Sensuality on a plate

When love bites, food can take on erotic dimensions. Hannah Robinson raids the larder for a taste of love and traces the history of the aphrodisiac.

hen Cronos chopped off his father’s w genitals and threw them into the sea, the

foam was fertilised and Aphrodite, goddess of love, was born. She sailed in on a scallop shell and in later years, gave birth to a son, Priapus, god of phallic worship and procreation.

From the offset, sex and shellfish were inextricably linked. Caesar found shellfish pretty sexy, his love of oysters leading him to invade Britain for its oyster beds and Casanova was another with a bit of an oyster fetish.

According to research group Modern Scientists, shellfish contain high percentages of zinc: a mineral which enhances vigour, smell sensitivity and sexual maturity possibly physical rather than emotional all fairly essential to a healthy sex-life. As oysters are eaten raw and quickly digested, it is possible that they induce a sudden zinc-thrill. Aphrodisiacs or not, they are incredibly suggestive in shape and texture, tasty, and seductively expensive. What more could a girl want from a crustacean?

Some ancient aphrodisiacs are pretty unsavoury and many down-right unpalatable. The Marquis de Sade was accused of poisoning prostitutes by feeding them Spanish Fly, believing this now illegal irritant made from ground beetles, would get them going. English folklore recommends that a man spikes his lady’s wine with a drop of blood. Not sensible. Alternatively, serve a loaf of bread containing three hairs from a left armpit and three pubic hairs. Ground up homs-from a reindeer or rhino, and powdered ivory are reputed to be powerful tum-ons and the root of the term ‘horny’. The tradition of carrying a rabbit’s foot stems back to

Creating a buzz

If good old fashioned love is no longer enough and love at first sight is the stuff of fairytales, mail order could be the answer.

The List probes the murky depths of the sex aid ads.

life? A little bit of variation to banish

boredom in the bedroom perhaps? If the once a week, Saturday night lights off and missionary position routine is becoming stale, help is at hand, as it were. A growing number of mail order companies will be happy to send a huge variety of sex aids to your door, all discreetly wrapped, of course.

The companies advertise in most of the skin mags and a national newspaper known affectionately to its readers as the Spurt. Judging by the letters from satisfied customers which accompany the adverts, these marital aids, as

Looking for something to spice up your love

they used to be coyly termed, work rather well perhaps a little too well for some users. A D.S. of Stourbridge writes: ‘I think you are marvellous, my husband and myself are enjoying ourselves much more, I can satisfy myself now and it’s almost as good as the real thing.’ Far from leading to joint enjoyment, Mrs S. seems to suggest her and her hubby are too busy doing their own thing to have much need of each other’s company.

All of which is perfectly in keeping with many of the products on offer, designed with onanism in mind. For £125 the Milk Maid doll with its ejaculating breasts can be yours. Alternatively, the more corpulent can roll around with Brazen Brigitte whose ‘vibrating throbing’ (sic) action will apparently drive you wild. She can bear a weight of up to ZSOlbs before bursting. It doesn’t bear thinking about really.

Given that rubber dolls are not everybody’s idea of the perfect sexual partner you can attempt to find yourself a live mate with the help of Attract-A-Mate. This is a spray which contains

the idea that the flesh of animals carried their characteristics. Rabbits, of course, are always at it. The Chinese crushed butterfly wings with honey and slipped the potion into the food of their loved ones, while the ever-delicate Scots used the testicles and blade bones of black sheep to divine love.

Perhaps a vegetarian alternative is preferable. Fruit is really very seductive, so much so that Polynesian women were forbidden to eat bananas and coconuts. Passion fruit, mangoes, kiwi, bananas, figs, pomegranates - all of which are considered to have aphrodisiac qualities. Their plain, often ugly exterior conceals sumptuous, vivid and fragrant flesh. Not quite so charming, Elizabethan prostitutes ate prunes as a sexual appetiser. Peaches and oranges are a seduction favourite and of course, it was an apple that started the whole human predicament off.

Vegetables are just as suggestive. Carrots and mushrooms (phallic), truffles (expensive), avocados (rich, creamy flesh, called testicles in

Aztec), spinach (Popeye), tomatoes (love apples), and lettuce are all believed to induce passion.

Finally, confectionery. Chocolate was

powdered and drunk by the Aztecs in worship of Xochiquetzal, goddess of love a tradition continued today by the Milk Tray man. It was considered so potent that women and priests were forbidden to eat it. Honey, particularly popular in Arabic countries, is the definitive love liquid and the word honeymoon derives from the tradition of drinking honey wine, hydromel, after the wedding. Take care, it was over-indulgence in this potion that caused the death of Attila the Hun.

androstenone, a pheremone found in urine and testes which allegedly attracts women. Just in case this fails to have the desired result, you can back up your assault with a 100 chat up lines book.

The ads also display a mind boggling array of vibrators with names and descriptions which appeal more to macho wannabe stallions than women. The 13in ‘donkey monster (3ins thickll)’ sounds more like an instrument of torture than pleasure.

Some of the other products are aimed at a more specialised market under the His ’n’ Hers Pleasure Chest section we have spring loaded' nipple clamps which seems somewhat incongruous, or women can surprise the paedophile in their lives by turning up in the cheeky school girl outfit. Should the spirit prove stronger than the flesh, the vicious sounding penis choker in leather may help. Finally, that romantic evening for two just wouldn’t be complete without the essential Latex mask and inflatable (?) bra. (Madame Xavier)

a The List 10-23 Feb'i995'