

But there is also evidence that it isn’t. An analysis of 208 studies published from 1979 to 1994 led the American Urological Association to conclude that yohimbine is no better than a placebo.

Side-effects include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, insomnia, panic attacks, hallucinations, headaches, dizziness, skin flushing, seizures and renal failure. And because it can increase blood pressure to unsafe levels you can’t consume it with cheese, red wine or liver.

Another supposed alternative is the amino acid L-arginine.

In a study of 50 men at Tel Aviv University, 31 per cent of those with impotence found their erections had improved after six weeks of taking one gram of L-arginine three times a day. L-arginine boosts nitric oxide levels, which relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation.

It was thought that these qualities might benefit patients with heart conditions; however, in 2006 a clinical trial of the supplement, headed by Dr Steven Schulman, of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in America, was abandoned after six cardiac patients died. No patients in ~he placebo group died. Other side-effects are abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, gout and worsening asthma.

The good news is that Italian scientists have discovered a compound called icariin, made from Epimedium breoicornum, aka horny goat weed. Like sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, icariin inhibits the enzyme PDE5, which increases bloodflow to the penis.

Although Viagra is 80 times more effective than icariin, scientists hope that they may be able to create a more powerful synthetic molecule with no nasty side-effects. In about ten years …

Which brings us, finally, to watermelon. The pink flesh of this fruit contains compound citrulline, which converts to arginine in the body. There is no ‘dosage’ per se, but if you want to increase your intake try scooping out the flesh of a whole melon, chopping it into small chunks and freezing it.

Then, at about 7 p.m., chuck a couple of handfuls of the frozen flesh into a blender with some fresh strawberries, a little sugar, lemon juice, a tiny splash of vodka, and half a Viagra – Delicious And potent.

So. if you want to experiment with food and sex my advice would be to avoid setting up something as contrived as licking chocolate off each other and concentrate on exploring the aphrodisiac effects of sensuous ingredients instead.

Though science has yet to prove or disprove the libido- enhancing properties of foods such as caviar, oysters, chocolate and champagne, does anyone really care whether it is the testosterone-boosting zinc in the shellfish, the tryptophan and phenylethylamine in the chocolate, or even just the fact that you are slightly pissed that does the trick?

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but if you are aiming for a target a little lower down the anatomy, you don’t want to spend the night slaving over a hot stove.

Enjoying an evening of aphrodisiac delights requires a greater degree of preparation than your average evening meal. But most of it can be organized the day before and, if you keep the menu simple and make sure that you have everything you need to hand. you’ll have time to style a more intimate dining environment on the day.

Forget eating at the table. Create a romantic atmosphere by setting upa picnic area on the floor, with cushions, throws and sheepskins if you have them. Surround your oasis with vanilla-scented candles and turn up the heating. You want the room to be nice and warm so that you can get undressed without getting goose pimples .

For appetizers, work with asparagus, almonds, caviar, truffles or fresh figs. Sashirni (tuna, mackerel, salmon and scallops), with pickled ginger, wasabi and warmed sake, has great. taste and texture and you can’t fail with the classic: buttery lobster and Laurent Perrier pink Champagne (or scrimp with cava if you’re on a budget).

It’s messy, but feeding each other pink flesh, smearing butter over warm skin and kissing each other with a mouth full of bubbly is the most fantastically sensual experience.

For pudding, pass Green & Black’s vanilla ice cream from mouth to mouth or try chocolate mousse. Way better than Nutella.

My wife’s put on a lot of weight in the past ten years. It is affecting our love life as I no longer find her attractive. How can I tell her?

You can’t. The words ‘you’ and ‘fat’ should never be used in the same sentence when addressing any woman with whom you intend to have an ongoing relationship.

Stating the indisputably obvious might make you feel better, but take it from me, your wife already knows she is fat, and she hates herself for it. Every morning when she wakes up she feels the rolls of fat around her midriff and berates herself.

As she showers and washes between the folds of her flesh she loathes herself a little more. As she brushes her teeth, she spits toothpaste at the jowly bloater that stares back at her from the mirror and then she dresses in one of two outfits, both black, that she thinks make her look fractionally thinner before heading to the kitchen to begin her miserable daily battle with fat, carbohydrates and calories.

If it makes her so unhappy, why doesn’t she do something about it, you ask? It’s a fair point. Going on a diet and taking some exercise should be a no-brainer for all fatties, but unfortunately, the connection between intellectual masochism and physical motivation is not straightforward. Your wife may hate the size of her ass, but that won’t necessarily be enough to get her off it.

It is partly to do with unrealistic goals. Instead of accepting that it took her ten years to put the weight on and it might take her five to get it off, she loses heart after five weeks on a diet and winds up back where she started, except that this time she feels like a failure, too. The fact that you don’t feel attracted to her has probably not gone unnoticed, but it may be something of a relief to her.

Overweight people rarely feel comfortable about physical intimacy. When Martin Sinks, a clinical psychologist and director of behavioural science at Duke University, North Carolina, studied 1,210 overweight people, he found that four out of every ten reported physical problems with sex. Both men and women suffered from lack of sexual desire and enjoyment along with hampered performance.

And many reported avoiding sex entirely.

So what can you do to help?

Emma Hetherington, the head of programme development at WeightWatchers, says:

‘Don’t dwell on your own feelings; give her some practical support instead.’

You may also need to accept a modicum of responsibility. If she’s cooking steak and chips for you every night, chances are she’s eating steak and chips, so if she is going to diet successfully, you will need to make changes, too. The same goes for exercise. If you want her to stick with an exercise regimen, making dinner or volunteering to put the kids to bed will make it easier for her to find the time to get to the gym. Better still, go with her.

A study of more than 31,000 men carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who were physically active had a 30 per cent lower risk of erectile dysfunction than men who did little or no physical activity. Use best sexual enhancement products, if you must.

And a study by the University of British Columbia found that 20 minutes of exercise improved sexual response in the female participants, compared with no exercise at all.

Once your wife gets started she will find that success is self- propelling. And the good news for you is that the Duke study indicates that weight loss of as little as 10 per cent boosts confidence and improves sex.

6 Top Aphrodisiac Supplements for women

Men often keep wondering what aphrodisiacs can be used by their female partners. If you do a thorough research, you will come across hundreds of varieties of foods, scents and drugs which are presumed to increase the libido in women.

An aphrodisiac is a type of product or drug which creates desire for sex although does not increase their sexual performance like the way it happens with men while using Viagra. These are substances which cause some sort of a reaction which makes them sexually stimulating.

For decades, you might have come across hundreds of supplements which can be considered as a seductive drug to be given to women. Different cultures acknowledge different types of foods, herbs and supplements for having adequate powers in increasing a woman’s sexual desire. There are some specific cultures which swear that their herbs or foods have the desired power even though there are no relevant scientific studies to prove that these actually work to increase a woman’s sexual desire.

The main key to success of an aphrodisiac is to actually trigger or stimulate the sex hormones in a woman. When these hormones begin to increase in a human body, automatically the sexual desire in a person also increases.

Top 6 seductive products

* Rhino Horn – A rhino horn contains plenty of calcium and phosphorus in large quantities. The horns are ground into powder and are then used for consumption by adding certain other minerals. If there is a lack of stamina caused due to a decrease in any of these minerals, then definitely this seductive drug can be effective.

* Arginine – Arginine is a type of amino acid which is mostly found in cheese, nuts, eggs, coconut milk and even in meat. The function of this amino acid is to increase the flow of blood towards the genital area of women making them to arouse.

* Fennel – This is a type of drug which imitates estrogen. Estrogen as we all know is a seductive drug to increase a female libido. Apart from increasing the libido in women, it also helps increase in cortisol, which assists in reducing stress. When stress is dealt with, automatically it can create wonders and a woman can get sexually very active. This type of stress takes place usually when women are having a demanding career in life.

* Epimedium – There are many women who are termed as androgen-deficient. This means they lack sex drive. They are less interested in enjoying sex with their partners. This usually happens in women who might be going through or who might have just completed their menstrual period.

* Ginseng – Many researches have come to a conclusion that this is the ultimate seductive drug which can be administered to women for years to come. This particular drug has shown to have its effects not only in the libido but also in sexual performance.

* Spanish Fly – There are millions of people who have heard about this seductive drug either via the internet or through advertisements in magazines, newspapers etc. thereby making this particular drug the most famous among the rest of the above mentioned drugs. Spanish fly is a type of beetle which has to be crushed, remove its juices, leave it to dry and then create a powder out of it. Care must be taken not to administer a too much dose of this drug, as an excess in dosage can damage kidneys, but when it comes to sex drive in women, this particular drug is very productive.

After a lot of wine, I slept with a very nice but ugly man. The sex was surprisingly good but I don’t fancy him. How can I make myself find him sexy?

Well, a couple of bottles of chardonnay would do the trick but you’d be staring at the same problem in the morning. With a hangover.

You’d be faced with the harsh realities of broken capillaries, enlarged pores, pale rolls of flesh and rank breath, and when you were finished looking in the mirror you’d still have to deal with the ugly guy. Cold turkey, Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder and looks shouldn’t count, we all know that’s rubbish.

Looks count so much that society actively discriminates against people who don’t conform to certain aesthetic standards and because the media manipulates the beauty gauge so that it automatically excludes 90 per cent of the population, the men and women who struggle with issues such as obesity, baldness, acne or disability are at an immediate disadvantage.

From childhood onwards, the beautiful get a better deal. Doors open for them. A study by economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Massachusetts shows that good-looking people earn close to 6 per cent more than average-looking individuals. Although good looks don’t ensure success, they lubricate the mechanism by which it’s achieved.

Because we are all self-conscious and want the person we have a relationship with to reflect well on us, when it comes to dating we have a tendency to judge the content by the package. It’s a shallow and short-sighted approach to choosing a partner because beauty fades but personality and character remain.

Since you obviously have a good sexual connection with this nice man, and you like him as a person, accept that ‘not fancying him’ is to do with aesthetic prejudice and concern about what other people would think of you, then work out what is, or at least should be, more important to you. His nice or his ugly?

Since 90 per cent of pretty boys wouldn’t score ‘very nice and good in bed’, I think you should give this guy another chance. Arrange to meet him again. Sober. Ignore the Hawaiian shirt and tweed jacket combo (sorting out a man’s wardrobe is easy) and try not to put a bag over his head if you bump into a friend.

If you can get over your own issues with him and relax and engage with him you will probably find that, unlike the Jude Laws you’ve dated, Danny DeVito is a really good listener/ makes you laugh/has an enormous capacity for empathy and best of all, thinks that you are brilliant.

Enjoying his company doesn’t mean you have to rush into dating him but you may find yourself looking forward to his calls or e-mails. Eventually you’ll introduce him to your friends and although they’ll think he’s no oil painting at first, when they get to know him and realize how damn nice he is, some of them might find him attractive.

The realization that other women can see beyond his appearance will help you to understand that though looks count, they don’t have to matter.