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Flashback Friday: Yes, Virginia, There Is an Aphrodisiac That Really Works!

May 3, 2013

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(From The 1996 Old Farmer’s Almanac)

The 1996 Old Farmer’s Almanac saw the millennium right around the corner and began its coverage early with a special section that included tips on how to celebrate and warnings about the coming Y2K problem. (Remember that?!?!) It also featured articles on the intelligence of cats and dogs when pitted against humans (in a weird twist, mice won) and the Eastern seaboard heat wave of 1936 that caused dentures to melt!

And then there was the article about sex—a subject the Almanac delves into every once and again. More to the point, it was about how to feel more, shall we say, amorous. Enjoy this not-so-erotic excerpt from “Yes, Virginia, There Is an Aphrodisiac That Really Works” by Christina Schultz (who went on to write The Old Farmer’s Almanac Book of Love!).

“It is a delicate matter—one, perhaps, you’d rather not discuss. We all get tired, all find ourselves now and then lacking the excitement we once did upon preparing for bed. Face it: You could use a little help, a little stimulation.

“Suppose you had just what the doctor ordered—a dose of bear gallbladder, a dusting of Spanish fly—that would result in the erotic experience of your life? Would you give $20,000 for an ounce of potent love potion? Would you descend into a cave of tarantulas and snakes and bird guano for an absolutely amazing aphrodisiac? Would you risk disease? Death? Be honest. You might.

“You are not alone. People from the most ordinary of places have tried the most bizarre of stimulants: powder from the horns of rhinos, ground heel bones from the Austrian Alpine ibex, snake bile laced with kaolin, bat blood mixed with whiskey. And, wait, there’s more! Crocodile dung. Shark fin soup. Turtle eggs. Siberian tiger penises. Deer penises steeped in rice wine with wolfberries (makes you drool, doesn’t it?).

“You get the idea: the more exotic, the more erotic. If it’s hard to get, it must be good.

“And if it’s good, it must cost lots. You want a pair of Alaskan walrus tusks? That’ll cost you $8,000. An ounce of bear gallbladder? Hand over $10,000. A rhino horn? Twenty thousand. On the cheap end, we can get you a little Chattanooga beluga—that bluish-gray caviar from freshwater paddlefish—for $500 a pound. After you’ve spent enough dough, you’ll be sure to stay awake to get your money’s worth. Whatever happens, you’re bound to find it memorable.”

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Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade and, every spring, thinks about starting a garden. When she isn't enjoying the outdoors (and pondering just where to plant that garden), she can often be found in the kitchen testing out new recipes. She lives in a Pacific Northwest forest on the Puget Sound with Thor and Olive, two English bulldogs who would like to taste test her cooking creations far more often than they are allowed. 

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