Red hearts on a white plate

Make Your Valentine’s Day Dinner Sexy!

A hot night starts with a seductive dinner—so in today’s post, I’m serving up a three-course meal of aphrodisiacs. With this menu, a bottle of wine, and a little black nightie, you’ll be ready to light your lover’s fire.

Are you setting the stage for a Valentine’s Day seduction? Then start with the basics: Candles in crystal holders. Soft music. A sexy red dress—and a black negligee hiding in the bedroom drawer. After that, turn your attention to the next and most important detail: your menu! After all, what’s Valentine’s Day without a romantic dinner? And to make sure that dinner leads to a steamy night, center it around aphrodisiacs that will spice up more than just your meal. Here are some sexy menu ideas.

Setting the Stage: Arousing Appetizers

In the appetizer round, my first choice has to be a classic: oysters. No food is more legendary as an aphrodisiac—and could that many generations of lovers be wrong? Besides, there’s some hard science behind that reputation. Oysters are loaded with zinc, which is associated with male potency. They also contain two compounds—D-aspartic acid and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate)—that may help to release sex hormones. Need a recipe? Here’s an easy one from my friend Mark Sisson. Don’t like oysters?

Watermelon contains the nutrient citrulline, which has Viagra-like effects. Jalapeños, in addition to revving up circulation, can stimulate nerve endings. And here’s another idea: a spicy crab papaya salad. This combines the zing of jalapeños with the sweetness of papaya, which is rumored to increase female libido. No matter which appetizer you choose, uncork the wine at this stage. Because… well, really. Do I need to tell you that wine is an aphrodisiac?

Turning Up the Heat: Sultry Main Dishes

For your main course, here’s an idea: Go Mediterranean. One great choice is lamb—an elegant entree with a long reputation as an aphrodisiac. Rumor has it that in the Middle East, it’s the dinner of choice for getting bridegrooms ready for their wedding nights. And like oysters, it’s loaded with that “sexy” mineral zinc. Here’s a super-easy, super-sexy recipe—or, if you have more time, here’s a Greek-inspired leg of lamb. Prefer seafood? Then try scallops, another Mediterranean favorite with the same sexy properties as oysters.

Here’s a recipe that goes from pan to plate in minutes. (You’ll have just enough time to pop open some champagne!) Either lamb or seafood pairs beautifully with a casual Mediterranean salad of tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and vinaigrette. How sexy is this simple salad? Well, women used to dust themselves with powdered basil so the scent would attract their lovers.

And back in the second century, the physician Galen recommended eating pine nuts with honey and almonds to enhance lovemaking. While we’re on a Mediterranean theme, here’s a side dish with a kick: Sardinian saffron-smothered cauliflower. Queen Cleopatra bathed in saffron-infused water before making whoopee—and who would know more about seduction than her? On the scientific side, saffron appears to have mild Viagra-like effects.

Lighting the Fire: Sensual Desserts

Here, you have plenty of sexy choices. There’s chocolate, of course. (I’ll talk more about that in my next post.) Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which causes your body to release the feel-good chemical dopamine. And how fabulous are these healthy low-carb chocolate nut truffles? But chocolate isn’t your only romantic choice.  Bananas contain bromelain, believed to boost testosterone (and you can’t go wrong with this take on bananas Foster). Honey and figs are legendary aphrodisiacs too, and they pair beautifully in a recipe like this.

And finally…

With your dessert, have a little coffee. Research suggests that a quick dose of java puts women “in the mood.” Besides, it’ll clear your head after all that wine… so you’ll be able to remember where you tucked away that black negligee.

Keep thinking big and living bold!