Food Is More Than Foreplay: How What You Eat Affects Your Sex Life

by Rita Templeton
Originally Published: 
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Sex can be hard (pun totally intended – hehe). Marriage, work, stress, and kids – especially kids – throw a wrench into our best-laid lays, turning us from the freaky-deeky horndogs of young adulthood into worn-out, touched-out oldsters whose idea of a perfect night in bed involves nothing but a solid eight hours of ZZZs.

It’s depressing, really: we were once ready to go at a moment’s notice (Boners! Boners everywhere!), and now we’re just ready to go … to sleep.

RELATED: These Foreplay Tips Will Blow Your… Mind

At this stage of our lives, we need all the help we can get – and one surprisingly big factor of a satisfying sex life comes from what we put in our mouths. I mean food, you perv.

That’s right: your diet can either help or hinder your chances of putting the “wow” back into “bow-chicka-wow-wow.” We already know that certain foods have long been associated with sexy time – like the seductive slurping of a suggestively vag-like oyster, for example, or a dribble of juice from a plump strawberry running down your chin and dripping into cleavage or what-have-you. But aside from being evocative, these foods don’t really do anything for the body in terms of boosting libido or performance. What we eat, or don’t eat, can help determine how much we enjoy our time between the sheets.

There are the obvious things you shouldn’t load up on before you get down, like garlic and onions and that iffy, three-week-old leftover chicken from the fridge that you thought might still be okay (you don’t want those butterflies in your stomach to turn into bubble guts). But there are also some dietary don’ts to keep in mind, like consuming …

Too much food, period. It can be the healthiest dinner in the world, but if it’s a big one, it’ll mess with your smash session. Your body will be so busy trying to digest the massive meal that it’ll divert most of your physical resources there instead of to the crucial parts that keep your mojo going. If you’ve ever yelled at your kids, “I CAN ONLY DO SO MANY THINGS AT ONCE!,” then you get the picture.

High-carb comfort food. “Comfort food” didn’t get its name by making people feel energetic. You won’t slip into sexual beast mode after a huge plate of pasta or a bowl of mashed potatoes, because the insulin release after you’ve eaten a bunch of carbs will make you sluggish and tired.

Dairy products. That cheese fondue or melted ice cream may have been sexy to eat and all, but, according to Fitness Magazine, lactic acid – found in all dairy products – can put the kibosh on your libido. Additionally, the cow’s milk used to make these products (or, hell, milk itself) can contain a lot of synthetic hormones and can actually affect the natural hormone production of both sexes. You still need your calcium, though, so get it through alternative sources like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, tofu, and some types of fish.

Alcohol. I know, I know: sometimes tipsy sex is the best sex. While alcohol can certainly play a role in loosening up inhibitions in the bedroom, it’s the amount you need to keep an eye on. Research shows that more than two drinks per day can actually have a reverse effect. Alcohol can also deplete men’s levels of testosterone. (Whiskey dick. ‘Nuff said.)

Carbonated beverages and gum. If you drink soda, you drink air. If you drink it through a straw, you drink more air. If you chew gum, you’re gulping – you guessed it – air. And all that air translates into a decidedly unsexy belly bloat.

Beans and cruciferous veggies. Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat … the more you’re at risk for a humiliating episode of mid-coital cheese-cutting. They’re high in fiber, so steer clear of them if you know you’re gonna be getting it on later. Same goes for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and anything else in that general family of veggies.

Anything that makes you feel like your grandma or your toddler. If oysters and strawberries and dark chocolate and champagne and whipped cream can put people in a sexy mood, doesn’t it stand to reason that other foods can do the exact opposite? I mean, nobody feels like a sexpot after eating a bowl of oatmeal or some Goldfish crackers.

That being said, there are also some things you should definitely do (both partners!) when it comes to elevating your sexual experience. Like taking in …

A light and balanced meal. If you’re going to eat immediately prior to a romp in the hay, make sure your meal isn’t too heavy, and roughly equal amounts of carbs and protein. It’ll keep your blood sugar levels steady and give you plenty of available energy to burn without being difficult to digest.

Lots of water. Staying well-hydrated helps keep things lubed up. I mean, do I need to expand on this?

Plenty of nitric oxide. This one’s good for both sexes – nitric oxide is great for the heart – but listen up, dudes: it’s also the key to getting a stiffy (just ask Men’s Fitness). Made by the lining of the blood vessels, it expands them and increases blood flow. Drugs for erectile dysfunction, like Viagra, work by increasing the volume of nitric oxide. Dark cocoa, walnuts, pomegranate, spinach, oranges, beets, black tea, honey, salmon, kale, shrimp … these are just a few nitrate-rich, boner-boosting superfoods.

When you feed your body the right things at the right times, you’ll feel (and perform) better in the sack. And who knows? Maybe it could lead to more sex.

Unless your main problem is cockblocking kids. If that’s the case, I’m still looking for a food to help with that one.

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