A Valentine’s post about oysters and sex…
You can feel however you want about love and sex (“Yes, please!” “No, thanks!”) but the relationship between food and desire is pretty interesting. Since the beginning of civilization, folks have been looking for ways to have more sex. Foods, rituals, love potions… anything to grease the wheels of love. In the second century AD, the Roman physician Galen wrote that certain “warm and moist” foods had an aphrodisiac effect. Which kinda makes sense, I guess. But he also thought that foods that caused gas were good because somehow that’s how erections worked. (This hypothesis slays me, and I could make a ton of sexy fart jokes but I will not.)
The list of foods thought to be aphrodisiac is long: Chocolate, asparagus, figs, caviar, carrots, chiles, honey, onions, okra, sausages, and yes, oysters. Oysters fall squarely into the group of foods thought to be desire-inducing because they resemble genitals. They are wet and foldy and salty, and we’ll leave it at that. In an earlier post, we talked about how Italians eat lentils at New Year’s because they “look like coins” and will make them rich. The lesson to learn here is that eating foods that look like the things you want will maybe help you get the things you want.
It used to be a fortunate few living near the coast that had access to oysters for sexy reasons or otherwise. But in the 1820’s factories started canning them. Over the next several decades, oysters became a huge fad, were over-harvested, caused environmental destruction, and there is no evidence that anyone’s sex life improved. In fact, there has never been any scientific evidence that aphrodisiacs work at all. Which is kind of a bummer because food superstitions are way cool.
If you want to have better/more sex, communication is good. Consent is key. Self-esteem is rad. And hey, a can of oysters can’t hurt. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.