Are oysters really an aphrodisiac?

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Oysters’ association with love goes back to the days of Casanova and The Roman Empire. Photograph: iStock

Oysters’ association with love goes back to the days of Casanova and The Roman Empire. Photograph: iStock

 

Are oysters, or any other food for that matter, actually an aphrodisiac? According to an article by Alicia Ault writing for Smithsonian (smithsonianmag.com) last year, the scientific jury is out. “For eons, men and women have searched for plants or foods that could turn on desire,” writes Ault. “And, to date, nothing has been scientifically proven to be an aphrodisiac.” Though oysters’ association with love goes back to the days of Casanova and The Roman Empire, Ault’s article points out that their aphrodisiac qualities may be little more than a purely placebo effect.

So how has food become connected with a healthy sexual appetite? I got in touch with sex therapist and psychotherapist Teresa Bergin (www.sextherapy.ie) to see if her professional opinion put any weight on food as fuel for a good time in the bedroom (or any other room for that matter.) “There is a really strong similarity between eating and sex,” explains Bergin. “Both are sensual experiences. “We can use our five senses in both situations; vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

“Rather than focusing on a particular item of food,” she adds, “cooking together and eating together is probably the best aphrodisiac. It’s more about enjoying that experience together – turning off your phones, the TV and all other devices, and really paying attention to each other. That would really set the scene for a sexual experience later on in the evening.” Whether it’s going out for a nice meal or cooking together at home, sharing a meal together is a good time to connect, Bergin explains.

So it turns out that love isn’t necessarily in the air just because of the ingredients on the table; it’s more about the occasion. Whether you’re eating oysters or sharing a slice of toast, hopefully this Valentine’s Day will give you and your loved one a chance to connect over a dinner table. And if you don’t have a partner, treat yourself to a half dozen oysters and relish in the fact that you’re not missing out on a thing.

Have a food question you need answered? Contact @aoifemcelwain on Twitter or by email atmagazine@irishtimes.com with “Now we know” in the subject line

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.