If It Worked for Casanova, It Could Work for You

Many of us have heard the claim that oysters can act as a natural aphrodisiac, but what is it that fuels these beliefs? Is it actual lived experience, scientific findings, traditions passed down over a few generations or some combination of all the above?

The media has been all over the spectrum in terms of their opinions on effect of oysters on libido and desire. Some completely dismiss the notion, while others are emphatic that eating oysters can work.

There’s a historical precedent for this. Various cultures around the world have cited oysters as a cure for lack of desire or inability to perform. Giacomo Casanova, the famous 18th-century Venetian playboy, reportedly ate dozens of raw oysters before going on his legendary trysts.

However, to this day we still don’t know if there’s something about oysters specifically that lends them these abilities, or rather the belief or association with them that helps in this department.

Could it all be in our heads?

There are some scientific studies that could point to positive outcomes in the bedroom department from consuming oysters.

Can oysters spice up your love life?

One of them looks at the effect of zinc, or rather, a lack of zinc. Too little zinc in your diet and you may be looking at delayed sexual development and impotence. Oysters are packed to the brim with zinc, so perhaps this is part of the reason they are considered an aphrodisiac.

Another nutritional possibility is they may contain a chain of amino acids that are known to aid in arousal. The trouble is, the study that unconverted this possibility mostly looked at mussels, not oysters, and few follow-up studies were conducted. Still, there’s a distinct chance that oysters produce some amount of this same amino acid.

Still, other studies and theories are more skeptical. Samantha Heller, a nutritionist art New York Medical University, says the effect is mostly placebo.

“If you tell someone something is an aphrodisiac,” she said, “They’ll get aroused just thinking about it.”

In the end, there isn’t a magic potion that will create arousal where there is none nor an instant cure for impotency or problems in your intimate life. However, perhaps in the long run a few oysters may be able to provide you with some of the nutrition you need to get those, ahem, juices flowing. If nothing else, you’ll look awfully classy to your date when you order that dozen oysters on the half-shell.