Spanish Fly: Friend or Foe?

This article is about the Spanish fly, world’s largest natural supplier of an ‘aphrodisiac’ which has been used over the years to supposedly boost sexual urge.

It dates back to ancient times when man started exploring different approaches to a healthier and more active sexual life.

Aphrodisiac. Or Not?

Named after Aphrodite — the Greek goddess of love, aphrodisiacs are meant to increase sexual urge (libido) in users, for a length of time. Dating back to the years of early medicine when science was at its babyhood, their use have been largely employed when discoveries were made about their potency in sexual enhancement. Spanish fly is the most widely-known (and most toxic, mind you) of all known aphrodisiacs. It’s also the longest-serving member of the aphrodisiac group of substances.

Spanish fly is a potent ‘aphrodisiac’ used in ancient times for a number of medical conditions (dropsy, pile, ulcer, rabies). It was not until the early ages that the aphrodisiac properties of Spanish fly became explored.

It was fabled to be effective in seducing women into sex: “you wanna get that chick huh? Slip a drop or two into her drink and she’ll be all over you!” (LOL, in your dreams) However, the Spanish fly is in fact real and does work on men, making them hot — physically, that is — and most likely kill them. The active substance in this ‘aphrodisiac’ is cantharidin, a highly powerful substance on the same level with strychnine and highly toxic if ingested in large amounts.

Definitely not a great way to die, aye?

Origin of “Spanish Fly”

Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish fly is not the aphrodisiac itself, it’s the fly that produces the cantharidin. It is gotten from a shiny-green beetle (Lytta vesicatoria) which belongs to the insect family Meloidae, commonly known as “blister beetles”.

Introducing, Spanish Fly Original!

Funny enough, the Spanish fly’s name bears no relation to Spain nor is it a fly. It’s actually a Southern European beetle famous for producing small but highly toxic amounts of cantharidin for two purposes: protection against predators and also during mating. The male produces significantly more quantities of cantharidin than the female.

Lethal Weapon

Combined with its hard exoskeleton, the Spanish fly uses the substance it produces to form a highly efficient attack-defence system.

Cantharidin is a highly toxic vesicant (blistering agent) causing formation of severe blisters on the soft parts of the skin when one comes in direct contact with it (cantharidin) or the beetle’s body — now you know why they’re called “blister beetles”. However, the blisters are virtually painless and disappear after some time.

Nothing But Mimicry

It was ingested by men and women alike, in ancient times, to produce an “aphrodisiac” effect. Yeah, not really one.


This is because it works by producing an increased blood flow to the genitals so as to heighten sensitivity of the genitals, resulting in a supposed higher sexual performance and enjoyment.

Not your typical aphrodisiac, huh?

It was mostly used by men to achieve a faster and long-lasting erection through the above process and also irritation of the urethra.