Sex and the Campus

By Kate Cieplicki ’16

This column covers both silly and serious topics about sex and dating from the perspective of a poetry-loving, feminist psychology major. For topic suggestions, questions  or other perspectives on sex in college, please email kcieplic@hamilton edu.

If you can’t eat that burrito around him, maybe you shouldn’t sleep with him.

I have a confession: the night before my first date ever I Google-searched the phrase, “What to eat on a first date.”  The never-failing Yahoo Answers advised a quesadilla (“Delicate but still fun!”) which I ordered the next day at the local Chili’s. In the years that followed, the requirement to eat “delicate” food on dates stuck with me. I ordered ziti (but never spaghetti), burrito bowls (but never burritos) and french fries (but never veggie burgers). Ah, I was so young. Having been in a serious relationship for almost two years, I cringe at the days when I used to care about what I ate in front of men.

I know what you’re thinking, since I’m already dating a guy, I don’t have to worry as much about impressing him with my sophisticated food choices. That may be true to some extent, but I know girls both single and in relationships who care about what and how much they eat in front of their partners. This is troubling to me because, the way I see it, the way we eat with our partners has a lot to do with how we have sex.

If I can’t eat an “embarrassing” food in front of my partner, how can I expect myself to be comfortable and honest during our sexual experiences? If I can’t laugh about eating a particularly long strand of spaghetti with him, what happens when I almost fall off the bed while changing positions, when my stomach grumbles or when something in the relationship is bothering me and I need to talk about it? Restricting what I eat around my partner would put up walls and stunt the growth of our relationship.

Openness can be incorporated into various interactions with a potential sexual partner, but meal-time is a natural time to experiment with this authenticity. I’m not saying you have to order the largest burrito at Moe’s right away or eat anything you’re uncomfortable with. If you don’t have a naturally big appetite, don’t order a lot of food (and wow, I envy you). The key here is autonomy...not acting like sophomore-year-of-high-school-me and ordering foods you think men will find alluring and attractive. Eat whatever the hell you want!

While pursuing the web today for “best date foods,” several articles, targeted at girls, encouraged girls to order burgers and steaks so as not to seem “high maintenance” or like they were “those calorie counting girls.” That mindset is just as bad and not what I’m advocating for. I am merely saying eat what you are comfortable with when you’re with a potential sexual partner because if you can’t eat a burrito in front of someone, how are you going to tell that person what you want (and don’t want) during sex? Of course, it’s natural to not want to be too full for sexy time, but if I’m hungry during a date, I am going to eat. If I eat something particularly heavy in garlic or spinach, that’s ok, a quick trip to the bathroom or piece of gum totally prevents unpleasantness. Gone are the days of caring what I eat in front of men. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn’t want to date a guy who was opposed to girls eating certain things anyway (can you say, ‘red flag’?).

Being comfortable with eating around your partner has an added perk: it can open an avenue to use food to spice things up during sex. One caveat: literal spices may not be the best idea. I read a terrifying article once about a guy who made a spicy dinner for his girlfriend and accidentally burned her “down there” with spices while getting it on... yikes! Other foods, however, can certainly contribute to time in the bedroom. I would advise syrups or whipped cream. With whipped cream less tends to be better. Focus on fun areas of the body (use your imagination) but only use small dabs. Whipped cream is more filling than you think and gorging on the stuff is not a sexy feeling. I advise keeping baby wipes nearby for when the food play no longer becomes fun: it makes for an easy clean-up and the smallest interruption possible.

Food should not be kept separate from sexual intimacy, but rather should be celebrated as another way to be intimate with a partner. The comfort that comes from knowing you can eat whatever you want around a partner and still be accepted makes sex more comfortable and may even encourage you to incorporate food into sex.

Send feedback, comments, and questions to kcieplic or spec@hamilton.edu.

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