Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Entomology

pp 2008-2010

Insects as Aphrodisiacs

  • Deirdre A. PrischmannAffiliated withUSDA, Agricultural Research Service

Throughout history, humans have used insects and their products as aphrodisiacs to produce physiological effects, real or imagined. Insects were used in various ways, including entomophagy, external applications of insect preparations, and as symbolic charms. Spanish fly, or the chemical cantharidin produced by meloids, is the most famous insect aphrodisiac, yet many insect species (or their products) in several orders have been used as sexual aids.

People around the world have consumed insects in hopes of curing sexual maladies and influencing their sexuality. Some of the supposed benefits were pleasure enhancement, genital enlargement, increasing attractiveness, love, sexual desire, fertility, semen quantity/quality, penile turgidity and erections, soothing scrotal irritation, and prevention of amenorrhea, groin buboes, male weakness, impotence, nocturnal emissions, and premature ejaculation. Insects in multiple orders were consumed in hopes of attaining these benefits, including: Bla ...

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