Food and sex - these two things share many curious connections.
It’s no wonder many artists have explored their relationship through their work. Take, for example, Stephanie Sarley who turned food in feminist art with her fruit fingering video series that went viral and banned her temporarily from Instagram. There are countless iconic food and sex moments in film, perhaps some that you’ve fantasized about re-enacting. Some notable ones include Jason Biggs penetrating the warm apple pie in American Pie (1999), the seductive whipped cream bikini in Varsity Blues (1999), the blindfolded feeding in 9 ½ Weeks (1986), and Samantha arranging sushi on her naked body for Smith in the Sex and the City: The Movie (2008). You can even find food and sex links in recent celebrity tabloid headlines. Case and point: Drake’s recent hot sauce condom accusation or Ye’s photoshoot of Julia Fox while dining at a NYC restaurant.
Food and sex are two of life's greatest pleasures. Much like sex, food can feel forbidden, indulgent and guilt-ridden. Both food and sex stimulate us in a way that feels good, giving a dopamine hit that keeps us coming back for more. Foods that are juicy, fleshy or phallic and vulva-shaped playfully remind us of sex. When we interact with food, it engages our senses and can heighten arousal. Sexual energy is creative energy, and there are many ways to use our human imagination to enhance sexual experiences with food. Through this series, I hope to inspire you to think beyond whipped cream on the genitals for integrating food play into your sex life. I’ll clarify fact from fiction when it comes to aphrodisiacs, explain some interesting food related kinks/fetishes, and provide some ideas for exploring sexy fun with food. As Katy Perry would say… “Bon app, bon appétit, baby!”
An aphrodisiac is any substance that is believed to induce sexual arousal, enhance sexual pleasure, and/or improve sexual performance. How? The effects are assumed to occur through physiological changes that increase blood flow to the genitals or adjusting hormone levels.
The term “aphrodisiac” is derived from “Aphrodite”, the Greek Goddess of love and beauty (known as “Venus” to the Romans, which is Latin for love and sexual desire). Different cultures have a history of animal and plant substances being used in folk medicine to improve sexual function. In Arab countries, secretion passed by sperm whales has been thought to increase libido. In Africa, the bark of the yohimbe evergreen tree and the root of the mandrake plant were known as aphrodisiacs. In traditional Chinese medicine, the Spanish fly has been claimed to have sexually stimulating properties. But be warned: the Spanish fly has also been linked to priapism, the potentially dangerous prolonged erection of the penis.
Raw oysters, chocolate, and coffee are some of the foods that have a reputation in today’s culture as aphrodisiacs. However, little research exists to prove that consuming these foods produces a sexual response in men or women. That being said, there is evidence showing that certain natural supplements act as aphrodisiacs. Research studies have found that ginseng can help penis-owners with erectile dysfunction and maca root can increase vaginal lubrication.
The physiological sexual responses that some claim to get from consuming certain foods may have a psychological origin. Medically speaking, sexual arousal begins when our senses interpret something as sexually stimulating. Our neurological system sends a message to our nervous system which pumps blood vessels to the pelvic area. Foods are linked to people’s past experiences, and various tastes and smells can transport a person to a sexually relevant memory or thought. Many foods that are thought to resemble sexual organs; for instance, phallic shaped fruits and vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and bananas or vulva shaped ones like papayas and figs.
Some people may also interpret certain physiological effects they receive from consuming certain foods as sexually relevant. When you eat a chili pepper, the nerve endings of your tongue are stimulated and you may experience a tingling sensation or natural rush of endorphins. It can raise your body temperature and make your lips plump. A person may interpret any or all of these reactions as sexual cues that contribute to arousal.
Playing with food in a sexual context can look many different ways. Sitophilia is the umbrella term for experiencing sexual arousal from food. Arousal could be triggered by the sight, sound or smell of food. It could come from eating food or watching other people eat food. It can occur in different food-related scenarios, such as cooking, harvesting, visiting a restaurant, or visiting a food market. The common thread is some degree of sexual arousal stemming from food, even if the food is not being used in a sexual way. There are various kinks/fetishes that fall under this umbrella. Some are relatively straightforward (e.g., botulinonia: the sexual use of sausages), while others are more complex. Here are examples of two popular food-related kinks/fetishes:
Feederism: Feederism is a kink/fetish that emerged from fat fetish subculture. It involves individuals eroticizing feeding their partners and weight gain. The weight gain can vary from a few to hundreds of pounds. Some feeder relationships are not undertaken with the purpose of weight gain at all but because partners enjoy sharing eating in an intimate context. Feederism has a taboo reputation due to negative media portrayals that focus on non-consensual forms involving force-feeding and immobilization of the feedee. However, research has shown that the overwhelming majority of feederism relationships are fully consensual, with both partners mutually gaining pleasure. In most cases, immobility is usually kept as a fantasy. Some folks in the feederism community view this kink/fetish more as a lifestyle, identity or sexual orientation.
Sploshing: Sploshing is a sexual kink of getting aroused by the use of non-bodily fluid substances. This may include food as well as other spreadable substances like slime, paint, and lotion. Another common name for this kink is wet and messy (WAM for short). Those sploshing enthusiasts who do enjoy playing with food may choose savoury ones (e.g., raw eggs, ketchup, baked beans or other condiments) or sweet treats (e.g., honey, yogurt, custard or gelatin). Most people with this kink enjoy the tactical sensations that come with these substances – the slipperiness, stickiness, onliness, etc. Experimenting with sploshing can obviously get messy. To make clean-up easier, you can try exploring this kink in your bathtub, shower stall, or on your bed using a waterproof playsheet.
EXPLORING FOOD PLAY
You don’t have to identify as a sitophile to have food play as part of a sexual relationship. Feeling a desire to play with food during foreplay or partnered sex is perfectly healthy. When you think of sexually playing with food, the default is probably sensually feeding someone strawberries or grapes, but there is so much more to try! Here’s some food for thought… pun-intended ;)
- Eat food off of your partner’s body. Small pieces of food, such as slices of fruit or sushi, are simplest for cleanliness. But if you don’t mind getting messy, the possibilities are endless.
- Pour food on someone’s body and lick it off (e.g., honey, melted chocolate, caramel, maple syrup, etc.)
- Use food as a sensory play tool. For example, a bunch of dill can tickle like feathers and fuzzy sage can feel nice on the skin.
- Use food to heighten sensations. For example, eating a popsicle or breath mints prior to giving oral sex will produce a cooling sensation for you partner.
- Use food for BDSM impact play. A large leek can serve as a spanking tool or you could transform twizzlers into a flogger or whip.
- If you like butt play and are into pleasurable pain, you could try figging where one inserts a piece of ginger (with a carved flared base) into the rectum to produce a burning sensation.
- If you’re into erotic humiliation, you could have a BDSM scene where a submissive is forced to eat off the floor.
- Use food as a masturbotory aid. Cucumbers or a zucchini make a good dildo substitute for vulva-owners (note: there is risk of transmitting bacteria to cause infection). Penis-owners can check out Playboy’s article on “The Best Food to Stick Your Penis Into”
- If you’re very adventurous, you can go so far as to try cooking with cum. There’s even a semen-based recipe book called Natural Harvest that describes semen like fine wine and cheese.
- Explore role playing scenarios in which one partner eats in an eroticized manner while the other watches
Some foods are better than others for food play. This is not only because they ooze in a more sensual way but also for health reasons. It’s particularly important to keep this in mind when involving genitals in food play activities. Many vulva-owners suffer irritations when their vagina comes into contact with sugar as it can upset the natural pH balance. Using foods during sexual play can pose a risk of infection. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing your first foray into food and sex to minimize risks:
- Make sure you wash any food items that you intend to play with to get rid of pesticides or any other harmful chemicals
- Shave off any loose, sharp or rough edges from food
- Avoid playing with any highly processed or sugary foods near the genitals
- Consider whether you need to contain a mess based on the food your playing with
Don’t insert any foods without a flared base into your anal passage as they can travel up inside the body and get lost
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of this information and don’t know exactly where to start with food play, here’s my suggestion: figure out what foods have the potential to sexually excite you (think smell, tastes, and textures). Have a conversation with your sexual partner(s) about what foods excite them. Find the common ground and simply try bringing the food into the bedroom one day.