SexCereal: Breakfest in bed never felt so right.Big Life Foods
Sexcereal is an "all-natural, GMO-free, gender-based breakfast cereal" that is supposed to be as much an aphrodisiac as it is part of a balanced breakfast.
If you want to find out whether this cereal does in fact boost libido, two boxes will run you about $19.95. But before you slip into something comfortable, light up a few candles and share a bowl of sexy cereal with that special someone, consider that many other products marketed as potent aphrodisiacs have proven about as stimulating as day-old decaf, as you'll see in this slideshow.
Magic Power Coffee offers an entirely different kind of upper.iStockphoto
SexCereal isn't the first breakfast-based sexual enhancer. Magic Power Coffee, an herbal supplement promising "increased arousal" and "improved endurance," listed goji berry, horny goat weed and ginseng as its active ingredients. But in 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found an additional element to the sexy brew: hydroxythiohomosildenafil, a chemical similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, as reported by ABC News.
As the FDA noted in a press release on the supplement, the hidden compound "may interact with prescription drugs known as nitrates, including nitroglycerin, and cause dangerously low blood pressure," potentially causing health complications.
Smilin' Bob was the face of Enzyte, though he in no way represented the product's average customer.YouTube screengrab
Originally marketed as a "male enhancement" supplement with Smilin' Bob, an effusively satisfied customer, as its mascot, Enzyte alleged that it could permanently increase the penis size of any man who used it. Later, the product changed its tune and claimed to treat erectile dysfunction.
The pills, of course, didn't work, but Enzyte customers did get a little something extra that they might not have been expecting: additional charges and fees to their credit cards, often without their authorization. In fact, the founder of company that made Enzyte, Steve Warshak, was indicted for conspiracy, money laundering, and mail, wire and bank fraud, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The chemical in this emerald-green beetle has been used since the times of ancient Rome to boost libido.Wikimedia Commons
Considering that meloid beetles use it to make themselves as unappealing to predators as possible, cantharidin, popularly known as Spanish Fly, seems an unlikely candidate as an aphrodisiac.
Although frequently advertised as a means of getting women hot under the collar, cantharidin could actually work to help men get erections. But as noted in this io9 article, it wouldn't be a very pleasant experience for any man who ingested it, given that cantharidin can be a potent toxin that can cause abdominal pain, pulmonary and respiratory issues, renal failure, coma and even death at high enough doses.
Toad poison doesn't equal passion.Corbis Images
When it comes to picking your poison with the hope of boosting libido, toad venom isn't any safer or smarter than beetle toxins.
In 2008, a man in a New York City hospital died two days after consuming an illegal aphrodisiac made from toad venom. The product, a hardened resin that goes by several names such as Love Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock, was supposed to be rubbed on the skin instead of ingested, but officials assert the substance is dangerous no matter how it is used.
Rhino horns have all kinds of bogus medical applications.Corbis Images
The desire to boost libido can come at the cost of entire species. Rhino horns have been a prized aphrodisiac for centuries in some Western cultures. Although not used in traditional Chinese medicine for boosting sexual performance, powdered rhino horn is also believed to be able to treat hangovers and cure cancer.
As a result of medical superstitions surrounding rhino horns, a single kilogram (2.2 pounds) can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, according to Al Jazeera.
Not only is there no evidence that rhino horn, which is primarily calcium and phosphorus, has any medicinal use whatsoever; poachers targeting rhinoceroses have driven these animals to near extinction.
If you see any of these bottles at a corner store or a gas station, avoid them.Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Shady products in slapdash packaging marketed as aphrodisiacs often hide their formulas to prevent scrutiny, claiming their supplement is made of a proprietary blend. Arginine, yohimbe, horny goat weed and other ingredients alleged to boost sexual energy and performance but are generally ineffective are common finds on these labels.
However, what you won't find, but what the FDA uncovered in dozens of cases, is undeclared amounts of prescription drugs like tadalafil, the active ingredient in the FDA-approved prescription drug Cialis, or chemical compounds similar to the main ingredient in Viagra.