In many cultures, sharing food is more than simply providing physical sustenance. Sharing food is how we provide emotional nurturing and sharing food is one way we express love.
A meal made by your lover’s hand or made together can be a far more intimate experience than a restaurant meal, setting the scene for intimacy later on. Lovers often seek to enhance potency and desire by consuming aphrodisiacs. Aphrodisiacs are substances that are meant to increase sexual desire and they have been used throughout history. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
Is there anything to aphrodisiacs or is it just magical thinking? The research is conflicting as context appears to have a large impact on whether a substance increases libido. A lot of research suggests that aphrodisiacs work because we believe they will work. That is the placebo effect – where it is our own expectations that make the treatment work. However, there is research that highlights a variety of compounds that seem to regularly work as aphrodisiacs in certain situations.
If you have low testosterone levels, extra testosterone will increase libido. This is true for both men and women. Women’s ovaries are part of the system that provide testosterone for women. They continue to do this up to 20 years post-menopause. When women have their ovaries removed, if they don’t have testosterone replacement, they develop symptoms including fatigue, no libido, poor sexual feelings and orgasm inhibition (even when they have libido).
The research is equivocal, however, as to whether this works with people who have testosterone levels in the normal range. Transgender people who take testosterone report an increase in sex drive.