Q&A: Aphrodisiacs

Will Spanish Fly Enhance Arousal?

We get asked from time to time why we don’t stock aphrodisiacs. Everyone’s heard that oysters, chocolate, little blue pills, Spanish Fly, asparagus and so on can enhance arousal and desire – so what’s the catch?

We got this email from a customer a while ago – our answer is below to give you our take on aphrodisiacs.


I was wondering if you could help me. Can you tell me, what’s the best aphrodisiac? Do they really have any effect and are they safe? Is it true that rhino horn is used, and does it work? Please let me know.


Hi there,

Thanks for getting in touch. We don’t stock aphrodisiacs as there are some safety issues around some of them, and we definitely encourage safer sex. Other aphrodisiacs on the market don’t do anything at all – so it would be cheeky of us to sell them! We aren’t medical experts, but to be honest there are a few reasons we would not recommend the use of aphrodisiacs.

Are Aphrodisiacs Safe?

Commercially sold aphrodisiacs aren’t always subject to the same testing and monitoring as prescription medicines, so it’s impossible to be certain that they’re safe. There’s also the possibility that they could have harmful side-effects, or interact with other medications. Spanish Fly or cantharides, for example, is a famously used aphrodisiac, dating back to Ancient Rome, but the substance itself is in fact a bladder irritant – not very sexy! The ‘Spanish Fly’ marketed online today is often just cayenne pepper, or is a homeopathic version in which the substance is so heavily diluted that none of the active ingredient remains. The same is true of the ‘Blue Pills’ and Viagra imitations sold online and in some shops which seem to be largely herbal preparations with no effect at all.

With foodstuffs used as aphrodisiacs, the evidence is hard to find. We’ve heard stories about oysters, chocolate, asparagus, and lots of other foods, but with no detailed studies out there we can’t tell you if they work or not. Even if they do, it’s probably a very individual response – one person might find chocolate gets her in the mood, another might like seafood, and so on.

Using Rhino Horn as an Aphrodisiac

As regards exotic varieties of aphrodisiac like rhino horn, we certainly wouldn’t recommend those even if it had been proved that they work. The market in rhino horn is one of the reasons that rhino poaching has seriously reduced the numbers of rhinos in the world – over a thousand rhinos were killed between 2006 and 2009, just for their horns.

It’s also worth noting that rhino horn is the same sort of protein- keratin – that our hair and fingernails are made of. If keratin had an effect on arousal, men who bite their nails would be in demand

Aphrodisiacs for Erectile Dysfunction?

Instead of using over-the-counter or bought-online aphrodisiacs, we’d recommend speaking to a GP and seeking medically recommended treatments for erectile dysfunction or lack of arousal.

Get in the Mood without Using Aphrodisiacs

Shunga Body Massage Gel £25
Shunga Body Massage Gel £25

– Have a bath – it’s very relaxing and taking time out to pamper is a great way to get in the mood.
– Give your partner a massage with some luscious massage oil – it’s relaxing, sensual and a really good way to connect with your lover and focus on them after a busy day.
– Play a sexy game – it gets you in the mood and it also gets you talking about sex in a playful way.

Sex Toys Instead of Aphrodisiacs

Sex Toys
Sex Toys

It’s also good to experiment with new toys – they can really spice up your sex life! Trying out a finger vibrator, a tongue vibe, or a couple’s vibe are all hot ways to introduce a new aspect into your sex life.

It short, we’d say that taking time out to enjoy each other’s company, planning the occasional treat, and above all talking to each other, are much more effective at creating a sexy vibe between you than the use of aphrodisiacs.

Really hope all this helps – please feel free to give us a shout if you have any more questions.

Best Wishes

Team Sh!

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