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Food Can Be Sexy

Dear Dating Doctor:

I am a lover of all types of foods. Is there any truth that certain foods act as aphrodisiacs, or is it all a bunch of bull?

- Food for Thought

Dear Food Lover

By definition, an aphrodisiac is "an agent that arouses sexual desire." Is it a bunch of bull that certain foods can posses these qualities. Absolutely not.

For many people, food can be very sexy. While dining, people talk, laugh, commune, relax, flirt, nourish their bodies and focus intently on one another. Whatever makes us healthier may take on qualities of an aphrodisiac, as it will help us get in better condition and possibly improve our performance and endurance.

Foods can be classified as an aphrodisiac within several categories: foods that look or appear stimulating; foods that cause chemical or hormonal changes within the body; and foods that have a psychological impact.

According to the book, Love Potions, before scientific methods existed, the visual logic of the Law of Similarity reigned. This dictated that foods that bear anatomical likeness were the best erotic stimulants. Avocados, bananas, carrots, sausages, cucumbers, mushrooms, ears of corn and the most exalted of all, oysters, found a home in this category. Looks however can be deceiving.

In the Physiology of Taste, it states that certain foods definitely have a physiological role in human desire. A sexually dynamic body requires a diet rich in fresh, varied fruits and vegetables and lean animal protein. However, due to the excessive processing required today, certain foods may be nutritionally deficient.

Some foods do have a direct impact upon the body. Bananas are rich in potassium, which is essential for the function of nerves and muscles. The lust-provoking ability of raw oysters is linked to the high levels of zinc and complex sugars and proteins that help to produce testosterone, a male sex hormone. Chocolate, possibly the most sensual food, not only has energy-boosting sugar and caffeine, but also contains amino acids, which increase the brain's levels of its own natural aphrodisiac.

Psychologically, the aroma, texture and taste of certain foods can be sexually stimulating. The preparation, location and amenities which surround a meal (flowers, music, exotic foods) all enhance the mood of food, not to mention the feelings between the two people who are doing the consuming.

Are certain foods aphrodisiacs? Yes. But I personally believe that if an interpersonal chemistry doesn't exist between two people, you can eat a truckload of raw oysters dipped in chocolate, in a romantic cafe, while listening to Harry Connick Jr. and still yawn and head to bed (sleep, that is).

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