Deliciously Yours

“You don’t have to be writing about sex to use sexy words. You could be describing fruit baskets or office products. The key is to use the scintillating verbal imagery of sex to stimulate lust for your products.”

Office products? This is going too far. The passage is from a thesaurus book for copywriters. It provides a list of “sexy words” which, I’ve found, most of them are unsexy and fail to stir my lust, because they are cliche words–overused, too obvious.

Nevertheless, I’ve managed to dig out some words from the list that I like: revealing, steamy, suggestive, womanly, and…shameless.

When it comes to a list of words about flavor and taste, again, disappointing. From the list I only like “sinfully rich”, even though I wonder how I would apply the word, maybe for fatty food that tastes so good it blows your mind away–like chocolate? ; full-bodied (This word is real sexy) ; and done-to-perfection.

For words about smells, the list has me wonder what the hell they are and whether those words really have meaning in the real world: spring garden, summer garden, or even English garden. Seriously, English garden? For you dear readers who have been to England and who have walked in one of its gardens, would you please tell me if there exists such smell? Is it different from a German garden, a French garden, an Amsterdam garden, or Russian garden? Maybe a variety of flowers in each region has a role to play here, but again, come on, English garden?

However, I am certain that the “smells that transport you back to your childhood” really do exist.

Image by Allan-Hermann Pool (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Back to sexy words, if you want to “scintillating verbal imagery of sex to stimulate lust for your products” as the book is trying to assist you with, take this passage from a scientific article in National Geographic (Dec 2015) for an example instead. It describes food.

“I put a piece of rice cake in my mouth and chewed. The seasoning created a mildly chemical sensation in my tongue,”

 -‘The Science of Delicious’ by David Owen (published in National Geographic, Dec 2015)

A “mildly chemical sensation in my  tongue”! Superb. Though it won’t really make you wet, still it’s more interesting than hot, manly, or even the word sexy itself.

Perversely, I find the writing in this scientific article quite sensual. Of course the article talks about food and the human sensory system, so the word sensual might fit in this context, yet sensual has another connotation in which you know. Let’s look at how it describes the way brain constructs flavor:

1. Anticipation:
The memory (of past meal) activates dopamine reward centers leading us to crave the flavors to come. We salivate.

2. Sensory Overture:
A brain primed for pleasure begins to receive sensory impulses from the food as we move it to our mouth, see its colors and shapes, and inhale its aromas

3. Sounds delicious:
We chew. Sound and mouthfeel add key information. Receptors in our taste buds register sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami.

The brain combines information from all the sense to produce the experience of flavor. And though we think if originates in the mouth, most of it actually comes from these “retronasal smells” detected by receptors in the nose. They build the memory that prepares us for the next experience.


Sight. Sound. Touch. Taste. Smell. Memory. Movement. No wonder why people have long associated food with sex. Let me try something fun here.

Anticipation. The memory of our last encounter led me to crave for the next meeting–the next flavor to come-so that I began to salivate. And here we are. My brain primed for pleasure begins to receive sensory impulses from your skin as I move it to my mouth, see its colors and shapes, and inhale its aromas. I chew. The mouthfeel, and the sound you make bring a new sensation to me. My taste buds register the sour, saltiness, and bitterness of your sweat, which are intermingled with a flash of mild sweetness that requires close attention–if that subtle taste in human skin is to be received.

Me trying to sound scientifically erotic. How’s that?

I was reading Anaïs Nin tonight (you know what genre she belongs to) and wasn’t aware that a brief break from the novel to a scientific article in National Geographic could evoke the same sensations.

Since we talked about sensation today, let me end this blog post with my favorite quote about smells from Patrick Süskind’s Perfume.

“Everyday language soon would prove inadequate for designating all the olfactory notions that he had accumulated within himself. Soon he was no longer smelling mere wood, but kinds of wood: maple wood, oak wood, pinewood, elm wood, pearwood, old, young, rotting, moldering, mossy wood, down to single logs, chips, and splinters—and could clearly differentiate them as objects in a way that other people could not have done by sight.

All these grotesque incongruities between the richness of the world perceivable by smell and the poverty of language were enough for the lad Grenouille to doubt if language made any sense at all;”

-Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind, translated by John E. Woods

Related Read

  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind
  • A Spy in the House of Love, Anaïs Nin
  • ‘The Science of Delicious’, David Owen, published in National Geographic December 2015
  • More Words That Sell, Richard Bayan

[Participated in today’s Daily Prompt: Eyes]


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