Sealing the deal: Aphrodisiacs and Valentine's Day

The search for an effective aphrodisiac, or love potion, had occupied mankind's time, energy, and wallet for thousands of years. Even now, in the age of Viagra, it's absolutely amazing how many people spend a fortune on foods, beverages, and supplements that supposedly have aphrodisiac qualities. Most of these supposed aphrodisiacs have little or nothing to do with libido; however, for one reason or another, each of them has gained a reputation as a tool for inflaming the passions of one's beloved.

Before you slip some Cantharides (aka "Spanish Fly") to your date, there are a few things that you should know. First off, there are few proven aphrodisiacs, and many of them are illegal, highly dangerous, or both. Realizing that a coma, a night in the hospital, or a stomach pumping won't produce the mood that you're looking for, your best bet is to hope that physical fitness, mutual respect, or at the very least, genuine respect, will do the trick. Alternately, you might try one of the following safe, well-known, and enjoyable aphrodisiacs:

Oysters: Although Casanova famously ate 50 oysters a day, their reputation as the ultimate aphrodisiac predates him by hundreds of years. In fact, the Roman satirist Juvenal noted in "Satire's Woman" that women of loose virtue would often eat oysters and drink huge amounts of wine: "Their quickened ardor no distinction makes,/They riot in libidinous mistakes./They call for oysters in the dead of night/And swill large draughts, to stimulate delight."