One of the most fascinating and enjoyable parts of my job as a sexuality educator is doing research. I love finding bizarre facts about sex – and I love food – so here are a few gems that combine two of my favorite things. Here are some of my recent discoveries from The Sex Chronicles:
• An ancient love potion from Eastern Europe was a little cake presented by a hopeful suitor to the object of desire. One ingredient of the cake was hair from the suitor’s armpit.
• In ancient Greece and Rome, a man suffering from impotence was prescribed a tonic containing animal semen.
• In ancient Arabic countries, the recipe to enlarge a man’s penis was a stew of onions, corn and the penis of a donkey. This concoction was fed to a chicken that the man then ate.
• An old French remedy for large breasts was to make a paste of the heart, liver, lungs, and spleen of a rabbit. Mix with an equal amount of honey and apply. When dry, add another coat.
• An ancient Indian text gave this advice to heighten sexual strength: mash the fruit of the mastic tree with oil and honey and drink first thing in the morning.
• A stew of frogs was used to ensure fertility in women of the Adaman Islands.
• Estonian brides ate a meal of goat testicles to guarantee fertility.
• In Germany, a woman trying to attract a certain male would go to bed with an apple or a biscuit in her vagina. The next day she would give it to the object of her desire and it was believed that if eaten, he would fall in love with her.
• The Roman physician Oribasius believed that food that caused flatulence such as flax seed, beans, chickpeas, onions, and octopus made a male more amorous. The more gas-producing the food, the frothier the sperm became.
• Some tribes of Australia believed that a man impregnated a woman when he passed a roasted fish over a fire to her.
The more I read about sexual practices throughout the ages, the less I’m surprised by some of the crazy ideas people have today. I hope you’ve had as much fun reading these as I’ve had researching them!