How graham crackers, licorice, gin and tonics and more can kill your libido.
There are hundreds of thousands of lists of aphrodisiacs on the Internet. It seems everyone wants to down a few oysters and then go have themselves some sex.
Yesterday, I started wondering about foods that would do the opposite. And after doing some searching through hardcore religious message boards and Yahoo Answers (I’ll withhold judgmental comments about the commonalities therein), I found there’s a term for these foods. “Anaphrodisiacs” is what they’re called.
There aren’t any lists of these online (outside of a few that recycle the names of a bunch of herbs that neither you, your holistic guru nor your Native American shaman have ever heard of)… so I decided to compile one.
Two quick things before we get started on the list of 11 foods that can curb your sex drive or libido.
One: It seems very few of these have been tested and basically none have been definitively proven — like aphrodisaics, the scientific merits of eating these foods to achieve sexual goals lies somewhere between syllogism and placebo. And two: If you really want to stop having sex, go get married. (Rim shot!) Say hi to Kevin Eubanks and the Toni– er– Primetime Band!
1 | Corn Flakes
John Harvey Kellogg, the man behind Kellogg’s cereals, was one of the most prominent kill-your-sex-drive crusaders ever. He believed that sex and masturbation were the causes of health (physical, mental and spiritual) problems… so people needed to crush their desires.
He invented Corn Flakes cereal because he thought a bland, sugarless, meatless breakfast would be the key to keeping down the urges.
His other big contribution to the anaphrodiasic movement? When he was running the Battle Creek Sanitarium he made sure people were constantly getting yogurt enemas. Seems like a good, logical dude.
2 | Gin and tonics
Quinine (which I’ve discussed before, in my White Men Can’t Jump-inspired 11 Foods That Start with the Letter Q list) is the flavoring in tonic water — and also associated with lowering testosterone levels.
The gin is a second strike, because, while alcohol is a key ingredient in about 99.3 percent of the world’s first-time sexual encounters, drinking too much alcohol can chemically inhibit the sex drive. (I believe the medical term is “whiskey dick.”)
So a gin and tonic actually has both of its ingredients working against your libido. And yet… if you drink one, you’re probably more likely to have sex than the girl at the other end of the bar who’s only drinking water because she has to get up early in the morning to run with her marathon training group. Go figure.
3 | Soy
Eastern monks eat soy because, they believe, it keeps down the sexual urges.
(When I Googled this to try to find a medical source to corroborate it, I could not — but I did find a series of right-wing articles from a few years ago about how soy is making people gay. In this article the guy behind that theory — a guy with zero medical background, by the way — brings up the monk-soy-libido connection. He also refers to Asian people as “Orientals.” I like him as a source.)
Also, for what it’s worth, Morningstar Farms — one of the biggest soy and vegetarian product companies — is owned and operated by Kellogg’s.
4 | Saltpeter
Saltpeter is the colloquial name for potassium nitrate — and it’s most commonly used to make gunpowder. (That’s the first red flag that you probably shouldn’t be ingesting it.)
It was a BIG ingredient back in the day when people would travel from town to town and sell tonics (much like Simpson and Son)… because it can make involuntary muscle fibers relax which would seemingly, temporarily “cure” problems like asthma.
There has been a decades-long rumor that the Army slips saltpeter into soldier’s food to keep their minds off banging and blasting and pounding and on aggression. (Snopes debunks that as an urban legend, though, and makes the very logical point that, now that we know potassium nitrate is extremely dangerous to ingest in high quantities, the Army is not going to poison its own soldiers with it.)
There’s also no scientific proof that saltpeter has any impact on a person’s sex drive… but enough people believe it’s an anaphrodisiac that it’s become known as one.
5 | Mints
It can be bad for your libido to eat large quantities of mints (like a decade ago when people used to down Altoids the way people today down energy drinks).
Mints and mint oils are flavored with menthol, which can reduce testosterone and, in general, “cool” off your body. It’s why a lot of the “stay hard” sex gels contain menthol. (I do not know this from experience. I know it from research. Not empirical research. Internet research. And not on porn sites. You can’t trick me into saying something embarrassing. I’m on my game today.)
6 | Cilantro
Eastern monks use cilantro (or, as it’s called outside of the Americas, coriander) because they believe it curbs their sex drive. This works directly contrary to what people did in the Middle Ages, when they used cilantro as the main ingredients in love potions, because they believed it helped their sex drives.
Either way, if you eat enough of the rice and guacamole at Chipotle, it’s gonna do SOMETHING to your sex life.
7 | Graham crackers
Reverend Sylvester Graham was a Presbyterian minister living in New Jersey in the 1820s. And, naturally, he believed people were way too horny. (You know how it was in the 1820s. Floozies walking around with their necks showing and shit. Not even a ragin’ bout of consumption could stop all the courtship.)
And, like so many morality crusaders before and after, he had a theory for why people were so into sex. His culprit: Eating meat. He believed that bland, flour-y foods would decrease the sex drive.
So he invented a sorta sweet cracker, similar to the British biscuit, that would make sure people only had sex for the purposes of procreation.
(Or with other men under the veil of darkness. No, there’s nothing on record that says Graham was a closeted gay man… I’m just speculating because the career “anti sex crusader” has a higher concentration of gay men than theater, hair styling and steel work.)
Those crackers were called graham crackers… and have kept the name to this day. So the next time you’re making s’mores, just remember: You’re building it on the crackers that sprung from the sexual repression movement.
8 | Okra
Soul food: Good for the soul, bad for the loins. (And yes, I think it’s quite possible that your sex drive is racist. Why’s it gotta be okra? Why not scones?)
9 | Licorice
Eating a few pieces of black licorice won’t hurt your sex drive… but eating a lot of it could. Licorice can bring on hormonal changes, including a reduced libido in both genders. You’d probably have to eat almost an entire tub of it to do that though. (And you’re not going to. Because, odds are, you think black licorice is disgusting. Most people do.)
On a completely tangental side note, when I was growing up in Ohio, we only had two choices for licorice: Twizzlers and Super Ropes. I was always meh toward Twizzlers, but I thought Super Ropes were the tits.
Then I moved to California and found out about Red Vines. They have the same flavor as Super Ropes, but come in regular sizes… they aren’t exclusively three feet (technically 34 inches) long. While I was investigating this licorice/libido thing, I found out that Red Vines and Super Ropes are made by the same company (the American Licorice Company). That company also makes Sour Punch straws, which were also available in Ohio.
So I’ve written them an e-mail to ask why Red Vines weren’t for sale in that region when I was a kid, but Super Ropes and Sour Punch Straws were. Why didn’t we deserve them? What beef to they have with Cleveland? Did other kids have to grow up with Twizzlers as their only licorice option at movie theaters? These are the kinds of questions I want to know the answers to.
10 | Tuna noodle casserole
Well, technically, there’s no proof of this. During my research I just stumbled upon this gem from Yahoo Answers…
What foods and herbs have anaphrodisiac effects (reduce sex drive)?
tuna noodle casserole!!
My husband hates it and knows that if that’s what he is eating for dinner he has pissed me off and isn’t getting any 🙂
Well, as un-usefully folksy of an answer as that is, I think she’s on to something. Nasty tuna noodle casserole IS a turn-off. It’s got the kind of taste and smell that makes you want to go eat soy with some monks (or, at the very least, go for a quick enema up in Battle Creek).
11 | Granola
In 1863 (so about four decades after Graham), a guy named James Caleb Jackson made the first cold cereal in America. He called it granula — it was basically crushed graham crackers — and, he believed, its grain-based tastelessness would help make people less sexual.
One of the people who liked Jackson’s ideas was Ellen White, the eventual founder of Seventh Day Adventism. She started the first sanitarium in Battle Creek — the one that Kellogg would ultimately run. And when he did start running the place, he liked the idea for granula so much that he stole it and started marketing it.
Jackson sued him over the name, so Kellogg changed it to granola… did a better job of marketing it… and eventually became the go-to guy for granola.
There’s still no real proof that granola makes people lose their sex drive (and hippies might be considered proof that it doesn’t) — but if it wasn’t for the theory that it might, granola wouldn’t exist today. (And, my God, that would have a tiny, tiny, tiny impact on your life!)
(And, by the way, if you’re scoring at home, according to Kellogg: Corporate theft = good, flushing out people’s anuses with yogurt = good, sex = bad.)