It’s common knowledge in the emoji world that fruits and veggies (peaches and eggplants) have a sexy rep—but could the sexiness of plant-based foods translate to real life?
The answer is yes. We’ve shared many stories about how eating more plants is better for the planet and our bodies, but did you know that vegetarian and vegan diets can also give us a boost in the bedroom?
According to a 2020 survey, 84 percent of vegetarians say that they are satisfied with their sex lives, compared to only 59 percent of satisfied meat-eaters. However, it seems like vegans are reaping the most benefits, with 95 percent of them reporting sexual satisfaction.
Why do vegans report having better sex?
Well, if you’ve ever finished off a big meat-focused dinner, chances are by the end of it you’re feeling lethargic, sleepy, bloated… and generally not sexy. Veggies, on the other hand, don’t leave you feeling like that. There’s even research to suggest that there’s a link between serotonin production (one of the happy chemicals) and B vitamins, which are found in spinach, Brussel sprouts, and oranges.
If you’re worried about beans (the magical fruit the more you eat the more you, well, you know), then skip the baked beans on toast and opt for green beans, rice, or quinoa, which won’t increase your risk of flirting with flatulence.
So, what’s the best kind of meal to eat before hitting the sheets?
“The Mediterranean diet has long been known to support a healthy heart, but research has also shown these benefits may extend to sexual health—reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction and preserving sexual function,” explains London-based nutritionist Lily Soutter.
What do vegans have to say about it?
“Plant-based food is generally easier to process, which makes vigorous sex after a dinner date more pleasant,” says one anonymous vegan. He goes on to say that he hasn’t noticed too many more changes to his sex life, except for “right after a meal.”
Another vegan hailing from the North of England says: “I’ve been a vegan on and off for about 10 years—and it’s quite obvious how much having a vegan diet has improved my sexual performance. I have stronger erections, more stamina, quicker refractory periods, and could perform three to four times within a night/session.”
A refractory period, by the way, is the time it takes someone with a penis to feel ready to be sexually aroused again post-orgasm.
“When I had a meat-based diet,” he adds, “I would feel sluggish and eventually put on extra unnecessary weight. With regards to sex, it felt satisfactory, but my refractory period was longer, my erections weren’t as strong as they are now, and after having sex twice in a night, I would feel my mind would want more—but my body would say that’s enough.”
On a personal level, another vegan weighs in, saying that he’s “felt leaner, fitter, and more energetic since going vegan, which definitely helps when it comes to love.”
Higher sex drive and improved taste
Remember when we mentioned that some fruit and veg are linked to higher serotonin production levels? Well, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that going vegan has been found to increase serotonin levels, which make us happier and hornier. Experts also link serotonin levels with oxytocin levels, also known as the love hormone that creates stronger feelings of intimacy and affection.
Plus, sex and relationship expert Annabelle Knight says that going vegan can even alter how we taste and smell.
“A study from 2006 on body odor and diet found that people who avoid animal products smell ‘significantly’ better than those that don’t, and—as a sexy side note for anyone with a penis—your semen will taste a whole lot better too,” she adds with enthusiasm.
“There is evidence to suggest that men with diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables have sweeter tasting sperm. The chlorophyll in foods like celery and parsley, for example, makes them a great choice. By contrast, red meat is known to make semen taste salty.”
So, in the name of a healthy planet (and penis), perhaps consider what a plant-based diet could do for you, your sexual partner(s), and for the world.