“Barbara, your therapist is comparing snacks to casual sex again.” — My Roommate
This was a text I received from my roommate the other day while I was working.
My first thought?
How dare she do that to snacks?
My second and third thoughts are what have led me to this blog post.
The concept of comparing food to sex had very recently come up in a therapy session of mine (hence the “again” in the text). You see, I was trying to explain that food and emotions can be completely separate entities. And my therapist disagreed. Her argument? That trying to say that eating isn’t inherently emotional is like saying that sex is only for procreation.
But, truth be told, I find that comparison to be, well, dumb.
Yes. We all have emotions. Yes. We all have to eat. So, statistically, we will both be having emotions and be eating at the same time quite often.
However, correlation does not always equal causation. I was stressed earlier today and eating lunch. But I was not stressed from eating lunch or eating lunch because I was stressed. I was eating lunch because my meal plan says I have to eat lunch and I was stressed because I have a lot going on. The emotions and food were both occurring but they weren’t inherently connected.
The real issue though, is the sex part of the comparison. The hook-up culture is very real. But very few people on that side of the equation will tell you that sex is emotionless.
My therapist wasn’t referring to that part of society however.
You see, I am an Orthodox Jew. When this conversation first took place during a therapy session, her wording was “ saying food isn’t inherently emotional is like saying that sex is only for procreation. And I know that you’re Orthodox and might believe that but…”.
So, first things first, Orthodox Judaism is actually VERY sex-positive, just between a husband and wife. Nobody is over here claiming that sex is only for having kids. Step off with the stereotyping.
Second, that’s the thing.
Nobody on either extreme is claiming that sex isn’t inherently emotional. In fact, scientifically speaking, intimacy is highly emotional. On all levels. In this situation, correlation DOES equal causation.
Before anyone says it, yes I do know that certain foods can release dopamine in the brain. I’m not here to dispute science. I’m here to dispute the all-or-nothing of this analogy.
Food and emotions exist in the same universe but are not, in all cases, linked.
Sex and emotions exist in the same universe and are, in all cases, linked in some capacity.
I vote for a new comparison.
Eating food is like hanging out with friends. Sometimes, you go do cool things or have deep conversations. Other times, you coexist in the same room on your respective laptops.
(Shout-out to my roommate. Also, disregard that she’s friends with my therapist on Facebook)