At least since Roman times oysters were associated with sex. The most obvious reason for this association is the oyster’s resemblance to the pudendum. Raw oyster was praised as an aphrodisiac. Giacomo Casanova boasted to have eaten fifty at breakfast together with a lady of his fancy.
European painters used oyster as a symbol of fertility and sexual pleasure. Aphrodite (Venus), the Goddess of love and lust, was blown over sea on an oyster shell landing at either Cythera of Cyprus (both islands were regarded by the Greeks as territories of Venus). In “The Birth of Venus” Botticelli painted her approaching the shore on a giant oyster (clam) shell. By then, the associations with female beauty and physical love were well established. [Read more…] about Jonathan Swift’s Oyster Test: Oysters, Sex and Culture