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Last week, I was lucky to attend an opening event for Collections Café at the new Chihuly Garden and Glass. The artist's work is stunning

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Collections Café Serves Up a Lot to Swallow

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Last week, I was lucky to attend an opening event for Collections Café at the new Chihuly Garden and Glass. The artist's work is stunning and dramatic--a real feast for the eyes. And the artwork extends into the café, which houses fascinating displays of things Chihuly has collected over the years, from accordians to Mexican silver ashtrays to transistor radios. In the words of Chihuly, "I love to find the beauty in everyday objects."

Based on my preview experience, there's much to admire in the café's food offerings as well. Three quality chefs have collaborated on the menu: Jason Wilson of Crush (whose beef short ribs were the subject of a Sexy Feast column), ex-Hunt Club-ber Ivan Szilak (whose wedge salad was also a Sexy Feast feature), and Jeff Maxfield of Sky City (where, face it, the Space Needle is a phallic symbol). There were many delicious small bites at the event, though I was especially drawn to the watermelon salad. On this occasion, the salad was skewered, served with watermelon, pickled watermelon rind, ricotta salata, and pistachio balsamic vinaigrette.

So what does Collection Café's watermelon salad teach us about sex?

It's all about whether you spit or swallow.

As part of the Q&A at my college lectures, I let students shout out their favorite foods, and as with this Sexy Feast column, I tell them what each item teaches us about sex. I have ready answers to the inevitable shouts of "hamburgers" and "lasagna" and "ramen," but sometimes I face foods I find challenging.

One day, "watermelon" stumped me--momentarily. I soon envisioned a sliced watermelon, and picturing the black seeds and white seeds, the spitting or swallowing dilemma struck me.

The question about swallowing during fellatio comes up frequently when I talk with students. Many men want their partners to swallow, as they find the continuity of contact with the mouth stimulating. (That said, some don't. But that's all about technique.) Plus, swallowing makes clean-up easy.

On the other hand, some people like to see themselves or their partners ejaculate, so swallowing would take away that visual climax.

Regardless, it's important for the person providing the oral pleasure to do what's most comfortable for him or her. In terms of health, remember that there's risk for STIs through oral sex.

If the concern is volume, note that the average male ejaculate is about a teaspoon. (As a bonus, it's high in protein and low in calories.) Of course, if we talk about female ejaculation, the sheer volume might make it impossible for most anyone to swallow.

Typical of sexual topics like this, communication and negotiation are key. Talk about your needs and your fears, your hopes and your desires, and figure out what works for you. And note that things can change. Some sexual behaviors are an acquired taste.

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I'm not sure if Chihuly's string holders embedded in a dining table at Collections Café are spitting or swallowing, but I doubt you'll want to spit anything you taste there. The watermelon salad is full of flavor; it's nutty, slightly acidic, mildly salty, milky (from the pressed and dried ricotta), and with a sauce well worth swallowing. Add in some grilled Pacific octopus, a pressed pork sandwich, and a fabulous fresh lemonade, and you've crafted a meal full of oral pleasure.

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