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An anaphrodisiac is a substance which dulls a person’s libido. The term comes from a combination of the Greek negative prefix and the name Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
An anaphrodisiac is the opposite of an aphrodisiac, a substance which boosts the libido.
An anaphrodisiac is sometimes called an antaphrodisiac or and antiaphrodisiac.
Natural anaphrodisiacs have been used throughout history to control sexual urges. The stems and leaves of the Vitex of Chaste Tree were a common anaphrodisiac in ancient times.
Saltpeter, or potassium nitrate, was reportedly put in the coffee of American soldiers during World War II to reduce their libidos. It was also given to people in the Polish military, prisons, and mental hospitals. Potassium bromide was added to the food of Russian soldiers for the same reason.
A variety of common food stuffs including soy, mint, cilantro, and tomatoes are also said to be anaphrodisiacs.
While natural anaphrodisiacs haven’t been very successful, modern methods can effectively treat habitual sex offenders. Estrogens and anti-androgen drugs are commonly prescribed to these criminals, but they contain a host of undesirable side effects which make them unsuitable for many members of the public. The power of this "chemical castration" is supported by strong evidence, which shows these drugs cut the rate of repeat offending from 40 percent to 5 percent. However, critics of the drugs suggest that they are only a short-term solution, as the sexual urges often re-commence strongly after offenders stop taking the medications.
A variety of medications, including pain-reducing opioids and antidepressants, also have anaphroditic side effects. Alcohol, tobacco, and fatty foods can also act as anaphrodisiacs, although this is typically an unintentional consequence of using these products.