5 Historical ‘Cures’ for Horniness
Not to sound like a pinch-faced nun or anything, but we can all probably agree that we live in a heavily sexualized culture. Sure, a positive attitude and education on sex is important, but I also feel like I don’t need to see a woman horny for yogurt every time there’s an NFL timeout. We don’t need to lock ourselves away in stone towers, but also, it makes me feel weird that I would have been grounded as a child for looking at what’s casually displayed on my Instagram discover page.
Debatably, it’s at least healthier than the attitudes of old, where sexual excitement was basically considered a lower-half localized form of demonic possession. Depending on where you were and what god you worshiped, to succumb to the great evil of raising your heart rate when you saw a good butt was heresy on high. Beautiful, sinless chastity was so highly valued that it even extended to your diet, and if you had the horny soul of a Tex Avery wolf inside you, there were foods designed to calm your treasonous lizard brain.
Here’s 5 foods designed to “cure” horniness.
Most cornflake aficionados already don’t give out an air of sexual dynamism, but when they were introduced, they were intended to be the cause of that asexualism, and not just a linked symptom. Their developer was a brother of that self-same name that graces the corner of a good half of breakfast cereals now, almost all of which he would have denounced as treachery: John Harvey Kellogg.
Now, contrary to popular belief, they weren’t a singular prescription doled out in bowls to curb masturbation. They just happened to be a perfect food for Kellogg’s beliefs about what kind of diet would keep people from cranking themselves straight into hell. They were painfully nutritious and bland, the perfect way to start a day if you wanted it to remain sexless. Honestly, a bowl of shitty cereal was highly preferable to any other, more surgical methods Kellogg also recommended, including punitive circumcision.
If you’re going to adopt a strict religion of old, I personally would prefer the ones that promise some sort of supernatural magics instead of ones that are designed to minimize fucking, but different strokes, no pun intended. Where Kellogg picked up the base ideas that rich food and sexual activity, solo or team, were highly sinful (which ironically, sounds like living hell) was from a minister named Sylvester Graham. He’d been preaching these teachings for some time, though they fell out of popularity, heavily because abstinence weighs pretty heavy on a pro and con list.
He’d also provided his own offering to the world of genital-withering foods, with the invention of “Graham flour”, a type of whole wheat flour that makes modern multigrain feel like Nerds Rope. This flour was the base for Graham bread and, more famously, the Graham cracker. These were, like cornflakes, a long way from the modern offerings, which have made many evil concessions in the pursuit of edibility. The contemporary Nabisco squares might as well be chocolate covered strawberries, in his mind. A tiny, cinnamon-sugar coated cracker in a fun bear shape? Crunchy viagra of the modern heathen.
Graham & Kellogg’s brand of chaste eating extended, as mentioned before, past simple consumption of their snacks of choice. That was all part of a larger diet meant to keep your soul light and unburdened with the weight of lust. Bland food was the basis, and so, naturally, adding any spice to your food was another path to damnation. Britain might be fine, but that’s a pretty unpleasant idea for the rest of the world.
Even black pepper, basically the most basic, Fisher-Price “My First Spice” level of seasoning, was specifically deplored. So firmly so that a professor at Oberlin college, which adopted the Graham diet plan, was actually fired for using it. Unsurprisingly, that was not a sustainable bit of cafeteria regulation, and the diet didn’t last long there.
Whole Grain Bread
I don’t think anyone in the modern world would spot someone snacking on a slice of plain white sandwich bread and think, “how gluttonous!” When the white bread made from refined flour came on the scene, however, it might as well have been funnel cake for those of pious diet. Healthwise, there’s a recent push against white bread as being less nutritious, but that’s a far cry from being some pastry of the devil.
Which, to Graham and his followers, it was. He didn’t mince words, either, calling it “the most miserable trash that can be imagined, in the form of bread.” Now we know, from history and personal experience if you've ever had a bit of a baguette, that this was not an argument based on taste. It was, again, a condemnation of one of the world’s most boring staple carbohydrates as forbidden fruit. A moral quandary to consume, like veal or foie gras, not just a straightforward baked good.
For all their trumpeting, it turns out that maybe if they’d been able to lean into rich food, they would have been able to find some foods that ACTUALLY prevent coitus. Between white bread, rich spiced sauce, and red meat, a meatball sub basically checks every “no-no” box they had. Despite that, I might not be able to think of a single food that will prevent sexual activity for a period of time afterwards more effectively.
Eli Yudin is a stand-up comedian and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @eliyudin and listen to his podcast, “What A Time To Be Alive” about the 5 weirdest news stories of the week on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.