...Taking it gently in your fingers, savoring the feel...you think back to how much you’ve wanted this -all of it - inside you. You craved this sensation, this experience, this moment. Parting your lips, you fight the temptation to put it in completely, to devour it whole. Instead, you tease, flicking your tongue out just enough to taste it. A sigh of pleasure rolls across your tongue as you sink your teeth into this tasty morsel, satisfying your deep, needy hunger…

I have a simple question that I ask most people I know at some point in our relationship. What would you prefer: great sex or a great meal?

The majority of answers might surprise you - they sure do shock me. Over the 20 years I’ve been asking people this, the majority of responses are food. Indeed, this really does tilt my head. However, I’ll admit, I am not a foodie. To me, food is just fuel for...well...sometimes it just keeps the motor going for more sex. While my entirely non-scientific poll does not show a vast preference for sustenance over sex, there are definitely more people picking a portion over perving, even among my sex friends!

I’ve always enjoyed hearing the responses, but when I ask those in sex writing, education, and entertainment, I am always dumbfounded. “But...sex...is...your...thing…” Fortunately, when I admitted my own preconceived notions to sexologist and great cook Dr. Trina Read of VivaXO, she offered a terrific response: “Maybe, because they are involved in sex, they’re already having great sex regularly. Whereas they might not always be getting great meals, so that is more appealing.”

Food as a Bonding Experience

In many respects, food is a bonding experience. We meet to eat. We meet while we eat. We flirt and get to know each other during a lunchtime rendezvous and during dinner dates. Then, sometimes we go home together and take the same language of food into bed as we gobble, suck, and eat out. These dual nomenclatures are key to our appreciation of both.

“Food is a safe way for people to talk about sex without being judged or feeling awkward,” Dr. Read offered. “Food can be a cloak for being naughty. They wouldn’t post porn, but they’ll post ‘food porn.’”

Ecstasy in Food and Sex

As a society, we have many different ecstatic events, but the two most common and most frequent pure joys are having sex and eating. Take a trip through both sexual and non-sexual media and watch both depictions of orgasms and people taking a bite of their favorite meal. The faces are very similar, very telling. Food does bring great joy, in much the same manner as does sex. It's just different parts of our bodies involved.

Hence the rise of the now ubiquitous term ‘food porn.’ Whether through social media or actual advertising, images of people eating - their open mouths, shiny lips, glistening, probing tongue - all of these tempt us into craving food or sex or both.

Beyond advertising, media have certainly taken to the idea of combining the dual sensualities of food and sex to new levels by feeding us cooking shows. Gone are the days of grandmotherly Julia Child, who has since been replaced by Nigella Lawson, Rachel Ray, and others who fit more into society’s current beauty standards (not surprisingly, male-identified hosts are exempt). It isn’t just the surface of these shows that is pretty. Dr. Read suggests that these hosts imbue sex and sensuality into their presentation. “They’re teaching us it is OK to be sexual with food.”

Food and Sex Collide

Of course, as with anything involving sex, some take this one step further by incorporating food into their sexual situations. This can be as simple as squirting a little whipped cream on your partner’s chest and licking it off, or it can be much more involved. Two particular sexual interests that depend on food are sploshing and feeding. Sploshing is arousal derived from being covered in wet and messy substances with foods such as pie, pudding, chocolate sauce, baked beans, and more on the menu of delight. Feeders also involve food in sex, but not so much with sexy smearing. A feeder will provide food to their partner, get excited by their consuming it, and also get turned on as their partner gains weight. (Learn more in A Beginner's Guide to Food Play.)

Having this level of comfort with your sexuality is a fantastic situation and as Dr. Read notes, using food to bridge that gap in conversation is a natural way to help. She also reminds us that food, and a balanced diet, is also a great way to stimulate a flagging libido. Eating nutritious foods will improve your overall health, and that could increase your sexual desire and abilities. Good food will also help you get better rest, give you more energy, and improve your sex life.

At the same time, it is important to recognize the potential link to specific foods being actual libidinous triggers. Dr. Read explains that some people might have a certain food that does increase their excitement when eating it. While aphrodisiacs are often dismissed, they were, historically, exotic foods introduced into a new region. They were also often high in nutrients that those people weren’t getting enough of, creating that ecstasy that can make us feel better and more excited.

This can still play out today even if the food isn’t exotic. Maybe it is good energy. Maybe it is endorphins. Maybe it is comfort. If food is your sexy thing, embrace it.

“If food turns you on, be unabashed about it,” Dr. Read proclaims. “There is so much shame about sex, if this is the way you feel sexy and you can do it in public then you should go for it. If it feels good, eat it!”