Aphrodisiacs are abundant in the gastronomic world – you can point to most any food, and some culture has assuredly thought it to increase sexual performance or desire. To the ancient Romans, the basic apple was an aphrodisiac (and their polytheism ensured it had nothing to do with Eve’s apple, either!).
While oysters, cherries, and bananas have been the reigning contemporary aphrodisiacs, the emoji keyboard has ushered in a new era of visually suggestive – or unintentionally inappropriate foods, you might say.
For example, you can’t text a photo of a particular late-fall fruit these days without conjuring some sexty feelings. So here are eight foods that have a new or very, very old rep for being sensually provocative.
Due to a marked lack of genital appendages on emoji keyboards (despite a superfluous number of various hand emojis), contemporary humans have had to get crafty.
The closest approximation to a visual representation of the human genitals was, in fact, found in the fruit & vegetable section of the keyboard by some discerning pimply teenager, no doubt (take credit if you’re reading this and it was you!).
Lo and behold it was the eggplant emoji, not the banana, that gets the visual job done as a way of telegraphing to your loved one certain phallic thoughts.
As this generation has embraced all things ass, it’s no surprise the fruit most likely to come from behind was the peach. Art lovers may have cast about for a Georgia O’Keefe-esque iris or petunia, but none of those are to be found on the keyboard, and so the peach carries on, a fruity soldier of sexty innuendos.
When the emoji keyboard updated last year, its users, tired of the produce section, wanted more options in which to tell their friends what they were hungry for – either literally or metaphorically.
And lo, the taco entered the scene to answer so many previously unmet needs for a desire for a cheap food truck lunch was previously unrepresented on the keyboard.
And then, of course, like all good things, was soiled with the horny, tenuous visual connection to a vagina.
There is a reason “nuts” are a metaphor for testicles. The precursor to the Emoji keyboard as a wasteland of sexual innuendo was the Doctrine of Signatures.
Used in most cultures all over the world, for thousands of years, the Doctrine of Signatures was a scarily erroneous “scientific” method of assessing which plants and animals would heal which ailments.
Many philosophers and scientists agreed that the edible items that resembled the organ that needed help were nature’s way of leading the way.
For this reason, in the 15th century, walnuts were thought to resemble testicles and thus were eaten for virility.
By the same rule of the Doctrine of Signatures, English botanist and physician Nicholas Culpeper wrote of the phallic stalk: “Taken fasting several mornings together, stirreth up bodily lust in man or woman.”
Centuries later avoided for the pungent smell and odd color it “stirreth up” in man or woman, you can’t blame Culpeper and his compatriots for trying. Safe to assume that most produce that resembled a stalk with some girth had a purpose as a treatment for stirring up some lust.
Figs are fascinating, symbolically, because the fruit itself is a notoriously historical representation of sensuality, whiles its leaves represent modesty. There is clearly a complete virgin/whore complex going on with this fruit.
Despite the leaves, the testicular-looking exterior combined with its female-sex-organ-inspiring interior has rendered it cult-like status. It was purportedly Cleopatra’s favorite food, after all, so it’s got power.
And in ancient Greece, the arrival of a new fig crop always led to a sexual ritual. So there’s that.
While they are certainly having a resurgent heyday on toast in contemporary food culture, avocados have a long history as an aphrodisiac. The Aztec name for them, ahucatl, meant testicle, not only because they looked like a testicle, but because they were thought to elicit sexual passion.
The Aztecs were so serious about this sensual power of the green fruit that they prohibited virgin females from leaving the house while they were harvested. Needless to say, the Aztecs would be horrified by the brunch scene today.
In Ancient Egypt, celibate priests (Yikes – YES, they even had those vows way back then!) were forbidden to eat onions because of their supposed aphrodisiacal effects. All those layers – so hot right now. Until you peel back those layers, and then…nope, still hot.