Many foods are legendary aphrodisiacs, reputed to stimulate sexual desire and performance.
Foods with suggestive shapes, like the sturdy asparagus stalk, provide a not-so-subtle reminder to the diner of what’s on the menu after (or for) dessert.
And many scholars believe that the Forbidden Fruit which tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple, but the voluptuous, juicy fig.
Ironically, fig leaves provided a degree of modesty for the fallen couple as they headed to the exit of Eden. Aphrodisiacs have consequences!
But are they real? The buzz-killers at the FDA say there’s no such thing as aphrodisiacs, but plenty of scientists beg to differ. Modern research suggests that nutritional components in these foods might, in fact, enhance the sexual experience.
For centuries people have fermented honey to make mead. The term “honeymoon” comes from an ancient Persian practice, where a newly married couple would drink mead every day for a month (“honey month”) to promote a fruitful marriage.
The heady brew undoubtedly loosened inhibitions, but as scientists now know, honey is also rich in B vitamins (necessary for testosterone production) and boron (aids in metabolizing estrogen).
Oysters are a classic aphrodisiac – the briny taste, the succulent texture! They also happen to be full of zinc, which aids in testosterone production and, hence, sex drive.
Bananas are such an obvious phallic symbol that they are a common prop for sex ed teachers to demonstrate how to use condoms. No wonder they’re considered aphrodisiacal! But bananas also contain load of potassium, which strengthens muscles, which might help in performance quality.
Chocolate, that Valentine’s Day tradition, has a long, ancient reputation as aphrodisiac. According to legend, Montezuma would drink dozens of goblets of chocotl every day to enhance his performance.
When explorers returned to Europe bringing chocolate from the New World, the delectable treat was banned in some monasteries because it was too decadent.
Montezuma and the monks may have been right to regard chocolate with such awe – chocolate contains the stimulant phenylethylamine, which can boost a sense of excitement, as well as a mild sedative that relaxes inhibitions. Plus, it tastes sooooo good!
Still, many might scoff that ‘aphrodisiacs’ are all just delicious, rare, and/or costly foods. Never mind the potassium and phenylethylamine – who wouldn’t be more susceptible to seduction after quaffing champagne and savoring banana chunks dipped into chocolate fondue?
Yet consider the lowly carrot – despite an obvious phallic shape, carrots don’t have a reputation as a sexy food. But they are packed with health-promoting beta carotene, which may be why the ancient Greeks and Arabs concocted carrot-based beverages to increase sex drive.
Think of that, while you dutifully nibble on your Weight Watcher’s-approved snack of carrot sticks.
Or don’t. Sometimes just the act of eating with gusto – heartily and joyously – can be an aphrodisiac, no matter what kind of food it is.
Savor, without guilt or calorie consumption, the wordless, mutual, seduction in the famous dining scene from Tom Jones (1963) Bon appetit!
A is also for ARLEE BIRD — Many thanks, Lee, for creating the A to Z Blog Challenge!