When the tomato, a rare and fascinatingly exotic plant native to South America, was first introduced to European culture, society shunned the red-skinned fruit under the pretense that it was poisonous. But the myth was quickly dispelled once the French and Italians discovered the succulence of the ripe fruit’s flesh.
Is tomato the original forbidden fruit?
The once-feared tomato, (a member of the nightshade family), became known as the love apple, poma amoris or pomme d’amour depending on region. Slut-red in color with sweet, tangy flesh, the sexy tomato became the perfect symbol for the aphrodisiac qualities of food.
But the tomato’s sexy reputation may date further back than the naming of the pomme d’amour. There is one line of historical thought that places the tomato in the Garden of Eden as the original forbidden fruit. Most of us think the apple is the forbidden fruit but the scarlet color and plump, yielding flesh of the tomato certainly paint a picture of temptation. Who knows!
The notorious reputation of nightshade plants
Members of the nightshade family, (which also includes eggplant), tomatoes have been crossbred with mandrake, another nightshade, to create narcotic red fruits. Now that is an experiment worthy of elevating the succulent, sweet tomato to new aphrodisiac heights!
The tomato is also related to deadly belladonna, which may also help explain its aphrodisiac allure. But it also sheds light on the fruit’s initial classification as toxic.
Why tomato may have been the original forbidden fruit
The tomato has been linked to the Garden of Eden. Some even call it the “other” forbidden fruit. Even into the 19th Century, Catholics questioned the tomato’s “morality.”
It earned a place, as a matter of fact, on the brethren’s list of forbidden dishes, along with any other food that put into question the ability of lust-filled young members of the church to maintain self-control within the scarlet tomato’s presence.
It is admittedly far-fetched that one glance at a soft, fresh-picked tomato still warm from the sun could overpower the devout with desire. However, tomatoes do certainly bring something to the table in the game of gastronomic foreplay.
What does tomato mean sexually?
Perhaps it is because of the tomato’s history as a forbidden fruit but the word tomato has developed many meanings linked with sex.
On the more innocent end of the spectrum, tomato is a term of endearment for an attractive woman.
Less pleasant, tomato is a label for a woman who is perceived as promiscuous or sexually accessible, whether or not it’s true.
And according to the Urban Dictionary, the use of the word tomato when linked with the act of having sex implies that a heterosexual couple has sex while the woman is menstruating. This is known as tomato sex.
The benefits of tomatoes sexually
Slang terms aside, tomatoes have a real connection with sex. That’s because they contain nutrients to support sexual health and fertility.
I recently ran across an article touting tomato as a food to “make your penis bigger.” While eating tomatoes will not guarantee a man’s enlarged penis size, the nutrients in tomatoes do show some promise in improving sperm quality and sexual performance.
Tomatoes are a source of lycopene. This carotene is found in many red and pink fruits, including watermelon. Tomato, including tomato juice and tomato paste, is considered a fine source of this nutrient.
Why this is significant to sexual health is that according to the University of Sheffield, lycopene can increase sperm count by a significant percentage and sperm motility. This is particularly significant for couples trying to conceive.
But the lycopene in tomatoes has another health benefit that could potentially impact women as well as men.
According to the late Dr. Juan Carlos Ruiz de la Roja, former director of the Madrid Urological Institute, lycopene has a vasodilating effect. This means it can improve blood circulation to the entire body and is linked with improving erections in men. This effect can also potentially improve the sexual experience for women.
Recipes & serving suggestions
Succulent flesh from a perfectly ripe tomato, sweet with the flavors of the garden and just soft to the touch, is the perfect food to feed a lover. Lightly salt and serve from your fingers, letting the seeded flesh slide down your skin. Soon you will discover why the sensual secrets of this food were feared for centuries.
If you prefer to cook with tomatoes, here are some aphrodisiac recipes to tempt your lover:
This article was written in 2010 and most recently updated in 2022.
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