Food during sex always strikes me as a recipe for cystitis and sticky bedding. My body is not a plate. I'd rather spread my legs than cover my legs in spread. But food after sex? Now you're cooking with butane, my friends.
The average woman (and I think I speak for all of us when I say that my lovemaking is distinctly average) burns 70 calories during sex, while men work off a centurion 100 calories. Of course, depending on the athleticism of your partner, these numbers might vary, but the takeaway lesson for everyone is that shagging builds up an appetite.
So, as Valentine's Day rears on our horizon like the twitching fin of a shark, I thought it about time to ask, what are the nation's favourite post-coital dishes? What should we be eating after doing the wild thing? What's the best bite after a bang?
Which is how, the week before V Day, I ended up at home, alone, in a pair of threadbare leggings reading a web page entitled "How to Increase Your Ejaculate." Apparently, there is quite a lot of zinc in cum. So, if you want to boost your spray, you might want to mainline beans, berries, pumpkin seeds, yogurt (looks about right) apples, and artichokes. As one of the non-testicled members of the team, I've not been giving ejaculate much thought but, nevertheless, these ingredients sound like the beginnings of a great salad.
Of course, there's much more to the sensual pleasure of eating than simple vitamins. As anyone who ever watched that Hot Shots (sure) scene with Charlie Sheen popping an olive out of Valeria Golino's navel knows, sitophilia (the fetish involving arousal around food) can be enjoyed after a root, as well as before. Especially if you're lucky enough to live alone, so won't run the risk of being caught, bare-arsed in front of the fridge, drinking your flatmate's milk as some near-stranger kisses you on the collarbone.
"I once went back to a couple's house for a threeway and the guy made us bacon and rocket sandwiches on brown soda bread BEFORE."
Asking friends about their ideal post-passion meal, probably the most common recommendation came in the form of melted cheese. Either on a pizza or a "cracking grilled cheese sandwich" in the words of playwright Camilla Whitehill. I don't much fancy the idea of bending in front of a grill in a state of undress, as hot dairy drips off the sides but, each to their own.
There were also a lot of votes for sandwiches. My friend Hayley—a real-life siren if ever I've met one—told me her ideal after banging snack would be "a bacon sandwich but I can never be bothered to make one so pizza, ordered in, with sides," while another, Screech, got very specific about the nature of his fish finger sandwich: "Has to be Birds Eye fish fingers, Warburtons sliced white, iceberg lettuce, and Hellmann's mayo." (Anyone who feels the need to make a masturbatory joke in the face of the phrase "fish finger" can go find some other article to play with.)
There were also quite a few votes in favour of the humble egg. Like most women, I spent most of my twenties trying to ignore, utterly, the existence of my own eggs and ovaries, particularly in a sexual context. But it's hard to deny the lure of protein after a bout of sweating and heaving in the pursuit of pleasure. Journalist Carl Anka suggested scrambled eggs with "smoked salmon, bit of toast, and a nice cup of tea." My own boyfriend said he would recommend a baked egg dish.
There were some slightly more surprising recommendations: pork pies, Monster Munch, Salt and Vinegar Discos, noodles or, in the words of my friend Miriam, "I'm not really an eater but my ex demolished about 300 grams of pasta and two chicken breasts as I sat and watched in amazement." I can well imagine.
Kevin Beirne even took to Twitter to tell me that he "once went back to a couple's house for a threeway and the guy made us bacon and rocket sandwiches on brown soda bread BEFORE." Now, hold up. When it comes to food and sex, the sex columnist Dan Savage is pretty clear that we should #fuckfirst. Have sex, then have dinner. The idea of a pre-threesome bacon sandwich might just put me off my stride.
The answer to what you should eat after sex is, as with much to do with sex, personal: eat what you want. Not what you think you should eat, not necessarily what other people eat, not what you were brought up to eat, not eating what you think will make you look cool, or attractive or desirable to other people, not what you think you deserve to eat, not what you're simply given to eat, not what you promised you'd eat.
Eat what you want to eat after you've had precisely the sort of sex that makes you happy. Pleasure is pleasure because it gives you pleasure. So listen to your body: your mouth, your heart, your gut, and do what makes you feel better. This might sound simple but it most definitely is not. What you put in your body is your choice. So make it a good one.
Oh, and if you really want to know, I'll take a Freddo.