Some foods have a racy reputation. Strawberries dipped in chocolate, cinnamon and ginger, oysters… they’re all supposed to get your sexual juices flowing. Whether aphrodisiacs really have physical effects on sexual desire remains up for debate. But it turns out that just believing they do might be enough to set the mood for great sex.
People have believed in the sexual powers of certain foods throughout history – from carrots in ancient Rome, to honey mixed with pepper in India, and plain old potatoes in 17th century Europe. But what about today?
It's not just the food
Enter Dr Linda De Villers, an American sexologist and the author of Simple Sexy FoodTM. Dr De Villers was curious to know what people think about aphrodisiacs in the 21st century. So she tracked down over 2700 Americans aged 18 and older and asked them what foods they thought were aphrodisiacs and what made a meal sensual. Dr De Villers also wanted to know whether men and women think it’s sexy for a partner to be interested in food and enjoy cooking.
When it comes to a sensual meal, food is not the most important element, the participants said. Instead, feelings for their partner and overall ambience go further towards making the dining experience sensual.
See dinner as foreplay!
“What makes a sexy meal is more than the food itself – the whole setting, what you wear, whether you can be playful in the middle,” Dr De Villers explained to Love Matters at the World Association for Sexual Health Congress. “I think going into it with sort of the sexual play mindset – it can be viewed as foreplay.”
Though food may not be the most important part of a sensual meal, clearly no meal is complete without it. In the US, strawberries and champagne topped the list of foods participants believed to have aphrodisiac properties. More than half also said oysters, whipped cream, and chocolate can help set the mood for love.
Cooking: so sexy!
But it’s not that people believe these foods boost sexual desire through actual physical or biochemical effects in the body alone. Around 90 per cent said aphrodisiacs owe their sexy reputations in part or entirely to the psychological power of belief – in other words, if you believe that a food can turn you on, it probably will.
Dr De Villers’ research has found that this just might be true. Say you sit down for a romantic meal with your partner. You dress up for the occasion and dim the lights down low. Believing that whatever you’re eating can have an aphrodisiac effect could bring about very real physical changes in your body – whether it’s champagne and oysters or ginger and ginseng. For example, it could lead to the release of endorphins, which can literally put you in the mood for sex, Dr De Villers explained at the congress.
So it probably comes as no surprise that most of the study’s participants said it was attractive for a partner to be interested in food and enjoy cooking.
Want that meal to be extra sensual? Prepare it together with your sweetheart, or better yet surprise them, Dr De Villers recommended. “What people really are turned on by is a home-cooked meal. Especially if you throw in... the added part of a surprise home-cooked meal!”
Do your hot nights in the bedroom start off in the kitchen? Share your aphrodisiac secrets. Leave a comment below or on Facebook.