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August 1, 2006

Can You Eat Your Way to Better Sex?

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Encouraged by the results, I was anxious to do it again. My next menu came from Great Food, Great Sex, a book written by Robert Fried and Lynn Edlen-Nezin, two Ph.D.'s who have created a program that is designed to maximize your body's flow of blood to increase stamina and sexual enjoyment. The thinking is that foods rich in nitrogen (veggies and beans), arginine (nuts, meat, poultry, fish), and antioxidants (fruits, seeds, and richly colored vegetables) act as sex fuel — partly because they bring you nitric oxide, the same compound that Viagra boosts. Antioxidants keep the sex fuel potent.

The meal would consist of Broccoli Beef Ginger, Oriental Rice, and Mousse à la Banana, with Mint Julep cocktails to drink, just because they looked good. Since Beau's a Southerner, he figured he'd be a natural at making the drink, and I was delighted that he wanted to help with the preparations.

We cooked at his place that night, and the food tasted better this time. (The Mint Juleps might have been to thank for that.) Watching Beau grind up the fresh mint boosted my circulation even before the ginger in the main dish kicked in. And, whether it was all that nitric oxide floating around or the simple fact that we had eaten too much of it, by the end of dinner we both had the urge to take off our pants. I was beginning to see a pattern but wanted to do more research — hey, I'm a professional — so I decided to invite some other couples over for dinner.

We chose our libido-boosting menu based on principles from Great Food, Great Sex, and served Apricot and White Cheddar Panini, Chicken and Beef Kebabs, Spinach Lasagna, and a dessert of fruit dipped in melted chocolate. The wine and cocktails started to flow as soon as people arrived, and the deliciously gooey cheese-and-apricot appetizer was an immediate hit. People even looked sexy eating it. I continued refilling glasses and dishing out food throughout the night, and by the time my guests started dipping their berries in the hot, melted chocolate, I knew my work was done. I'd made a sumptuous meal, and I felt confident that I'd set a seductive vibe. Now it was up to my friends to, um, take their balls and run.

"Well, hostess," my friend Matt wrote me the next day, "the 'after-party' could be described as inspired, aggressive, insatiable, and freaky-deaky." I took this to mean the food had worked its magic. In a separate e-mail, his girlfriend, Veronica, clarified: "Yes, I had a lot to drink. Yes, he was aggressive. Yes, it was good." Hmmm ... maybe it's just the alcohol after all.

Did the recipes from these books really have anything to do with the heat the meals created? The act of making something expressly for the pleasure of my partner was just plain sensual, even if I didn't know how to cook. It helped that Beau and I were spending time together, making something to mutually satisfy, and checking in with questions like, "What can I do to help?" and "Do you like this?" Is that an aphrodisiac? Absolutely.

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