Altoids and Oral Sex

Altoids mints
Altoids. Mark Sullivan/WireImage/Getty Images

Much like the legend of pineapples and their effect on oral sex, the most pervasive of all the urban legends that have floated around the internet since its inception is probably the now 20-year-old claim about Altoids. Apparently, chewing these or any other "curiously strong" brand of mint before performing oral sex enhances the pleasure of the receiving party.

Truth or Hot Air

It all goes back to an email that started circulating in 1997. Where the correspondence came from, or to whom it was originally sent—whether as a real experience or just as meme—has been lost to history. It's also worth noting how lax the rules were back then: Circulating something like this at work today would likely get you drummed up on some form of sexual impropriety charges. Regardless, here is the text of the original email:

Subject: Altoids in a whole new light
This is an absolutely true story—forward it around to friends who might get a kick out of it.
Had the most interesting conversation with the top sales weasel at our company today. She came into my office and noticed I had a box of Altoids on my desk.
(Have you had them? They are these obnoxiously strong peppermints made in England.) As soon as she saw them, she burst into laughter. Turns out she had recently had an affair with a guy who called her and left her an incredibly steamy voice mail message after an encounter. He went on and on about what a blow job goddess she was, how amazing she was, how he'd never be the same, etc. She was kind of puzzled, thinking: what did I do to this guy that was so different from my regular technique?
She finally figured it out: she's a smoker, and before getting intimate with him, she had gone to the bathroom to "freshen up." Not having a toothbrush, she crunched on about four Altoids and then got busy. Apparently things went amazingly.
So she passed this little tidbit on to another female sales weasel, who immediately tried it out on *her* fiance. Apparently this guy has never, ever been into oral sex, but liked the mint sensation so much that he asked her to stop and chew another Altoid mid-blow job. He is now a fellatio gourmand.
This news has been going around our office. Having a box of Altoids on your desk is now like being part of the Secret Blowjob Goddess Society. It's the equivalent of having the hottest car or coolest computer. News spread like crazy among the females, who all went out at lunch to Walgreens to buy a box of Altoids (about $2 for 100 or so), and their partners across the city tonight are getting one hell of a corporate blow job. As far as company-wide morale boosting events, it doesn't get much better.
Some of the men found out, too—they went out after work to buy them for their wives. They strategized on how to get their wives to eat them.
And people wonder why I work in technology.
(For what it's worth -- it really does work! It leaves a lasting tingle that is apparently quite exquisite.)

The Rumor Spreads

We wish there were scientific data to either back this up or refute it, but unfortunately there's a shortage of, er, hard evidence.

Anecdotal reports are easier to come by, albeit inconclusive. Some people who admit trying Altoids-enhanced fellatio insist the mints make a marked difference; others say "Ho-hum."

As written and circulated on the internet, the story is pure folklore, of course. Word-of-mouth rumors about the special benefits of chewing various brands of super-strong mints (including Mentos, Tic-Tacs, Fisherman's Friend, and others, in addition to Altoids) just before engaging in oral sex preceded the anonymous email tale by many years.

For an example of just how pervasive the urban legend has become, have a look at this excerpt from Cosmopolitan magazine's "Sex Lessons" column from a few years back on the ins and outs of fellatio:

If you want to give him a special surprise, treat him to some Altoids: Pop two mints and perform the deed as they dissolve in your mouth. The same minty flavor that makes your mouth tingle will fire up his privates—and garner a guaranteed "Wow" from him.

Bill and Monica

Altoids also figured in the Clinton/Lewinsky White House sex scandal during the 1990s and is forever enshrined in the pages of the Kenneth Starr report. The record shows that one evening in the Oval Office, intern Monica Lewinsky handed a print-out of the very same email posted above to President Bill Clinton, coyly informing him she happened to be chewing one at the time. For reasons we shall probably never know, Clinton rebuffed her. He did not have Altoids-enhanced sexual relations with that woman—at least not on the night of Nov. 13, 1997.