Start Your Engines

New York Resident
18 August 2003

Start Your Engines
Sexpert and Chef Work a Little Bit of Aphrodisiacal Magic into Daily Mix
Written by Chris MacLeod.

Not in the mood for love? Alas, that’s no excuse anymore. Aspirin is far from the only solution to that proverbial bedtime headache. Sometimes I have wicked thoughts about the “date-rape” drug being more suitable for connubial cooperation. Hubby has his way, while wifey gets to sack out instead of faking an orgasm.

Synchronizing passion has never been a cinch. There’s Viagra for the guys but desire in women is sparked by more subtle, psychological triggers. Aphrodisiacs have existed since antiquity. Thought to enhance man’s potency and women’s pliancy, these love potions often had unintended consequences.

In 1954, one Arthur Ford, office manager of a chemical company in London, discovered that cantharide was the active ingredient in Spanish Fly. He had heard from his WWII buddies that it drove women wild. Now 44 and married, he had the hots for a coworker.

He stole 40 grains from the chief chemist and spiked some candies with the drug. Ford offered his “crush” Betty Grant a bon bon, and then took a piece himself. Typist June Matlins, a 19-year-old former beauty queen with a sweet tooth, helped herself. An hour later, the two women took sick; the next day they were dead. Ford survived, only to be convicted of manslaughter. Fortunately, aphrodisiacs are abundant in foods that can easily become part of a healthy diet.

To learn more, I attended a talk by noted sexologist Dr. Ava Cadell. It was accompanied by lunch at Aigo (1680 First Ave.) where chef Richard Sarnabe had prepared a delicious meal-and every course featured dishes incorporating aphrodisiacs! (What a waste-95% of those present were women.)

Dr. Cadell, a strikingly charismatic presence, brought along charts and hand-outs to enlighten us on which aphrodisiacs work best during each stage of the mating ritual. Then, even better visual aids appeared. It was “Adam” and “Eve” in the flesh-and little else besides. They wore only the fruits, veggies, plants, herbs, oyster, clam and mussel shells that the doctor deemed conducive to Eros.

I knelt at Adam’s feet, the better to break off aloe vera shoots from his sandals. I challenged Eve’s modesty by removing stick after stick of licorice from her loincloth. So the lessons sank in: for flirting, bananas, chili peppers, carrots and the herbs damiana and clary sage will start your engines. For seduction, try tomatoes, asparagus, apples, ginger, olives (green for him, black for her), shrimp, oysters and chocolate.

“Aphrodisiacs for Exploration” (now you’re gettin’ into it) include pumpkin seeds/pumpkin pie-to “increase penile blood flow an average of 40%,” the herb muira puama (AKA potency wood), cinnamon, basil, licorice, celery, artichokes and figs.

If providing this kind of “spread” seems a bit daunting, Dr. Cadell has other strategies. She introduced her by now all-hopped-up-with-no-place-to- go audience to Womanzone. Billed as “the ultimate feminine pleasure gel,” it contains many of the components mentioned, as well as extracts of prickly ash and L-arginine (which expedites clitoral erections, according to research that won the 1998 Nobel prize for Medicine and Physiology).

Weren’t they nice to give us all samples of Womanzone. In fact, Dr. Ava sent us away with massage oil, a DVD on erotic massage, Hot Stix, lover’s sex coupons and suggestive fortune cookies. Pine nuts, figs, avocados and sensual photos by Ben Fink whet the appetite for Inter Courses: an aphrodisiac cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge. Cadell’s book, “12 Steps to Everlasting Love, was part of the package, too. The only thing missing was an inflatable male lover.

Dr. Cadell was just profiled on the A & E cable network’s new series, Take This Job…You can also check out her websites and or ask her advice at [email protected].

Can any of this create chemistry? Is spontaneous combustion only a few pumpkin seeds away? Well, first I’m going to give that Avlamil they’re touting on TV a try. It’s a cycle of pills designed to rekindle female desire. Sample a month’s supply for free by calling 1-800-AVLAMIL. Who knows?