By Bobby Yonzon
Yes, the world is an oyster – succulent, throbbing, and breath-halting. 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 intense that you’d be compelled to share a personal titillation with others and, when possible, with somebody special. Thus, an intimate dinner date – from the hors d’oeuvre to the entree to the dessert – 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 gourmand Jennifer Iannolo in her essay in the Atlasphere. “It is not surprising that some foods have been described as orgasmic. It is possible to swoon after experiencing a taste so sublime that one could die on the spot and be joyous for having had the good fortune to exist for that singular moment of pleasure”, she adds.
“To die for” is a Pinoy battlecry when they are unable to resist a spread that may include food which dietitians and doctors sternly warn us against. Pleasure is always tempting that man (and even woman) forges the path of least resistance to gain paradise.
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.”
Bite. Lick. Nibble. Suck. And then some. In our armory of dictions, we equate the same words that describe our acts of consumption with that of copulation. Describing what and how we eat or make love are so interchangeable and enthralling. After all, these deeply involve all our senses – touch, smell, sight, and hearing – and conscript practically all parts of our bodies – from the rigid protuberances to the damp and soft 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 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. Clearly, there is a wide spectrum of preferences, from the tame to the hot and exotic.
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.
Sodamin, who has established a reputation for elevating cruise cuisine into romantic fine dining, says: “For as long as people have sought to enhance sexual pleasure by stirring desire, building stamina, intensifying orgasm, and retaining virility, they have turned to aphrodisiacs in the form of foods, ointments, potions and charms.”
Our Asian neighbors have a menu of purportedly medicinal but exotic foods to help boost their sexual prowess – from cobra to scorpions, from bird saliva to monkey brain. And pity the animal kingdom that are being raided for sex stimulants. Wonder no more why supposedly Chinese fishermen forage our territories for turtles and pangolins, reputedly strong aphrodisiacs.
Filipinos do not go for rhinoceros horns or gekkos. 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. Uh, okay.
For a race that stupefy the world with its proclivity for meals “six times a day”, we are rather conservative with our sex culinary adventures. But wait, our new-found prosperity and world view, fired up by the Internet, might free us to be more adventurous. Openly that is.
All over the world, history has shown that lovers’ 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, like Bacchanalia.
Indeed, food and sex are venerated rites in every religion. Virgins being sacrificed at the altar to ask for good harvest seems to be fair trade when supplicating voracious gods to be kinder.
Sodamin asks: “How can two things so primal, so essential for the propagation of the species, also nourish the soul? Sex the act of procreation, became “making love” – the ultimate expression of one’s feelings.”
And when we become slave to the call of the flesh, we sheepishly reason: “Masarap kasi eh”. Burp.