The world is an oyster - succulent, throbbing, and breath-wrenching. Since man began to look at food not just as a source of nourishment but as a deliverer of infinite pleasures, food and sex have been intertwined like lovers’ limbs in furious feasting.
The joy of partaking of food is so personal but so intense that you’d be compelled to share the titillation with others and, when possible, with somebody special. In many instances, an intimate dinner date serves only as the aperitif to the main course. The restaurant only as the anteroom to the red chamber of love.
“Both eating and making love provide nourishment and satiation — living energy that is transformed” say gourmande Jennifer Iannolo in her essay in the Atlasphere. “It is not surprising that some foods have been described as orgasmic,” she adds
“To die for” is a dismissive phrase a Filipino uses when he or she is unable to resist a spread that may include food which dietitians and doctors sternly warn us against, especially this past Christmas. Pleasure is always tempting and man (and even woman), as a rule, forges the path of least resistance.
Executive chef Rudolf Sodamin, in his book Seduction and Spices, said that “foodstuffs provided the energy to make love; they provided the sense of well-being and a yen to embrace a lover. Sharing in the preparation and partaking of food between men and women together like no other act – a concept so intrinsic that Adam and Eve’s transgression of the flesh was euphemized by their munching of the apple.”
Describing what and how we eat or make love is interchangeable and could be enthralling when no holds are barred. After all, these deeply involve all our senses – touch, smell, sight, and hearing - and conscript practically all parts of our bodies – from the toes to the fingertips, from the prominent protuberances to the damp recesses.
We go into hyper-drive when we associate the physical and even aural characteristics of food with sensual parts of the body. A woman’s cleavage as that of ripe mangoes. The suckling and slurping of star apple, with its dagta, as sexual. The innocent pop of a champagne bottle and the subsequent gushing of its contents as erotic.
Iannolo hit it right when she said that eating and sex may be the only two acts that evoke all of man’s senses simultaneously. “The very expression ‘mouth feel,’ she says, “evokes a whole new category of expression outside the world of wine tasting.”
And then there is the magic of scent. A man’s musk. Or the whetting action of clove and cinnamon. The Filipino male lover has described a woman’s essence smelling of pinipig to durian, from virgin to wild woman.
But whatever the choices, there is the urge to further intensify the desire, the engagement. Even if sensuality is in itself strong and heady. Man has, for ages, been seeking mind-blowing aphrodisiacs, as relentless as his search has been for the fountain of youth. The promise of strength, impetuousness and wild abandon of galloping hormones powerfully beckons.
Some foods are classified as aphrodisiacs because of how they look. Old folks decreed that food resembling human body parts as actually able to impart parts-specific potencies, especially foods resembling the love organs. Thus, we have the bananas obviously giving strength to penises, or oysters imparting desirability to women.
We may have our bat-n-ball or soup #5, rather sticky affairs concocted from cattle, but by and large, our preference for aphrodisiacs is rather tame. Among the list is avocado because it is shaped like a testicle, or tahong because, you may agree or not, it imitates the look of an active fuerta.
For a race that has astounded the world with its proclivity for meals “six times a day,” we are rather reined-in with our sexy culinary adventures, not unless you would count buying naughty cakes as audacious. Kimi is how we describe the behavior.
But then, our new-found prosperity and world view, fired up by the Internet, might free us to exhaustively explore the infinite world of sensual dining - using our tongue, probing fingers and proboscis. That turn would be interesting to watch.
All over the world, history has shown that men and women’s desires seem insatiable that they must scale up their meals into buffet and smorgasbord, in feasts and orgies of food, oftentimes in homage to deities or saints. They even had to conjure a god like Bacchanalia to drown mundane concerns in alcohol and flesh.
Indeed, food and sex are venerated rites in every religion, primitive or allegedly brought by extra-terrestrial aliens. Virgins being sacrificed at the altar to ask for good harvest seems to be fair trade wherein voracious gods will be kinder. It is a ying and yang complementation of the sustenance and procreation.
But I say, how many of us listen to our genetical programming? Do we take cues from dining traditions or the call of the wilds? When our stomach growls or our loin trawls, we heed and even interchange the calls. Simply because to succumb is utterly delicious. “Masarap eh”.