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August 1, 2006

Can You Eat Your Way to Better Sex?

Two new books say the sex you have is related to the food you eat. Robin Epstein tests whether or not you really can cook up a great orgasm.

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Two new books say the sex you have is related to the food you eat. Robin Epstein tests whether or not you really can cook up a great orgasm.

"Absolutely." That was Beau's one-word response. I'd e-mailed him asking if I could use him to help me test recipes from two new cookbooks, Great Food, Great Sex and Fork Me, Spoon Me. I wanted to see if the right foods, well prepared, actually souped up romance and added zest to sex, as the authors claimed. His reply came back three seconds after I hit "send." Beau's enthusiasm was a positive sign, but we had a problem: I don't cook. Before beginning this research, I didn't even know if my oven functioned as anything other than storage space. Even so, I opened up Amy Reiley's Fork Me, Spoon Me because its cover inspired me. When I saw the naked lady sitting on the floor, eating strawberries in front of a booze-filled fridge, I immediately thought, I can do that!

After reading about the history and properties of particular ingredients — almonds, chocolate, honey, figs, etc. — I chose my menu. We would start with Hot Honey Nuts and a dry Riesling, move on to Green Tea-Poached Salmon with Sensual Salsa (a combination of aphrodisiacs the author calls "a veritable Viagra salad"), and end with First Time Fluffernutters, a steamier, toasted version of an old-school favorite. I was already excited. Shopping for this romantic little meal took me several hours at three different supermarkets and had a shocking cost of $115.28. Turn-on? Not so much. But I wanted to do this right, and when I finally got down to cooking, I decided to start with what seemed like the easiest item to make: Hot Honey Nuts. High in arginine, nuts are supposedly excellent for sexual health because they boost blood flow. (This is important for both sexes, but in men, blood flow equals mojo.) The chili on them will "raise body temperature, make tongues tingle and lips plump," Reiley writes. I can deal with that.

Yet somewhere between drizzling the honey-chili concoction and taking the dish out of the oven, disaster struck: I'd burned the nuts. But I kept moving. I still had a fish to poach and sensual mango salsa to make (plus a bathroom to clean and legs to shave). When Beau arrived, he flashed me a sexy smile and complimented my efforts, despite the inedible appetizer. He cleaned his plate and asked for more of the main course, which struck me as both sweet and manly. Then, as I rose to clear the table before beginning dessert, I was struck by another aspect of Beau's manliness. I'm not sure if it was simply the unusual sight of me behind the wheel of a frying pan or the primal nature of the mango in the salsa (it's used to increase virility in India), but before I could unscrew the lid from the marshmallow fluff, Beau had me pressed against the kitchen wall, no fluffing necessary. I slid down the wall and had him on the floor. Now that's what I call dessert.

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