Sometimes we all just need a little bit more spice in our love lives. We try new positions, new toys, and even new partners. But we rarely think to try to discover that spice (literally) in a spice. That’s right, several spicy foods are commonly mentioned as aphrodisiacs, because of the effects of the spices they contain. The idea that you can eat something special and suddenly feel more sexual — be more sexual — has appealed to people throughout the ages.
p. Every culture has its own aphrodisiacs — food consumed to get you in the mood or to heighten sexual sensations. Although the diversity of possibilities across cultures and legends is impressive, several patterns are clear in the foods that people have considered sexually beneficial. Foods were either rare and expensive — spices like ginger, anise and coriander — or they resembled a sexual organ.
p. On the phallic side, think ginseng root, carrots, asparagus and rhinoceros horn. Oysters and figs have traditionally been prized for their resemblance to the vagina. Apparently, avocados hanging from a tree in pairs do a pretty mean impression of testicles.
p. Hunting for sexual stimulation in your kitchen is a pretty safe way to experiment with aphrodisiacs. The worst that can happen is that you’ll enjoy a good meal. However, some other marketed aphrodisiacs can be dangerous. Spanish fly (also known as cantharis), a powder literally made from dried, crushed insects, does induce blood flow to the genitals.
p. It does so, however, by poisoning and irritating the urinary tract. According to the Food and Drug Administration, Spanish fly can cause burning of the mouth when swallowed, urinary tract scarring and even death.
p. The FDA hasn’t tested many of the powders and potions claiming to hold the secrets to three-hour intercourse, increased erection size and more powerful orgasms. While there might be some small truths in the chemically created claims, there’s also the danger in swallowing unknown chemical combinations that you purchased at a sketchy gas station. So let’s avoid that route and head back to the kitchen in search of stimulation.
p. Some people consider hot, spicy food to be a turn-on. Chilies and curries can get your blood pumping and your heart rate up, if they are hot enough. Your face flushes, your forehead breaks into a slight sweat, and your lips and tongue tingle. These “symptoms” are pretty similar to someone in the process of enjoying themselves sexually, not just enjoying their meal at an Indian restaurant. The idea is that feeling yourself flushed up, or watching your partner do so across the table, gets you thinking about sex. And frankly, thinking about sex is probably better than most aphrodisiacs — like the carrot suggestion.
p. You’ve probably eaten a very phallic-looking carrot many times in your life and never once had a sexual thought. But, now that you’ve read this column, you might think about that big, long, hard carrot just a little bit differently and suddenly find yourself having sexual thoughts while getting one of your daily servings of vegetables.
p. It’s the process and the surrounding connotations that really create the sexual stimulation in most foods; eating, itself, can be a very sensual act. Why do we like to go out to romantic dinners with our significant others? Because eating and enjoying good food arouses all of your senses. Watching your partner use his hands, lips and tongue might remind you of other places you might enjoy their use. Eat an excellent meal with your partner with this mindset and you’ll be rushing home to have dessert in the bedroom in no time.
p. So, let’s say you want to cook an aphrodisiacal meal for someone? Where would you start? Frankly, it might be more about the presentation than about the food itself. A glass of wine is a good start. Wine is widely considered an aphrodisiac, but drinking wine shouldn’t be confused with getting intoxicated. Being drunk may lower your inhibitions, but it most certainly does not increase you sexual prowess, so drink sensually and sparingly. Continue the meal by eating oysters out of the shells with your tongues, while casually slipping into conversation the oyster’s power as as an aphrodisiac, thereby encouraging your companion to associate your meal with sex.
p. For the main course, try something spicy, and perhaps mention in the conversation how your lips are tingling. Follow by starting dessert with raspberries or strawberries, which, if you think about it, look like little nipples. End the meal with a little bit of rich, dark chocolate and some good coffee. They’re both on the aphrodisiac list and the coffee might come in handy in case your after-dinner plans stretch late into the night.
p. __Kate Prengaman is the Flat Hat Sex columnist. She hopes you’ll never look at a carrot in the same way again.__