Eating Sexy -- Aphrodisiac Foods For Hot Dinner Dates

By Croydon Hounslow

From the sublime to the downright disgusting, since time immemorial man has believed in the aphrodisiac powers of certain foods. Many scholars deny the existence of such powers, yet the belief still clings, perhaps because the idea of the aphrodisiac meal combines two of humanity's greatest pleasures – eating and sex (although you could be forgiven for doubting the former in light of some of the things served up in the name of seduction over the years). Croydon Hounslow looks at the history of aphrodisiac foods, and hopefully suggests some practical ideas that you can try out on a date.

Aphrodisiac foods have a long history. The word aphrodisiac itself is derived from the name of the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite, goddess of love, fertility and sexual rapture. In olden days, aphrodisiacs were much sought after as promoters of fertility as well as sexual appetite; in light of this perhaps the link between foodstuffs and sex does not seem so tenuous. Sexual appetite and fertility are both linked to nutrition; the better fed a person is, the more likely he or she is to be able to conceive successfully, whilst a malnourished person will be not only less fertile, but less libidinous. It is perhaps hardly surprising then that, in ancient and older modern cultures where malnutrition was common and reproduction imperative for survival, the belief that certain foods were linked to sexual appetite and fertility emerged.

Chief among these aphrodisiacs were foods with a strong symbolism of seed or semen, hence eggs, bulbs, snails etc were favored for their outward resemblance to testicles, but also aniseed, rocket seeds, sage and pistachio nuts were thought to increase male potency.

So far, so tasty (possibly apart from the snails depending on your tastes) and it does become tempting to attribute the association of foods and sex to a simple parallel between corporeal pleasures; namely that food and sex are the things that we find most enjoyable on a basic level, and that people with full bellies are better disposed to look around for other distractions, but wait! We haven't yet delved into the more stomach churning side of aphrodisiac 'foods'! Fancy a stewed sparrow, anyone? How about a spit of roasted skink (a type of lizard)? The powdered rhino horn is very good tonight, sir, or for the traditionalist there's always the perennial favourite – frog saliva! And yet, the list goes on, i the Kama Sutra is to be believed then the acme of sexy cuisine is a ram's or goat's testicle boiled in sweetened milk!

Really, it's enough to make your stomach turn, and there could be few less sexy or appealing ways to spend a date than with your head buried in the toilet bowl bringing up stewed sparrow and ram's 'nads! So here are a few suggestions for supposedly aphrodisiac foods that you might actually like to try on a date:

First up there's the oysters, rumor has it that the aphrodisiac attributes of the oyster are related to its resemblance to the vagina in appearance and flavor. Make of that what you will, but oysters certainly are a sensuous food, slipping and slurping their way down the throat in an appealingly messy fashion.

For the second course you could try a prawn cocktail served in half an avocado. The name avocado comes from the Aztec 'Ahuacuatl' which translates roughly as 'testicle tree' (just don't think of goats!) and prawns and shrimps when cooked and peeled have an obvious phallic connotation. Alternatively, if you don't want to overdo the seafood, you could try a warm asparagus salad garnished with quail eggs in place of this dish, I'm sure I don't need to explain the underlying symbolism there!

For a main course, why not try pasta in a garlic and truffle sauce? The rich, dark aroma and flavor of truffles has strong connects with the earth mother/fertility goddess mythology, and the heat generated by a liberal dose of garlic is supposed to engender a different kind of heat elsewhere in the body. Obviously with garlic heavy recipes it is important to ensure that both parties indulge if the evening is to continue as planned!

And to finish? What else but chocolate? Chocolate contains many substances which directly affect the brain, not least theobromine, which is similar to caffeine (also thought to have aphrodisiac qualities). Sweet and spicy foods also have the effect of making you feel indulgent and pampered, which is the ideal state for seduction. The ideal dessert for your aphrodisiac banquet then would be a rich, dark chocolate and espresso mousse, bittersweet and tangy. Of course, that is assuming that you make it to the dessert stage!

In seriousness, it is highly doubtful that eating a meal like the one described above will have any effect on your sexual prowess and/or fertility, but indulging yourself and your partner can hardly be a bad thing as a prelude to a night of passion. If you seriously want to improve your sex drive through diet, then eat plenty of fish and fresh vegetables and stick to a low alcohol, low cholesterol diet as part of a long term approach.

Bon Appetit!

Croydon J Hounslow works for

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