If you're an athlete, you probably plan every meal you eat. You put some serious thought into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your pre- and post-workout meal or drink would make a biochemist or biohacker proud, and you furrow your brow over the average restaurant menu as if you were an archaeologist who'd just unearthed Moses' laundry list:
- 2 under-tunics (no starch)
- 1 Shawl (sheep's milk stain on left lapel)...
But oddly enough, I doubt you spend any time at all thinking about what to eat or, more importantly, what not to eat, before sex. That seems at least a little odd because a good part of the reason most of us got interested in working out in the first place is to look a little less repugnant so we could have more sex, or at least increase the chances of having any sex at all.
With that in mind, I think it's important to give some consideration to the pre-sex meal to ensure your performance is on par and, perhaps more importantly, save yourself a little embarrassment so you might be invited back for an encore.
Here are a few foods that you definitely need to AVOID before getting romantic:
1. The "Brimstone" Vegetable
Don't do it. Don't eat asparagus before having sex. Its digestion leads to the formation of methanethiol and S-methyl thioesters, two sulfurous compounds that find their way into your urine in as little as 15 minutes.
While everybody makes these two compounds after eating asparagus, not everyone can actually smell them. Apparently, it has to do with a few olfactory-related genes that reside on chromosome 1; either you have them or you don't.
One study (Markt, et al, 2016) found that more women than men are apparently "immune" to the scent, but not because they're missing the related genes. Instead, the scientists thought the discrepancy might have to do with the position women assume while urinating – facing away from the "volatile odorants."
Wow. Okay, if we're going to throw out wild guesses, here's mine: When women sit down, their thighs and buttocks form a fleshy Tupperware-like seal over the toilet seat, trapping in all that pungent freshness and shielding them from the smell. So there.
Anyhow, the internet is rife with anecdotal stories how eating asparagus before sex might also affect the smell and/or taste of your spunk. I'm skeptical. While I think it's possible for those same chemicals to leech into your prostatic fluid, I suspect it might happen after eating asparagus for several days in a row rather than during one solitary pre-sex meal.
Regardless, why take the chance? Push them off to the side of your plate. Bury them underneath the overcooked polenta.
2. Alcohol, but Maybe a Little of This Instead
It's hard for most people to have sex without first having a drink or two. The alcohol of course eases inhibitions, thereby setting the stage for really good, non-vanilla sex – the kind that you'd probably have to pay an escort a lot extra for.
It also smoothes over any embarrassment AFTER, because really good sex, by definition, should leave one or both partners feeling at least a little bit ashamed for doing whatever depraved, kinky thing they like to do when they're sufficiently drunk.
But then there's the flip side of pre-sex alcohol: impaired performance and impaired sensation.
Alcohol often leads to weak or weaker erections and it often stymies orgasm, especially in men. I suspect that a good percentage of alleged cases of erectile dysfunction are just "whiskey dick," beer dick, or Cabernet Sauvignon dick, whatever the case may be.
Of course, alcohol may help with premature ejaculation, but not being able to cum at all is a frustrating possibility.
It's like marching off to the pie store for some pie, sometimes skipping and running, sometimes walking slow, almost stopping, and then speeding up again, only to find that you can't find the pie store and then you end up walking faster and faster until you finally quit in frustration, saying it's never happened to you before, or, alternately, you just pretend like you found the store and had some pie, which never works because she can't find any pie crumbs as evidence.
If drinking alcohol is part of your pre-sex ritual, try to limit it to one or two ounces of alcohol, i.e., one or two beers or glasses of wine. That, or have a little pre-sex weed. Marijuana has vasodilatory properties, which means that it might actually enhance erections and, like alcohol, blunt inhibitions.
3. No Fruits and Vegetables that Cause Gas
The pre-sex meal is one time you can forgo your healthful fiber and polyphenols. You don't want to feel bloated and you definitely don't want to get gassy and spend the duration of your lovemaking trying to "hold it in."
In particular, avoid the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.), along with certain particularly gassy fruits like bananas or raisins (not that the latter are standard dinner fare).
If you must eat some plant matter, opt for spinach, lettuce, berries, cantaloupe, or avocado.
4. Avoid Every Carbohydrate Side Dish, Except for One
Almost all carbohydrate side dishes (bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.) produce some amount of gas as they're broken down. As pointed out above, gritting your teeth and clenching your sphincter during sex is not going to lead to flying Wallenda-like sex; more like old man with spinal paralysis sex.
The one "safe" carb choice is rice, as it doesn't generate gas as it breaks down. Opt for white over brown as the high-fiber content of brown rice can also generate the formation of gas.
5. Watch Out for Fatty Cuts of Meat
While fat itself doesn't cause gas, it might increase bloating and gas pains by delaying gastric emptying. Fatty cuts of meat (or fatty meals in general) might also affect performance.
As evidence, a small study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (Nicholls, et al, 2006) found that eating a meal that contained 1 gram of fat per every kilo (2.2 pounds) of body weight really gummed up the works. Three hours after the meal, the participants exhibited a reduced ability of their endothelium, or inner lining of the blood vessels, to expand and increase blood flow.
That's a potential problem because erections are all about blood flow and pressure. They're like the wacky, inflatable, arm-flailing tube men you see in front of car dealerships – park a Toyota Tacoma on the air hose and you get a half-inflated wacky tube man and everyone walks away disappointed.
Avoid the fatty meals so you don't show your date a half-inflated wacky tube man.
6. No Italiano
Maybe I'm being unfair in damning a whole ethnic cuisine as anti-sex, but my beef isn't the Italian food, per se, but the garlic it usually contains.
Everybody knows it makes your breath stink, which can usually be remedied by sucking on a tin of Altoids, but garlic doesn't just stop there. It permeates your whole body and then emanates from your sweat, pores, and Lord knows what else.
If you can't resist eating some Italian/garlic pre-sex, or find that you ingested some inadvertently, try countering it with an apple or lettuce, either of which might help eliminate it from both your breath and your sweat.
Skip the mint gum, though, as that may cause you to swallow air, thus bringing us back to the dreaded pre-sex gas bloat I talked about earlier.
So What the Hell SHOULD I Eat Before Doin' It?
The best pre-sex meal is actually one a bodybuilder might eat when he's prepping for a contest:
- Baked or broiled fish, roasted chicken breast, or a lean steak.
- A side of white rice.
- A side of spinach.
It's bland and it's boring, but hopefully the scintillating sex that follows such a meal will more than make up for it.