I love eating garlic. I love having sex with my wife.
But I never imagined that a lot of the first might get me more of the second.
In one study from Prague, women rated the odor of guys who gobbled garlic as more attractive and pleasant and less intense than that of men who ate none.
The key ingredient in that romantic recipe is apparently the smell that later leaches out of your pores, according to researcher Jitka Fialova, who had garlic-chomping guys wear absorbent armpit pads for the sake of science.
Women sniffed the BO both with and without garlic and found the garlic-tinged aroma more alluring. Fialova says garlic’s sulfuric compounds have potent antioxidant powers and may reduce hypertension, improve cholesterol, and fight cancer. Plus, garlic may help your heart, say researchers in Germany and Austria. The bulbs contain four compounds with antioxidant capabilities that could lower total cholesterol and improve systolic blood pressure.
And women who are searching for strong men may subconsciously pick up on that.
Fialova told me the effect might work at home. With just one pungent dose, I figured the cloves would work their magic within three days.
That is, if I could mask one side effect: mood-killing garlic breath.
To cover my tracks, I decided to take my new prescription at work. On the morning of the first day, I ate four chopped cloves on a piece of bread with herbs and cheese, just as the study participants had.
The funk permeated my office. Meetings with coworkers went remarkably well. (And by that I mean quickly.)
I smelled like a red-sauce joint. That evening, after chewing through half a pack of winter-green gum, I avoided detection by my wife.
The next morning, however, she told me that a “weird” smell in the bedroom kept waking her up during the night. Ah, perhaps my man musk had triggered something primal within her!
“Like bad weird,” she clarified.
I chewed a lot more gum over the next two days. Even so, I can’t say that my wife had a larger carnal appetite than usual.
Maybe she was still tired. If we’d eaten the garlic together, that first night might have been more endurable and we’d have stinkily advanced toward my suspected long-term effect: I’d smell “healthy.”
Clearly, more research is needed to harness the libido-lifting effect outside the lab.
The menu for our next at-home date night? Garlic bread with garlicky hummus and some garlic-rich shrimp scampi. Just pan-fry thin slices of a few cloves in olive oil over medium until brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle onto your stir-fry, soup, pasta, or salad.