It might sound strange, but your food cravings often get confused with sexual desire.
Your libido and diet are very closely linked, emotionally, hormonally, and nutritionally,
We are animals as much as we are humans; we need touch and intimacy.
Think about it. If you take a baby kitten, bunny, puppy, etc. from its litter mates, and still give it the same amount of food, medical attention and general care, it will not do as well as if it had been kept in the litter and exposed to touch.
The same is true for humans.
In fact, many scientists believe that as humans, we need way more touch than we're getting. You might be experiencing a touch deficiency, just as you might be deficient in nutrients.
Some researchers say that we need 8-10 hugs a day, each with a duration of at least 10 seconds, just to reach a baseline touch level. If you're not getting that much, your body will seek it through food, because that's another way you can get comfort into your body.
What if your partner doesn't match your desire? A great place to start is to just start the conversation about that: "I need more touch."
How else do food cravings and sexual desire overlap?
Listen in as Alexandra Jamieson, Certified Holistic Health Counselor, joins Andrea and Lisa to discuss the link between your desire for food and your desire for sex.
RadioMD Presents: Naturally Savvy | Original Air Date: March 25, 2015
Hosts: Andrea Donsky, RHN & Lisa Davis
Guest: Alexandra Jamieson, Certified Holistic Health Counselor
Whether you are new to the living healthy lifestyle or a healthy living veteran, this is the place for the honest answers to your questions. Naturally Savvy with a registered holistic nutritionist, Andrea Donsky and health journalist, Lisa Davis, on RadioMD.com.
LISA: Are some of your food cravings actually craving sex or vice versa? It can get confusing, you know?
LISA: I know sometimes, I'm craving sex. Sometimes, I'm craving chocolate. Oh! Shouldn't go there.
Well, we have got the wonderful Alex Jamieson with us. You probably remember her from her award-winning 2004 documentary, Super Size Me. She has been up to all kinds of awesome things since then.
ALEX: Hi! How are you?
LISA: We're good. We're good. I would love some sex and chocolate, but in the meantime, talk to us about how these can get confused.
LISA: Oh, these things do get confused and, yes, sometimes we do want them at the same time. I discovered, a few years ago, that my libido and my diet were incredibly closely linked on many levels: emotionally, hormonally, nutritionally and I think a lot of people out there are suffering and feeling a lot of tied body shame and not realizing that (A) they have permission to explore their desires and their pleasure; and that what they're eating is affecting how they're feeling. So, there are a lot of layers to go through when it comes to craving for food and for pleasure which usually means some kind of sex or intimacy.
ANDREA: So, Alex, tell us a little bit about…I guess, what would be some examples? Obviously, Lisa is pretty funny. She talks about chocolate. What would be some other foods that people would crave, you know, I guess, or mistakenly crave that they want food versus sex? Just tell us a little bit. Dig deeper a little bit into what you're speaking about.
ALEX: Well, here's the thing. We are animals as much as we are human and we need touch. We need intimacy. We need other people and we know that intuitively when it comes to our children and we see it when it comes to animals. You know, there's been plenty of studies showing that if you remove a bunny or kitten or puppy from its litter and it gets as many calories and nutrients as the others, but it doesn't have that play, the intimacy, the touch of its littermates, it won't thrive. It won't put on weight. It will develop emotional problems. The same thing happens with people. We forget that humans need that, too. We give that to our children. We hug them. We pat them when they've not feeling well or when they're sad, we give them a hug, but we don't do that for ourselves. Many scientists believe that we humans need way more touch than we're getting, but there's this missing nutrient of touch that we're all deficient in, that we should be getting at least 8-10 hugs a day of at least 10 seconds in duration. So, we need ten 10-second hugs a day just to reach a baseline comfort level. If we don't get that touch, that intimacy with people, our body will seek it through food because that's the other way that we get comfort into our bodies most easily.
LISA: I am so under loved. No, I'm not under loved. I'm loved.
ALEX: Most of us are.
LISA: I mean, those hugs, right? I'm just thinking, "That's really tough." Especially if you work solo and you talk to people all day, but you're not getting that physical touch that's so it's important. What if you have a partner where they're not very affectionate or they don't have the same sex drive. What do you do? How do you approach this with them?
ALEX: That can be challenging, for sure. There's always a high-desire person and a low-desire person in the relationship, right? One person always has more desire than the other and it's really good to just start the conversation with the other person. Maybe you've never had the talk, like, "I need more touch from you. I need more hugs. I need shoulder rugs. I need more sex or more non-sexual cuddling. I need to just feel you." We absorb touch as love, some of us do. Now, some people are not touchers, not huggers. They didn't grow up in a family where physical love, you know, just non-sexual love, hugs, pats, back rubs, were the norm. So, we've got to start with the conversations like, "I need more of this. What would feel good and comfortable for you so that we can interact more on that level?" If that person isn't willing to give it to you or they're not ready or you need more conversation or you're not in a relationship, then there are a lot of other ways to get that physical pleasure into your body. So, I have a couple of great suggestions, if you're not a relationship.
LISA: Yes, definitely.
ALEX: Okay. Well, you know, the first place to start is self-pleasure. That means masturbation. I think women, especially, from a young-age, we're taught that masturbation is icky and bad and that nice girls don't do that. Actually, masturbation is really healing, healthy and normal. It can really help to reset your hormones. It can help to make you feel really good all over. Not just physically, but emotionally, and it's something that you can do alone, safely at home. Or, you know, even on the road if you travel for work. It's something you can do almost anywhere. So, exploring masturbation. If it's something you've never done, look into the books. There are a lot of great books out there, websites, you know, space, well-lit places for sex toys, Good Vibrations, these are great stores that offer education and really good accoutrement or toys for women to start using themselves.
LISA: Good Vibrations is awesome.
ALEX: Mmm hmmm. Absolutely wonderful.
LISA: They have such a great selection of stuff and the support. Big fan.
ALEX: They're the ones that created May as National Masturbation Month. They said…
ANDREA: Oh, really?
ALEX: Absolutely. A few years ago, the medical lead of our country, I'm totally blanking on the name. I'm going to say Joyce Elders. She came out as saying masturbation was a healthy thing that we should be teaching kids and young adults and she got in a lot of trouble. Good Vibrations said, "You know what? We think May should be National Masturbation Month and there should be more education about this and people should, especially girls and young women, should learn how to do this so they know their own bodies and on a deeper level, it helps us understand our very deep, wide capacity for pleasure and that our bodies are safe places to feel good in.
ANDREA: So, what would be another one? We have about 2 minutes left. So, what would be some other ones?
ALEX: Great. Pleasure can also be play. In my book, Women, Food and Desire, I talk a lot about how women tend to deny ourselves fun and play until we reach our goal weight; or until we've done the job, you know? We put off pleasure and fun in our life until we've been perfect for other people. I believe that we need more play and pleasure in our life in order to get the body weight and to get the vitality that we want. So, in terms of play, I recommend stop the idea that you need to work out. Working out doesn't sound fun. Most people don't enjoy it, so they don't do it. Instead, I want you to go play. I want you to get some roller skates. I want you to get a hula hoop. I want you to sign up for that dance class that you always thought about doing. Join a bird walking group. Do something in your body that's fun. What's playful for you? Is it finding a swing set that will fit an adult rear-end? You know? And swing and just experience and remember what it feels like to be playful in your body. It will light you up and food will become a distant second when it comes to comforting yourself.
LISA: That is such a good point.
LISA: I love what you said, too, about talking to our daughters about that. That's something that I had to recently do and, you know, just say, "It's fine. Just do it in your room." You know, because it's totally natural and I think when you try to shame a child, it's not good at all, obviously.
ANDREA: It's awful.
LISA: It's just going to backfire. Yes. You've got to be open about it.
ALEX: Absolutely. We, girls especially, we start to come of age and realize that, "Oh, like our bodies, like, oh, they feel good when I do this." We start to explore our bodies. We start to have self-agency and come into this awareness right about the time when we start to perceive from the culture around us that sex is dangerous from media, from movies, from people, from just comments, images that we see. So, we start to have a very scary relationship with sexual pleasure which overlaps with our food cravings because, again, that's the other way that we bring pleasure into our bodies.
ANDREA: I love that, Alex.
ALEX: Again, I go deep into this in Women, Food and Desire. I highly recommend reading that.
ANDREA: Well, we loved having you on today. We're out of time, unfortunately. You can follow Alex @Delicious Alex.
Alex, we want you back on. I'm Andrea Donsky. This is Naturally Savvy Radio on RadioMD. I'm here with my beautiful co-host, Lisa Davis.