Any blogger who claims to have something to say about “Sex, Food, and Writing” should probably address the all-important issue of what to feed your lover, or prospective lover, before the evening’s entertainment moves on to more intimate activities. The topic is of personal importance to me as well because my husband and I took our relationship to the next level--and you know just what I mean--the night he first invited me to his apartment for dinner. Did what happened at the dining room table convince me to find out if his bed was a fun place to be, too? You betcha. There is something particularly alluring, and reassuring, about a man who will make the effort to please your palate. It bodes well for his willingness to look out for your pleasure in other ways as well.
My advice has its limitations—I can really only speak in general terms about a meal designed to seduce a woman. This may be an outdated stereotype, but I’d think men would want something heartier, such as slabs of red meat, to stoke the testosterone. But for a woman, a lighter menu will be far more likely to put her in the mood for love. First of all, it’s usually difficult for a woman to display her appetites in front of a man she is trying to impress—and let’s assume if she agrees to have dinner at your place, she likes you and wants to impress you. Give her the opportunity to be healthy and somewhat restrained at the dinner table, and she’s more likely to let loose in bed. More importantly, healthy, high-veggie, low-fat food really does make you feel good about your body, lighter in spirit, and more inclined to celebrate life. Really. The other day I had some Japanese vegetarian temple food for lunch at a restaurant in San Francisco called Medicine Eat Station. Steamed vegetables with sesame sauce, fresh tofu with ginger, miso soup and brown rice with plum topping—it was delicious AND better still, it made me feel wonderful and glad to be alive all day. Kind of like a natural high. This is a good frame of mind to be in to enjoy a new lover.
So, what sorts of things should be on a menu designed to seduce? First you have to know if she has food allergies, eats meat or just fish or is vegetarian, prefers white wine or red. (If you know her well enough to invite her for dinner, usually you know these things, but if you don't, make sure to ask.) For flesh eaters, I’d recommend grilled chicken breast or fish with a fresh salsa or low-fat pesto. To accompany this—a salad or steamed vegetables and rice or good French bread. For vegetarians, the same salad and vegetables and perhaps a risotto or stir-fry. Fresh, high-quality ingredients are key, of course. And it’s probably best to find recipes that allow for a lot of advance preparation so you can focus on her and not overly fussy cooking procedures.
Serve a decent wine, although she’ll be more comfortable with a mid-range, good quality for the money selection rather than something really expensive, which might be overwhelming until you get to know each other better. If you can pick up an interesting story about the wine from the wine merchant (it comes from a small domaine in Gigondas, etc) it will make for good dinner conversation. Oh, and don’t pour too much—maybe some ladies can handle their liquor better than I, but while one glass will lubricate the fellowship, more than two will dull the senses, which is not the point at all!
Okay, on to dessert. Here is where you will want to splurge a bit because it marks the transition from civilized restraint to hedonistic indulgence, which is definitely how you want the evening to end. Have some fresh fruit in season available, but also some bite-sized treats. She’ll be very impressed if you actually bake some fudgy brownies made with high-quality dark chocolate and a dash of Grand Marnier or framboise (no boxed mixes PLEASE—she deserves better, no?). Or buy some small pastries from a good local bakery, cut them into small pieces and share. Sharing food is always very sexy and a good way to soften the barriers in preparation for more serious bonding.
Two more tips from personal experience. One thing that definitely got my attention was watching my husband slice up the vegetables for the cashew chicken stir-fry he was making (I ate meat back then). I loved those deft hand movements—very promising indeed for the future practice of his manual skills on me. And when it came time for that delicate move from dinner to something else, whatever else that might be—hot sex or thank you and good night?—what assured the former was a good laugh together. Over a book of “man-bites-dog” type headlines of all things. For you it might be a good comedy DVD or some stand-up on cable or something else altogether. But if you can laugh together, you can most assuredly make good love, too.
Some people might be looking for recommendations for a specific food to turn a woman from a cautious lady to a raging sex machine. Oysters, chocolate, whatever. I don’t really know of any magic potion like that. A man’s careful and considerate attention works more wonders, in my experience. You can definitely do that by spoiling her with a good meal. Hope this helps all you folks who got here from a Google search for “good food for sex” ;-)
Next time: my thoughts on junk food porn and mom’s homemade erotica.