For many people, the teen years are when the messages they receive about food start to change. Suddenly, it can seem like everywhere you turn, someone or something (parents, friends, magazines, TV) is telling you to go on a diet, that eating is shameful or shouldn't be pleasurable.
Think about what else was going on with teens' body at the same time. They're going through puberty, learning about self-pleasure and feeling new sexual urges. It's common to feel ashamed about this the same way you feel ashamed about food. All around, cultural cues tell you there's something wrong with both eating for pleasure and using your body for pleasure. Meanwhile, you still have to eat. And you still feel urges in your body.
In your teen years, the way you think about food and sex became linked – and most likely, due to the culture we live in, it wasn’t linked in a positive way. A new book by Alexandra Jamieson called Women, Food, and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace With Food, and Reclaim Your Body aims to revamp the way you think about your body and your cravings.
Embracing Food and Sexuality
Instead of linking thoughts of food, sex and your body with shame, deprivation and discomfort, let’s start thinking about food in a more sensual, thoughtful way. Slow down at mealtime. Take in the smells and tastes. Notice the textures and temperatures. Make meals an experience to be enjoyed. Think how wonderful it feels to be fully present during a sexual experience and bring that energy into your meals. Stop thinking you don’t deserve pleasure: you do, in both the bedroom and the kitchen.
Aphrodisiacs to Try
In fact, why not combine the two together? Whipping up a meal with your partner can act as a type of foreplay: together, you are experiencing aromas and flavors while enjoying each other’s company. Some studies have shown that smells like pumpkin pie, cheese pizza, and buttered popcorn helped blood flow to men’s penises. Women responded well to Good & Plenty candy and cucumber, and men and women alike were drawn to the scent of vanilla.
If you’re wondering about specific foods that can double as aphrodisiacs, there are two things to look out for: arginine and zinc. Arginine is an amino acid that helps bloods vessels relax, which in turn helps blood flow better, which in turn helps blood flow to erectile tissues. Foods that contain arginine include walnuts, almonds, fish, whey, fruits and leafy vegetables. Zinc is thought to help with testosterone production, sperm development, and male fertility. Most of us have heard that oysters can be a powerful aphrodisiac, but have you ever wondered why? It’s the zinc – oysters and nature’s richest zinc source.
Can Chocolate Improve Sex?
If you’re the type of person to eschew chocolate, you may want to rethink that stance. A study from The Journal of Sexual Medicine found a link between women who ate a cube or more of chocolate daily and women who had a higher sex drive and satisfying sex life. This goes back to the original point about finding the link between food cravings and sexual desire. Food and sex can both be sources of pleasure, so enjoying your food can gear your mind up to enjoy sex, too.
Foods That Interfere With Sex Drive
If you’re having difficulty getting in the mood and you’ve already examined the way you think about food, it may be time to examine what exactly you’re eating. Having a close relationship with certain foods can put a damper on your sex life. For example, the estrogen in soy can throw your sex drive out of whack. Fried foods can zap the energy needed for a robust sex life. Dairy products can enhance the symptoms of PMS and leave you feeling sluggish. Excessive alcohol can reduce your sex drive. Processed hamburgers and hot dogs can lead to a chemical imbalance that affects your libido. Too many sugary foods can raise your glucose levels and lower your sex drive too.
Being healthy overall – both physically and mentally, in terms of your emotional relationship with food – is a good indicator that you’ll have a healthy sex life, too. If you’re either loading your body with toxic food or filling your mind with negative thoughts about cravings and desire, you’re less likely to let loose and have fun in bed. Stop linking food and shame together: we’re meant to eat, and we’re allowed to enjoy the process. Start enjoying your food again, and you’re one step closer to enjoying sex more.