Aphrodisiacs: An Introduction

The Food of Love. Aphrodite’s Feast. Are there such things as aphrodisiacs? How do they work? How can I use them? Such questions are the dark root of the blending of food, drink and romance. But the answers may not be quite what you expect.

If you’re looking for something to slip into a drink, a Mickey Finn, turn back now; I suggest psychological counseling. If you’re looking for chants and charms, I can’t help you there, either.

There are also perfectly good examples of aphrodisiacs that aren’t covered here: perfumes, soft lighting, loving words, touch, music… These are more reliable than most any lovespell. We’ll talk about them as well, never fear.  But when I use the word “aphrodisiac” I refer to its ancient and original meaning: Food of Love.

The pursuits of passion are as old as the human race itself. The search for ways to improve one’s luck in love are nearly as old, and records of people associating food, scent or ritual with success in the search are part of Man’s earliest documents. Six thousand years later, the quest continues. Physical and social attributes which suggest fertility, virility, or wealth, personality that intrigues, evidence of a comfortable lifestyle – these are practical ways to attract, and they generally work. When the usual fails, though, people have always turned to the unusual.

Modern medicine suggests reasons something eaten might awaken a sleeping libido: depression, poor circulation, vitamin deficiencies, drugs and other ills are all counter- productive to one’s love life. Curing one problem may help with the other. But before medicine was magic. And wow, did people try some strange things. Some amusing. Some disgusting. Some deadly. The history of aphrodisiacs will be an ongoing series here in the garden, and you are, as always, encouraged to contribute to the discussion!

Of course, as I just hinted, there is some potentially useful information out there regarding a connection between consuming comestibles and consummation of an entirely different sort. The list of specific items to investigate is approximately endless, partly because almost everything has been declared an aphrodisiac by one culture or another. We’ll look into why that is, as we go.

And what if we find things which actually do boost desire? Not just preventing problems, no mere psychological effect, but physiologically enhancing erotic interest? We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

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