According to legend, Aphrodite sprang from the sea on an oyster shell and immediately gave birth to a son. Not surprisingly, seafood, especially oysters, have long had a reputation as aphrodisiacs. The Romans called Aphrodite Venus, and her creation story has inspired much art including the famous 15th century painting "The Birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli.
It's not the diamonds or fancy garb Julia Roberts's character eventually rocks in Pretty Woman that inspire her sexually, although those likely didn't hurt. On her first visit to his hotel, Richard Gere's character orders strawberries and champagne. Despite her "career" choice, it's her first experience with an aphrodisiac experience.
In Chocolat, Juliette Binoche plays a woman whose chocolaterie brings some warmth to a cold village just in time for Lent. Not only is she sinfully gorgeous, but her confections also inspire sexual heat and wake up a sleepy French town. Pure chocolate is known as the king of natural aphrodisiacs, and of course Johnny Depp is a natural aphrodisiac in his own right.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ginny and Hermione are just two of the many female Hogwarts students curious about amortentia, a very strong love potion. It's said to have a different scent for everyone, depending on what you find attractive. For Hermione that means freshly mowed grass, new parchment, and spearmint toothpaste.
As it causes infatuation and obsession, the potion can also be dangerous, as Ron finds out when he accidentally eats some amortentia-laced candies meant for Harry and in the process of having the effects reversed is almost killed.
In one of the earliest episodes of Sex and the City, Charlotte starts dating a guy with quite the downtown reputation as a lover. We watch him chow down on a mixture of fruits including figs — one of the oldest recorded aphrodisiac fruits. It's reported to be Cleopatra's fave. Of course, Charlotte is horrified.
The namesake of the film Spanish Fly is one of the oldest recorded aphrodisiacs. Although you wouldn't expect a greenish beetle to be at all tempting, everyone from Louis XIV to Augustus Caesar had run-ins with this little guy.
Kylie Minogue is one powerhouse of a performer. The inspiration for her recent Aphrodite Les Folies Tour came from the notorious goddess of love. There's no holding back for Minogue; she even springs from the gold shell on stage!
Diane, played by Sandra Bullock, and Paul are two brilliant geeky biochemists who embark on an experiment after they discover an elixir that channels the seduction powers of aphrodisiacs. The creation might be able to force anyone of the opposite sex to instantly fall in love with you. Passionate chaos ensues!
Long before the movie, the rock 'n' roll hit "Love Potion No. 9" was a popular 1960s radio tune. In the song, a man seeks love advice of a gypsy who gives him a potion that works like an aphrodisiac. After he imbibes, he starts "kissing everything in sight."
Sadly, yesterday the song's writer Jerry Leiber passed away. He was a member of the masterful duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote "Love Potion No. 9," as well as some of the best-known songs in rock 'n' roll.