Watching television chef Nigella Lawson lick sauce off her fingers is confirmation that putting stuff in your mouth is a sensual experience.
"Aphrodisiac food is 99 percent psychological rather than physiological," says nutrition medico Dr John Tickell, who also appears on television's The Biggest Loser. "If I was sitting next to Jennifer Hawkins, a pie and sauce would be sexy."
"There is very little scientific work to back up the idea of food enhancing sex drives," says nutritionist Catherine Saxelby. "The best anyone can come up with is that oysters, with their high zinc content, are aphrodisiacs. Zinc is an important nutrient for men's prostate glands and the sexual maturation of boys, so it makes sense."
But if erotic is a mindset rather than a diet, surely there are some foods that can put you in the mood? "Yes. The key is to choose foods that create mood," Saxelby says.
SEXY MOOD EQUALS SEXY FOOD
Avocadoes' silky texture and caviar's decadent salty burst of flavour are two foods that could inspire the right feelings for bedroom action.
"We all think champagne is a bit of an aphrodisiac, but I think it's the luxury of champagne that makes it seem sexy. While alcohol will relax you and free you from inhibitions, it can also cause brewer's droop. It's the feeling surrounding the alcohol that's important and it's more important to drink in moderation if you want to do some research in the field," Saxelby says.
Strawberries and lush tropical fruits may also create a carefree, luxury mood.
Devising a list of foods that conjure the same emotions and feelings you wish to experience between the sheets could be the way to create your own private list of aphrodisiac foodstuffs.
In ancient Roman days, foods that symbolised life (eggs, for example) were considered aphrodisiac, as were foods that somehow resembled genitalia (banana, anyone?) It's all about discovering what gets you going.
EAT YOUR MEAT: NUTRITION COUNTS
A well-nourished body is one that can perform well when the clothes are off and the sheets thrown around in wild abandon.
"Poor nutrition won't help anyone's sex drive," says Tickell, who advocates a near-vegetarian diet for maximum health and longevity.
Saxelby suggests food rich in zinc the element that ensures the human body's sense of taste and smell remains intact would be one way to ensure good nutrition. "Red meats are packed with zinc," she says, especially foods like calf's liver, steak, corned beef and bony meats like oxtail. "Wholegrains and nuts are good, but it will depend where they are grown as to how much zinc they have in them." As zinc is a trace element, plant foods need to grow in zinc-rich soil to ensure they retain their nutrients.
"There's also research that suggests foods rich in the E and B vitamins may be of benefit."
A low-fat diet combined with eating a wide variety of vegetables with every meal would be enough to make sure most nutritional needs are met.
SPICE AND AROMA
Food that stimulates more than just the tastebuds could be a powerful way to switch on the human body.
"Spicy, aromatic foods are supposed to pack a punch," says Tickell. Fragrant curries made with tangy spices like kaffir lime, coriander, chilli and garlic will stimulate the sense of smell as well as taste.
"If that fails, there's always the natural alternative to Viagra a herb called tribulis, which is said to stimulate the sex organs."