Aphrodisiacs from around the world

You’ve probably heard that oysters are an aphrodisiac, and you’ve probably heard about chocolate increasing sexual desire too – but what about the Chinese tradition of eating tiger penis? There are plenty of weird aphrodisiacs used around the world, so brace yourself and dust off that Marvin Gaye vinyl, because things are about to get steamy.

Durians | Southeast Asia


This fruit is actually banned from a large number of hotels in southeast Asia because of the stink that it gives off. It has been said to smell like a mixture of sewage and rotting flesh – but apparently you shouldn’t judge a food by the way it smells, because it is meant to be delicious. Despite the initial stink, the durian is said to increase your sex drive, and this has even been studied at a university in India. They found that the fruit contained oestrogen, and claimed that durians may help increase fertility.

Snake and scorpion wine | China and Vietnam

Snake and scorpion wine bottles

One of the most searched-for aphrodisiacs on the internet is snake or scorpion wine. This tipple originated from China and Vietnam, but over the years it has become increasingly popular around many parts of the globe. The process of making the wine is a little gross, I’m afraid. First, a venomous snake or a scorpion – depending on what you fancy – is added to a jar of rice wine, along with smaller snakes, and other tiny insects. The snake or scorpion is left to ferment, which allows time for its poison to become ineffective. It is said that this traditional drink not only helps your libido, but can also help back pain and rheumatism too – although, I’m not sure if that’s scientifically proven.

Ambergris | Middle East and China


The word “ambergris” sounds very delicate, and quite nice, but don’t be fooled, because it is not. This odd looking thing is a waxy substance produced by the digestive system of a sperm whale. When ambergris is fresh, it is said to have a faecal smell, but as it ages, it is said that the odour becomes sweet. Ambergris used to be really popular within the perfume industry, because of its ability to retain scent, but it has largely been replaced with synthetics. The aphrodisiac rumour began in the Middle East and China, but it did make its way around Europe too. To use this substance to increase libido, it would be added to food for flavouring, or put on to the skin to help release pheromones.

Green M&M’s | United States


You’ve probably heard of the little blue pill, but what about the little green M&M? Apparently, this rumour started out on college campuses in America during the sixties, and it is still believed today, although nobody really knows why they increase libido. It has been said that the colour green is associated with fertility, which helps us get in the mood. It has also been suggested that because green is an environmentally friendly colour, we find it rather sexy – which makes me feel a little uncomfortable about the Green Cross Code guy. Lastly, it is believed that this whole rumour was just started by some horny college kids, and it is actually a placebo! But who cares!? If it works then so be it! Back in 2008 and 2009, M&M’s decided to use the aphrodisiac rumour to their advantage, and sold small bags of green M&M’s around Valentine’s Day. How romantic.

Bull testicle soup | Philippines and around southeast Asia

Bull testicle soup

Popular in the Philippines, but found all across southeast Asia, this delicacy is something you probably wouldn’t order in a restaurant unless you wanted an I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! experience. The soup includes onions, carrots, broth, and of course, bulls testicles (it sounded alright up until that last ingredient, didn’t it?). I won’t go into detail about how it is prepared, for obvious reasons, but it doesn’t sound nice. I’m not quite sure how munching down on a bull’s testicle can put you in the mood, but apparently it makes you an animal in the bedroom. Probably not until you’ve washed your mouth out several times, though… Just a word of warning if you’re travelling to this part of the world, the soup is also known as “soup number five”, so double-check the ingredients before you order… unless you do actually want to try this.

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About Helen Winslade

Helen Winslade

My fondest holiday memories so far are from when I travelled to Rome. Once I made it to the hotel, I chucked my bags on the bed and just went out for a walk, and my first stop was a restaurant (naturally, I love food). The food in Italy is amazing. Even if you just have a pizza, it tastes so much better out there. I won’t even go into how much I loved the ice cream because words cannot do it justice.

We went on a lot of tours while we were out there, but the one that stands out has to be Vatican City. It was one of those tours where you didn’t really listen to much of what your tour guide said, because you were too busy looking at everything and taking all the amazing things in. I took pictures of everything, even down to the floor tiles just because I didn’t want to forget anything.

Helen used to work in our marketing team

Places mentioned in this post

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