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S ex and dieting are linked everywhere. Our increasingly transnational contemporary popular culture is saturated with sexualized images of ever-thinner folks. Advertisements for everything from perfume to cars rely on sexual-ized images of the female body which are very much a product of (and themselves publicity for) a culture obsessed with dieting and slimness. That sexiness, more than health, strength, or long life, is the promise of the dieting industry. This is classically true for women and increasingly the case for men. So the logic of dieting culture says that weight loss makes women (and men) more appealing to "the opposite sex." Dieting on the whole holds out the promise of more sex, sex appeal, or sex with "sexy" partners, but there is also a market for diets that promise better sex.

Some diets are designed to improve a dieter's sex life, not through weight loss, but rather by making sex more enjoyable. These include foods thought to have either desire or performance-enhancing properties, are often faddish, and frequently turn up in articles and editorials in the weeks before Valentine's Day. Lynn Fisher's The

Better Sex Diet, for example, suggests a diet high in soy to keep the vagina well lubricated and ginger and chili peppers for good circulation. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts is recommended along with classic aphrodisiacs such as oysters and chocolate. Oysters are high in zinc, which aids in testosterone production, and chocolate contains a chemical compound that releases dopamine (the chemical released in the brain during an orgasm). Eating these foods, it is suggested, will increase sexual desire and pleasure.

SLG/Angela Willey See also Advertising; Celebrities; Globalization; Media

References and Further Reading

Fisher, Lynn (1999) The Better Sex Diet, New York: St. Martin's.

Kamhi, Ellen (2004) The Natural Guide to Great Sex: Improve Your Love Life with Nature's Alternatives to HRT and Viagra, Alresford: Godsfield Press.


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