Women, Food, and Sex.
Quite the title, huh??
I recently returned home from an eating psychology conference where that was one of the main presentations by Marc David. So I would like to share what Marc taught (all the credit of this information is his!) and also add a bit of my own perspective. ...Topics close to most everyone's heart!
One of the most powerful 'ideas' to wrap your head around is this equation Marc presented to us:
FOOD = HUNGER = DESIRE = PLEASURE = SEX
Think about it as a continuum, so if one side contracts it affects the other. It's enlightening (for me) to realize that they *are* connected, and that they *can't* be disconnected. We can try but then we become dissociated.
What does this equation bring up for you? I realized here that 'appetite' is a prime metaphor for life - if we are hungry for life experience, we can have a healthy hunger for food, for sex, for our desires. If we try to control our eating behaviors with strange diets, we may bottle up our natural desires for certain things, which may end up resulting in unhealthy extreme behaviors in other areas.
As Marc says, eating can become a symbolic substitute for sexual experience. But a substitute will never do. And here's where it perhaps gets a little taboo...we generally *need* sexual release (i.e. orgasm. yes ORGASM :P) One of the greatest psychologists of the 20th century to many, Wilhelm Reich, studied how people developed disease and 'body armoring' (i.e. storing unreleased emotional/sexual energy through rigidity in certain parts of the body). Yes the concept of body armoring is alive and well today, and helped found Gestalt therapy. Pleasure is a metabolic potentiator (yes that means potential weight loss)...and masturbation catalyzes your metabolic rate. We can empower ourselves to be present in our bodies, and allow ourselves to release built up tension..through art, sport, sex, dance, etc....we can choose to foster intimacy [authentic connection] with ourselves and others.
Ok so now that we're all riled up, let's go back to some basics of this web between women, food, and sex...
what 'Women are Taught' by mainstream media:
* Sexuality gets attention
* Being slender (with large breasts) gets the attention
* Best way to have power is to DIET and EXERCISE
This obsession with having a certain body shape/type and trying to 'force it' through diet and exercise results in the focus being on FOOD and WEIGHT instead of where it SHOULD be, which is on our authentic need for LOVE and CONNECTION.
Women are often spending HUGE emotional, metabolic costs to be loved and sexually desirable. Sound exhausting? It is! (from the women I've spoken with, I humbly submit. And men have their own sacrifices to make. More on that in a later post ;)
These fears "I can't/won't be able to stop eating" may be masking the fear "I can't stop my pleasure," as women may be conditioned to fear pleasure/sexual desire/even their own body (hmm I wonder where all this shame and guilt came from?...religion maybe?). Having a safe space to share desires and FEEL feelings can allow women (anyone) to process undigested emotional experiences, acknowledge desires, allow them to exist, and to flow through. Yay to coaching and counseling.
So I'd like to share one more concept with you...sex is now seen more and more as a performance, isn't it? (ever seen a movie or tv show? ;) ...Marc points out brilliantly that this is truly a failure of IMAGINATION and PLAY! Instead of an experiment of intimacy and exploration, sexuality becomes contrived, and superficial, so it's no wonder that some stats say that approximately 50% of women don't experience vaginal orgasm. So Marc turns this around by inviting an attitude of 'let's experiment', and to take responsibility for your desire.
"You are responsible for your desire." - Marc David
Let's let go of the toxic beliefs, shame, and guilt inherited from media, school, and even our well-intentioned communities repeating what they have learned.
* You don't need to lose weight to be loved. YOU ARE LOVED NOW :) Please choose self-love right now, dear reader!
* You don't need to see food as the ENEMY. It's not! Neither is your appetite.
* More exercise + less food does NOT equal weight loss! (stress can trigger weight gain - more posts on that coming soon) Fat in food does NOT equal fat on your body! Please please please get enough healthy fats (i.e. high quality olive oil and avocados! Who doesn't love avocados? :P)
Deeper questions to ask may be, "Who am I as a sexual being?" ... "What am I attracted to?"
So I invite you to...
Relax into your being.
Accept your body and self as it is.
Activate your imagination ~
ask yourself joyfully interesting questions!
Last but not least...PLAY!
Let's just say that again (dancing alone in my room :P). And if you're reading this, try saying it out loud with me...PLAY HEALS! :D So get out there and play...experiment...love your body and love the OPPORTUNITY this precious human life offers.
I would really enjoy hearing from you...what did you make of these ideas? What stood out to you? Please comment or message me through the site!
Here's to your healing, your playing, your joy,
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver
* This content is almost entirely from notes taken from Marc David's presentation on Women, Food, and Sex at the Psychology of Eating Coach Graduation weekend of May 29, 2015.
** When I say women, it may be more fair to say 'feminine.' It may be even more fair to say that I cannot represent the feminine or women at all, and here only mean to reflect what I found to be meaningful insights into how culture has taught us false and toxic beliefs and a few ideas on how we can heal them.