Food, Sex and Desire

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 2, 2014 · 0 comments

Since Eve enticed Adam with an apple, food and sex have been erotically entwined. Every culture claims foods endowed with the ability to heighten excitement between the sheets – oysters, chocolate, asparagus, ginseng, avocado, and bananas. Though most scientists scoff at the idea that a food can sexually arose a person, the potency of the any aphrodisiac is in direct proportion to the user’s faith.

Courtesans were always schooled in the foods of love. And the grande dame of them all, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty, gave us the word aphrodisiac, categorizing foods that enhance sexual desire and potency. Do they work? Scientists say “no” because it is impossible to come up with accurate and reproducible data on people. But, scientists deal in facts, and anyone who has ever been in love knows love has little to do with measurable facts.

A few experiments have shed light on the how desire and food is entwined. Certain smells do induce blood flow to the penis – pumpkin pie, lavender, doughnuts and black licorice. Interestingly, when this study was designed, the food smells were initially used as control smells to form a baseline, and they turned out to be among the most provocative. So on Valentine’s Day, a dab of pumpkin pie spice may do more for you than a spray of expensive perfume. For women the turn-on smells were Good & Plenty candy (forget Godiva!) and cucumbers.

So what do we conclude from all this? Maybe the most powerful aphrodisiac is found in our imaginations. But a box of chocolates or a dish of oysters can’t hurt.


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