Meet Jack Lamon. Since 2001, he’s been one of the worker/owners at Come As You Are Co-operative in Toronto. They are proudly the only anti-capitalist, co-op sex shop in the world. We sat down with Jack to get his take on aphrodisiacs. Are they fact or pure fiction?
Q: Aphrodisiacs. Truth or myth?
A: I guess it depends on how you define the term aphrodisiac. There’s 2000 years of human history and people have consistently turned to the same ingredients, so there could be a hint of truth to it. I definitely know a few folks who use Chinese herbalists who suggest items they swear by. There are some aphrodisiacs mentioned in a couple great erotic cooking books too that are definitely worth looking into.
But are there things that make you fall in love with another person beyond their charming personality and Instagram selfie? I find that anything that’s marketed on the internet as an aphrodisiac does not work. We try everything we carry, good, bad and different and we have never found one that does anything like it’s supposed to do. Because it’s an unregulated industry, people can make all kinds of claims. If you tried to sue them, they would come back and say “it was for novelty use only”. We’ve never found one that works- at least not consistently. If there was, big pharmaceutical companies would be all over it and it would be big business.
Q: Any cookbooks that come to mind that incorporate aphrodisiacs?
A: There is a great read called Intercourses. We even have a French cookbook called Manger Sexy. Not only do these books make great meals, but they draw upon these ingredients that people have kept coming back to as aphrodisiacs throughout human history- things that get people in the mood.
Q: Name a country that is known for incorporating aphrodisiacs into their diet.
A: Instinctively, I would say Italy. When you look at the basis of the ingredients in their foods- the red wine, the avocado, the dates, olives- these are items that are seen to be seductive foods. Figs would be a good example too.
Q: Do you feel that aphrodisiacs cause a mental rather than a physical reaction?
A: Yes, I do think that if aphrodisiacs are effective, it’s caused by a placebo effect more than anything else. That is, if you go into any experience having the expectation of a particular result, you’re more likely to feel that result. But is the idea of an aphrodisiac a turn on itself? It depends on how much of a skeptic you are.
Q: Do you think men or women are more responsive to aphrodisiacs?
A: I wouldn’t expect that you would see a lot of difference between genders. When you look at studies of sexuality and gender, what you tend to find is that there’s much more difference within each gender category than there are between the two. When you look at the differences between men and women, it’s actually really small- there’s a ton of overlap. Perhaps stereotypically, aphrodisiacs tend to be more often used on women with the stereotype of men wanting women to respond to them sexually. So I suspect there’s a lot more purchasing of actual aphrodisiacs by men.
Q: Are aphrodisiacs more effective if they’re used over time?
A: There are compounds in certain foods that are known to increase blood pressure and get your blood pumping. Those types would definitely be more effective for better sex over time. If we’re talking about things that are being marketed in the sex industry, that would just be based on your level of belief. But we also know that when it comes to bodies, the more that you use a muscle or any part of your body, the more responsive it becomes- whether that’s your brain or your vulva.
Q: Top 3 herbs/foods for better sex?
A: Figs, avocados and olives, which are really healthy and amazing for your body anyways.
Q: Is it true that yoga and mediation are a form of an aphrodisiac?
A: Absolutely. Yoga and meditation are amazing for people’s sex lives. If you’re into that, then definitely check out tantric sex because there are amazing things you can do with your body with no touching involved. If you are someone who is deeply connected with yourself and your partner, you can experience an orgasm by looking in each other’s eyes. No joke, happens all the time. Even people with spinal cord injuries have orgasms.
Q: What is your #1 piece of advice for women in the bedroom?
A: Let go of expectations- whether it’s your own or your partner’s. Let go of the expectation to orgasm, enjoy sensation and your lover’s body (and the journey), rather than the destination.