On Food and Sex and Love

“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it…and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied…and it is all one.”—MFK Fisher

As a food writer (in my “other” life), I have had ample opportunity to reflect about the meaning of food in our lives. The simple act of preparing food is a pure form of love. Eating and sharing food goes beyond the simple needs of stomachs. Food writers, chefs, and home cooks know this. Yes, the attraction of certain food can often be as surface-oriented as the presentation of it. But what we as food people are interested in, really, are the emotions that the flavor of food reaches in and pulls out to keep the eater coming back for more. Whether, it’s our children, friends, or lovers, we want the flavors mingled on our pallets bringing forth the ultimate comfort. We are interested in the stories behind the food—who first made it and fed it to you, where did you first taste it, why do you continue to long for it?

The connection between food and sex would seem to be clear—primal, basic, instinctual. The modern appetite—ever bombarded with images of both sex and food—appears to be unyielding and stretching beyond anything that ancient people could have imagined. Yet, food and sex were both there—biological concerns, mainly. One wonders how it got to be so intermingled with pleasure and comfort and in such delightful manners.

I am no anthropologist, but merely a writer, an observer. I agree with MFK Fisher that when I write about food I am really writing about love and the hunger for it. As I plunge into more and more erotic romance writing, I can see the same themes, for love and longing, for hungers and appetites fulfilled or unfulfilled, with different means and methods, of course.

Some believe that the best food, like the best sex, comes with love. Others are more complicated in their appetites. They want the best, most expensive truffle, or the exact kind of Stilton coming from a certain region in England, from a specific farm, or the precise chocolate that is grown on a plantation in Venezuela. They get off on finding the perfect food experience.

It’s the same with sex—some want one partner for life—others want to try a little of everything, a little spanking here and there, two or more partners at the same time, a little bondage, or, perhaps, food play. When food and sex come together, then, we are playing with deep primal yearnings and a delightful melting of appetites.  Some of us are better at squashing our appetites than others. Therein lies the story.

In SAFFRON NIGHTS, Maeve has enjoyed sexual freedom with several men, telling herself love is a waste of precious time. She has some kinky predilections, considers herself a woman of many appetites. She doesn’t deny herself a lover, but she does deny herself love.

Until, of course, this wild journey she takes with Jackson. He’s a man who flits from woman to woman until he finds it no longer satisfying. He doesn’t know what he hungers for—is it love? Is he ready to be vulnerable enough to love again?

SAFFRON NIGHTS explores many appetites when it comes to food, sex, and love. Stay tuned for more about it over the next several months. Have you ever thought about the connections between food, romance, sex, and love?



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