Aphrodisiac compounds are those that are commonly used to enhance sexuality via increasing sexual desire. Usually tied into testosterone or dopamine metabolism, scientific studies on these are somewhat lacklustre and mostly rat-based.

This page features 13 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis by and verified by the Examine.com Research Team. Last updated on Apr 29, 2017.


The goal of any Aphrodisiac compound is to enhance sexual appetite or activity. Many compounds are 'traditionally used' for aphrodisia, but these claims tend to not be investigated much in double-blind human interventions. Many studies are rat based, where the measured parameters are mounting frequency or mounting latency (amount of time needed to initiate doggy/ratty style) ejaculation frequency or post-ejaculatory latency (time needed for recuperation between rounds; tied in to the refractory period). Studies tend to be in male rats more than female rats, as male sexual dysfunction is more prominent in society during middle-aged or beyond.

Unfortunately, many subjective reports of 'what works' in humans (to complement the relative lack of scientific studies) are confounded with the placebo effect which significantly influence aphrodisia. Relative to other supplement categories, aphrodisiacs are usually less validated.

Things to Know

Also Known As

Sexual Stimulants, Sex Enhancers

Do Not Confuse With

Testosterone Booster (much overlap, but distinct categories)

Caution Notice

Due to some supplements increasing blood pressure (such as yohimbine) or possibly interacting with neurology (Cnidium Monnieri or Mucuna Pruriens) interactions with pharmaceuticals or poor health conditions are plausible. Please refer to a medical practitioner prior to using any product touted to act as a sexual stimulant

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers regarding Aphrodisiac

Q: Do herbal aphrodisiacs work?

A: It depends on the product touted to be an aprhodisiac, but some of them do apparently increase sexual desire; it is a relatively underresearched topic though, and we don't know why they increase sexuality

Read full answer to "Do herbal aphrodisiacs work?"

Q: Supplements that could help rev up your libido

A: Most supplements marketed as "libido enhancing" are just hype. Very few, like Maca and cocoa extract, have evidence indicating they may help.

Read full answer to "Supplements that could help rev up your libido"

Scientific Support & Reference Citations

Via HEM and FAQ:

  1. Gonzales GF, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. (2002)
  2. Zenico T, et al. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia. (2009)
  3. Gonzales GF, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. J Endocrinol. (2003)
  4. Gonzales-Arimborgo C, et al. Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). (2016)
  5. Brooks NA, et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. (2008)
  6. Petrone A, Gaziano J, Djoussé L. Effects of Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Products on Endothelial Function: A Meta-Analysis. Curr Nutr Rep. (2003)
  7. Adeniyi AA, et al. Yohimbine in the treatment of orgasmic dysfunction. Asian J Androl. (2007)
  8. Guay AT, et al. Yohimbine treatment of organic erectile dysfunction in a dose-escalation trial. Int J Impot Res. (2002)
  9. Gilbert DG, Hagen RL, D'Agostino JA. The effects of cigarette smoking on human sexual potency. Addict Behav. (1986)
  10. Harte CB, Meston CM. Acute effects of nicotine on physiological and subjective sexual arousal in nonsmoking men: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Sex Med. (2008)
  11. Harte CB, Meston CM. The inhibitory effects of nicotine on physiological sexual arousal in nonsmoking women: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. J Sex Med. (2008)
  12. McLeod AL, McKenna CJ, Northridge DB. Myocardial infarction following the combined recreational use of Viagra and cannabis. Clin Cardiol. (2002)
  13. Cui T, et al. A Urologist's Guide to Ingredients Found in Top-Selling Nutraceuticals for Men's Sexual Health. J Sex Med. (2015)

(Common misspellings for Aphrodisiac include afrodisiac, afrodisac)