Food and Sex

by [email protected]  Aug 20, 2013

I was a fat kid. I became a health coach a few years ago because of my experiences as a child. I grew up overweight and sedentary—and I hated my body. I ate to soothe the pain of wanting so much that felt unattainable for an unlovable creature such as me. My drug of choice was processed food—french fries, burgers, chips, and soda by the gallon topped off with candy and ice cream for dessert. I learned early on that alcohol gave me a false sense of security and a delightful sense of bravado and flirtatiousness that I didn’t feel otherwise. I attempted to control my mood with substances throughout my teens, until one day in college I decided that I wanted to be free. My size 20 jeans were getting awfully snug, my mother had just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes—the third of four siblings to develop it—and I decided I wanted my life to be different, to learn how to be healthy and happy. I was, of course, still in the mindset then that if I had the perfect body, my life would be perfect, the one of which I’d always dreamed.

IMG_0416So, I learned. And I discovered the joy of having a well nourished body. Long before I had the “perfect body” (I still don’t), I felt free and alive for perhaps the first time in my life. I found a deep love and trust in my body that was powerful. Somewhere along my journey, I discovered that happiness came not from being able to fit into a size 2, but from feeling great in my body and enjoying how it allows me to connect to myself and others, imperfections and all. I went to school to become a holistic health coach a few years later, because this was a joy that I wanted to share.

A couple of years into working as a health coach, I decided that I wanted to be coaching women at the intersection of food and sex. I had found that the way a woman feeds herself directly impacts her emotions, moods, and digestion, and the way she feels about her body - so many women struggle with bloat and other major digestive disorders and think their bodies are broken. They don’t realize it’s the body speaking to them in its own language of sensuality, communicating its needs and desire for nourishment. Sensuality and desire are what link food and sex, and the way we relate to one is often how we relate to the other. As soon as I made that decision, I realized that while I had healed my own relationship with food and my body, I had not yet really healed my relationship with my sex. Yes, I had come a long way, and was having fun, but the deep intimacy and connection I craved in sex was elusive.

Of course, the relationship I had with my body in my early years had impacted my relationship with my sex. I had hated my body so much and spent all my time in the furthest recesses of my head, that when it was time to drop down and feel pleasure there, I couldn’t. Sex was acquiescence, letting my lover take the lead, and feeling alienated and distant afterward. Years after I had healed my body with food, I still had not healed my relationship with my desire, my sex, and I did not feel safe letting them out.

Six months ago, I started OMing. And all of a sudden, things that I thought I had healed and resolved starting coming back up again. I started to crave cigarettes and began to smoke regularly again. I even started eating things like Doritos and Cheez-its, food-like substances that had lost all appeal for me years ago.

I realized that in a regular practice of letting myself feel my desires, a lot of my old fears and the habits I had used to deal with them had resurfaced. For example, that cigarette habit began when I was a shy, embarrassed 15-year-old who was terrified of being alone and started lighting up at high school parties to ease my discomfort. The junk food I had used to stuff down feelings of longing. In turning to these old crutches, I could assuage the anxiety, try to feel safe by getting under the protective weight of substances to numb out acute feelings.

I leaned into these practices for a while. I smoked daily for a few months and ate Cheez-its with relish. I told myself it was what my beast—that wild part of me, recently unleashed, that is pure desire and doesn’t give a damn about labels like “unhealthy”— wanted, so go with it and eventually the urge will die out. It allowed me to revert to old feelings when the force of my desire felt like too much to handle.

I got to the point where I wanted to feel my desire, uncomfortable though it was. I had been hiding from it for too long, and the desire was winning over the fear that I kept trying to stuff down with food-like substances and nicotine. I wanted to allow Orgasm to take over my body, and to surrender to the power that was in it. I wanted to feel my life force, not run from it.

Again I made the choice to be free. I returned to a sacred relationship with food. I have used food now in service of where I want to be. I use it to ground the energy that is created in OM. I eat plenty of clean protein and leafy greens and have cleared out the substances that create cravings for things my body doesn’t actually want.

In feeding my body what it needs and wants, I found the resonant stroke, the place where the electricity can flow. In eating cleanly I have clarity and a greater ability to feel limbic connection, because my system is not clogged. I am giving myself the chance to feel the connection and intimacy I so desire without substances fogging them out.