Friday, March 23, 2007

Fear of fat, fear of food, fear of sex
There’s something that’s been stewing in the back of my mind for a while, and it has to do with the relationship between food and sex. I’m convinced that there is one – both are pleasures of the body, both are best experienced in good company, both have a role in cementing our bonds with other people.
I’ve never encountered a truly sexual person who wasn’t also a foodie. I don’t mean that in the sense of “eats a lot” so much as in the sense of a person who takes a clear and visible pleasure in eating, who is passionate about food, who makes the effort to seek out foods that they love. Food has always been a part of courtship for me – not just in the sense of going out to dinner together as part of the official script for dating, but also in the sense of the pleasure I take in sharing food with others, in discovering new places, in cooking together, in satisfying shared cravings.
See, it’s already starting to sound kind of sexy. And it is – eating together can be a profoundly sensual experience. Watching another person eat can also give you clues as to what they will be like in bed. Oddly enough the first time I heard this clearly articulated was by my mother in law. When Mr Cassandra was a teenager she told him that if he wanted to find a woman who loved sex he should watch how she ate. If a woman seemed enthusiastic about food, seemed to take pleasure in flavor and texture trying new things, well, that would probably be reflected in the way she made love, too.
She’s right, at least in my experience. I always observed men eat and thought the same things, I just didn’t realize what I was doing. I never put it into words, but I did it right from when I started dating, and you know what? The information I gleaned from watching my dates eat was never wrong. The one who gulped down his food without even tasting it? Hasty and lacking in sensuality in bed. The one whose table manners were horrifying, who shoveled food into his mouth with no regard for taste or subtlety? Lousy technique, poor ability to read others. As subtle as a sledgehammer. Whereas Mr Cassandra, with whom I tried half a dozen cusines that neither of us had ever sampled before, who savours every morsel, and who loves both sweetness and spice...well, he's another matter entirely.
And so it has always gone, for me.
Where this ties into desire week is this – our society teaches women not to take pleasure in food. It teaches us that food is our enemy, to be approached with distrust and suspicion. It teaches us to count calories and fat grams, to count carbs, whatever the fad of the moment is. What it doesn’t teach us is to listen to our bodies, let them tell us what they want and what they need.
I wonder how this ties in to the way people think about sex in this society. Especially women, who get the brunt of the “be careful what you eat” brainwashing. If we lose the ability to see food as a source of joy, as something that we need, what does that do to the way we see our bodies in general? To the way we see sex?
And that, my friends, is yet another reason why fat is a feminist issue. Fear of one natural bodily process bleeds into fear of another, and that’s not good for any of us.
Now I’m off to make dinner. A spicy Indian curry with chicken and garbanzos and coconut milk. And Mr Cassandra and I shall enjoy it together. And then, after he does the dishes…well, we shall see. Food does set the mood after all.


sallysunshine_26 said...

Absolutely. Your mother-in-law gives good advice. I've always been a foodie, sweets especially. Indian food? Wow! Mr. Cassandra is, no doubt, a lucky man.

Trinity said...


Cassandra Says said...

The mother in law definately has her moments of wisdom. She did after all raise a pretty great son - 3 of them, in fact.

Zan said...

Three of 'em? Is there one left over for me? Huh? I can move! I'm not so attached to Louisiana ;)

And yes, good food is a joy unto itself.

Cassandra Says said...

Zan - The middle sibling is actually still somewhat single (as in is in a relationship from which he is in the process of extricating himself). I think he's moving to New Mexico, though. I'm not sure if he's in the right age range for you - he turns 40 this Friday. Mine is the baby of the family.

Cassandra Says said...

Trin - Yes to what?

Trinity said...

Your post.

By the way, do you happen to have AIM or YIM? I'd love to chat sometime if you do. I'm trinityva on YIM and vicious beastie on AIM.

Cassandra Says said...

Trin - I don't use messenger services but I could e-mail you if you like.

The Scarlet Pervygirl said...

How do you define a "truly sexual person"? Do you think there's a universal standard for sexuality, or are all people naturally truly sexual and have had that twisted or taken away from them by others and by themselves?