It’s that time of year again. The most romantic day on the calendar is fast approaching and you and your other half no doubt have some exotic, nostalgic, or wholesome plans already laid out for this special day.
And, naturally, once you’ve finished your cosy dinner date or tangoed your way home from a night of cocktail-making and dancing, no one’s going to be surprised if you’re both a little hot under the collar.
Of course, if that’s how you’re hoping to end the evening, then it never hurts to set the mood beforehand. But while music and scented candles can help to create the perfect ambience, so too can certain foods and activities.
In fact, we reached out to two experts in the scientific fields of love and romance to reveal the best aphrodisiacs to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, as well as date ideas so good that they’re basically the equivalent of getting busy in the bedroom.
So, if you’re ready to let your thoughts run wild this February, here are the top aphrodisiacs you should try, according to science!
What is an aphrodisiac?
Although many of us are probably familiar with the term, for those who’ve never come across the word before, here’s a quick definition.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an aphrodisiac is an item, usually a type of food or drug, that is believed to increase sexual desire in people.
In other words, it turns the heat up between you and your partner.
Now, if you’ve read that definition and thought, ‘that doesn’t really sound like my sort of thing’, don’t worry. All of the aphrodisiacs we’re about to mention occur naturally in food, and chances are, at least one is already going to be on your Valentine’s Day checklist.
What are the best aphrodisiacs to set the mood?
When it comes to the best aphrodisiacs, your list of options can be pretty varied. Some people swear that eating chocolate is the best way to get you in the mood for a fun night, while others think there’s no better sexual trigger than breaking out their favourite moves on the dancefloor.
So, to help narrow down your choices, here are the top four recommended by our experts.
The most suggestive of fruits, the very shape of a banana itself could be interpreted as a source of sexual mood boosting. And, as it turns out, there might be some truth to this.
A 2020 study on rats showed that feeding them bananas not only improved testicular function for those who’d suffered testicular injuries but also boosted the quality of their sperm.
As many of us know, bananas are high in potassium, which is necessary for good blood pressure and helps stimulate erections. But bananas are also high in the chemical bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins and is thought to have numerous health benefits.
So, it may very well be that having a banana earlier in the day might be all the preparation you need for a passionate evening with your other half.
Surprised? Probably not, after all, this is the one thing almost everyone enjoys on Valentine’s Day. But while we all know eating chocolate makes us feel good, why is it considered an aphrodisiac?
Interestingly, and perhaps counterintuitively, from what few studies have been conducted, there is actually little medical evidence to prove that chocolate can boost your sexual desire. However, it is thought that certain chemicals found in it contribute towards boosting your mood.
Studies show that chocolate contains high levels of phenylethylamine, a central nervous system stimulant that is thought to assist in the release of serotonin and dopamine, the happy and feel-good hormones that play a key role in sexual attraction, arousal, and falling in love.
In layman’s terms, what this all means is that, while chocolate won’t necessarily make you function better downstairs, all those endorphins and hormones it helps to release may very well put you in the right mood for more satisfying sex.
Described by some as the ‘natural Viagra’, it’s suggested that drinking watermelon juice before getting intimate with your partner can lend a hand to guys in need of a helping hand below the belt.
It’s thought that watermelon can naturally enhance erections due to its rich amounts of citrulline, a powerful vasodilator which widens blood vessels. Citrulline can also be converted by the body into arginine, which provides many of the same benefits.
This is backed up further by studies carried out on rats suffering from erectile dysfunction. Those given concentrated watermelon juice saw a marked improvement in their sexual functions, compared to those on a placebo. Though, while interesting, more trials are needed to establish concrete results.
Regardless, if you’re interested in trying this aphrodisiac, you might be interested to know that most citrulline is found in the skin of the melon itself, so if you want the best chance to experience its effects, you should consider eating the flesh and skin together.
Ever wondered why coffee dates often feel the most romantic? Well, that’s because caffeine may very well be the most common aphrodisiac of all, and the one plenty of us are addicted to.
As expert, Ed Buhler, Director at Bodyjoys, points out, caffeine not only gives us more energy, but it drastically boosts our mood, helping with idea sharing and getting to know your partner better. It also helps to intoxicate the senses, making it easier for our bodies to pick up pheromones, a key part of triggering attraction and arousal.
With that in mind, a morning or lunchtime coffee break could be the right way to start your Valentine’s date.
What are the best aphrodisiac activities?
As we mentioned previously, it’s not just food that can set the mood, but certain activities and date night ideas as well. The following suggestions are thought to potentially have the same hormonal effect as sex, even though the experience may feel entirely different.
It goes without saying that a good exercise routine is one of the key steps you can take to improve your libido, with plenty of studies showing that it raises the level of the cuddle hormone, oxytocin, in your system – and who doesn’t love a good cuddling session?
As a recent 2019 Californian study suggests, out of 3,900 men and 2,200 women with an average age of 40, those who participated in regular weekly sports were less likely to report sexual difficulties in their love life.
To put it bluntly, the men had fewer problems getting it up while the woman experienced a greater degree of sexual satisfaction, so there’s really no reason not to jump on the nearest treadmill and get your sprint on before the big day.
Let’s face it, there’s something captivating and attractive about those with the uncanny ability to dance flawlessly or boogie down to any music on a night out, perhaps because it shows they’re oozing self-confidence
But there might be more to dancing on a chemical level than first meets the eye. A 2009 study took saliva samples from 22 couples dancing the tango – a notoriously steamy routine – and discovered that all of them experienced lower cortisol and increased testosterone levels.
What this means is that each couple was simultaneously more relaxed while also experiencing an increase in arousal, which makes sense if you’re bodies are pressed together in such an intimate way and reinforces the suggestion that you and your partner should really be practising your fancy footwork together.
Being tired and stressed is often a common reason for your libido taking a hit, which is why it’s so important to find ways to relax and establish a healthy work-life balance – and it goes without saying that one of the best ways to unwind is with a professional massage.
Massages have been proven to stimulate all the important brain chemicals we’ve already mentioned, as well as relax your muscles, boost your energy levels, and improve your mood, which, when you think about it, is exactly what sex does!
So, if you’re still in need of a Valentine’s date idea, why not treat yourselves to a joint massage?
4. Listening to upbeat music
Is music something you and your partner are passionate about? If the answer is yes, then we have good news! Pretty much all music has been proven to improve your mood in a similar way to sex, releasing a variety of feel-good hormones into the body.
However, for the most notable effects, experts recommend listening to an exciting, upbeat playlist in the bedroom – something you and your other half could start cultivating in the weeks leading up to your date night,
Ok, so it’s not technically an activity, but laughing has some pretty great benefits for our bodies. Laughing not only reduces stress and relaxes the muscles, but it also boosts oxygen intake, which helps to energise the body.
So if a dinner date isn’t really your thing, then why not suggest going to a comedy club or seeing the latest comedic film for your Valentine’s night out?
The best thortful Valentine’s gift to put you in the mood
By now you probably already have a good idea of what you and your partner might be getting up to this Valentine’s Day, and to help you get everything sorted, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite Valentine’s gifts that can help set the mood.
For starters, why not try our Cantina Colli Euganei prosecco when you unwind in the evening, alongside our indulgent salted caramel truffles. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a bouquet of red roses.