Even the word cravings can conjure up associations with being sinful, bad, lacking in will-power and undisciplined. But I’d learned to respect cravings as the body’s best attempt at a signal for something direly needed. Christina and I started by deconstructing the facets of her ice cream cravings, in order to deconstruct – and dignify – what he body was really asking for.
Ice cream is cold, milky, creamy, sweet and fatty. Additionally, for Christina, it provided an emotional sense of comfort and of treating herself. So I suggested a couple of radical things. First of all, I didn’t tell her to eliminate ice cream. The focus wasn’t to take anything away, just to add in more of what her body might actually asking for, but was settling for through the ice cream.
I prescribed more fresh salads and fresh vegetables to cover the “cold” element. She was to add healthful fats like olive oil and avocados on her salads to cover to the “fatty” element. And she was to add in some sweet root vegetables like squashes or sweet potatoes so her general diet would have more natural sources of the “sweet” element. Often, a craving for milky substances is an attempt to “mother” ourselves. Since there’s no more nursing for most of us adults, we often substitute other comforting – and milky – things. We looked at the places in Christina’s life where she was hurting and needing “comfort,” in essence needing the mothering kindness she was trying to get from the surrogate teat of ice cream.
In the span of the one-month experiment, she lost about 10 pounds, had eaten ice cream less than a handful of times, and was considering for the first time going off of her anti-anxiety medication. Christina’s body responded extraordinarily well to some healthful substitutions that satisfied the spirit of her cravings, if not the letter of them.
In the vein of deconstructing food cravings, let’s take a look at what it is that Weiner (allegedly) did. He texted and/or tweeted his private junk to potentials other than his wife. He did it in secret, ideally with the aim to not be found out. Where for Christina it was ice cream, Weiner’s erotic cravings showed up as exhibitionism and the titillating thrill of (hopefully) getting away with something. What might his erotic cravings be asking for on a deeper level? And might these cravings have some innate dignity to them?
If you have the chance, run out and get yourself of a copy of The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment by Jack Morin. After reading his astonishing book several years ago I began to ask if there might just be some fantastic, potentially liberating intelligence to our sexual cravings. Perhaps our erotic shadows have a code language, akin to other types of cravings, that needs some deconstructing and understanding, rather than more shaming or repression. Perhaps there is even a powerful force at work behind sexual scandals that is actually strongly life-affirming and deserved of respect?