Taste, Texture & Sex; Food's Sultry Senses for the Holidays
Taste, Aroma & Touch can enhance both your dining and sensual intimacy
Posted Dec 22, 2014
Eroticism and food have long been paired together in the annals of history—with references to culinary pleasures found in literature, film, and pop culture. Pleasure taken from eating and drinking often falls into a category of sensual experiences. Indeed, the definition of sensual is “of or arousing gratification of the senses and physical, especially sexual, pleasure”. Certainly, while food itself may not bring about sexual excitement or orgasm per se, the act of eating and drinking bring to many a profound and visceral pleasure. The intersection of food and sensuality is often portrayed in popular culture when one partner feeds their blindfolded lover—who, deprived of one of the five senses, is overwhelmed by their heightened sense of taste. Popular culture has also used this pairing for comedic effect—notably, I recall a Seinfeld episode in which George, pairs his love of food and sex unconsciously and ends up sneaking pastrami sandwiches into bed. While Katz’s may be delicious, perhaps it’s best to choose an item a little less messy.
There have been many cultural and artistic depictions of the link between food, sensuality, and sexuality. Take for example an infamous scene from the 1963 film Tom Jones, based on Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel. Two couples gaze longingly at one another has they feast on delicacies such as crab, wild game, oysters, and fruit. They flirt with one another through the seductive manner in which they eat---practically acting out their sexual desires upon the food in front of them. In this instance, the food has become both a symbol of and a part of their passion. The shared meal is a slow seduction—culminating in the couple’s passionate kiss.
Readers might be familiar with a Sex and the City episode in which Samantha Jones covers her nude body in sushi upon request from her boyfriend, as an erotic treat for when he returns from work. Samantha hopes that the sight of her body as a literal serving dish, coupled with the smell and taste of delicate sushi, will encourage her partner to experience her body in a similar way to the tiny morsels. Sushi is pristine, beautiful, and delicate---a work of art in and of itself. By presenting her body in such a manner, she is inviting her partner to take the same approach to savor her appearance, smell, and taste.
Social media has ushered in not only the age of the “selfie”, but that of “food porn”. Food porn is a term referring to images of food that are so succulent and enticing they provoke deep reactions in viewers akin to viewing pornography. As with viewing erotic art, there is an anticipation which builds when one sees an image of a particularly inviting meal. The viewer salivates, eyes widen, and pulse may quicken, just like a sexual response. Additionally, terming images as “food porn” connotes a form of teasing between the artist and viewer.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are full of photos of friends’ meals. Going out for a meal and photographing your food prior to digging in has become so common that some restaurants have had to ban the practice. Like sharing images of attractive partners or talking about sex with your close friends, there is an element of braggadocio here.
Pop culture references aside, Thanksgiving and winter holiday celebrations often center around food. Certain foods are eaten due to tradition or their status as a delicacy and rare treat. Think of sugary butter cookies or chocolate truffles thst melt in your mouth, the exquisite velvet texture of foie grois, or champagne bubbles giddily poppingin your mouth. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, prominently feature special foods. Turkey, stuffing and potatoes are classic Thanksgiving fare; Potato latkes are a traditional and symbolic Hanukkah dish; Christmas culinary traditions vary around the world, but some notable examples include fruit cake, eggnog, mulled wine or cider, and a vast array of sweet and savory pies. Kwanza cuisine encompasses classic Southern dishes with an African flair, such as sweet potato pie and collard greens. While all of these holidays feature special and culturally significant foods that are a cause for celebration themselves, these holiday gatherings are typically intended as times to be with large groups of family and close friends.
Unfortunately it is not until New Year’s Eve that it is deemed culturally appropriate to share a glass of champagne (and perhaps sex) after the kids have gone to bed or the party with friends have ended. This long stretch of holiday festivities can be extremely stressful for the individual and couple at hand. Often, clients tell me they feel guilty for taking time to themselves during purportedly family holidays. However, there is no need to feel guilty—it’s okay to be a little selfish and take some time for yourself and your partner to honor your relationship in the holiday spirit. Taking some alone time to enjoy some culinary delights might bring you closer, aid your communication in and out of the bedroom, and give you some much needed alone time amidst the holiday rush.
Many of the words we use to describe sexuality and food are similar—both areas of experience deal with different textures, tastes, and smells. If couples can connect over what tastes good and pleasurable to them, they can have the same types of discussions about what feels good to them.
The holidays are often a stressful time—planning parties, travel arrangements, gift buying and giving—it’s no wonder that by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, many people feel completely depleted.. I encourage you to carve out time between now and when the ball drops to ring in 2015 for sensuality.
You don’t have to blindfold one another to enjoy it, either. Pick a few things that you and your partner(s) enjoy---perhaps a decadent truffle, juicy pineapple, or a nutty cheese---the food itself doesn’t matter, but it should be something that tastes good to you.
Take turns feeding each other a bite and describing all the sensations: How does it smell? How does it feel? How does it taste? The best part about this kind of activity is that it’s a great way to relax and be flirty in the midst of holiday gatherings. If you’re short on time, you could do something like this for only five to ten minutes. Thinking about the sensual nature of food can bring out sensual communication and intimacy in other areas of your relationship as well, and help you de-stress over the holidays!