Spice Up Your Valentines Day With These Surprising Aphrodisiacs From Around The World

With Valentines Day fast approaching, you may be wondering how best to set the mood for some romance. Aphrodisiacs have been a popular approach throughout history and people around the world have invented all sorts of creative concoctions to up their game, so to speak.

What kinds of concoctions you ask? Well, put it this way: if all you’ve tried are the usual oysters and chocolate, you haven’t lived. Read on to learn about some of the more surprising aphrodisiacs used by different cultures, from crushed insects to sea creatures and beyond.

Note: some of these foods might leave you feeling nauseated rather than turned on. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

China: Sea Cucumbers

This sea creature’s claim to fame as an aphrodisiac may have something to do with its physical properties: it’s shaped like a cucumber and squirts out sticky white threads to defend itself from enemies. Yes, exactly. Sea Cucumbers (see image above) are often touted as a natural alternative to Viagra due to their high concentration of vitamins and minerals that have potential for boosting performance in the bedroom. The Sea Cucumber doesn’t have much flavor but locals whip it up into a soup or stir-fry to make it more palatable. Cleaning, soaking, cooking and preparing the gelatinous sea slug for eating is a rather a complicated process, so you may want to pick them up from an Asian market where most of the work has already been done for you. You can also find Sea Cucumber in dried or capsule form.

South America: Giant Leaf Cutter Ants

These giant ants, which grow up to three quarters of an inch long have been used to spark romance in South America for more than 500 years. Locals remove the wings and legs of the insects before roasting them up for a crunchy pre-sex snack that’s high in protein and low in fat. The Leaf Cutter Ants are so known for their aphrodisiacal properties that they’re considered a traditional gift to give to newly married couples. The ants apparently taste like bacon, so if you go this route, you can at least rest assured your partner won’t have to endure insect breath.

Ethiopia: Camel’s Milk

In Ethiopia, locals believe camel’s milk possesses powerful aphrodisiac qualities. The creamy white drink isn’t widely available in the West, but has long been a staple dairy product among those in Africa and the Middle East. Camel’s milk is rich in vitamins, with more than three times as much vitamin C as regular cow’s milk, as well as lots of iron and B vitamins. Because of this, camel milk aficionados tout the drink as a cure-all for whatever ails you – including any trouble you might be having in the sack.

Europe: The Spanish Fly

This aphrodisiac from Europe is made up of the dried up remains of a bug. Unlike many aphrodisiacs, which have more of a placebo effect than anything, Spanish Fly actually works – although we don’t suggest you try it since the remedy could seriously jeopardize your health. Spanish Fly does its job by irritating the male organs and causing them to swell up – but not in a good way. The chemical in Spanish Fly is actually toxic and can cause kidney and gastrointestinal problems and in some cases, even death. It’s not exactly the kind of bang you want to end your night with.

Italy: Salami

Probably the most mundane and approachable of all the aphrodisiacs on this list, salami is the key to getting hot in the cot according to a poll of Italians. More than a quarter of Italian women say that their aphrodisiac of choice is salami, while other common stimulants include cheese, risotto, and even steamed vegetables. Experts say the most effective kinds of salami are the super spicy varieties, since the chiles in them help to increase blood flow – helping you spice things up.

[Photo Credits: Flickr users Ed Bierman; Geoff Gallice; Zaid Al Balushi; Wikimedia Commons user H.Zell; Flickr user TheDeliciousLife]