“Horny Sodas” Are Quickly Becoming Nature’s Trendiest Aphrodisiac
A new wave of adaptogenic hydration is hitting the market, boasting holistic, libido-boosting effects
There I was lying in bed one night, doomscrolling my brain into a warm paste, when I came upon an ad for VYBES — “functional beverages to improve mind and body well-being.” A short time later, I woke up to an email pitching Free Rain, “the first and only sparkling water to nourish libido, enhance sexual energy, and support hormonal balance. Naturally.”
I’m not typically one for a complicated soda; the cool burn of a simple Diet Coke generally keeps any lust for bubbles at bay. Horny sodas, on the other hand, couldn’t help but pique my curiosity. These drinks infused with herbs, adaptogens and nootropics fashion themselves as something of a mood-lifting, libido-boosting pre-coital soda, and they’re hitting the market hard. To get a feel for this budding scene, I spoke with some of the creators of horny sodas and drank a hell of a lot of them in the process.
Think of these adaptogenic drinks as the holistic sequel to the CBD craze: elixirs designed to enhance your body and mind without any unintended side effects — supposedly, anyway. Free Rain was founded by entrepreneur, athlete, and outdoor enthusiast Colin McCabe as a means to deliver “delicious, convenient and functionally beneficial beverages” to those wanting more out of life, or at least more out of their canned liquid refreshment.
Free Rain’s in-house herbalist Rachelle Robinett, a Registered Herbalist and Founder of Supernatural, points to humanity’s long history of putting plants and herbs to medicinal use as the inspiration behind the burgeoning adaptogenic beverage trend.
“Historically and globally, relying on plants for food, medicine, community, rituals and more was the norm,” says Robinett. That said, not all herbs are created equal. “The biggest point of clarification that I’ve been making for years — and anticipate I’ll be making for many more years to come — is that ‘adaptogens’ is not a synonym for ‘herbs,’” she explains. “There are tens of thousands of medicinal plants in the world, and we’re discovering about two thousand more every year.”
The plants Robinett refers to include herbs of all kinds — medicinal, culinary, aromatic and ornamental — though in herbalism it is not uncommon to refer to shells, bones, fungi and certain animal parts as herbs as well. Beneath that massive herbal umbrella is a smaller category of medicinal plants called adaptogens. These substances, which get their name from their ability to theoretically ‘adapt’ to what your body needs, are thought to help protect against stress and, in some cases, hack your sex life.
That’s where Free Rain’s purportedly libido-boosting drink comes in. The brand’s Arousal beverage contains 500 mg of maca extract in a blend of grapefruit, lemon and orange juices, bourbon vanilla extract, cinnamon and basil.
“Maca is an herb that works right away,” says Robinett. “It’s considered highly nutritious, invigorating, hormone-balancing and has long been used as an aphrodisiac. It can help to increase testosterone in some cases, and to normalize our endocrine system, which is a sort of master-regulator for all of the body’s hormones including sex hormones, stress hormones and sleep hormones. There’s no central nervous system stimulation like you get from coffee, so it’s more of a calm, feel-good energy. The best word for the sensation really is arousal.”
Free Rain sent me something like a dozen cans of Arousal and I gotta say, despite my general distaste for most citrus, I liked it. Did it get me excited without the “central nervous system stimulation” you get from coffee? Honestly, it did. Could I guarantee that particular twinge of excitement came courtesy of a canned beverage as opposed to my smoking hot wife? I can’t say for sure, but I’d like to think it was a little bit of both.
“I think we’re only in the infancy stages of this trend, which is really a trend towards the acceptance of and openness to the health powers of plants,” says Jonathan Eppers, CEO and Founder of VYBES, a brand that claims to “address the physical and mental toll that living in a fast-paced world full of noise, distraction and uncertainty takes on our wellbeing,” supposedly quelling the symptoms of modern-day existence with a mixture of ingredients like ashwaghanda, l-theanine, elderberry, zinc and more — all of which are purportedly formulated to stimulate mood, focus, immunity and vitality.
While the adaptogen trend may be on the rise at the moment, these substances are nothing new. Adaptogens have been part of Eastern medicine for thousands of years, “because they work,” says Eppers. “Adaptogenic beverages are taking off right now because it’s been a tough time for many people, and now they’re ready to prioritize their mental and physical wellbeing.” Essentially, industry leaders like Eppers want consumers to approach adaptogenic drinks like pre-workout for mental health, which for many people goes hand-in-hand with their sex lives.
“We want consumers to drink a VYBES before meditating, doing breathwork, reading a book, or anything else they do to relax and unwind,” says Eppers. “Our new elixir also includes red ginseng — a natural aphrodisiac — so yeah, [it’ll] improve your your sex life.”
Will an adaptogenic soda turn you into an unstoppable sex god? Probably not. But can it help you relax, unwind and get in the mood with a little extra kick for your libido? Possibly. Meanwhile, unlike nature’s other beverage-based aphrodisiac, a pre-coital soda won’t impair your judgment, motor skills or ability to keep your dick up. What more could you ask of a can of horny herb water?
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