In the Mood for Food: Sexual Fantasies About Food
April 25, 2022 by Justin Lehmiller
There’s a famous scene in the film 9 and 1/2 Weeks in which Mickey Rourke erotically feeds Kim Basinger a variety of foods including Jell-O, cherries, and tomatoes in front of an open refrigerator. Incorporating food and sex in a manner like this can be a big turn-on for some people.
But just how common is this as a sexual fantasy? Which foods turn people on the most? And what is it about sex and food that’s so appealing?
In the survey of 4,175 Americans I conducted for my book Tell Me What You Want, I asked people about hundreds of different things they might have fantasized about before, including sex that involves food in some way. Here’s what I found:
- Overall, 40.5% of participants said they’d had a fantasy involving sex and food before, but only 2% say this is something they fantasize about often. So while it’s not uncommon to have ever had the fantasy, it’s fairly rare as a recurring sexual interest.
- 41% of heterosexual women and 43% of lesbian and bisexual women said they’d fantasized about this before.
- 39% of heterosexual, gay, and bisexual men said they’d fantasized about this before.
- 38% of non-binary persons said they’d had this fantasy before.
- Across genders and sexual orientations, a similarly small percentage (1.5-3%) said this was a frequent fantasy for them.
As you can see, there aren’t huge gender or sexuality differences in the prevalence of this fantasy. I also found that there was a lot of commonality in the most frequently mentioned foods that appeared in these fantasies. The most popular foods were:
- Whipped cream
- Ice cubes
Less common foods mentioned by a relatively small number of participants included things like bacon, carrots, peanut butter, popsicles, and pudding. And then there were the highly idiosyncratic ones mentioned by just one person. A few examples:
- “Lamb stew. It’s a ‘Hunger Games’ thing.”
- “A side dish like rice or mashed potatoes, usually accompanying me as the main course.”
- “Anything that a man can ejaculate on that can subsequently be eaten.”
- “Dog food.”
- “Grapes inserted in body orifices then sucked out and eaten.”
- “Hot dog buns.”
As always, if you can think of it, someone else has probably had a sexual fantasy about it!
So what’s the appeal of incorporating food and sex? There are many possible explanations. For example, in some cases, it might simply be about the idea of adding a novel element to sex. Novelty is one of the most popular fantasy themes in general.
In other cases, it might be about a broader interest in BDSM, with food used as a conduit for exploring things like temperature play or sensation (hence the ice cubes) or feeding/being fed as an act of dominance/submission. Consistent with this idea, fantasies about incorporating food and sex were associated with having more fantasies about BDSM in general in my survey.
I also found that people who had food fantasies tended to have more active imaginations, meaning they tend to fantasize more about almost everything. Likewise, these fantasies were associated with having more positive attitudes toward sex in general and sensation-seeking tendencies.
There was also a very small association with having a more anxious attachment style (i.e., needing more reassurance from partners). This made me wonder whether, for some, the act of eating or being fed might be seen as comforting—or something that helps to put them at ease.
The answer is likely to be different for different people. As I’ve said many times before, two people can have the same fantasy but for very different reasons.
So what do you think? Have you ever fantasized about food and sex before? What is it about this fantasy that turns you on? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
To learn more about the psychology behind our sexual fantasies, check out my book Tell Me What You Want.
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Image Source: Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash
Dr. Justin LehmillerFounder & Owner of Sex and Psychology
Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.Read full bio >