Hungry for love
A beginner’s guide to aphrodisiacs.
My introduction to aphrodisiacs was at the ripe age of 13. I was watching Samantha Jones from Sex In The City lie on her dining room table placing handmade sushi on her body and waiting for her boyfriend to come home for Valentine’s Day on a portable DVD player on a car ride to the beach. And I would sell a kidney to see it again on And Just Like That but anyway…
In saying this, aphrodisiacs have always been a mystery to me. Talking to someone who regularly dabbled in sashimi and oysters before sex, was like talking to someone who knew what it was like to be drunk, when you’d never had a lick of alcohol in your life.
“So, you just can’t remember anything?” “Kind of, my memories of the night are scattered.”
You never believed them, until you got drunk for the first time and couldn’t remember how you got home.
Although I admire Samantha, I’m definitely more of a Carrie, so I did what any good Carrie would do: I enlisted the help of sex coach, Georgia Grace to give me the run-down of the aphrodisiac’s menu.
“The term [aphrodisiac] came from the Greek goddess of love – Aphrodite,” Georgia explains, “It refers to any substance that improves your sexual performance or function or increases your desire.
“Aphrodisiacs are a contextual thing and come from the way we’ve understood food to be,” she says, “You see champagne, strawberries and chocolate and you think – wow, this is romantic.”
According to Georgia, there are many mistruths surrounding libido. Case in point: although aphrodisiacs can heighten sexual desire, they are not directly capable of increasing your libido in a physical or chemical way .
“You can’t ‘fix’ your libido by eating a few oysters every Saturday night,” Georgia says, “What you have to do when it comes to libido is you have to look at all of your accelerators and brakes and see how many brakes you have and look to actively add more accelerators.”
Put simply: accelerators are what increases our desire to have sex, whereas brakes are what decreases our desire.
“It’s all about context,” Georgia says, “When you have a context that feels sexy or you feel more connected to your partner, you bring sex front of mind. This is when aphrodisiacs may play a part, because they’re associated with romance.” Georgia likens the effect these substances can have to a sort of placebo effect.
“It might not have a physical response to the body, but it can have the desired effect mentally [and] we can’t underestimate the power placebo has on someone.”
Most of us correspond certain things like a box of chocolates and flowers to romance, so by introducing certain foods into your sexual routines or date nights, you can bring sex front of mind – if that is something you’re wanting to take part in together.
“If someone comes to me and they’re…not desiring sex, what we could do is think about the things that look exciting to them or feel sexy to them. That might mean thinking about the foods [and drinks] that make them connected.
“They might say [that they] really like having a glass of wine after a long day or [that they] want to organise a really delicious, fun picnic, or [that they] bond really we when [they’re] eating delicious, sensual foods,” Georgia explains, “so then what [they] can do is look to bring those accelerators into [their] lives on a regular basis.”
While most discourse on aphrodisiacs is discussed in the context of couples, Georgia also notes the benefits of aphrodisiacs while alone.
“There are so many benefits and I really do, when I’m working with people on this, like to find ways to make these daily, regular things important, if they identify that they’re important,” she says, “You don’t always need to be in a relationship with someone to enjoy yummy and sensual foods and eat things that make you feel great and sexy for yourself.”
Inviting aphrodisiacs into your world may be something you want to consider but if that doesn’t sound like something you’re into, you don’t have to be. “Just because [aphrodisiacs are] associated to sex – that we seek champagne, chocolate, strawberries, oysters – that doesn’t mean that in order to be a sexual person, you have to put a plate of sushi on your body and wait for your partner to come home.
“Some people enjoy it, and others will not. It’s like anything when it comes to sex, it’s individual. If you feel curious, give it a go, if it doesn’t work, there is nothing wrong with you.”
There are so many ways to connect with yourself and discover your turn ons and turn offs. Whether aphrodisiacs will kick start your mood will depend on you, but it can be fun to try. Georgia recommends asking yourself: “What’s your context for desire? What makes you feel turned on? Present? In the moment? Connected to your body? Connected to each other?” If the answer involves having a yummy meal or sitting down and having a glass of champagne, before, during or after, then maybe try incorporating sensual foods and drinks into your sexual play or dating life will be for you. Take time to figure it out and have fun exploring.