When I met Steve (not his real name, for reasons that will become obvious), I thought he was cute. He also looked kind of like a guy I had a crush on at the time, but who wasn't interested in me. Unlike that guy, though, Steve was interested, and we started hooking up because my mother taught me to always accept free things.
The first few times Steve and I got together, the sex was pretty vanilla: a tickle here, some fingers there, an unfortunate case of "what's that smell?" It wasn't bad, exactly, but it veered toward boring. Then one day, Steve told me he had a "kink."
"It's more of a fetish," he said, before covering his face with his hands. "I'm so embarrassed."
"It's OK, you can tell me," I told him. I really hoped it wasn't whips and chains, as I was broke and wasn't sure I could afford leather.
"I like food," he said. "Like, in bed. I like feeding someone while they're fucking me."
I wasn't exactly relieved, but in a way I could relate, because I used to be fat. I don't mean that in the way people say, "Oh, I used to be fat" and then show you a couple of pre-puberty chubby kid photos. That's not being fat; that's having a plump adolescence. I'm talking about being fat and staying fat: I was born at ten pounds, weighed 230 pounds at age 14, and then peaked at 275 pounds at 24.
I lost 100 pounds in my mid-20s and I've kept it off, more or less, since then. But as anyone who grew up fat can tell you, once a fatty, always a fatty. The fat may come and go, but it always stays with you in your mind. I don't obsess over my weight as much as I used to—I'll eat a goddamn cupcake these days—but the PTSD from being bullied as a 200-plus-pound kid still lingers.
I wondered if using food during sex would bring out my weight-shame, or if I had found my soulmate—someone who could pacify my anxieties about gaining weight. I asked Steve what kinds of foods he liked in bed.
"Donut holes, cakes, cold cuts," he listed. As a vegetarian, I could see that this was not going well.
Still, I'll try anything once—so I leaned in and said yes.
The first food we brought into bed was a sheet cake, a grocery-store birthday cake with piped icing so sweet I could feel it rotting my teeth. The sex started normally enough: We made out and enjoyed some foreplay, while the cake waited on the nightstand, as if silently asking us, Are you ready for me yet? Is it my turn?
Then Steve took the cake and placed it on my bare chest. As he centered it, he began to get into his groove, grinding on me as he fed me handfuls of the cake, until I came.
Afterward, I had a headache from the sugar rush, but also more energy for more sex.
Over the course of a few weeks we incorporated all kinds of different foods into sex. One time he ate a sandwich while I fucked him. Another time, he fed me Dunkin Donuts Munchkins, which left a powdery residue on the sheets.
By then, I noticed a pattern forming: There were crumbs all over the bed, and Steve insisted on crumbly food, like cake and donut holes, that left a huge mess behind. I was enjoying being fed, but I like being clean, and rolling around in crumbs was not my idea of a good time. But relationships are about compromises, and I've done worse for a good lay, so I carried on.
On our last night together, Steve suggested he drip honey over my body. The very thought made me uncomfortable—honey is sticky—but I reminded myself of the principle of compromise and agreed.
"This is going to be hot," he said, as the honey oozed over my body. Steve began licking the sticky trail on my body. Then he lifted my legs into the air and poured honey directly into my asshole.
The next morning, while Steve was still asleep in my bed, I tried to clean up the mess, looking around for rogue drops of honey that may have pooled on my hardwood floors. It looked like the coast was clear—until I saw an ant crawling on my foot.
I leaned over and cautiously examined the insect. Then I moved closer to my side of the bed, where I'd plugged in my phone. As I picked it up, I saw hundreds of ants crawling up my bed, over my phone, and covering parts of my nightstand, including my copy of Suze Orman's Young, Fabulous, & Broke, which was now spotted in moving black dots. Panicking, I woke Steve up.
"Aaaaants!" I yelled, as he jumped up.
"What? Where? Oh, that's nothing," Steve said, dismissing the obvious trail of ants overtaking my bedroom. "Ants won't harm you."
"They're here because of the honey, you idiot," I yelled. "They're everywhere! We were sleeping, and they were crawling over everything next to us."
Then a thought hit me and I froze. My asshole. He'd put honey in my asshole. What if a colony of ants was taking up residence in my asshole?
I ran to the bathroom and tried to inspect it. It didn't look like there were any ants, but ants are small and can get into tiny places. What if my anal cavity was covered with ants? Do you go to the emergency room with this kind of problem? Excuse me, my boyfriend put honey in my asshole, and now I'm afraid ants are eating me from the inside out, can you help? Also what's the co-pay for that sort of thing?
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After that, I knew I had to end things.
"Listen, you're a great guy, but I don't think this is for me," I told Steve.
"It's not for everyone," he said.
At the time I accepted this, because I wanted Steve out of my apartment so that I could begin furiously cleaning my apartment. But by the time I'd exterminated the ant colony, I realized it wasn't the food fetish that turned me off—it was the mess. I like things clean, and upon further research, it's clear that other people with a food fetish feel the same way.
Sure, I gained some weight during our relationship, but I was surprisingly OK with that. In fact, the best thing to come from all this—despite the personal anguish and paranoia that came with the messiness—was realizing, maybe for the first time, that I like my body. It's pretty fucking great, curves and all. I just don't need a cake on my chest or honey in my asshole to prove it.
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