Episode 153 – Sexual Feasts, Famines, and Snacks


When it comes to sex, sometimes you want a feast, sometimes you want a snack, and sometimes you go through periods of famine.  And today I am going to jump into what each of these might look like. I will teach you how to work through these different phases and build better communication and a strong foundation to help you understand why and how it happens.


Show Notes:

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References for this episode: Fierce Marriage

Show Summary:

When it comes to sex, sometimes you want a feast, sometimes you want a snack, and sometimes you go through periods of famine. You know I like my food analogies!

What might each of these look like?  

I think of a sexual feast as something that takes a lot of preparation and time to enjoy.  There’s plenty there and the experience is really meaningful and rich.

A sexual snack is something quick to curb your hunger until it’s time for a feast.  A snack can be very satisfying but it isn’t as rich of an experience as a feast.

And then there’s famine.  

Sexual Famine

Times when sex is rare.  When I think of a sexual famine, I think of 

  • Illness for one or both partners – this makes me think of that episode of Friends where Monica has a fever but she’s in the mood and Chandler has no interest in her.  Sometimes it’s the person who’s sick and sometimes it’s the partner who has no interest in having sex with a sick person.  It can go both ways.
  • The years with young children, where you are running constantly and physically exhausted.  And that doesn’t mean sex isn’t happening, just maybe not as frequently as one or both partners would like.
  • Pregnancy can often be a time of famine.  Whether it’s the morning sickness, the exhaustion, the growing belly and discomfort or maybe even something more serious like pre-term labor, bedrest, and pelvic rest.
  • Stress can be a time of famine.   When we are stressed, cortisol levels rise, which turns off our sex drive.  Often times the higher desire partner realizes that stress can be relieved with sex because it brings us out of that flight or fight response and lowers cortisol levels.  But the lower desire partner often sees sex as adding to their stress.
  • Fights or disagreements can cause a famine.  When a couple is consistently not getting a long, that desire to be with each other can definitely decrease.  And I’m not necessarily talking about punishing your partner if you are fighting.  But often when we don’t have that connection (which we aren’t getting if we are not getting along) then the amount of sex definitely goes down.

Now, just like during a food famine, it’s important to build up your sexual storage during the times of feast. Those times will help sustain you during times of famine.  Here’s what I mean.  When there is a famine, we often feel desperate, scared, and a lot of anxiety if sex isn’t happening.   We have thoughts like:

  • My spouse doesn’t love me
  • They aren’t attracted to me
  • What if we never have sex again?
  • What if they divorce me?


These thoughts are pretty normal for most people.  It’s what our brain naturally offers to us in times of famine.  But this is a scarcity mindset.  And when we have a scarcity mindset we feel desperate. We get needy. Which doesn’t actually create what we want usually.

Think about it – when that famine is happening, for whatever reason, whether it’s legitimate or not, and our brain offers us thoughts like: “l’m never going to have sex again!” or  “My spouse isn’t attracted to me.”  And we feel scared and desperate, what do we do?  We pout.  We sulk.  Maybe we get angry.  We act needy.  We push them to comply.  We do whatever we can to get it.  But what does this create in our relationship?  Well, I can tell you that someone who is pouting, sulking, angry, or needy, isn’t very attractive.  When we act like that, sex is the last thing on our partners mind.  And the famine continues.

So, what do we want it to look like instead?  When that famine happens, for whatever reasons and our brain offers us not so helpful thoughts, it’s important to redirect it to thoughts that are more helpful.  Things like “just because they said no, doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen again.”  “This is about them and what is going on for them, and has nothing to do with me.” “I’ll be ok if I don’t have sex right now.” “I’m sure we will have sex again soon.  Everything is fine.” And when we think thoughts like that, this creates more of an abundant mindset.  It creates more love, connection, and understanding.  And when you feel that way, you tend to still be loving and kind.  You ask your spouse what you can do to help them.  You are genuinely concerned for them and want what is best for them.  And I’m telling you, that is way more attractive!  You may not get sex that night, but you are more likely to get it a lot sooner than if you act needy and desperate or mad.

Sexual Snack

Let’s talk about the Sexual Snack.  Most couples don’t have time for a long-drawn out love-making session very often. Maybe once a week, if they are lucky. For most couples, a quickie… or keeping it in the food realm… a sex snack, is a great way to get the physical release, have some connection, and it can happen a lot more often. But both parties. need to be on board.

This is why it’s important to talk about it, not just in the moment. Talk about it ahead of time. Set some expectations that you can both agree on.  Then you can have a signal or a conversation when one of you is getting a little snacky.

Men tend to want that physical release more often than women. And I don’t ever think it’s a woman’s obligation to have sex. But I find it is so much about your mindset around sex.

I would say it’s pretty typical for men to want that physical release every 2- 3 days at least. Typical for many women is once a week, or even once every two weeks. But, with the right mindset, if you aren’t looking at it as an obligation, or that you aren’t being used, if you can look at it as a way to connect and share something with the person you love most, then maybe you can be open to a little snacking, even if you aren’t necessarily” in the mood!

Most women tend to be more “responsive” desire, rather than “spontaneous” desire. Responsive desire is a concept from the book Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski.  Spontaneous desire is what we tend to think about when we think of desire. That it should just happen naturally and spontaneously. But that just isn’t true for most women. Women tend to be more responsive desire, meaning we have to have the right kind of stimulation, the setting has to be right, the relationship has to be right, then, if we are willing (and willingness is key) to try and be aroused physically, then the desire is born out of arousal instead of the arousal being born out of the desire (which is how we think it should be.)

So how can you be ready for a snack or a quickie? By having your mind ready and to be willing. And then often your body will follow. And if you need help with your body being ready, you can speed things along with a vibrator. Check out episodes 138 and 139 if you want to learn more about that.

Sexual Feast

If you’re in the mood for more of a meal than a snack, let’s talk about the sexual feast.  This is sex that is deep, emotionally intimate, often intense, physically satisfying for both parties, and so, so good!  I once heard it compared to a freight train: it may take a while to gain momentum, but once it’s full speed, good luck stopping it!  Just like a snack, it can get you from A to B, but it is much more drawn out and carries a much heavier payload.

A sexual feast is the kind of sex you experience on purpose as part of your relationship deepening activities.  Like date night or a couples vacation.  It’s about both of you being fully present and investing in the relationship and the journey together.

Now, of course there are different size meals in between a snack and a feast.  Sometimes you want more than just a snack, but a 7-course meal is a little over the top.  The important thing is to communicate with your partner where you are and what you are looking for.

If you have different ideas about what you are looking for, communication is of course key.  I had a client who’s husband never wanted a quickie.  He always wanted a long-drawn out love-making session.  But that really isn’t what she wanted.  Most of the time, she just wanted a snack.  It’s an interesting dynamic and one to take a closer look at.

Why does he always want a feast?  Why does she always want a snack?  I don’t know his motives for sure, but I can take a guess.  He was missing that deep emotional connection he feels for his wife.  He wanted a long session of love making so that he could spend time with her, not only receiving pleasure but also giving her pleasure.  It was his way of showing her how much he loved her.  For her, she always just wanted the snack because it was difficult for her to stay present with him.  To connect.  To open herself up and be vulnerable.  To truly experience the deep physical and emotional connection that sex could bring.  She just wanted it over and done with quick.  So there had to be some compromise on both parts. But with some communication, they were able to find a combination of the two, and stuff in between, that they could both be happy with.

So, take a look at your relationship.  Do you tend to want more feasts or snacks?  Are you going through a famine?  What is your thought process with all of it?  How do you want it to change and how can you make that change happen in a way that works for both parties.  As always, if you need some help navigating this, you can set up a free consultation with me on my website or come into my coaching program.  

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