Eat Your Way to Better Sex

Andy Kryza/Thrillist

Welcome to Elle Oh Elle, where Portland-based writer and entertainer Elle Stanger takes your sex life from subpar to subversive. Find more of her musings here.

Happy Holidays. Have you finally thrown out those congealed Thanksgiving leftovers? Did you pack yourself full of meats and breads and sauces, and are you ready to do it again? Good news, my intrepid, perverted eaters: we’re going to talk about cooking for healthy humping.

We’ve all heard that bit about pineapple juice: it gives your cum some yum (and that’s actually true!). But when it comes to sexual health, there’s far more to it than just sweet secretions. In order to be truly sexually healthy, you need a wide array of whole foods to encourage heart health, energy, and brain function.

Let’s start with oral sex. Many of us are having it, and hopefully performing it in return. Have you ever noticed that your taste is affected by your diet? Or your partner’s is? Genetics are a major determiner of our brains and bodies, but the curl of your hair, the wiggle in your walk, the taste of your fluids is also a variation of your environment.

As a former porn shop clerk, I recall countless numbers of people who would venture in to find a flavored lubricant that would hide the taste of their partner’s genitalia, or that of their own. But taste isn’t the only issue. Cock rings, penis pumps, and herbal over-the-counter pills all exist to increase or maintain erection, and I’ve seen men as young as 20 struggle with erectile dysfunction, and a lot of it has to do with what they put in their bodies. With so many of us heavily drinking, smoking cigarettes, eating fast and fried food, and chugging energy drinks, it’s no wonder that some of these otherwise fine phalluses refuse to fully function.


And, surprise! Health experts will tell you that eating natural goodies is the best choice for your body.

“My nutrition and sexual health advice is mainly to eat clean,” says certified nutrition advisor and marriage & family therapist Natasha Edwina. “Eating organic whole foods and eliminating processed foods and sugars is going to make a big difference in energy levels and sexual responsiveness. Non-organic foods contain pesticides, and pesticides are endocrine disruptors which lower testosterone.”

As a huge proponent of organic eating, I was pleased to learn that whole-foods eaters reap the benefits, not only in heart and mind health, but in orgasms.

“Upon investigating dwindling populations of alligators in Florida, researchers discovered the agricultural pesticides that had run off into the lakes were causing alligator penises so small that they could no longer mate,” says Edwina. “If that doesn't cause an organic food explosion in our patriarchal Viagra-obsessed society, I don't know what will.” And for women? “Higher testosterone in females is correlated with higher orgasmic ability.”

So, with all that in mind, what the hell should you eat, and avoid, to not suffer the sad fate of those gator dicks?

Flickr/Martin LaBar

What to eat

Strawberries: Antioxidant-laden fruit is good for your circulatory system. These sweets are high in Vitamin c, and the only potential downside of this is that it may increase your sperm count. Don’t forget to wrap it before you tap it.

Carrots and apples: Beside vitamins, these crunchy treats release minimal stomach odor, and their crunch factor actually removes some plaque from your teeth, also improving your breath.

Sweet potatoes: These seasonal favorites are high in potassium, and should help combat high blood pressure, which is another culprit of erectile dysfunction.

Bay area holistic nutrition consultant Hallie Kibert also had a few ideas,:“There are some key nutrients that can help men get and keep erections. Vitamins E and C, selenium, and zinc are needed for proper circulation, to boost testosterone levels, and maintain prostate function. Eating foods like Brazil nuts, fresh fruits and veggies, and oysters will help keep levels of these keys nutrients up.”

Flickr/Jack Lyons

What to avoid

Candy, cookies, and donuts: A sudden spike in blood sugar will give you a quick boost of energy, but the overproduction of insulin leads to that slow, sluggish, hungry feeling soon after. (Editor’s note: GODDAMMIT)

Coffee or energy drinks: Because I simply can’t think of any person who enjoys being shaky, gassy and sweaty during sex.

Flickr/Emily Carlin

Eat to be a sex machine

Treat your body like a machine, it’s designed to process nutrient dense food. To simplify, who do you think has better-tasting jizz: the guy who drinks a smoothie in the morning or the guy who got his breakfast at a gas station?

As a full-time stripper, I share a bathroom with dozens of women every week. And since many of us urinate with the door open, I can usually tell which of my coworker’s drank a ton of coffee that day, or even kombucha, by the scent of their urine. Some of us spend so much time trying to mask our natural functions, that we have no idea how to read what our bodies are trying to tell us. If my pee isn’t green, that means I forgot to take my multivitamin. Sorry to ruin your fantasy, guys.

And because sexual health means a healthy body and mind, it turns out that our brains are much happier when we eat well. Edwina tells us: “Depression and anxiety show changes in the brain but also simultaneously affect the intestinal microbiota and vice versa through the complex bidirectional communication system of the gut-brain axis. Therefore, if our gut bacteria is imbalanced, then our cognitive abilities and/or mood are affected as well. Eating probiotic, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or sometimes plain yogurt or coconut kefir can help to balance gut bacteria and balance mood. A good quality probiotic is also recommended. “

When we talk about proper nutrition, we usually do it in terms of weight loss or heart health, but we rarely discuss the impacts that improper nutrition has on our sexual health. Would you like to smell better during sex? Not die of a heart attack? Have more responsive erections or get wet more easily? Sign me up. I’ll be at the farmer’s market getting ready for the night.

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Elle Stanger is a mother, stripper, feminist, activist, and author who entertains the masses in Portland, OR. She holds two university degrees, neither of which she utilizes in a conventional fashion. She prefers organic food, dark beer, and self-actualized individuals. Don’t ask her about her tattoos; she’s run out of clever retorts. Find her online at