14 Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiacs

February 14, 2023

February 14 is a day for love, not necessarily lovers. Valentine’s Day can best be accompanied by an early 2000s Matthew McConaughey movie, a classic romantic song blasting at full volume, and oysters by the dozen.

The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.

Food is symbolic of love when words just aren’t cutting it. A lover may disappoint you, but when has a steaming hot, ooey-gooey pizza pie ever let you down? This Valentine’s Day, it is crucial to keep in mind that food is the most seductive aphrodisiac of them all.

#1: Aw, shucks. This February 14 is about oysters (not the pearls). Oysters are rich in zinc and help to maintain healthy levels of dopamine which boosts sexual function. From Blue Points to Wellfleets to briny, salty, and sweet, oysters are in this holiday season! With a small squeeze of lemon, a dash of sriracha, and a dusting of horseradish, these high-grade aphrodisiacs will put you in the mood for a day of love.

#2: Next on the aphrodisiac roster is the food synonymous with Valentine’s Day: chocolate. Who needs a partner to make you melt when melted chocolate tastes good on anything? Besides, chocolate contains phenylethylamine and serotonin, which make you excited and sexually stimulated. So whip out your fondue bowl, old Halloween candy, or some Hershey’s syrup and spend this holiday enjoying the silky smoothness of this sensual confection, not someone else’s bed sheets.

Rom-coms instead of a bae, what a cliché.

#3: Picture this: Staten-Island-born, shaggy-haired advertising executive Matthew McConaughey on a big screen TV (now it might just be the UT Austin in me, but I’d argue this sight is better than sex). Not to mention, Kate Hudson in that pale yellow dress is quite a treat! “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” is a must-watch masterpiece detailing all the stereotypical sexual politics. From being overly needy to being clingy and obsessive, Andie Anderson, played by Kate Hudson, details the exact relationship faux pas to chase a man away. This romantic comedy – with its clever humor and unreasonably good-looking cast – is certainly an aphrodisiac worthy of watching this holiday.

#4: As the Beatles famously said, “I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love.” An aphrodisiac in the 1980s, and still today, “Can't Buy Me Love” is a classic nerdy-guy-falls-for-popular-girl teen rom-com. If a young Patrick Dempsey isn’t enough, the beautiful Tucson scenery certainly is. Although I would say the most stimulating aphrodisiac of the entire film is Cindy Mancini’s iconic white-suede-fringe outfit (slay girl), and of course the shot at the end of the two romantically riding off into the sunset on a lawn mower with a cowboy hat in hand.

A budding romance.

#5: Flowers are an aphrodisiac in and of themselves, visually and olfactorily: nothing is sexier than an unprovoked bouquet. Just sent with a note, without a warning or a peep… roses, tulips, orchids, hydrangeas, or even succulents – whatever tickles your fancy. The best bouquets are those which honor the theme of love on this sacred holiday, overflowing with shades of pink, red, and white. Flowers are simply a February 14 essential. Everyone deserves a bouquet, beau or no.

Sax, drums, and romantic melodies.

#6: The sax-filled song “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest just makes you want to dance in the kitchen, lick raw brownie batter off a spoon, and be in love with life. The upbeat melody is serotonin-infused, and the lyrics are bound to inspire love of all kinds this Valentine’s Day.

#7: Now if you flip to the R&B channel, you’ll find Jeremih’s sensual single “Oui.” Oui – yes – both the lyrics and the melody of this song give off steamy vibes. Jeremih discusses his total devotion to this one person and how he will spend every day celebrating her (...swoon!). The best aphrodisiac of them all is falling into the fantasy world of romantic lyrics where “every day your birthday and every night your valentine.”

#8: And the most crucial addition to this year’s Valentine’s playlist is, of course, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder. Doctor’s orders are to crank the volume, roll the windows down, and belt this one as loud as possible in order to experience maximum effect of this hit of dopamine-infused aphrodisiac drug.

A brush of romance, a splatter of desire, a canvas full of love.

#9: Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is a revolutionary piece of erotic art. Using oil paints as well as platinum, silver, and gold leaf, Klimt’s painting of a man and woman embracing is a deeply spiritual aphrodisiac. Often deemed controversial, Klimt was ahead of his time. Though today PDA is much more common, this painting was made in 1907, when the practice was much more taboo (or, as we say these days, giving out-of-style). Personally, I appreciate Klimt’s devotion to romance through his art.

#10: Romance doesn’t necessarily just generate between two people; it can also be curated within oneself. The cover art for Lizzo’s album “Cuz I Love You” is certainly a statement: one of confidence, self-love, and power. Independence and uniqueness are both turn-ons, making this album cover a certified aphrodisiac of free will.

V-Day itinerary is still merry, even without a boo.

#11: Repeat after me: Bubble. Bath. Nothing like warm water, a scented bath bomb, and some essential oils to wash away any worries of celebrating Valentine’s Day without a sweetheart. Sit back, relax, and remember: bubble baths are best paired with a glass of champagne and an episode of “Sex and the City.”

#12: Laughing produces endorphins, and endorphins are the same chemicals released in sexual activity – therefore, laughing is an aphrodisiac. On February 14, attend a comedy show to laugh out your sorrows of not having a partner. (PSA to all Austinites, Adam Sandler is performing stand up at our very own Moody Center on February 14th, 2023… and there is no finer aphrodisiac than an Adam Sandler joke.)

After all is read and done, literature is hot.

14.  Emily Dickinson’s poem “If You Were Coming in the Fall” is a display of true love, despite the grueling factors of time and patience. It is romantic that her devotion is so deep that she is willing to wish away her life because she does not want to spend it without her lover. In the poem, she says If you were coming in the Fall, I'd brush the Summer by, with half a smile, and half a spurn, as Housewives do, a Fly. Dickinson is willing to give up the warmest most vibrant season to see her lover. She yearns for this affection and will do anything to feel it.

Aphrodisiacs come in many different forms: food, literature, film, music, art, activities, and flowers. Forget a lover (they’re overrated anyways) — spend this year’s February 14 being aroused by the good things in life. ■

All graphics by Grace Kimball.

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