It’s the durian season of the year again! In Singapore, we can see that various types of durians such as “Mao Shan Wang”, D24, Red Prawn, XO, etc. are on sale. Despite having a strong smell, durian is one of the most nutritious fruits in the world. There are even claims that durian is an aphrodisiac, which spices up sexual activity. Is this a myth, or a truth?
Durians and aphrodisiac
The king of fruits – You either hate it, or you love it.
For Singaporeans (or have lived here for a while), our craze for it comes each time the monsoon season blesses us with its succulent varieties.
But do you know that our favourite “King of the Fruits” is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. This belief is mostly in Southeast Asia, where durians mostly originate from.
An aphrodisiac is defined as any food or drug that arouses sexual desire and enhances sexual pleasure and performance.
The name “aphrodisiac” comes from the Greek “aphrodisiakon”, which pertains to Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love.
You might be familiar with some of the “reputable” natural aphrodisiacs, such as oysters, chocolate, spicy foods, alcohol, saw palmetto, ginseng, and maca root – each may have a different purported mechanism to improve sexual health.
So, why do folks believe that this spiky fruit can help harness a man’s sexual poweress?
How did this spiky fruit end up becoming an aphrodisiac?
Durian makes you feel “hot”
Eating durian can sometimes induce a feeling of “heatiness”.
This sensation may at times be perceived as sexual arousal, especially if you are sharing its flesh with your partner.
From the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, durian has a strong “warming” property.
TCM believes that Durians can make us Shanghuo (上火), which basically describes an imbalance of Yin-Yang when Yang overwhelms Yin – the excessive Yang energy is translated as “internal heat”.
Whereas from the Western Medicine point of view, eating durians might actually cause a momentary rise in body temperature.
Calorie-dense foods like durian causes a stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This in turn results in a rise in blood pressure and faster heart rate.
These physiological responses can manifest as the sensation of feeling hot and sweating, and even palpitation or feeling “pumped up” – signs that are similar to when you are feeling aroused during sex.
Get a boost of energy from durians
Contrary to the popular myth that durian is unhealthy and fattening, it is naturally rich in nutrients.
It contains nutrients such as potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, and antioxidants.
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy Release
These vitamins and minerals in durian are considered beneficial for general well-being.
For example, they can improve muscle strength and blood flow, reduce fatigue, relieve stress and anxiety, and support the nervous system.
Giving you a “sugar high”, the high carbohydrate content in durian can give you a quick boost in your energy levels.
The rich nutritional components of durians may actually help you feel more ready for a romantic bedroom experience.
Is durian really an aphrodisiac? It’s all in your mind
Unfortunately, like many other aphrodisiacs, the belief that durian can boost libido and sexual performance is not backed by science.
Although we explored how durian might stimulate sexual behaviors, those “mechanisms” are very general.
In fact, any nutritious diet (not only durian) can helps you feel great and energetic overall – which is the key for heightened sex drive and a happier sex.
Also, let’s not forget about the placebo effect.
A placebo is where your belief reinforces a sense of “improved” outcome, despite there being no measurable benefits.
If you believe eating durian will land you a fabulous night, you will be more interested to give out the best shot. After you achieve sexual success, the formed memory will reinforce your action (e.g., eating durian) and belief. And this becomes a positive feedback loop.
In this sense, almost every food (or action) can somehow be considered an aphrodisiac.
As the saying goes – “Mind over body”.
Aphrodisiacs mostly work as a placebo
P/S: Enjoy your durians, but eat in moderation!
- Kotta S, Ansari SH, Ali J. Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs. Pharmacogn Rev. 2013;7(13):1-10. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.112832
- Durian, Raw or Frozen. USDA FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168192/nutrients
- Rongrong H, Hiroshi K. Shanghuo Syndrome in Traditional Chinese Medicine. World Science and Technology. 2008;10(5):37-41. doi: 10.1016/S1876-3553(09)60024-7
- Durians: 8 Myths and Facts About the King of Fruits. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://www.healthxchange.sg/food-nutrition/food-tips/durian-myths-facts-king-fruits
- Do natural aphrodisiacs actually work? Mayo Clinic. Updated August 11, 2020. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/expert-answers/natural-aphrodisiacs/faq-20058252