Ensuring the survival of our species, the quest for food and sex are the most basic human drives. The search for amatory bliss, and the hunt for substances that provide it, are as old as the dawn of civilization. Let's face it, we all want better sex lives.
Lucky for us modern Homo sapiens, we don't have to hunt and forage for aphrodisiacs. Nowadays, sexual stimulation is as close as your pantry or supermarket.
In fact, you've probably eaten aphrodisiacs today. Did you have coffee with a doughnut this morning? A bowl of minestrone with garlic bread for lunch? Perhaps you snacked on a handful of nuts during work or ate chocolate for dessert.
Congratulations, you've consumed aphrodisiacs! See, wasn't that easy? Think of all the fun you could have bad if you only knew.
Consider Temptations your personal aphrodisiac owner's manual: a culinary road map to romance, love, and lust.
In Temptations we'll tell you exactly what foods can turn you and your lover on and bow to shift your libido into high gear; and we'll give you ways to revitalize your body with foods that will make you fit for life -- especially your sex life.
We'll show you bow to identify aphrodisiacs that are scientifically proven and guide you in creating delicious aphrodisiac-laced meals quickly, simply, and easily, so that you have plenty of time and energy for dessert. (Dessert is you!) We have also included foods that are historically purported to enhance sexual performance but have not yet been put through rigorous scientific evaluation. Of course we have put them through our own rigorous and energetic evaluation process.
Hey, someone has to do it.
Cooking and eating are like making love. The same senses -- smell, sight, taste, hearing, and touch -- play key roles in the kitchen and in passion play. Just by cooking a good meal, you are engaging in an erotic act. And unlike shopping in a sex boutique, which can be embarrassing ("Do you have those edible undies in a size 18?") no one needs to know exactly what your plans are for those pine nuts or oysters. What's more, aphrodisiacs and sex are actually good for you. We will reveal the superior nutrients in aphrodisiacs that ward off heart disease, cancer, PMS, and a wide variety of other ailments. Lovemaking itself is a form of healing that is promoted by everyone from Marvin Gaye to heart doc Dean Ornish. Many scientific studies have shown that sex enhances and heals relationships while promoting wellness. New research by Drs. Francis X. Brennan, Jr., and Carl J. Charnetski of Wilkes University suggests that a moderate amount of sexual activity strengthens the body's immune system and fights colds, flu, and other diseases. So it stands to reason that anything that promotes lovemaking can have beneficial effects on your well-being.
Now it's official: Aphrodisiacs are good for your health, too!
From the Dawn of Time to Today
Aphrodisiacs have been part of human existence and the human diet since the beginning of recorded time. African hunters devoured raw lion organs. The Romans preferred wild wolf penis and crocodile semen, and the Egyptians, poisonous serpents. To assure virility on their wedding night, Prussian bridegrooms ate the testicles of wild goat, boar, or bear. Today, tiger penis and rhino horn are still sought-after aphrodisiacs in China. The greatest lovers and most passionate writers throughout history -- from Aristotle and Pliny to Shakespeare and Casanova -- have seized the power of aphrodisiacs. Leave it to the Bard, who warned in Macbeth that alcohol "provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance," to write the perfect example of how aphrodisiacs, if used properly, can enhance pleasure or, used improperly, can fall flat.
It's no coincidence that in modern America, where home-cooked meals are an afterthought, we have one of the highest divorce rates (about 50 percent) of any developed country. In France, the divorce rate is noticeably lower than America's, romance is a way of life, aphrodisiacs grace the plate, and bad food is taboo. Are you starting to see a connection here? Every meal is an occasion to celebrate sensuality and toast love, romance, family, and life. Good food served on a bed of romance leads to a happy, healthy, long, loving, sexually satisfying life.
From Beefcake to Cheesecake
Food and sex are intimately entwined in our bodies and minds. Even our language associates food with sex. Just consider the culinary-charged terms used in the game of sexual pursuit -- beefcake, cheesecake, honey, sweetie pie, sugar britches, sugar daddy, buns, sausage, melons, meat, and nuts. (Quite a meal!) In fact, the ancient Greeks were so aware of the food/sex connection that cheesecakes were baked in the shape of a woman's breast, thus linking the taste buds with the libido and inventing one of the greatest desserts in history (or is it herstory?), that eventually gave birth to today's wedding cake.
During World War II, G.I.'s longing for female companionship placed pictures of a scantily clad Betty Grable and her glamorous gams over their beds and referred to the pin-up as "cheesecake." Leggy actresses weren't the only bodies up for show. In the early 1950s erotic photographic displays of the male physique began to be exhibited in bodybuilding magazines. Eventually these pectoral pictorials began filtering into mainstream society and the term beefcake was born.
There are a number of reasons why aphrodisiacs have the power to ignite our senses, capture our imaginations, and fire up our libidos. Aphrodisiacs work on many levels and several factors come into play: chemical, sensory, emotional, romantic, social, and energy factors.
The Chemical Factor
Casanova didn't need a double-blind, placebo-controlled research study sponsored by a giant pharmaceutical conglomerate to know that oysters are an aphrodisiac. He listened to (or perhaps watched) his body respond. Finally, science has explained what he experienced: Oysters are rich in zinc, a male virility mineral. Ol' Casanova knew his stuff. Our sexual organs and endocrine system need special nourishment. Every day he ate dozens of oysters off the breasts of a beautiful woman, usually in a warm tub.
Why do women crave chocolate? Because it's an aphrodisiac, tastes fabulous, and contains magnesium, a mineral that many women crave, particularly before menstruation. Chocolate also contains more than four hundred different chemicals, including phenylethylamine (PEA), an amphetamine-like brain chemical that triggers the sense of euphoria that people experience when they fall in love. Chocolate's seductive combination of fat and sugar increases natural pleasure chemicals produced by the brain called endorphins. And the enticing food also contains the stimulants theobromine and caffeine, which rev up the central nervous system and elevate heart rate and blood pressure. All of these help put us in the "love" mood and enhance sexual performance.
The Aztec king Montezuma drank fifty cups of cocoa before entertaining his harem of six hundred women. (Toga, toga, toga!) How he ever found the time and energy to rule his kingdom is beyond us.
Everyone's reaching for Viagra for a reason, and a lot of it has to do with diet. The over-processed, standard American diet is filled with sugar, calories, and fat, which can cause a significant drop in testosterone levels and increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. (Yes, too many double-pepperoni, sausage, and extra-cheese pizzas can rob you of your manhood. Think about that the next time you call Domino's.) The standard American diet lacks key vitamins, such as E (which is needed to make sex hormones and sperm) and the B-complex (which helps increase blood flow to the penis); minerals like zinc and calcium (which helps fight osteoporosis, PMS, and even depression); and essential fats, all of which are needed for your body to be a healthy, functioning, sexually vital machine.
There are dozens of foods that have been shown to reverse the aging process and increase your sexual appetite and capacity. Unlike Viagra, these natural sexual stimulants and body boosters don't have negative side effects like headaches, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and blue/green-tinted vision. (We know, back in school you used to pay big money to a guy named Chemical Carl for the blue/green-tinted vision.) There are many foods that we'll tell you about that work like Viagra does by boosting levels of a molecule called nitric oxide, which triggers erections.
The Sensory Factor
Babies quickly learn to associate certain tastes and smells with comfort and contentment. As adults, tastes and smells remain a trigger, while romantic love and sex become our comfort and contentment.
Eating is an intimate, sensual, and sensory activity that can stimulate our sexual appetites if the right foods are correctly prepared and consumed. Foods that remind us of sex because of their taste, texture, or appearance are turn-ons: Briny seafood, for example, smells and tastes like sexual juices. Not to mention that seafood is rich in nutrients that help boost hormone levels and enhance sexual function. This shouldn't be shocking or come as a surprise; after all, life on earth originated in the sea. Raw seafood is also sensuous and suggestive because of its fleshy, soft texture. Eat seafood with the hands (think of the lobster scene in the movie Flashdance and you'll know what we mean) and the food/sex connection becomes even clearer.
We don't need to tell you what bananas, carrots, asparagus, and figs resemble. Look closely as you take a bite and you may find your mind wandering to thoughts of...After all, it doesn't take much. The average male thinks about sex eleven times an hour. Flowers, which are plants' sexual organs, remind us of the budding passion of spring -- and let's face it, blossoms resemble a vagina. (Just take a look at a Georgia O'Keeffe painting.)
Buying your lover flowers is a simple gesture that communicates: "I want to make love to you." Why? Sensory memory. Smell is a very primitive sense that penetrates immediately and directly to emotional centers in the brain. Because we have been conditioned to associate flowers with affection, that bunch of long-stem roses is a fragrant reminder that love is on the agenda. We'll tell you a number of ways to use flowers as well as other sweet-smelling botanicals to ignite the senses and stimulate the libido. Henry VIII, who was known for his hearty appetites (food, countries, wives, etc....) liked to munch candied roses, violets, and hawthorn. To get their juices flowing, medieval men and women drank a mixture of flowers and myrtle leaves that had been marinated in wine. In the Hindu religion, after a couple is married they spend their first night together on a bed decorated with flowers. Many popular perfumes are made from flower essence mixed with the scents of wild animals.
The Emotional Factor
From the moment we are born, the first way we interact with the world is through food. Food supports and nurtures us at the most basic level. It's one of life's three primary needs, along with shelter and warmth.
Preparing food for each other is a way to give and receive love. lust as in making love, when someone cooks for you, you feel nurtured, and when you cook for someone else you nurture and take care of them. Emotions manifested by a well-made meal and well-made sex are the same. We feel warm, nurtured, cared for, safe, valued, emotionally secure. In other words, loved! "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" may be a cliché, but it is true.
Memories, emotions, and the senses are all interconnected. In many instances the emotional and sensory factors interact with each other to create extraordinary reactions.
The sensory aroma of food can evoke powerful emotional and highly charged sexual responses. There's a reason why real estate agents tell sellers to bake bread before potential buyers view their home. (In spite of their reputation, it's not because the agent wants a free meal.) Adults under pressure crave simple foods that evoke feelings of happiness and warmth. While you're examining the bedrooms your olfactory glands are processing the smell of baking bread and your deep emotional center is bombarding you with the message: "Buy this house, it smells good. You will be safe and secure. You will be happy. You and your mate can cuddle up right here and make wonderful love in this marvelous house."
The Romantic Factor
Jewelry, expensive dinners, exotic vacations, luxury cars, and other extravagant gifts are some of the ways that we have been programmed by society's marketing machine to show our love. The hidden message isn't very hidden: If you don't buy, buy, buy she'll say "Bye, bye, bye."
Cooking is a gesture that expresses much more love than slapping down a gold card. It is a purely personal act. Cooking a meal spiked with plenty of aphrodisiacs, dressing up or down for dinner, opening a bottle of wine, lighting candles, and enjoying beautiful music and intimate conversation create an atmosphere for romance that money just can't buy.
According to Dr. Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington, an author, and a recognized authority on sexuality, for 90 percent of couples the frequency of lovemaking decreases dramatically after only a short period of time together. Why the lack of lovemaking? People are just too busy, bored, tired, or all three, and sex gets neglected.
Temptations is your prescription for adding creativity to your love life, putting the excitement back in sex, and enticing you to make time for each other. Explore our book and you'll find that making a romantic meal once or twice a week is a sure-fire formula for great sex and enhanced intimacy. By setting a time and date each week with your partner you ensure quality time together. It's exciting to anticipate that date and fun to think about how and with what aphrodisiacs you will seduce each other.
The Social Factor
Throughout history food has been an integral part of romantic social structure. In Sri Lanka, when a woman cooks for a man it means that she has a relationship with him, and she calls him "the one I cook for." In Japan, when a man and woman eat from the same bowl of rice it means that they are a couple. As part of the rituals performed in a Hindu marriage to confirm the engagement, the groom's family gives a verbal promise of marriage and feeds misri (crystalline sugar) to the girl's family. (Eating sweets is considered auspicious by Hindus.) After the Hindu wedding ceremony is over the bride and groom feed each other, signifying that they will take care of each other.
Brides and grooms in ancient cultures wore crowns of wheat to symbolize fertility, and in Rome a thin loaf of bread was broken over the marrying couple's heads, and the crumbs were saved and taken home by the guests as tokens of good luck. And tiered wedding cakes originated in merry ol' England, where the bride and groom kissed over a stack of little cakes.
The Energy Factor
Sex is an exchange of energy between two people, a balance between expansive (male, or yang) and contractive (female, or yin) forces. Particular foods and culinary combinations affect this expansive/contractive cycle and have an impact on our energy levels and sexuality. That's one reason we love balanced, romantic, culinary combinations like champagne (a very expansive food) and caviar (a very contractive food). If the diet is unbalanced and there are too many contractive or expansive foods, sexual energy and performance will suffer.
The types of food you eat have a direct impact on how you feel, act, and perform. A heavy diet that includes lots of dense, contractive foods like meat, sweets, hard cheese, and chips can make you feel sluggish, dry, frustrated, and irritable. A diet that is expansive and contains plenty of vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and fruit can make you feel relaxed, refreshed, receptive, and creative. Learn to listen to your body and eat foods that bring you into the proper balance. We'll show you how to do this in Chapter 10, "The Cooking Couple's Best Sex Diet."
Aphrodisiacs and Us, Aphrodisiacs and You
Why did we write this book? Because we have found that the best, easiest, healthiest, safest, and most fun way to enhance our love life is with aphrodisiacs.
Whether you've just started dating or have been together for forty years, we all want a better sex life. You may be the best lover in the world, and in a relationship with the most beautiful person on the planet, but unless you make the time to do things that enhance your sexuality the relationship will eventually wither. When you take the time to buy, prepare, and share love foods you automatically make the time to nurture and care for each other.
Now it's time to open your mind, body, and Temptations to begin your exploration of the joy of aphrodisiacs. So what are you waiting for? You're gonna love this trip. Turn to Chapter 1 and start fooding around!
Copyright © 2002 by Michael Albertson and Ellen Albertson
Igniting the Pleasure and Power of Aphrodisiacs
Igniting the Pleasure and Power of Aphrodisiacs
From the time Casanova proclaimed oysters "a spur to the spirit and to love," aphrodisiacs have been coveted for their sexually stimulating effects. However, the best ways to release and ignite their power have been shrouded in mystery.
Now, Ellen and Michael Albertson expose the hidden delights of aphrodisiacs -- ones you know about and many that will surprise you. From virgin-fresh basil to searing chiles, from edible blossoms to intoxicating vanilla, they present more than one hundred delicious and bedroom-tested edibles that are quickly made, fast-acting, and available in your pantry or supermarket. Here, too, are tips for incorporating aphrodisiacs into a creative love life -- including massage, aromatherapy, and foreplay.
Revealing new scientific discoveries and the secrets of lovers throughout the ages, the Albertsons show you how to:
- Create more powerful orgasms with vitamins, minerals, and herbs
- Design a six-day eating plan that will get you in shape for a weekend of sex
- Prepare an erotic meal with only a few ingredients
- Build a bigger, better penis
- And more
Temptations will prepare you for tonight and beyond.