A few weeks ago over (luscious) dumplings in Monterey Park, my friend and former Allure editor Robyn Brown and I were debating the correlation between food and sex. I’ve long held the theory that any man who orders chicken on a first date is be ruled out in the bedroom. Her thoughts on the matter are far more evolved and erudite, so I hand you over to Robyn for this most excellent guest post…
You Are (In Bed) What You Eat: The Food-Sex Corollary
“Never date a man who’s afraid of trying new foods,” a boyfriend once told me over a steaming pot of florescent orange, kimchi-scented stew. “They’re awful in bed.”
His comment was obviously a self-serving one, at least if one infers the inverse, that men who are adventurous eaters are good in the sack…But since that meal, further reflection (and some, ahem, field work) has satisfactorily confirmed for me that cocky or not, the guy was right: Much about how a person behaves in the bedroom can be foretold by how they behave at the table. Show me a man who balks at the idea of Indian in Artesia, Chinese in Monterey Park, sushi in the Valley, and banh mi in Little Saigon and I’ll show you a man who either thinks certain parts of the female anatomy are kind of ucky, or is too busy vying to become Master of the Universe to go to bed with you in the first place.
After all, pleasure is still pleasure, and for the most part we tend to be consistent in our view of it, whether it comes in the form of touch, taste, sound or sight. Some people will always seek pleasure out; others are content to let it come to them. Still others fear pleasure, even punishing themselves for wanting it.
I concede several exceptions to the Food-Sex Corollary rule: The reluctant dieter, for one, who has to regulate eating for health reasons (the only other acceptable reasons for calorie counting: an approaching beach vacation, a wedding dress, or anything 50% off in size 38 Prada). Also, the latent foodie, who is not so much apathetic to food as utterly oblivious to it. The female half of the most culinary couple I know recently told me that her husband ordered plain, broiled chicken on their first date, and shortly thereafter threw a party where guests were served nothing more than a couple bags of chips. Now he waxes rhapsodic over the virtues of Piedmontese beef. Some of us are just waiting to be given our first taste; to be awakened to the possibilities.
A few friends have protested that I’m reaching, here, which I find surprising. The food-sex connection is as old as…well, hell, probably food and sex. Maybe our dinner date ritual can be traced all the way back to the origin of the species, when a hunk of slaughtered antelope demonstrated that a man could provide food for his future family, thus doing as much to increase his attractiveness and viability as a potential mate as the Valentine’s aphrodisiac tasting menu at Aureole.
Over the ensuing hundred thousand years or so, it’s likely the biological drives for food and sex have just grown progressively conflated. Tame bedroom preferences, for instance, are now deemed “vanilla.” Edible body butters look and sound less like lubricants than something one might want to spread on toast. And a certain women’s magazine routinely urges its readers to seduce men by drizzling chocolate syrup down their abdomens and painting on whip cream bras. (To which I say: Ick. Sex writer Dan Savage once put it more pithily than I ever could when he pointed out that “sex is a savory experience.” It’s not an issue of prudishness as much as an issue of taste—I’d no sooner put whipped cream on steak frites than on my boyfriend’s body parts. But, I guess, to each their own.)
I encourage everyone to think back through their former flings. See if their tastes—sexual and papillary ones, let’s call them—don’t seem to eerily line up, again and again.
I have yet to hear about a “no butter or oil, please” guy who was revealed to be secret Casanova; I’m just sayin’.—Robyn Brown