Certain Food Aromas
There's a connection among food, sex and scent. Our sense of smell is tied so deeply into our perception of food that we nearly lose the ability to taste without it. Smell is so entwined with the way we perceive sex that many people who lose their sense of smell also experience sexual dysfunction.
True aphrodisiacs may not even come from what we eat -- scientists have found that we become aroused just by smelling certain foods. One recent study found that blood flow to the penis increased up to 40 percent when men were exposed to the scent of lavender and pumpkin pie. In women, blood flow to the vagina increased by 13 percent when female subjects smelled licorice candy, cucumber and baby powder.
Scientists are unsure as to why certain smells have such a profound effect. Interestingly, the same study found no significant change in blood flow when participants were exposed to perfume and cologne. There's just something magical about pumpkin pie and licorice.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Barker, Tony. "Gelatin found to reduce joint pain in athletes." Ball State University. Oct. 26, 1998. (Nov. 20, 2009).http://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,-1019-632,00.html
- Collins, Karen. "Is chocolate good for you?" msnbc.com. April 15, 2005. (Nov. 25, 2009).http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7339594/
- Gelatin Manufacturers of Europe. "When Your Joints Ache." 2009. (Nov. 21, 2009).http://www.gelatine.org/en/press/basic/207_540.htm
- Hunt, Curtiss D. with Phyllis E. Johnson, JoLayne Herbel and Loanne K Mullen. "Effects of dietary zinc depletion on seminal volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm morphology in young men." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1992. (Nov. 29, 2009).http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/56/1/148.pdf
- Kirkendoll, Shantell. "Study suggests health benefits in blueberries." University of Michigan. April 27, 2009. (Nov. 25, 2009).http://www.ur.umich.edu/0809/Apr27_09/13.php
- Mann, Denise. "The scents of romance; smells linked to female arousal." Medical Tribune New Service. 1998. (Nov. 24, 2009).http://www.thefreelibrary.com/THE%2BSCENTS%2BOF%2BROMANCE%3B%2BSMELLS%2BLINKED%2BTO%2BFEMALE%2BAROUSAL.(News)-a083814861
- Nutrition Data. "Foods highest in Zinc." 2009. (Nov. 24, 2009).http://www.nutritiondata.com/foods-000124000000000000000.html
- Nutrition Data. "Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, raw." 2009. (Nov. 24, 2009).http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4189/2
- Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH. "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Folate." 2009. (Nov. 28, 2009)http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/folate.asp#h8
- Prasad A.S., with C.S. Mantzoros, F.W. Beck, J.W. Hess and G.J. Brewer. "Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults." Nutrition. May 12, 1996. (Nov. 24, 2009).http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875519
- The Chileman. "Guide to Chile Heat." 2007. (Nov. 29, 2009).http://www.thechileman.org/guide_heat.php
- WHFoods. "Bananas." 2009. (Nov. 28, 2009).http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7
- WHFoods. "Oats." 2009. (Nov. 28, 2009).http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54
- Zelman, Kathleen M. "Chocolate's Dark Secret." WebMD. 2009. (Nov. 25, 2009).http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/modern-love-8/chocolate-answers
China banned export of the fruit in 2004, so you'll likely never try it fresh. But you've probably already had its extract and didn't even know it.