Food and sex are inextricably linked. Though this comes as no
surprise to anyone who enjoys both, we often lose sight of just how
long these two passions have been coupled. This connection extends
beyond trite mood lighting, Marvin Gaye and good red wine. As far
back as the “Kama Sutra,” written between the first and
fourth centuries A.D., aphrodisiac foods have been thought to
enhance sexual performance. Through the ages and across cultures,
many variations on two basic rules governing aphrodisiac foods have
survived.

Weekend Magazine
While strawberries are a classic aphrodisiac, the “Rule of Rarity” calls for more exotic creations. (Trevor Campbell/Daily)

First, the Law of Similarity states that the shape of a plant or
animal dictates its properties. Shapes of fruits and vegetables,
which are frequently likened to male and female genitalia, are
especially prone to this law. Two roots that resemble the human
body in its entirety, mandrake and ginseng, have long been ascribed
aphrodisiac qualities. Ginseng, in particular, is still revered for
its powers today as one of the best foods to increase an already
healthy sexual appetite. Unfortunately, the Chinese herb loses some
of its efficiency when cooked. If this is a concern, fear not: It
can also be taken in supplement form.

The second guiding rule, the Rule of Rarity, describes the
special status attributed to luxurious goods imported from afar
whose scarcity gave them an exotic allure. It is important to
remember, however, that many foods such as potatoes and avocados
which now seem commonplace were once rarities.

Keeping these rules in mind, start your meal with a little
foreplay; nothing too heavy, nothing too serious. Nuts make a great
preprandial appetizer. The high protein content of nuts accounts
for their invigorating qualities that will help prolong and enhance
sexual activity. Almonds have always been prized in the Near and
Far East, pistachio soup was featured in Arabic erotic manuals and
walnuts were used by the Romans in fertility rites, thrown at
weddings much like rice is today. Pine nuts also possess
aphrodisiac qualities, though their efficacy increases when
prepared in a dish rather than eaten by themselves. The most
effective of these comes from the Chilgoza Pine, which grows in the
Himalayas in a strife-ridden region between Tibet and Afghanistan.
Don’t worry, your sex life doesn’t have to suffer at
the hands of political instability — Mexican pine nuts are
readily available in the United States.

After the initially arousing course, slowly settle into the main
course. Shaft-like vegetables such as carrots, celery and asparagus
are obvious contenders. Be cautious with asparagus, however —
it is said to excite men but have the opposite effect on women.
Vegetables with a voluptuous bulbous shape, including tomatoes,
onions and potatoes, are reminiscent of the female form and adhere
to the Law of Similarity. Eggplants, ground into a paste along with
peppercorns, chives and pimentos, were used as a genital stimulant.
Truffles, the most noted aphrodisiac vegetable, are still prized
according to the Rule of Rarity.

To further stimulate your carnal craving, add some protein to
your shapely, vitamin-rich vegetables. The oyster, with its
incredibly suggestive appearance, is the undisputed king of
aphrodisiacs. Additionally, oysters are low in fat and high in
phosphorous, iodine and zinc, which promote testosterone
production. Also from the sea, shrimp undergo a color
transformation while cooking that renders them pink, plump and
ready to be devoured. If meat seems a more palatable option, beef
has a substantial caloric base and when prepared rare or medium
rare has a lustful look. Goat, rabbit and goose also have
stimulating properties, many of which are tied into ancient
mythology and tradition.

After the electrifying climax of a great meal, don’t let
your lover down when it comes to dessert. Just because you’re
spent doesn’t mean that he or she is. Finish off your … uh
… meal with some fruit. Choose between strawberries whose
unmistakable shape is reminiscent of edible nipples, or sensual
curvy peaches or pears. For something richer, little could be more
satisfying than post-coital chocolate. One of few aphrodisiac foods
whose ingredients have been scientifically proven to stimulate
certain areas of the brain, chocolate remains a steadfast
favorite.

These treats are savory options to spice up any sexual
experience. Bon appétit!

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