Shameless Woman

Pursuing an integrated life of sensuality, health, healing and rejuvenation

Food Porn

It's when we eat or have sex unconsciously when all the problems happen.

I was sitting in one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Incanto in San Francisco, where they have this special meal you need a group for — it is called "Leg of Beast" or "Whole Pig Dining". I have always dreamed of having it! But you need a group, and the money...so it remained a fantasy of mine yet to be fulfilled. In fact, I had never even witnessed it — only read about it.

But then, on my last visit it happened. I was there for New Year's Eve and was sitting near this big group of friends enjoying a huge celebration together when out came "Whole Pig Dining".

I swooned.

The aromas, the fabulousness of their feast took my breath away. I could imagine myself diving into the food and groaning with pleasure. I waited for someone to lift their fork, I couldn't stop staring. Now! I wanted it now! But instead, something else happened.

Everyone in the group whipped out their cameras and began photographing the food. Not one bite was taken for a very long time as they discussed the food, posed with it, and then uploaded their pictures to who knows where. They slowed the feast way down by turning the food into some kind of pin up girl. They had to shoot every fabulous angle and record every heart stopping bite. I couldn't get the image of some kind of bizarre porn photo shoot out of my mind! The energy around that table became palpable, electric, and incredible sexy. They were all "turned on". And me? Had I turned into some kind of "Food Porn" voyeur?

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Food Porn Moment

I looked around the restaurant. Incanto is always a great dining experience and everyone is usually self-absorbed and completely engrossed in what is on their own plates, unless they are lip licking at each other from across the table and waxing poetic about what they just tasted. But for just a few minutes everyone was focused on the pig as they lusted in their hearts for a taste of what made ten happy diners pause and redirect their attention to their iPhones. It was a true "Food Porn" moment.

I have gotten more and more conscious these days of "Food Porn" - a term coined by Jim Lahey, owner and executive baker/chef at Sullivan Street Bakery and Co. Restaurant, who was apparently one of the first chefs to bring the term to the culinary scene on his website in 1996. How common place it has become for people to whip out cameras and photograph that hot little nugget on their plate and send it off to Facebook, Twitter or their best friend so that all of us can know what they are having and want it too. My Facebook feed is often filled with alternating pictures of beautiful women and the various meals that people are having in restaurants or have cooked up themselves. Food has become sex for so many people - but maybe its origins date back so many years ago to Eve biting into the forbidden fruit. Or was that sin? Can you see where I am going with this?

Recently, I spent time on the most fabulous fat farm, working off a few extra pounds at Hilton Head Health. It was an amazing experience, and they pride themselves on their beautiful calorie controlled yet extraordinary meals. They even have a professional kitchen where you can learn to re-create these meals yourself.

I noticed how all of us fatties anticipated our meals. How we talked about them, and yes — some even took pictures of every dish that came out. I began to truly understand that the picture taking was a form of slowing the pleasurable experience down and savoring it longer. As we sat around the table we tasted every morsel. The night they referred to as "Gourmet Food Night", we were served dessert. It was a tiny portion controlled cheesecake. We allowed ourselves to feel our desire in each provocative nibble. Were we substituting food for sex? Or had food become sex in that moment?

What is amazing about Hilton Head Health is they understand that food is pleasure and filled with desire for so many people. Their meals were filled with pleasure. People lost a lot of weight there, and talked about food all the time. Not a meal went by without a discussion of what we last ate, fabulous places to dine, or what we were eating for dinner that night.

So what is the point? Perhaps it is simply about recognizing that we enjoy our food on many levels. That when we eat consciously, slowly and with great intention — using the same mind set we can use when having mind blowing, gourmet sex - that eating can bring us the same kind of pleasure. And perhaps, the reverse is true. We can learn about great sex from how we savor and respond to a fabulous meal.

On all fronts, we need to slow down. Great sex and a fabulous dining experience are all about taking our time with the experience. It is not about quantity; it is about quality and our ability to take it all in and absorb all of the pleasure that is available. If you are brave take pictures! Food and sex are about savoring. It's when we eat or have sex unconsciously that problems like obesity or sexual complications manifest themselves.

We can eat our food like it is having sex, and have sex like we are eating our favorite food. It is an interesting exercise. For me, I have learned, through smaller portions (Thank you Hilton Head Health), a different mind set associated with the word savoring.

I don't take pictures, but both activities have swept me away.

 

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach specializing is issues of women: Sexuality, Fertility, Weight and Body Image. Pamela's first book, Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner (Rodale) was published in 2011.  You can learn more about Pamela by visiting http://www.beingshameless.com and http://www.thefertilityadvocate.com

Pamela Madsen is a fertility/sex educator, blogger, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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