This paper reflects the research and thoughts of a student at the time the paper was written for a course at Bryn Mawr College. Like other materials on Serendip, it is not intended to be "authoritative" but rather to help others further develop their own explorations. Web links were active as of the time the paper was posted but are not updated.

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English 212
2002 Second Paper
On Serendip

Sensual Eating - A Sophomore Denbighte's Guide to Food and Sex


I find this project somewhat uncomfortable as it asks me to assume much about A, B, and C's sexual behavior and knowledge. I agree that one always has more to learn and that growing is a life-long process that has no end. What disgruntles me is assuming the position of instructor. Who am I to teach these women about sex and its languages? How do I know they want to hear what I have to say? This assignment is challenging in this uncomfortable aspect, however I have made efforts to make this sexual education curriculum fun, humble, and accessible. I plan to offer this as a token of gratitude to B and C for participating in my imposed and rushed discussion about sex a week or so ago. For the record, I am A, B will be called Blondie, and C will be called Cat. This sex ed curriculum is designed for Blondie and Cat specifically and it is to them that I address this. I am not excluding myself but simply making this curriculum more tailored with specifics. This does not indicate a change of the sexual subgroup nor my removal from it.
I asked Blondie and Cat what they wanted to know about sex that I could teach them, or refer them to. Blondie responded that she wanted to learn more about aphrodisiacs and pheromones. Cat said she wanted to know how she could get laid. I also took into consideration that Blondie and Cat share a great appreciation for comics and comic strips as well as food. Cat in particular enjoys cooking (whereas Blondie enjoys eating). I was inspired to use Phoebe Gloeckner's comic A Child's Life and Other Stories. I had trouble finding this book - it is currently being sent to the local Barnes & Noble. Although I cannot implement this comic directly in this sexual education course, I would like to keep it in mind as a source of pleasure, humor, visual stimulation, as well as reflection for these particular women. It may offer them a new, if not different, perspective on putting sexuality into a language that incorporates many different desires, family dynamics, individual strife, medium / form, and emotions. Another source of recommendation to these two women is a comprehensive, accessible, and delicious sexual instruction book. It is called Guide to Getting it on! : The Universe's Coolest and Most Informative Book About Sex for Adults of all Ages by Paul Joannides. This book is currently being held hostage at Swarthmore's library, and again, although I could not directly implement it for this particular curriculum, I mention it as a source for future research or use.
The point of this curriculum is to help these women have a more positive attitude towards sex and sexuality. I do not think that Blondie or Cat have negative attitudes, but the conversation that we shared indicated a somewhat tarnished view on sex. I believe that these women's experiences can be altered by their attitudes going into a sexual situation (of course this is to the extent that their partner(s) is / are reciprocating mutual respect). With this, Blondie and Cat's language of expression, or mood of language, may become more positive, healthy, reflective, and didactic. In order for Blondie and Cat to have more positive sexual encounters they need to be able to communicate what they desire, engage in "healthy" or "safe" sexual behavior, and be at terms with their emotional desires / expectations (i.e. communicate what feels good, use contraception, express emotions). I have researched some ways in which they may be able to do this. The main focus, of course, is the sensual meal. But I will give some attention to masturbation (addressed to Cat) and attachment behavior in adult relationships (addressed to Blondie). Narrowing down sources was difficult - I have found many primary sources (and have a personal preference for primary sources over electronic ones) however I will attempt to incorporate the technological resources as well.
The main portion of this course will consist of a personally designed and tailored recipe for a complete meal (see attached). This meal takes into consideration the individual gastric preferences of Blondie and Cat respectfully. However, this meal is not just any meal. These dishes are not only tailored to varied tastes - from appetizer to desert to bread and cheese, these meals are made up entirely of natural aphrodisiacs! My main source is Isabel Allende's Aphrodite. It is important to keep in mind the "science" of organic aphrodisiacs. Allende does not delve into the intricate chemical processes that make certain foods sexual stimulants and others a sexual bore. It is implied that these aphrodisiacs work best if the mind believes. Allende cites examples from a B.C. Taoist monk's orgasmic recipes for his wife, to a Chinese female Tao master who permeated and radiated intense sexuality, to the European Middle Ages of fasting and abstinence. All of these methods of stimulation are, or were, thought to be aphrodisiacs. Allende makes the point that most anything can be an aphrodisiac if one puts one's mind to it (and excludes only a few certain things as anti-aphrodisiacs, i.e. bad breath, television, ice water baths, etc.) (Allende 30-31).
I am providing a "scientific" definition of aphrodisiacs and pheromones for Blondie and Cat as well. These were found in the Encyclopedia Britannica Online (copies attached). Aphrodisiacs are defined as "any or various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two principal groups: (1) psychophysiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, aural) and (2) internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations)." Pheromones are defined as "any endogenous chemical secreted in minute amounts by an organism in order to elicit a particular reaction from another organism of the same species . . . Pheromones may be involved in human sexual response. In testing human vaginal secretions, scientists have identified fatty acids identical to several that are presumed to act as sex pheromones in other primates." Sexual pheromones are pheromones whose elicited "particular reactions" is reproductive or sexual. I consulted another web source to test the consistency of this definition. According to Webster's Dictionary Online (via Expanded Academic), aphrodisiac is defined as "1: an agent (as a food or drug) that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire 2: something that excites" (also attached). I hope this will provide a succinct definition of aphrodisiac that marries well with Allende's assertion that the success of an aphrodisiac is perhaps more dependent on folklore or mind-set than actual chemical processes.
Now, to address Cat pointedly, and Blondie indirectly, the joy of masturbation should be reclaimed in order for these women to regain a positive attitude towards sex (or lack thereof). Felice Newman's The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us, dedicates an entire chapter to the art of masturbation. The subtitles within this chapter are enough to give one an intriguing sense of what the pages have in store - "What Will Masturbation Do for You?" "The Masturbation Workshop Adventure," "Teach Yourself Some New Tricks," "How-to's of Masturbation," "Solo Toys," "Erotica and Fantasy," "How-to's of Orgasm," and "Masturbating with a Partner." I will not delve into the details of this book, and leave the rest up to Cat and Blondie's imagination and own trial. I am sure that this chapter will be useful in tailoring skills, technique, and pleasurable outcomes.
Finally, to tackle the seemingly most difficult aspect of this course, "teaching" Blondie about attachment. Blondie enjoys sex for emotion, not sex for pleasure. She is not comfortable with casual sex and sex that is detached or devoid of emotion. This is a personal preference and choice and I do not wish to impose my own, or anyone else's, opinion on this woman. This source is not particularly academic, intellectual, scientific, or artistic - it is representative of pop culture (see attached). Sex expert Tracey Cox of lists concise pros and cons about casual sex as well as couple sex (sex with an assumingly consistent partner). This article, hopefully will either reinforce Blondie's preference for couple sex, or open a door to the joys that casual sex can bring as well.
All in all, this has been challenging. Despite the multitude of sources available (not to mention the varied forms of those sources), it is difficult to discriminate and choose just a few for very complex and multifaceted women. This is a reaffirmation of the triviality of defining a sexual (sub)group and sexual preference. We women are creatures of stabilized change. While we look for security and consistency, we are not closed to surprises and bends in our roads. I hope that this mini sexual education course will help Blondie and Cat to reclaim the positive aspects of sex(uality) and hence to use a more positive language in discussing it. A toast, to reclaiming passion!

The Menu
I have offered several choices in some cases as it was somewhat difficult for me to be exclusive. After all, my palate is not Blondie or Cat's. This will give these women space to choose according to their particular preferences. I also chose to serve Hors d'Oeuvres instead of Appetizers. This will give the couples something to nibble on while preparing the rest of the meal. And of course, all cooking is intended to be done in the nude!

Blondie's Menu:
Hors d'Oeuvres: Frivolous Prunes or . . .
Festive Mushrooms
Soup: Cucumber Breeze
Main Course: Filet Mignon Belle Epoque or . . .
Champagne Tenderloin or . . .
Risotto Lori
Dessert: Spellbinding Apples or . . .
Mousse au Chocolat
Blondie's meal will be served with a sweet red wine. To finish - an assortment of milder chesses (Gouda, Hollande, Boursin a l'Ail, Brie, etc.) with bread, coffee, and a less traditional pousse-café but very much to Blondie's taste, a vodka.

Cat's Menu:
Hors d'Oeuvres: Shrimp Pica Pica
Soup: Consomme El Dorado
Main Course: Mexican Chicken Mole or . . .
Coq au Vin or . . .
Rosemary Venison
Dessert: Charlotte for Lovers or . . .
Madame Bovary
Cat's meal will be served with a deep, dry red wine. To finish - an assortment of sharper cheeses (Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Camembert, etc.) and bread, coffee, and for a pousse-café a cognac.

All recipes courtesy of Aphrodite by Isable Allende. Bon Appetit!

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