Spit, Swallow or ... Sauté?

BlogHer Original Post

"What is that?" men ask, horrified, when they see the book. It's a rather demure-looking book, featuring an image of flan on its cover against a warm background. Natural Harvest, it reads. And to many living in Los Angeles, this is a fine concept. Until you read the subheading: A collection of semen-based recipes.

"WHAT IS THAT?"

Nine times out of 10, a man you're blowing will prefer that you swallow. But mention eating his cum for dinner and nine times out of 10, his expression will turn from delight to sheer disgust.

This cookbook, written by Paul Photenhauer, shocked the blogosphere when it was released on lulu.com last year. The response was largely negative.


Cover of Natural Harvest.

"Anyone who has traveled abroad knows that foods we might find strange or unpleasant may be considered delicacies in other countries," argued Photenhauer. "Rotten fish is a national dish in Sweden, while Australians spread concentrated yeast extract on their breakfast toast. The British love their blood sausage, and guinea pigs are roasted for dinner in Peru. All the while, Americans and Europeans consume vast amounts of milk and other dairy products that consist of mammary secretions from cows. Compared to semen, milk might be considered positively disgusting."

I was intrigued. I like semen. In the safety of a monogamous relationship with a partner who has been appropriately tested, you will find me positively delighting in cum. Facials, pearl necklaces, on my back, down my legs, on my shoes, you name it, I've worn it. My ultimate fantasy is to have the formula for gravity written on my chest or back in cum.

Until the moment I saw that cookbook, however, it had never occurred to me to cook it. Cooking, for me, is a kind of erotic art already -- especially cooking for someone. There is nothing more sensual than watching someone eat something I have created. It's better than painting because this creation is being taken into someone's body and nourishing it. There's something sacred in that. I don't love cooking and I'm not very good at it, but I do it because of that, because of the pleasure of watching someone take into themselves an extension of myself. To me, the idea of adding this particular ingredient takes the alchemy to a whole other level.

My friend Bonni Rambatan disagrees.

"The semen-based recipe cookbook is our politically correct, nature-confused culture at its most elementary," he says. "First, in the book, the entire notion of semen is already radically desexualized, made into a positive fact rather than an embarrassing secret."

The positive fact being, of course, that semen is abundant and nutritious. "It contains a good balance of fructose sugars, protein, enzymes, vitamins and minerals... Dr. Atkins would probably have praised semen as an ideal food had it not been considered a faux pas," writes Photenhauer.

"The injunction behind this is the same as the one driving all the porn-positive and sex-positive arguments: the imperative to make more mainstream a previously deviant idea," says Rambatan. Acknowledging the argument that the book signifies a return to communion with nature, he adds: "This book is all the politically correct ideas crystallized into one -- what could be a better political correctness than letting a group of energy-saving, nature-loving, sex-positive minorities have their say in the wider world?"

I see it entirely differently. With all the attention we bestow on the development of gastronomical culture -- the foodie movement, food shows joining mainstream programing, the chef as celebrity, and so on -- we as a culture have elevated food above survival, much in the same way that we liberated sex from being simply a method of reproduction.

Food today is no longer simply satisfying a necessity. It isn't about nutrition -- food is now about the pleasure in the marriage of flavors and textures. There is a certain hedonism in eating. So it isn't necessarily that semen is being desexualized, it is that the parallel concepts of sexual fulfillment (represented by semen) and gastronomical fulfillment (represented by gourmet cooking) have finally met -- as parallels tend to do in curved space.

"That makes... sense," lovers will say, still eying the book suspiciously.

Most won't pick it up, much less open it. If they do, they'll do it out of a perverse curiosity, and try, with some difficulty, to avoid making any faces, having been made aware of how oddly religious I seem to feel about it. Not a one will ever mention it again after that. And so the book will continue to sit somewhere visible in my apartment completely unexplored. Until the next time my girlfriends drop by and make the now classic joke: "someday, your prince will cum!"

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