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Photograph: Nicole Radja, Model, Joe Goldammer

Excuse me, can you grab these melons?

Turns out food-store workers are happy to answer a kinky question or two.

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People come to me with sex questions, but where can a person go for the expert lowdown on combining sex and food? I trolled local food shops for the erotic scoop.

At Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge (520 N Michigan Ave, 312-464-9330), chocolate bar in hand, I approach a woman behind the counter and ask if it can be melted onto a partner’s body. “Excuse me?” she asks. Quietly (there is a mom and child nearby), I repeat my question. “Oh!” she says. “Oh,” her eyes darting. “Actually, Ethel’s Wafers are better for melting.” Then, responding to my temperature concerns, she assures me she frequently gets splashed by melted chocolate, at temperatures up to 108 degrees, and suffers no harm. (To be safe, I’d suggest testing melted chocolate on the inside of your wrist prior to using it anywhere else).

Next stop: Trader Joe’s (44 E Ontario St, 312-951-6369). I ask a woman for help finding the juiciest orange possible for oral-sex play. Unlike the clerk at Ethel’s, she makes eye contact and grins. She stops stocking yogurt and escorts me to the produce. She surveys the oranges as I explain that I don’t want to have to juice too many. “Definitely the Valencia,” she says. “That way you won’t have to buy a whole bag.” Her advice is both juicy and affordable! Bonus: She suggests I avoid messy juice altogether by folding a strip of orange peel a few inches from my partner’s body and letting the zest’s juices squirt out in a tasty “mist” onto said genitals.

At Whole Foods (3300 N Ashland Ave, 773-244-4200), I saunter up to the woman at the bakery counter and declare I’m looking for a dessert to take home and surprise my partner with by spreading frosting on my body—but it can’t be overly sweet. “Sexy!” she exclaims. At first she suggests a cupcake, as it uses Whole Foods’ own frosting, which is less sweet than the outsourced vanilla variety. Then she suggests a chocolate cake slice: “[It has] more frosting—and raspberry layers!”

My verdict: Date a food worker.

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