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The use of aphrodisiacs, or food and drinks that are thought to increase sex drive and make sex itself more pleasurable, dates back to as early as the fourth century B.C.E.

In ancient times, aphrodisiacs were used to help increase male and female potency in an age where procreation was everything. Potency and fertility were also directly linked to bountiful, high-yielding land and proper nourishment, thus leading people to eat particular foods that they thought would sustain their fecundity. Many of these foods became aphrodisiacs given their resemblances to, well, certain body parts.

Often, foods like asparagus, oysters, or chocolate have been said to have aphrodisiac qualities, but cultures around the world have long had their own remedies and aids to help them kick the passion up a notch in the bedroom.

One of the most well-known aphrodisiacs is so-called Spanish fly (actually made from a species of beetle), whose use dates back at least to ancient Rome. Head over to Colombia, and you’ll find that a popular wedding gift is leaf cutter ants, which are believed to up the libido and enhance sexual performance when eaten.

From China to Colombia, The Daily Meals looks at cultural aphrodisiacs from around the world that are meant to stimulate action in the bedroom.

  • 1. Balut

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    Balut — a boiled duck egg that contains a duckling embryo — is the Asian version of New York’s dirty water dog. Okay, maybe a dirty water dog is a little less, err, adventurous, but balut is a ubiquitous street food staple found throughout the Philippines and in Vietnam. Balut is considered to be Viagra by men in the Philippines, as it is high in protein and is an energy booster, reportedly stirring sexual desire.

  • 2. Blowfish

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    The variety of blowfish known in Japan as fugu is a potentially dangerous dish if it is not prepared correctly (some portions of the fish are highly toxic); however, when prepared correctly, fugu merely leaves a tingly sensation on diners’ tongues. The risk factor of fugu, combined with its taste and texture, gets blood pumping.   

  • 3. Cobra Blood

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    Cobra blood is probably not most peoples’ cup of tea — unless, that is, they’re looking for something to rev up their sex drive. In China and throughout most of Asia, snake blood is said to help get your blood pumping and get you going.

  • 4. Cow Cod Soup

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    Cow cod soup is the ultimate aphrodisiac in Jamaica. Thought to have originated in Africa, cow cod soup is made with the penis (cod) of a bull — not a cow, obviously — cooked in a broth with bananas and peppers or with carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. It is said to boost men's sex drive.

  • 5. Dog Meat

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    In South Korea, and in several other Asian countries, men believe that dog meat is an aphrodisiac, providing the energy and for an intense night in the bedroom. Koreans believe that the tenderer the meat, the better their night will be.

    See more of the weirdest foods that allegedly get you going.

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