All foods are capable of being organized by their proximity to sex. Chocolate-covered strawberries, for example, have an immediate association with eroticism, while garlic is considered a faux pas for its staying power on the breath. Recently, sex experts at Lovehoney, an adult product store, compiled a list of foods that should be avoided prior to sex, pushing this binary further. Their list was dictated primarily by foods that either impact the smell/taste of bodily fluids or produce gas and bloating. Many of the chosen culprits were obvious, like beans, spicy foods and yes, garlic, but some more surprising selections included mints, chewing gum, licorice and raw vegetables (aka salad).
While I understand the logic here — some raw vegetables require that your stomach ferment them in order to be broken down, producing gas as a result — I have to ask: If you can’t eat a salad before sex, what the fuck can you eat?
What’s interesting about the salad point, in particular, is that it flies in the face of much of our other cultural norms. There’s a stereotype of women ordering a salad at dinner on a date in order to appear dainty and light, and among those who predominantly have anal sex, salad is seen as a sort of “safe” food to have when the night might lead to butt stuff later. For some, salad is the closest thing to not eating at all, yet it’s rejected based on the expectation that bottoms should starve before sex so as to keep their digestive tract perfectly pristine for their partner.
Obviously, it’s reasonable to not want to shit on someone during sex. It’s also reasonable to not want to fart on them, either. But we’re also talking about… salads? A food that I have never once before associated with gassiness. I’ve given myself stomachaches from eating too much raw spinach and kale before, two ingredients Lovehoney identifies as members of the green vegetable enemy, but even then, it wasn’t like it yielded uncontrollable flatulence. I could still reasonably have had sex afterwards and not done anything embarrassing. Most often, a nice balanced salad leaves me feeling like I got some good vitamins and am ready to rock and roll.
But since we’re on the topic, I will say this — it’s not the lettuce portion of salad that’s likely to cause gas for some people, it’s the toppings. According to Livestrong, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, radishes, celery and carrots are all particularly gassy, so if you’re worried about that, you could always avoid them or keep them to a minimum.
Or, you should, you know, eat whatever you want. Our bodies are often not perfectly logical systems, and to stress over eating some healthy greens before sex is to stress over the fact that we’re humans. There’s nothing you can do to stop your body from processing food for energy, save for not eating at all. Hopefully, as adults, all parties involved in sex can be somewhat understanding of that fact and pursue sex accordingly.
Food is just as much of an essential pleasure as sex, and frankly, if I have to worry about the consequences of eating a salad, I’m probably going to be too uncomfortable to enjoy either. What’s actually sexy to me is having an appetite and eating well. Maybe salad is now on the low end of the food sexiness spectrum, but it’s probably time we throw that idea in the same place we used to throw our pre-sex Indian food leftovers — the trash.