When people think about food and sex, they tend to go down limited avenues of thought. There’s Aphrodisiac Avenue, where certain foods are attributed magical powers. Then there’s Kinky Crescent, where the only involvement edible substances associated with sexuality are as underwear and chocolate body paint. There’s also what I refer to as Top Gun Road, where mentions of food and sex in the same sentence immediately evokes images of that scene from Top Gun – or if you prefer humour, the equivalent scene from Hot Shots.
Aphrodisiacs, quite simply, don’t exist – at least, not in the manner that popular culture would have us believe. Medicines that increase the libido are referred to as aphrodisiacs, certainly, but there is not a single foodstuff in the entire of history that has any scientific support for its status as something to get you laid. That rumour you heard about oysters being sexy food because they resemble female genitalia? Not only an exceptionally weird concept, but entirely untrue.
The relegation of food’s involvement in sexuality to purely the level of a kinky toy perpetuates a negative perception of sex in same way that abstinence-based sex education does, and just about anything else that sustains the perception of sex as a taboo subject.
Don’t mistake me – I thoroughly encourage you to have a bit of fun with bras made from candy, or by spreading chocolate sauce all over your partner’s genitals. But don’t think food and sex has to be ‘naughty’; and if you’re the sort of person who thinks that sex shouldn’t be sticky and punctuated by giggles, then it’s probably not for you. I if you are going to try it, I suggest white chocolate yoghurts; they can be real good fun.
The trouble with trying to make food and sex go together in some kind of fetishized way, as the Top Gun scene is terribly guilty of too, is that it takes food out of the context of, well, food, and tries to crowbar it into the context of sex as seen my popular culture – that is, not a very positive context.
What people should pay more attention to is the simple sexiness of a bloody good meal. There’s a reason that we refer to it as a sexual ‘appetite’, and why the way to a man’s heart (or woman’s, really) is through the stomach.
When I invited two beautiful ladies over to join me in sharing a meal prepared for us by one of my chef friends, we didn’t need a reputed aphrodisiac; we didn’t need to make the food into some kind of pleasure aid; we didn’t even need to put on a big spread with candles and romantic music. We just sat in my student hovel, shared a delicious meal together, and the foursome happened all by itself.
Originally published under the title ‘Food, Sex and Lies’ in The Skinny, Jan 2012: http://www.theskinny.co.uk/food/features/300870-food_sex_lies.
Published 18 January 2012 at 2:12 pm