Chili chocolate bark that can spice things up

15 Sexy Foods That Can Spice Up the Bedroom (+ Recipe)

By: Mia Syn, MS, RD

Scientifically Reviewed By: Michael A. Smith, MD

Food is more than just fuel. It may influence the way we look and the way we feel and even our sexual desire. If you’re looking to spice things up in your love life, what you put on your plate matters. We’re here to help with a list of 15 sexy foods that may help you in the mood and the reasons why they work.

What are sexy foods?

Exactly what it sounds like! Foods, beverages and herbs that can awaken sexual desire are considered sexy foods or sexy snacks. While most sexy foods lack a significant backing of scientific evidence, there are some recognized for their potential roles, including boosting sex drive and libido and supporting sexual function and sexual health.

How do sexy foods work?

The “sexy secret" is within the natural food ingredients themselves. Studies have found connections between components of certain foods, such as capsaicin in chili peppers and zinc in oysters, to a range of improved sexual functions.

In addition to foods, sexual health supplements may also be of benefit in the bedroom. These supplements are specifically formulated with ingredients and nutrients to improve sexual health for women and sex drive for men. These nutrients support healthy blood flow, testosterone levels and nitric oxide synthesis, which relaxes blood vessels, enabling a healthy male sexual response.

To determine which supplements are right for you, Life Extension offers health needs quizzes for both men and women to identify nutrients that may help.

15 foods that may support your libido

Want to turn up the heat in your love life? These foods may help:

1. Dark chocolate:

Chocolate is a well-known gift of love, with some research that supports its natural sexy food properties. Chocolate contains phenethylamine and other polyphenolic compounds, and eating chocolate is linked to feel-good hormones like dopamine that help promote feelings of well-being. Chocolate also supports healthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  

Traditional desserts may get a bad nutritional rap, but no need to include chocolate on that list. Dark chocolate in particular is an antioxidant powerhouse and is even permitted (in moderation) in one of the top-rated diets for heart health, the Mediterranean Diet.

2. Chili peppers:

Capsaicin is the chemical responsible for making chili peppers spicy. It also causes an increase in heart rate, thus supporting healthy blood flow. Chili peppers are a seamless addition to sauce recipes and even desserts, such as the recipe below.

3. Oysters:

Oysters are a good source of zinc, a mineral essential for testosterone production, making raw oysters on the half shell a great date night appetizer option. Some studies also suggest that D-aspartic acid found in oysters may help enhance testosterone levels as well.

4. Pomegranates:

Besides being an antioxidant powerhouse, pomegranates have been associated with fertility and abundance because of their many little seeds inside. One study found that pomegranate juice intake may help support testosterone levels in healthy men and women. Pomegranate juice is also a good ingredient to use in homemade marinades and sauces.

5. Figs:

Figs are thought to be a sexual simulant food because they are high in libido-supporting amino acids that may help boost sexual function. Figs make a tasty sexy snack or an elegant appetizer when paired with goat cheese and drizzled with honey.

6. Arugula:

Yes, even your salad may be bursting with natural sexy foods. Arugula has been used as an arousal aid since ancient Greece. Enjoy it drizzled with some lemon juice and olive oil or as a base for lean protein recipes.

7. Avocado:

Avocados have vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can support blood and oxygen flow to sexual organs. Avocados also contain potassium, and research suggests potassium plays an important role in testosterone production in men. Not to mention, avocados are a good source of hearty healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids.

Enjoy this versatile ingredient in a variety of recipes, including sliced into salads, pureed into sauces and mashed onto whole grain toast.

8. Pumpkin Seeds:

Pumpkin seeds may be small in size, but they are packed with plant-based protein, heart-healthy fats and zinc, which is needed for testosterone production. Additionally, they contain a compound called citrulline, which some studies suggest may help support sexual function in men.

Another notable natural sexy food to consider in the nut and seed family are pine nuts, which are also a good source of zinc. Zinc may help support libido in men who are zinc deficient.

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9. Maca:

Maca is a sweet root vegetable referred to as “food of the gods” by Inca and revered for its purported ability to help boost fertility and arousal. Today, maca is sometimes used in tea and dessert recipes. One small double-blind placebo-controlled study found that maca may help reduce loss of libido among certain individuals.

10. Asparagus:

Asparagus contains vitamin C, an antioxidant important for collagen production, supporting immune health and promoting a healthy inflammatory response. Asparagus also supports already-healthy blood pressure and heart health. Asparagus can be roasted, grilled, steamed and more. Prepared with heart-healthy olive oil and lemon juice, it makes for an effortless side dish to complement a meal.

11. Sweet potatoes:

This root veggie is rich in beta-carotene antioxidants, which the body converts to vitamin A. Some evidence suggests that vitamin A plays a role in testosterone production which is important for arousal. Enjoy them roasted, thrown into a salad, or as a naturally gluten-free carbohydrate source paired with lean protein to build a complete meal.

12. Red wine:

While alcohol such as red wine may act as a sexy food initially by helping men and women relax, it should be used in moderation. Higher intakes may impact sexual arousal and sexual function.

13. Garlic:

Garlic is more than just a spice for cooking savory recipes—it is revered for its sexy food properties as well. Garlic is high in allicin, which some studies suggest may help increase blood flow as well as support overall cardiovascular wellness, including healthy blood vessels and already-healthy blood pressure.

14. Rib-eye steak:

Your main course during a romantic dinner out might help your sexual performance later. Red meat contains L-arginine, which is an amino acid used to make nitric oxide, which helps improve blood flow.

15. Ginseng:

Ginseng is a popular herb used in Chinese medicine. Studies suggest ginseng intake may help healthy libido and sexual performance.

A sexy food dish that you can make at home: Chili Chocolate Bark

This recipe is made with sexy foods that not only support sexual health, but also provide added health benefits such as antioxidants and key nutrients like potassium and magnesium, which promote sensitivity to oxytocin (your “love hormone”). Pour the chocolate into heart-shaped molds for a festive take on this sexy recipe that is perfect for Valentine’s Day…or any date night.

Serves: 12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Wait time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes


12 ounces dark chocolate or sugar-free dark chocolate
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup pomegranate arils
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ tsp sea salt flakes (optional)


  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-second increments on medium-high or high, stirring between each interval. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate using the double boiler method in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the chili pepper, paprika and pomegranate arils.
  2. Place parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet and use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate sauce into a ¼” thick layer.
  3. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds (pepitas) on top.
  4. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to harden the chocolate. Remove the pan from the fridge and top with sea salt, if using.
  5. Once the chocolate has completely hardened, use your hands to break it into pieces. Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 7 days or enjoy immediately as a sweet libido-boosting sexy snack.

Nutritional Values per serving:

Calories: 176
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Fat: 11 g
Protein: 2 g

About the Author: Mia Syn, MS, RD is a national on-air nutrition expert, host of Good Food Friday on ABC Charleston and one of the most recognized and trusted young dietitians in the media. With a master's degree in human nutrition from Columbia University and over 500 TV appearances, she has helped millions of viewers, readers and clients learn and implement healthier, sustainable eating habits.



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