Does food add to your freaky fun?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Licking cream off a belly

Lulu Wei

Oysters, chocolate, strawberries and champagne " can these foods get you in the right mood?

There is definitely a link between certain foods and heightened states of sexual arousal, says Libido owner Kelly Garland.

“What’s broken down in the body... affects the body in different ways,” she says.

In her Talbot Street sex emporium, Garland sells chocolates, which she says are aphrodisiacs, as well as scents, creams and an aphrodisiac cook book " products always in high demand.

“With lots of stress, libido is the first thing to be minimized,” Garland says, noting customers are eager to reverse the trend.

But is there science behind this?

“There is no such thing as an aphrodisiac,” says Dr. Guy Grenier, a psychology professor at Western.

Certain foods are attributed with aphrodisiac powers because of resemblance to genitalia, Grenier says. For example, tomatoes and eggs resemble testicles and oysters resemble labia.

“Anything long and hard is said to be imbued with sexual power,” he says, citing carrots and asparagus as examples.

“There’s nothing to [this],” Grenier says. “Wish there were!”

Grenier says sexual arousal requires the orchestration of numerous systems " circulatory, perceptual, cultural, etc. No drug will tap into all these systems in the right way for all people.

However, that doesn’t mean certain foods can’t make us more relaxed. Since anxiety affects sexual performance, food can improve sexual experiences " but only in limited quantities.

“As soon as you have more than a drink or two, it starts to get in the way of sexual arousal,” Grenier says. “Women are less likely to orgasm and men will have a harder time holding an erection.”

He says some forms of dark chocolate contain phenylehthylamine, a substance occurring naturally in the body and connected with increased activity and a feeling of euphoria.

“[These foods] don’t make us more aroused; they can make us more likely to enjoy the sexual arousal we have,” Grenier says.

Despite having little more than placebo effectiveness, aphrodisiacs are always in demand.

“Every couple of years someone comes up with something,” Grenier says, adding the latest hot item is a piece of plastic tape with perfume on it said to be pheromones.

But some remain convinced.

“Guinness that is sold in the Caribbean [works], as does Curve cologne,” says Matthew Diedrick, a fourth-year international and comparative studies student at Huron University College.

But the best aphrodisiac according to Diedrick? Foreplay.

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