Oysters are a type of shellfish that many may consider a delicacy. Others may also consider them to be an aphrodisiac, or food that boosts sexual arousal. Although scientists have not proven their effects on libido, oysters contain several compounds that may improve sexual performance or desire.
Oysters are bivalve mollusks that are highly nutritious and may provide some health benefits. There is a long history of people associating oysters with desire. Notably, the 18th-century Italian author Giacomo Casanova reportedly ate large amounts of oysters due to their potential stimulating properties.
However, some controversy remains as to whether oysters are an aphrodisiac. While they may contain nutrients, such as zinc, that play a role in sexual function, consuming oysters are unlikely to specifically influence a person’s sex drive.
A person may be able to achieve a similar effect from a healthy, diverse, and nutrient-rich diet, which can include oysters.
This article will discuss what aphrodisiacs are, whether oysters are one, and their potential impact on libido and sexual performance.
An aphrodisiac typically refers to a food or drug that arouses sexual desire.
The term originated from the Latin name aphrodisiaca, which 17th-century medics used to describe a new category of pharmacological substances. A 2020 review comments that the medical profession has largely discredited aphrodisiacs since the late 1800s.
However, by exchanging information about aphrodisiacs between the 16th and 19th centuries, people worldwide improved their medical understanding of sex.
- enhancing nitrous oxide to stimulate blood flow in the penis
- increasing hormones such as testosterone
- stimulating nerves involved in sexual pleasure
The Code of Federal Regulations defines aphrodisiac drug products as those that claim to increase someone’s sexual desire, arousal, or performance. However, they advise that over-the-counter drugs containing aphrodisiac ingredients are not generally safe or effective based on current evidence.
People may take aphrodisiacs as tablets, foods, or extracts originating from plants or animals. If people consume excessive quantities of aphrodisiac foods or purchase herbal products or drugs claiming to be aphrodisiacs, there may be a risk to their health.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may not have approved some products.
Oysters are saltwater mollusks that people eat as seafood. They contain or support the production of nutrients and compounds that may improve sexual performance, desire, or arousal. These may include:
One reason that people may associate oysters with sexual performance is a result of their zinc content. A single oyster contains
While many people associate testosterone with male sex drive, some
Oysters also contain D-aspartic acid, which is an amino acid that
However, no studies directly measure the effect of zinc, D-aspartic acid, or dopamine from oysters on libido. Therefore, their aphrodisiac effects are inconclusive.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Seafood, such as oysters, is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Some research suggests that omega-3s may help to improve sexual performance.
Scientists have studied the effects of omega-3 on the heart and cardiovascular system. For example, a
It also adds that omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and improve vascular endothelial function, which controls blood flow in the blood vessels. As such, they could theoretically improve blood flow to the genitals.
Using a rat model of erectile dysfunction, a
Although studies do not demonstrate that omega-3 fatty acids in oysters directly boost libido, they may improve sexual performance, which could have an aphrodisiac effect in some people.
People must be aware that the FDA does not regulate some herbal aphrodisiac products or test them for safety.
There is also a risk of contamination when eating raw shellfish, such as oysters. The
People cook oysters by boiling them live, during which their shells open. Failure to cook them correctly or to use fresh oysters can result in food poisoning or even death.
While some people want to lower their intake of foods high in mercury, the FDA
Aphrodisiacs typically refer to foods that boost sexual arousal. While many people may consider oysters an aphrodisiac, there is a scarcity of research to support this.
However, oysters do contain nutrients, such as zinc, which may help to benefit sexual performance. While many products may claim to be an aphrodisiac, the FDA may not regulate these items, meaning they may be unsafe.
Although more research is necessary to determine if oysters can boost libido, they are a good source of nutrition and possibly health benefits that people can include in their diet.
However, it is not advisable for people to consume raw oysters, as they are a health risk.