People like to splash, plash and push, but splosh? Bill Shipton, founder of Splosh
magazine, says sploshing is "best defined as lurking around with messy or wet things - food, mud or paint - or just getting wet with your clothes on. Sploshing forms two categories. There are people who do it in a sensual way, as a form of foreplay. That side is quite mainstream. At the other end, there are people who like to take a terribly formal situation and destroy it. For them, the fun is the sheer anarchy of acting out a formal role-play situation, which they destroy by having a food fight or rolling around in the mud in their wedding dress." Sploshing may take many forms, from finger-painting the body to playing Twister amid green goop. As a fetish, it's a relatively imaginative and safe form of fun for groups and couples alike, harkening back to more youthful days of cafeteria food fights, when the illicitness of that first tossed spoon of pudding gave us a rush.
Now, the rush is sticky and sexual, full of whip cream and jam, oozing sweetness and cake frosting. Think "91/2 Weeks" taken to an extreme.
Most sploshers feel a renewed and determined sense of liberation, as they join others in a roll-around wrestling match with chocolate syrup, while sideliners cheer them on, dipping strawberries into the mess. Some go all out, creating elaborate scenarios: huge shortcakes on which women perch, while men eat their way through the density of sugar to the moister cake awaiting them. The pleasure is sensual and titillating, an erotic smorgasbord of tactility. But food as seductive?
There are many legends and misconceptions built up around what we eat and how it may or may not affect our sexual excitement. According to www.gourmetsleuth.com, there are many ways to arouse us, from sucking on aniseeds (said to increase desire) to serving asparagus (eat it for three days for its most powerful effect). There is arugula, documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D., and avocado - in Aztec, ahuacuatl, which translated means testicle - basil, a sex-drive stimulant, and an assortment of other spices and herbs, from nutmeg and mustard to ginger and garlic. Then, of course, there's chocolate, which contains chemicals thought to effect neurotransmitters in the brain and a related substance to caffeine, theobromine. Chocolate contains more antioxidant (cancer-preventing enzymes) than does red wine. The secret for passion is to combine the two.
But perhaps the most renowned of any of the alleged aphrodisiacs is the oyster. In the second century A.D., the Romans deemed these molluscs an aphrodisiacal food, which Juvenal mentions in one of his satires: He describes the wanton ways of women after drinking wine and eating giant oysters. An additional hypothesis concludes that the reason we associate sex and the oyster is because it resembles a perfect replica of the female genitals.
Overall, we can find pleasure in just about anything, if we look hard enough. In the arena of food and love, it's best not to ignore the imagination - believing in the power of the oyster (or Jell-O or whip cream) may well make it so. Yet all the oysters in the world can't take the place of the ultimate aphrodisiac. As the Roman philosopher Seneca once promised, "I will show you a philter without potions, without herbs, without any witch's incantation - if you wish to be loved, love."