Nora is a writer and consultant working with sustainable brands to make an impact. In 2022, she founded Mossy Copy, LLC, a full-service copy studio based in Austin, TX. Her master’s in English is from NYU, and her bachelor’s in the same is from Sewanee. Areas of expertise include wellness, nutrition, style, and beauty.

There are so many factors that go into attraction and sex drive. As with everything else in our health, the nutrients we receive also play a role in determining libidinal levels. Some ingredients have long been considered aphrodisiacs in traditional wisdom, while others have been shown to influence the physical body, such as blood circulation, hormones, lubrication, sexual stamina, and even semen count. Still, other foods have a natural association with sensuality thanks to their sweet or stimulating flavors and suggestive shapes.

So, what foods are aphrodisiacs? Alongside phallic fruits, succulent berries, and hot spices, certain adaptogens also hold the potential to put us in the mood. That’s because when the body is in constant fight-or-flight mode, sex drive can get deprioritized by our systems. Adaptogens help balance the stress hormone cortisol, which can help the body destress for sex, while also influencing other sex hormones like testosterone—an important sex hormone for men and women. 

In addition to that, certain foods have vasodilating properties that can boost blood circulation throughout the body—including to the genitals, which is crucial for arousal. Key vitamins, healthy fats, bioactive compounds, and minerals like boron and zinc can also be helpful for supporting healthy sexual function. 

Have a low libido or sex drive? Read on for a handy list of aphrodisiac foods and why you should add these to your date night menu. 

#1 Asparagus 

Long considered an aphrodisiac in certain parts of the world, this sensual spring vegetable is rich in certain micronutrients like potassium and vitamin A, which support overall sexual health and function.1,2 Its folate content also aids in the production of histamine, a compound that plays a role in orgasms.3

#2 Shatavari 

Shatavari literally translates to “she who has one hundred husbands,” so it should come as no surprise that this powerful plant, also from the asparagus family, has traditionally been used in Ayurveda as an aphrodisiac for sexual support. Known as “the female Viagra” and “the queen of herbs,” this plant is grown throughout Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka and harvested for its succulent roots. 

Shatavari brings hormonal harmony, which in turn supports a healthy sex drive and reproductive system. Plus, another important benefit of Shatavari is that it literally gets the juices flowing, restoring moisture in tissues throughout the body.4

Though Shatavari is considered the ultimate women’s tonic in Ayurveda, supporting through each phase of life, it’s equally as effective for men as it’s been shown to increase testosterone, semen count, and sexual arousal.5 Our libido supplement, Sex Dust®, has adaptogenic Shatavari and other adaptogens that target stress to support healthy hormonal balance and ignite desire.

#3 Figs 

Figs have been symbols of fertility since ancient times and are loaded with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and iron, which are essential for maintaining energy levels and balancing hormones naturally. Figs also contain amino acids that increase nitric oxide levels in the body, promoting vasodilation and improving circulation, which is crucial for sexual arousal.6

#4 Shilajit 

Wildcrafted Shilajit is another ancient ingredient traditionally used as a natural aphrodisiac and libido booster. A tar-like substance native to the Tibetan and Himalayan mountains, this dark brown or black resin is found deep in rock crevices and is often used as a popular supplement to increase libido. It happens to contain over 85 minerals and trace elements that the body needs to function at its peak. Shilajit helps your cells’ mitochondria to convert oxygen and nutrients into physical power, which can help you unleash your sexual energy and improve your sexual performance. This natural aphrodisiac has also been shown to increase testosterone in healthy men aged 45-55.7

#5 Chili Peppers 

To spice up your sex life, you might want to try some spicy peppers. Chilis contain capsaicin, the compound responsible for its hot, thrilling flavor. But capsaicin also triggers a release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.8 This release can induce feelings of euphoria and well-being, which could help encourage the potential for intimacy and pleasure. 

Chili peppers can also increase heart rate and stimulate circulation, which promotes blood flow throughout the body to enhance arousal. 

#6 Epimedium 

Also known as “horny goat weed,” Epimedium is a flowering plant found in Asia and the Mediterranean. This aphrodisiac contains chemicals that may help increase blood flow and enhance sexual function, as well as phytoestrogens—or chemicals that somewhat mimic the hormone estrogen and have been found to be beneficial in addressing symptoms of estrogen deficiency.9 Not just for the goats, this horny weed helps get the juices flowing in the brain and body to support circulatory health and get you ready for sexual activity. 

#7 Garlic 

Garlic has been celebrated for its aphrodisiac properties for centuries. This culinary staple contains Allicin, a vasodilator that can improve blood flow by relaxing blood vessels and promoting increased circulation to all parts of the body, including erogenous zones. This improved blood flow can heighten sensitivity and arousal, making it an effective food that increases libido

Research also shows that garlic may help lower blood pressure10 and cholesterol,11 making it a beneficial allium for cardiovascular health, which is essential for maintaining stamina and vitality. 

#8 Schisandra 

Organic Schisandra is known for its ability to increase blood flow and energy, two aspects of a healthy sex drive. Native to the harshest climates of China, this vibrant red “beauty berry” is prized as a tonic for gently energizing the nervous system while taming anxiety and supporting reproductive health, fertility, virility, and libido.12 If you want to increase libido naturally, consider taking this supplement to spice up your sex life.

#9 Strawberries 

The buxom red strawberry is popularly associated with romance and sensuality. Not only does it offer an appealing sweetness, but it also makes for a delicious dessert when paired with melted chocolate. But this aphrodisiac food is also rich in vitamin C, which aids in the production of dopamine,13 a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and arousal. 

#10 Maca 

A cruciferous root native to Peru, Maca grows exclusively at high altitudes in the Andes. This nutrient-dense plant has been used to support stamina and energy for over 2,000 years. The studies back this up, with promising results for both men and women. 

One study from 2002 found that Maca improved sexual desire in men.14 A double-blind study from 2008 found Maca to significantly improve sexual function and libido, with the high-dose group making more attempts at sexual activity compared to the control.15 Another 2008 study found that Maca use decreased sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.16

Interested in trying this aphrodisiac? Learn more about how Maca root is used for libido.

#11 Avocados 

A common theme across many aphrodisiacs in ancient cultures is their resemblance to sexual parts, and the avocado is no exception, as the Aztec name for the avocado tree roughly translates to “testicle tree.” Avocados are rich in phytonutrients and healthy fats that support hormone production. It also contains a mineral called boron, which studies indicate could help boost testosterone, that’s crucial for both male and female libido.17

#12 Chocolate 

Maybe the most infamous aphrodisiac, cacao has some science to back up its reputation as a sexy spice with an aphrodisiac effect. Chocolate may help boost mood and spark libido via its ability to stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin. That’s because serotonin influences vasoconstriction and vasodilation in female genitals. In other words? It could help enhance blood flow below. 

Cacao also contains a compound called theobromine, which stimulates the nervous system. That, along with cacao’s fatty acid amides (mimicking cannabinoids), might lead to transient feelings of pleasure or arousal.18,19,20

#13 Watermelon 

This juicy fruit’s reputation as an aphrodisiac comes from its high content of citrulline,21 an amino acid that the body converts into a precursor for the nitric oxide that relaxes blood vessels.22 This promotes increased blood flow throughout the body, including to the genital area, which can enhance sexual responsiveness. Out of all dietary sources of citrulline, watermelon has the highest amount known. 

#14 Ginseng 

Ginseng is another ancient root that’s suspected to have benefits for sex drive, especially when it comes to men’s arousal. Specifically, it may stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide, which enhances blood flow and helps relax muscles in the penis. Studies also suggest that Ginseng could be a helpful herb for improving erectile dysfunction.23


#15 Almonds 

Rich in vitamin E, almonds support hormone production and are some of the best foods to boost energy levels, vital for maintaining stamina during sex. These nuts are also a good plant-based source of zinc,24 a mineral essential for reproductive health and libido. 

#16 Oysters

Like almonds, oysters have earned their status as a classic aphrodisiac due to their high zinc content. Zinc plays a crucial role in testosterone production,25 essential for a robust libido regardless of your gender and sperm health to support reproductive function. 

This aphrodisiac food is also rich in amino acids that stimulate the release of sex hormones, enhancing desire and arousal.

#17 Honey 

Sweet and seductive, this amber elixir is rich in B vitamins and boron, nutrients that help regulate hormone levels and metabolize estrogen and testosterone. Honey’s natural sugars provide a quick energy boost leading up to sex. 

#18 Bananas 

Bananas are a beneficial food prior to any physical exercise, which includes sexual encounters. Packed with potassium, vitamins, and natural sugars, bananas offer a sustained energy boost to help enhance stamina. They also contain bromelain, an enzyme that’s known to increase libido and improve male sexual function by boosting testosterone levels.26

#19 Pomegranate 

Pomegranates are a mythical symbol of fertility and abundance. Packed with flavonoid antioxidants and polyphenols, these jeweled fruits help counter oxidative stress in the body, which may help increase testosterone production and protect testosterone cells from damage.27


When you’re looking to up your libido or create more heat in your sexual life, try incorporating these aphrodisiac foods into your diet. Sweet, succulent fruits, suggestive foods and vital vitamins and minerals can all be used to supercharge your sex life. 

To kick things up a notch with a daily supplement for libido, Sex Dust® combines six adaptogens and herbs that target stress to support healthy hormonal balance. Adaptogenic Shatavari, Shilajit, Epimedium, and Schisandra are combined with Cacao and Maca to ignite sexual desire. 

There’s a lot that goes into desire. To further support sexual arousal, commit to healthy practices in all aspects of your life by seeking to minimize stress, get regular sleep and exercise, and communicate effectively with your partners.