Will Oysters Actually Get You in the Mood?

Ask Keri: Are oysters really an aphrodisiac, and will eating them boost my libido?

Keri Says: Unfortunately, there’s no solid scientific evidence that shows a link between eating oysters and an enhanced libido. But sexual desire is complicated, and so is the connection between what you eat and how often you want to jump into bed.

Here’s what you need to know.

RELATED: Can Exercise Boost Libido?

Oysters as an Aphrodisiac

The connection between oysters and sex is usually traced back to Casanova, an 18th century intellectual who became known for an erotic memoir he wrote about his sexual exploits. Apparently, he ate a lot of oysters and assigned them all kinds of credit for his sexual appetites.

Oysters are a great source of zinc, and studies in both animals and people have shown a link between zinc deficiency and erectile dysfunction. In 2005, George Fisher, a professor of chemistry at Barry University in Miami, and his colleagues claimed that bivalve mollusks (AKA clams, oysters, mussels and scallops) contain amino acids like D-aspartic acid and N-Methyl-D-aspartate, which have been found to increase production of testosterone and progesterone in male and female rats, respectively. Meanwhile, everyone started reporting that the findings meant that oysters were human aphrodisiacs.

The problem is that their logic relied on many leaps. First, the study was conducted on mussels, not oysters. And, second, the increases were in lab rats, not humans. Research in human men on how D-aspartic acid impacts testosterone is all over the place, showing increases in some groups and decreases in others. And even if supplementation with the amino acid did raise levels, it’s unclear how that rise would impact sexual desire. This is especially true if you’re just eating a few oysters on a date, as opposed to regularly taking a supplement.

Human sexual desire and response is incredibly complex and involves much more than just a simple hormone tweak. In fact, a lot of it has to do with what’s going on in your fascinating, complicated brain.

Of course just like stress and sleep, what you eat can have an impact, because feeling healthy and energized (part of which means getting adequate vitamins and minerals!) can make you want to get busy. I mean, who wants to have sex when you’re tired, cranky, and bloated?

RELATED: 8 Foods to Eat When You’re Feeling Bloated

Foods That Boost Your Libido

I might be dating myself here, but remember the food scene in the movie “9 ½ Weeks” where Mickey Rourke feeds Kim Basinger in front of an open fridge? (No? You can thank me later.) Well, as iconic and sexy as that scene was, few—if any—of those foods can be considered aphrodisiacs.

Read on for a list of foods that research shows can crank up desire and tone down the sexual blahs.

About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

Interested in joining our wellness community and becoming a Nutritious Life Master Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach?

Enter your info, get free access now to a sample class!

Inside Articles page - take a free class form

"*" indicates required fields

I agree*
I would like to receive text messages, and agree to the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help. Msg & data rates may apply. Msg frequency varies.