Latest happenings from my blog
which I received from the hand
Of the most charming,
Which she had plucked herself
from a branch
That was as supple as her own body.
And sweet it was
to place my hand upon it
As though it was the breast
of the one who gave it.
Pure was the fragrance of the apple,
Like the breath of the giver.
One could see
the color of her cheek on it,
And I thought I was tasting her lips
When I began to eat the apple.
This 9th century Arabic poem shows how any food can be an aphrodisiac. For me, it’s not so much about the actual food being consumed, as it is about the person I am eating it with and the energy between us.
Linda De Villers, PhD is a sex therapist and a foodie. She combines her expertise in both arenas in her new book Simple Sexy Food: 101 Tasty Aphrodisiac Recipes and Sensual Tips to Stir Your Libido and Feed Your Love (whew, that’s a long title!). Linda’s definition of an aphrodisiac is “any food or drink that contributes to sexual intimacy either through increasing arousal, excitement, playfulness, or enjoyment.”
The first section traces the history of many common foods and their supposed link to sex. Did you know, for instance, that the ancient Greek physician Galen believed olive oil to be such a powerful aphrodisiac that he warned that women who ingested it would abandon their homes in search of sexual satisfaction? (So they had physicians spouting ridiculous claims about women’s sexuality even back in ancient times huh?)
Truth be told, I am not a whiz in the kitchen, so I was relieved to see that the recipes were fairly straight-forward. Reading the first section about the sexual lore of each food definitely got me in the frame of mind where I was excited to get in the kitchen and whip up a recipe or two.
As I stated earlier, and as the poem above illustrates, even a simple apple can be an instrument of arousal. The key is sensuality. Notice in the poem how the writer mentions the look, scent, taste, and feel of the fruit? And also how the writer is present to what is happening in front him? He is in the moment, relaxed, taking it all in, and leaning in to the pleasure.
So whether you are eating Pepper Steak with Cognac or a PB&J, it can be as sexy of an experience as you want it to be.
Another wise and wonderful TED talk from Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity:
- How do you want something you already have?
- When you’re in love, how does it feel? And when you desire, how is that different?
- A crisis of desire is a crisis of imagination.
- Sex is not something you do, it’s a place you go — a space you enter.
- Animals have sex. We are the only ones who have an erotic life.
I watched When Harry Met Sally last weekend for the umpteenth time — So many great scenes and memorable quotes, i.e. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
And now it seems a study has proved Harry was on to something when he said “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” It also shows that he was right about a few other things:
- Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa
- Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them
- Men were more willing to act on this mistakenly perceived mutual attraction.
- Although men were equally as likely to desire “romantic dates” with “taken” friends as with single ones, women were sensitive to their male friends’ relationship status and uninterested in pursuing those who were already involved with someone else.
The fact is, anxiety about being sexually normal creates emotional isolation. That’s why many people are at their loneliest when they’re making love.
For most people, emotional isolation kills genuine sexual desire and pleasure.
Focusing on “normal” sexuality makes sex an enterprise with stakes that are too high. At any moment, our preferences, fantasies, or inhibitions can expose us as unacceptable–to ourselves or to our partner. Being “normal” (in other words, not abnormal) becomes more important than feeling pleasure or closeness. Fearing judgment, we don’t do the things we’d do if we didn’t fear being judged (for example, a man asking to have his nipples pulled). And we do things we otherwise wouldn’t (such as intercourse when we’re not ready) if we didn’t imagine that that’s what normal people do.
So our yearning to be sexually normal, combined with our anxiety that we aren’t, leads us to keep sexual secrets from our partner. Being authentic appears to involve just too much of a gamble.
Neither pleasure nor intimacy can flourish in such an environment.
– Marty Klein’s “Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want From Sex and How to Get It