"Who doesn't want good food and better sex?" asks Joanne Faulkner, a shiatsu practitioner and "conscious cooking" tutor based in Dublin who has written a book that features 100 recipes for dishes that she claims will help to address issues from vaginal dryness to erectile dysfunction.
Good Food: Better Sex – A Guide to Intimacy and Love Using Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food, is a cookbook that guides readers “from the kitchen table to the bedroom”, and also dips into shiatsu, with a side order of Taoism and tantra.
“Now in my 50s, I have yet to enter menopause and my sexual energy is better than ever. I put it down to using food as medicine and the five-elements system of traditional Chinese medicine,” Faulkner says.
The recipes are a fairly mainstream selection of mainly but not exclusively vegetarian dishes, the sort of thing you’d see on the menu at a yoga retreat or a fitness camp. There is nothing to scare the horses, but little to set the pulse racing, either – until you delve into Faulkner’s interpretations of why we crave certain foods, and what eating them might do to us.
So you thought you were eating those bowls of porridge in the morning because they filled you up and kept you away from the biscuit tin? Maybe, but according to Faulkner, oats build sexual energy. Throw a few walnuts into her baked-porridge recipe and you’re helping to prevent premature ejaculation too, she suggests.
For the week that’s in it, Faulkner includes six recipes that have aphrodisiac qualities. Kissable vanilla dusting powder and lickable chocolate body paint might come in handy on February 14th. But if that all sounds just a bit too sickly, never mind messy, she also stands behind the often quoted fortifying qualities of the oyster – it’s the zinc, apparently.
A “quick reference guide” at the start of the book identifies which recipes and acupressure points might be helpful in dealing with a wide range of concerns. Dishes to help with libido (maca smoothie, tamari kale crisps and black sesame grapes), fertility (poached eggs and asparagus, white bean dip and baba ganoush) and menopause (shaved fennel salad, beet marmalade and gomasio green beans) are suggested.
Stuffed squash, onion pilaf, and pea and herb risotto are indicated for dealing with heartbreak – no mention of a carton of Häagen-Dazs and a bottle of Chardonnay. And if it's sexual addiction you're dealing with, chew on a liquorice stick: its cortisol-regulating qualities might just lessen the craving.
Faulkner, who describes herself as a shiatsu body therapy practitioner who specialises in the energy of food in traditional Chinese medicine, runs clinics in Baldoyle, in Dublin 13, and on Aungier Street, in Dublin 1.
The book is being launched at an event in Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street, in Dublin 2, on Thursday, February 13th. "How to use the five elements of traditional Chinese medicine to interpret your body's symptoms and how to use the five flavours of food to treat emotional and physical conditions" is the open to the public; tickets cost €22.20 from eventbrite.com. You can also order copies of Good Food: Better Sex for €22 from joannefaulkner.ie.