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The Aphrodisiacal Illusion

If anyone understands the importance of quality sustenance (and quality seduction), it’s restaurant critic and erotic-book author Gael Greene. So we asked the seasoned gourmand if she believes that certain foods really can ignite the libido. Here, her titillating thoughts.

Avocado

Chocolate Wickedness

Science says there are no aphrodisiacs, except Spanish fly. And that can kill you. Still, amateur scientists, bloggers, nutritionists and fabulists promote various candidates: black truffles, powdered rhinoceros horn, ginseng, buttered popcorn. I’ve read that the smell of popcorn causes a nine percent increase in male raging. What’s good for him is good for her.

The Aztecs called the avocado tree the “testicle tree” because the fruit hangs in pairs. Spanish priests considered avocado so sexual, they forbade it. As for figs, cut one in half—you don’t need a dirty mind to see a blushing vulva. 

Of course, there’s nothing more erotic than a dirty mind.

Oysters have zinc, an essential for fertility. A jolt of rum or tequila fights inhibition. Chile peppers speed up the heart rate and make you hot. Men from the Marquesas Islands supposedly rubbed themselves with turmeric—which sounds like tumescence, and may be worth a try. (I wrote that in Delicious Sex, my guide to having more fun in bed. Read my chapter “22 Amusing Things to Do With a Penis.”) That was before Viagra, of course.

An aphrodisiac is, if you believe it is. In my golden days, I used to tell the chosen “victim” that chocolate was sexually inflammatory, then feed him a tablespoon of the midnight-dark wickedness I kept in my freezer at all times. Suddenly I was not just an amusingly aggressive woman, I was a sorceress. Certainly the caffeine in chocolate helps keep you awake. And chocolate does contain phenylethylamine, a chemical humans manufacture when they’re in love. 

That brings us to today. Fifty Shades of Grey has sold millions of copies. And women are buying Ben Wa balls and velvet handcuffs. But we don’t really know what goes on in bed, or on the sofa, or on the floor or on the conference room table. Alas, what I see in hot restaurants is bored couples texting under the table. I imagine more of the same in the bedroom. I visualize mates crawling under the sheets in stretched out T-shirts, with iPads in hand, catching up on email.

A guaranteed turn-on for most of us—when we’re not distracted by data—is someone hot, maybe someone new. A little Cosmo girl fluff never hurts. Discreet lighting. Trashy underwear or lacy nighties. On him, whatever flatters—a tank top, handcuffs. A new line. “Want to make a porn movie tonight?” (Be sure to have a plot ready.) Morning, after eight hours of sleep, can be a great aphrodisiac. If he awakes “rising with the sun,” don’t waste it. Set the clock to go off 20 minutes early. Breakfast in bed can be wildly erotic for a foodie.

Sweet and Lowdown
Try this recipe the next time you’re looking to use seduction as the last course. –GG

Chocolate Wickedness
1 cup heavy cream
1 1⁄2 lbs. semisweet chocolate
3 egg yolks
1⁄2 cup brewed espresso
(or 1 1⁄2 tsp. instant espresso, dissolved in 1⁄2 cup boiling water)
1⁄2 cup creme de cacao
6 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1⁄4 cup sugar

Using a wire whisk or electric beater, whip cream until thick. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Put chocolate in a large, heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in egg yolks, coffee and creme de cacao. Mix until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.

Beat egg whites with salt till they stand in soft peaks. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. Beat several more minutes until very stiff. (If beating by hand, it’ll take at least five minutes.)

Fold whipped cream into egg whites, then fold chocolate mixture into that mix.

Pour into a large glass bowl or 10-cup souffle dish. Freeze for a minimum of four hours. Let sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Or fill a tall, screw-top jar to keep in freezer for nightly indulgence and thrill friends with the rest served in a bowl.

Serve with mock creme fraiche, made by blending ½ cup heavy cream, whipped into gentle peaks, with ⅔ cup sour cream or yogurt and 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon dark rum. Refrigerate until ready to use.