Food and Sex: what happens when we move from famine to feast

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People in Bangladesh don’t need Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. They don’t get enough food. Calories are scarce there. But not here in the US. Here we have an over-abundance of food, and face an onslaught of temptations to over-indulge. If we’re going to be healthy, we have to be wise about our food choices and diligent about exercise. The overabundance of food creates a situation that forces most of us to make physical health a conscious priority.

(Of course, there are some people who can eat whatever they want and don’t have to worry about food and nutrition. But we hate those people and will not speak of them again.)

In a similar way, we are now in a unique historical situation: an over-abundance of sexual stimulation. If I am unsatisfied with the sexual experiences in my life, I don’t need to go to a cave somewhere and look at drawings of stick figures for sexual gratification. I don’t need to go to a museum and look at paintings of nudes. I can look at photographs, even video. And I don’t have to go to a cave – or even to a store – to do this. I can just turn on my computer, or open up my cell phone. The mechanics of finding sex partners have also gotten simpler and easier, given today’s technologies.

These technologies make sexual stimulation easily accessible and create a temptation factor that is enormously higher than it was in previous generations. We have to deal with it. Just as we have to be conscious about food and exercise choices if we want to avoid being fat and unhealthy, we now need to make conscious choices about the sexual stimulation we fill our lives with, and the sexual experiences we have. And just as some people truggle to control their weight more than others, some people struggle controlling sexual behavior more than others.

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