The eating of an oyster is a tale of seduction. Crack open its rocklike shell at its most fragile point and it gives easily, revealing the delicate tissue at its heart. Eat it raw and it tastes of the soul of the ocean that made it. To many, it’s food pornography. An aphrodisiac.
But oysters don’t make you a sex machine. It’s a just a myth. There is simply no scientific evidence that these tender sea dumplings help maintain erections, improve stamina, or enhance arousal. They may make you think about sex. Which is as good an aphrodisiac as any.
Despite the sexual innuendo inherent in these mollusks, there is a lack of scientific support that oysters are sexual performance boosters. Oysters do support a healthy body, and so a healthy sex drive. Along with being a protein source, they are rich in zinc, a deficiency of which can cause impotence. Zinc is also a necessary building block for testosterone, so it supports a healthy libido and sperm production. But zinc is common enough in other foods, such as chicken and turkey, and no one considers poultry an aphrodisiac. In rat studies, oyster extracts lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, but changes in mating patterns have not been investigated. And at least one human clinical trial reports an improvement in cholesterol in healthy men with an oyster-rich diet. However, like in the rat study, sexual activity and performance were not examined.
That said, oysters contain something that can’t be scientifically quantified. Romance. And that’s a vitamin for the soul as well as the body.