Love Potions 

The myth and reality of arousal

The idea of eating or drinking something to increase sexual desire has been around since the dawn of man. And while there is no doubt that alcohol can be called a very powerful aphrodisiac, its magic comes through a lowering of inhibitions, not stimulation. Unfortunately, the old adage that a "10" could alternatively be a "4" and a six-pack is a lot truer than some of us would like to admit. And while the socially lubricating effect of alcohol has resulted in quite a few unwanted pregnancies, the cumulative effect of too much spirits has the opposite effect, turning Mr. Johnson from a stand-up guy to one where he's falls asleep.

Aphrodisiacs and their effects are in the mind more than anything and suggestively named drinks may do more for arousal through their subliminal nature. While there is no doubt that shooters and sippers such as "Sex on the Beach," "Screaming Orgasms" and "Sloe Comfortable Screws" have been the primary drinks responsible for hookups among the college crowd, it can also be said that most young men and ladies are already primed for that. No one doubts the sexiness of drinking a body shot from a hunk or babe, but ritualized drinking and erotically named cocktails merely get the socially meek over the hump, so to speak.

There are other concoctions, however, that through the ages have allegedly had some positive results. Spanish fly, the legendary potion to stimulate lovers into wild abandonment has been called a myth by some, but in reality it is an actual insect--the green blister beetle. Spanish fly achieves its aphrodisiac's status by irritating the urethra while being expelled by the kidneys. The irritation is allegedly pleasurable and may entice an erection, but ingesting more than 1.6 grams of the insect results in death after 24 hours. One recipe reference to a drink made with Spanish fly appeared in William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch. This fictional cocktail he dubbed "Victory Punch" contained Spanish fly, black rum, Napoleon brandy, paregoric (active ingredient--morphine) and Sterno. I say "fictional" because no one sane would attempt drinking such a cocktail--although the mental status of Burroughs has been questioned over the years.

Oysters have also been credited with being a sexual stimulant and there is no better way to down the mollusks than in an oyster shooter with tequila or vodka. A Greek physician first prescribed oysters to keep the sex drive alive sometime between AD 130 and 200, and perhaps because of the zinc content--needed for the production of testosterone--there may be some benefit. Mostly, though, if you are willing to put a slimy oyster in your mouth anything else following should be a pleasurable step up.

The Kama Sutra is an ancient tome detailing the ancient art of love making makes for good reading and offers suggestions for unique positions only a yoga master can accomplish, but it also has a couple recipes for love potions. The first, a drink made from equal parts ghee, honey, sugar, licorice, the juice of fennel bulbs and milk is said to enhance the libido. And if that doesn't work an alternative concoction suggests boiling a ram's testicle in milk and sugar. Yummy delicious.

While not a drink, PT-141 is currently in phase III clinical trials as a medication used in the form of a nose spray which enhances sexual desire in men and women. Unlike Viagra, which effects the vascular system and fixes erectile dysfunction, PT-141 may be the first real aphrodisiac that physically increases sexual desire through a compound. Interestingly enough, it was discovered as a byproduct of a sunless tanning agent when volunteer testers began getting aroused.

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