The old adage “the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach,” still rings true. Food and sex are foundational to human nature, so it makes sense that they are so closely knit together in our brains. Perhaps that’s why candy bikinis are erotic, chocolate somehow inherently feels sexy, or why food play can feel so sexy and indulgent.
“Bringing food into the bedroom is a great way to heighten arousal and improve your senses during foreplay,” clinical sexologist Rachel Sommer tells O.school. “By allowing couples to mess with different textures, tastes, and smells, food play can promote sensuality and make sex more stimulating.”
What exactly is food play?
By definition, food play is the act of incorporating foods that will elevate your senses and heighten arousal into sexual play. Just like spanking or experimenting with temperatures, food play falls under the umbrella of sensation play, meaning sexual exploration that involves igniting the senses. According to Dr. Sommer, the goal of any sensation play is to use touch, smell, sight, or taste as creative means of learning what your partner desires.
“Sensory play luckily comes in many forms, making it easy to experiment before determining what works for you,” she says. “Candles, ASMR, paddles or floggers, and most importantly here, exploring with food…you really can’t run out of ideas.”
Creating your body-safe food play menu
The foods used in any kind of sexual experimentation will vary based on each partner’s preferences and dietary restrictions. Speak with your partner about what tastes and textures turn them on. If nothing comes to mind, Dr. Sommer recommends keeping it light and sweet. Think: strawberries, cherries, whipped cream, or chocolate. Why? These foods are easy to eat, and sweet for the palette. But while you’re picking through your fridge for the perfect sexy snacks, keep safety top of mind.
“Avoid foods that might trigger an allergic reaction. There’s nothing erotic about anaphylactic shock,” Dr. Sommer explains. “What’s more, avoid sticking foods in your vagina or anus. The vagina especially is super sensitive, and introducing foreign materials might trigger swelling, irritation, or infections.”
Foods that include dairy or are high in sugar shouldn’t come close to contact with your vagina or anus. Try creating a plastic wrap barrier to keep your sensitive areas free of dairy or sweets. If you’re interested in exploring with liquids (like pouring a little honey on an erogenous zone and putting your partner on clean-up duty), avoid anything extremely hot or cold. You can pour a little bit on your hand to test the temperature before using it on your body, then enjoy the sensations on your skin safely.
How to get started
“Like with BDSM play, I recommend you have a conversation with your partner beforehand to discuss boundaries, safe words, and consent,” Dr. Sommer suggests. “Both partners need to consent to the new experience. What’s more, you must agree that it’s okay to take breaks or stop altogether if someone feels uncomfortable.”
You can get this conversation going on the way to the grocery store. Introduce the topic of food play, explain to your partner why you find it erotic, and turn your trip down the produce aisle into a sexy adventure, allowing both parties to muse over what foods they’d like to bring into the bedroom.
Once you’ve dipped your toes in, you can enhance the build up to a night of delicious foreplay by sexting your partner food-based scenarios, fueling anticipation throughout the day. If you’ve already played with food and you know your partner enjoyed it, feel free to surprise your partner with an elaborate spread of treats to incorporate.
“After all, you know what they like by then, don’t you?” Dr. Sommer says. “So get their favorites and treat them to an exquisite thriller.”
What can food play look like?
If you’re still on the verge of delving into food play and looking for inspiration, take a cue from one of these scenarios:
- Start small and simple. Dr. Sommer’s personal favorite is, as she says, “simple and effective.” Drip honey, whipped cream, or sauce of your choosing on your partner’s chest, nipples, or groin. Then, seductively lick it all up, alternating between the tip, sides, and floor of your tongue.
- Try a little food tasting contest. This is perfect for partners who are tired of classics like chocolate covered strawberries. Blindfold your partner and feed them something more exotic (try pomegranate or kiwi) and put their taste to the test. The blindfolded partner will get to experience the intensified senses that come with losing sight, enhancing the enjoyment of taste and touch. Meanwhile, being in control of feeding your partner can be a huge turn-on too. Pro tip: switch roles the next time for a whole new thrill.
- Experiment with Nyotaimori. The Japanese actually have a word for bringing your sushi to bed. Nyotaimori, or “body sushi,” is the perfect excuse to leave the chopsticks in the takeaway bag. Place sushi or sashimi on your partner’s nipples, lower body, or inner thighs, and dig in. Just avoid using anything too spicy, like wasabi, especially near sensitive areas.
- Incorporate a little temperature play. Line up a few frozen grapes on your partner’s body, including their erogenous zones. “You can even add sensory play machinery like nipple clamps if you’re looking to heighten the experience,” Dr. Sommer says.
- Turn your partner into your favorite sundae. Whether you’re into banana slices and chocolate sauce or sprinkles and cherries, grab your ice cream essentials and top your partner with them. Build anticipation by taking your time with the consumption.
The bottom line
Part of the joy of food play is getting sticky, silly, or raw with a partner. Don’t be afraid of letting your inhibitions go when you break out the whipped cream. As an added bonus, a joint shower afterwards can be a calm environment to unpack how the experience made you feel (or, a gateway to more steamy fun). Like all experimentation with the senses, food play is what you make of it. So head to the condiments aisle with an open mind. You might surprise yourself with what can happen in the bedroom if you’re willing to explore new things that turn you on.