by Nathalia Perozo
Philosophers have long chastised carnal pleasures, placing gluttony and lust in the category of sinful vulgarity. But as many foodies (and sex addicts) can attest, in the pursuit of bodily pleasures one often finds divinity. Whether it’s buried under an Insalata Caprese or glistening in post coital sweat, there is holiness in what presents itself when we excite our baser desires. That holiness is a direct result of surrender, of embracing a joie de vivre only obtained through immoderation. I would also posit that well-earned indulgence leads to sanctity. It is that inherent tension of hunger and satisfaction that binds food and sex so beautifully.
A few years ago I read the food critic Gael Greene’s memoir, Insatiable. The book starts with her recounting the time she had sex with Elvis Priestly as a teenager. Further on she mentions a tryst with the lean and vegetarian Clint Eastwood. Her memoir has two themes: good food and even better sex. When I first read it, Greene appeared to me to be simply a foie gras loving nymphomaniac. But now, having been inducted into the Dionysian worship of sex, food, and wine – I understand her path of pleasure seeking.
Aside from my obscene love of buttered bread, I’ve always been indifferent to gastronomy. My cooking skills cap at my ability to boil water but I now peruse cookbooks at leisure. If nothing else, flipping through the pages allows me to gush at the mini worlds of ingestible heaven created by the high priests we call chefs.
This fall I stumbled into a love affair that began with innocence and bloomed with intensity. Amidst the pink haze of romance I developed a voracious appetite. The sex was addicting and triggered an incessant desire for gratification. Good sex is uninhibited sex, and in letting myself go I sparked a deep craving for all kinds of consumption – particularly for wine and French cheese.
My new found hunger led to a remarkable culinary awakening. I used to view my yearnings as pitfalls, after all one of the major tenants of Buddhism is that desire leads to suffering. But I’ve learned to respect my cravings. Julia Child said it best in an interview with Esquire magazine, “I’m all for hunger among the well-to-do. For comfortable people, hunger is a very nice quality. For one thing, it means you’re healthy. And I love the anticipation.”
Nathalia Perozo received her MFA from The New School, where she served as Co-Chair of the Feminist Writer’s Organization. Her current project is a collection of poems inspired by Marilyn Monroe entitled Divinity. Nathalia lives and works in New York City.