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Are Oysters Really an Aphrodisiac?

Wendy is a journalist who has been writing online since 2007 on topics such as plus size fashion, learning languages and traveling.

My Personal Experience, Oysters and a Skinny Dip

Did you know that the French are the biggest consumers of oysters in the world? I only had my first oysters when I moved to France. Here seafood and especially oysters have a privileged place on Christmas tables. So the time came when I couldn’t avoid any more eating an oyster. I had seen them before but I had never dare eat one. To be honest, I had nightmares about those creatures since I went to a seafood bar in Southern Spain where they had all sorts of live seafood still crawling or wriggling on trays waiting to be eaten. Most of the seafood was eaten raw with just a sprinkle of lemon juice to make sure that the chosen victim was still alive. If the victim wriggled in its shell when the lemon juice touched it, it meant that it was fresh and ready to slide inside your mouth.


After my daunting experience in Spain, it took some encouragement and a few glasses of champagne before trying my first oyster a couple of years ago. A friend had come to visit with a basket of oysters and there was no way I could refuse to eat them. When we opened the first oyster I had the “honour” of eating it and I had no idea how to do it. The smell of iodine was overpowering, I carefully slid it into my mouth and felt its saltiness spreading; the texture was smooth but crisp at the same time. I loved it and immediately asked for another one. We tried them with lemon juice, with vinegar; with shallots… they were delicious. After that day I was simply “love-struck” with oysters.

The year after, we travelled three hours to the seaside with the same friend just to go to an oyster bar at lunchtime to eat a couple of dozen fresh oysters each. Not content with that, after a long walk on the beach, we went back to the same place for dinner to have another couple of dozen oysters each! Did they have an aphrodisiac power? Personally, I am not sure if it was the oysters or the white wine, or maybe both? but I was feeling so hot I could hardly contain myself, I was tingling in funny places, feeling soooo good. I am not going into details here all I can tell you is that later that night I was having a “skinny dip” in the sea, despite the cold weather!

Oysters at Île d'Oléron

Part of oysters’ aphrodisiac “brand” is the sensuality of the eating experience itself.

Part of oysters’ aphrodisiac “brand” is the sensuality of the eating experience itself.

Aphrodisiacs

Probably the first aphrodisiacs were those that resembled sexual organs, thus, food that in some way looked like vaginas were reputed as being aphrodisiacs. In this list, one of the most famous aphrodisiac foods are oysters for their clear resemblance to the female sexual organs.

Open Oyster Lyon Market.

True aficionados love the oyster best when it is raw – still alive, glistening moistly in its shell, ready to slide voluptuously down your throat with no more than perhaps a spritz of lemon

True aficionados love the oyster best when it is raw – still alive, glistening moistly in its shell, ready to slide voluptuously down your throat with no more than perhaps a spritz of lemon

All About Oysters

Nutritional value:

Oysters are an excellent source of minerals. The most important being zinc (6,5 mg / 100 g). They also contain iron (twice as much as red meat), magnesium, calcium, iodine, copper, and potassium. If that wasn’t enough they are also rich in vitamins A,B,PP, C, E, D and E (antioxidant). To top things off –as if it couldn’t be better- oysters are very low in calories: 8 oysters (around 100gr.) have only 70 calories. So yes, you can actually sit and eat oysters to your heart’s content without those guilty bulges hanging outside your bikini later on, provided of course, that you eat them raw.

How to choose your oysters

In France, oysters can be eaten all year round but the taste changes according to the time of the year. During their reproduction period (May to August) oysters tend to be more “milky” which is not to everyone’s taste.

If you buy oysters –at least in France- they are classified in numbers according to their size, a number 5 is the smallest one while a 0 is the bigger one.

How to keep your oysters

Keep them at a temperature not lower than 5°C but no higher than 15°C. In winter you can keep them outdoors. During the summer, the vegetable tray in your fridge is the best place to keep them. If they have not been opened, oysters can be kept a maximum of 10 days.

How to Open Oysters

A good oyster should not open very easy, the shell should be in a good state and it should smell nice.

Use an “oyster knife” or if you don’t have one, a little knife with a pointed blade.

Wear a thick kitchen glove to hold the oyster and protect your hand or put a kitchen towel folded in four over your hand to protect it. There are lots of accidents related to opening oysters, so please do be careful.

Place the oyster on your hand with the “swollen” side of the shell facing down.

With the other hand grab your knife with your thumb around 1cm away from the end of the blade. Insert the knife at about 2/3 of the oyster, cut the muscle and lift the shell to separate it from the bottom shell and open the oyster.

The oyster should be eaten at the most within 3 hours of being open.

Opening An Oyster

How to open an oyster

How to open an oyster

How to Eat Oysters

It is recommended to open the oysters a few minutes in advance before eating them, empty the first water that you find and leave them for a few minutes to produce their “second water”. The oyster -still alive- deprived of its water will produce in about one to two minutes a purified water very rich in minerals and salts. This “second water enhances the flavour of the oyster and it means that it is ready to be tasted.

The less caloric and most tasty way to eat an oyster is raw and on its own. If you prefer, you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before eating it.

In France it is also popular to eat oysters with a little drop of shallot’s vinegar. This is the recommended way by the nutritionists as the vinegar does not destroy the vitamin E in the oyster the way the lemon does.

Oysters can also be eaten cooked in many different ways.

What wine to drink with Oysters?

It is very important to select the appropriate wine to drink with your oysters as a bad choice can not only mask the taste of the oysters but you can be wasting a good wine that is not appropriate to drink with oysters.

But choosing the best wine to drink with your oysters is a very difficult task as the choice not only depends on personal taste but also on the origin of the oysters and the way you are going to eat them.

Ordinarily, oysters are accompanied by white wine. The strong content of iodine in oysters makes a simple dry white wine a safe choice. Avoid white wines that contain too much sugar or fruity accords. The most common wines associated to oysters are:

  • Muscadet.
  • Chablis.
  • Quincy, reuilly, pouilly-fumé, sancerre.
  • If your oysters are not very strong in iodine a white Bordeaux or a white Coteaux du languedoc can enhance your “oyster experience”.

Now if you are feeling luxurious or want to mix aphrodisiac food and drink you can choose a bottle of Champagne.

Are Oysters Really Aphrodisiacs?

Oysters are very rich in Zinc, a mineral that stimulates our immune system and it is also indispensable for the production and synthesis of the male hormone testosterone. Also the high content of iodine increases the production of thyroidian hormones which in turn give a boost to your sexual desire. To complete the picture, the vitamin C in the oyster helps counteract the effects of the effort during sexual encounters.

For men the oligo-elements in the oyster help the production of sperm.

Other foods that have an aphrodisiac reputation are:

1) Chocolate and coffee. Both contain substances that increase the amount of endorphins in the body.

2) Wine and champagne.

3) Spices. In France mustard has a reputation for stimulating the sexual glands.

4) Ginger, known for its vaso dilatants effects.

5) Ginseng

6) Truffes, and vanille. Both are aphrodisiacs for their scent. The truffle with its woody scent - so manly - seems to awake the senses in women. While the sweet-warm scent of vanilla awakens the senses in men.


Conclusion:

Whether oysters are aphrodisiac for their nutritional content, for their scent or for their looks it is not 100% certain. But then, why not try? Aphrodisiacs shouldn’t be tested in laboratories, they are meant to be tested in your bedroom. Oysters are delicious and easy to digest for a romantic dinner. Accompanied by a bottle of champagne and some dark chocolate for dessert they might just bring the fireworks to your bedroom; or better still, for a change, they might bring your bedroom to your dining table ;-)


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Wendy Iturrizaga

Comments

da niqqah pj in the burque on January 24, 2011:

Gotta love it

Paper Moon from In the clouds on April 07, 2009:

Bonjour Princessa,

I loved your hub. It was entertaining, and informative. I have always shied away from oysters (I should be ashamed as I was a chef years ago) but you have peaked my curiosity. I am now quite horny...Er Uhh, Ahem.... I mean hungry.

Compu-Smart from London UK on March 08, 2009:

Hi Princessa

Aphrodisiac or not, this hub has educated me very well about a subject I had no knowledge of at all! OR have ever tried!. ........as yet!!..

powerspike from Sydney, Australia on March 04, 2009:

One thing i've never worked out is how to open an oyster, will give your instructions a go, thanks!

Joe from Valdosta, GA on February 19, 2009:

Ok I have to confess, I only clicked on the article because of the naked chick. I suppose that makes this hub an aphrodisiac?

warm heart on February 15, 2009:

I don't need oyster. I accually suffer bcz I m always excited.

Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on February 02, 2009:

Good, I will keep you posted of when I am likely to get to France, you can do the same whrn you think SA is your next port of call.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on February 02, 2009:

Now, that's an invitation I would not like to refuse...

Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on February 01, 2009:

Princessa, we can have dinner as soon as I hit the France, or if you want a guided tour of our wine lands in Sunny South Africa, I will arrange that dinner and then we can do a tour of these now famous vineyards.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on February 01, 2009:

warm heart : aphrodisiacs will always be a puzzle. Some people gets turn on just at the mention of the word aphrodsiac!

King Princess and SUNNY22 : A full tummy and the right words whispered on your ear always work :)

King Princess on January 31, 2009:

Mmm, now you've got me craving oysters! A full belly is the best aphrodisiac, I always say. :)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on January 29, 2009:

ripplemaker: that sounds like a great idea!

Just Rodney: I think we should have dinner toguether ;-)

Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on January 29, 2009:

Princessa, you could spice it up and have a chilli chocalate sauce over your homemade vanilla ice cream.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on January 29, 2009:

If we weren't so far away, you could come visit our country and eat lots of oysters :-)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on January 29, 2009:

SweetiePie : Chocolate is a good one, specially to bring back some energy after the first encounter; it can bring back the enthusiasm in the most tired of lovers. Watch out, I'll be coming back with more aphrodisiac foods ;-)

BrianS : I am sure will be able to find an appropiate aphrodisiac food for you ;-)

Just Rodney: I'll need to try my oysters with soy sauce. I must say I am not very fond of wasabi, but I am prepared to try your recipe. It might be surprisingly delicious!

Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on January 29, 2009:

Doubt the aphrodisiac effect, and would carefully lay the blame on the accompanying liquid refreshment as well as the company, and ambiance. Have had it several times as a sushi type of meal, mix wasabi and soy sauce about 50/50 and add to the oyster let stand for a minte or so and then eat it. It is quite tasty that way.

Brian Stephens from Castelnaudary, France on January 29, 2009:

I am in a family of seafood addicts but I just cannot eat seafood myself, by that I mean shellfish, I even turn my nose up at lobster much to the dismay of the rest of the family.

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on January 28, 2009:

I was never much of an oyster fan, but my grandpa really liked them. He went to some place down in the South along the beach once and apparently him and his friend went to this restaurant where you could get all the oysters you could eat. I like chocolate though, so I could always use that one :).

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on January 28, 2009:

Hi CJ, Guinness and oysters? Isn't that a bit harsh? I'll need to try that. Are you sure the oysters have no aphrodisiac effect on you? Maybe you think is all natural but it actually has to do with the oysters... But then again, maybe you are right and my "skinny dip" was to blame on the champagne... or maybe my friend ;-)

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on January 28, 2009:

Hello Princessa, I come from Whitstable in Kent which is famous for its oysters. I usually manage a few a week, though I couldn't speak for their properties as an aphrodisiac. The traditional drink to go with them is usually Guinness. I suspect your midnight skinny dipping had as much to do with champagne as it did with oysters, but who am I to say?