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An aphrodisiac is any substance that enhances a person’s sex drive or, in the case of men, erection.

Men have been searching for this magical substance for thousands of years, ingesting or applying a huge range of products, including powdered rhinoceros horn, dried tiger penis, and the crushed shells of certain beetles (aka “Spanish Fly”).

Unfortunately, none of these has been proven to have any independent effect on sexual desire or ability.

That doesn’t mean these crazy things might not work psychologically. Ever hear of the placebo effect? That’s when an inert substance or procedure produces real results because the person believes that it will work. The placebo effect can be very powerful.

You can find evidence of this practically every week in scientific studies testing the effectiveness of all sorts of drugs. People will report being relieved of their depression or anxiety, for example, even though they’ve been taking a sugar pill.

So if a man eats oysters and believes they’re going to make him a real stud, there’s every chance that he’ll “perform” differently. In that sense—and that sense only—aphrodisiacs work. Since you’ve just learned that aphrodisiacs are basically a crock, however, the placebo effect is far less likely to work for you.

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