Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orgasms N Exercise!

So while reading the NY Times Sunday Magazine article about the science of female desire last week, I saw a brief link to orgasm-like feelings after exercise (sadly, since I no longer have access to Wesleyan's medical journal descriptions, I can't read it--I got into reading medical journal articles when I took this one epidemiology class).

I WISHIWISHWISH I could read about this! People talk about running "highs" or whatever, and that's true, but calling something a "high" is a pretty neutral term. YES, it can refer to drug use, but NO, it doesn't conjure up a full-body orgasm or anything. Looking at the abstract more closely, it appears that exercising made people more responsive to sexual imagery, but it wasn't due to the hormonal changes they thought.

As a swimmer, and especially a distance swimmer, I've had times where I inexplicably felt really, really, really good while exercising. It's a giddiness, a euphoria. It matches, but is qualitatively different, to times where I've felt euphoric from caffeine, alcohol, getting really good results on my AP tests in the mail, and, although it's been awhile, sex. I imagine this is under-researched because it's a personal, not shared emotion. While your teammate is in agony it's a bit alienating to slur out "I feel soooo good right now! I'm totally high off this ridiculously hard set!"

While I've had warm fuzzy feelings during exercise and after---usually it takes pretty strenuous exercise to induce it--I have particularly strong memories from my senior year water polo season. Maybe because at that point I'd sampled the various sources of euphoria, I had a different sense of contextualization that made full-body pleasure seem like a simile to orgasm. Anyway, we would have these two-hour, strenuous practices, then I would have to dash over with wet hair (15 minute walk, which I know now from living in New York is 3/4 of a mile) to catch one of the bajillion screenings I had for my Senior Film Seminar. So while changing/walking over/before starting the movie, there were a few times where I felt REALLY, REALLY good. Just like dreamy, stupid smiley, and good allll over. It radiated from me and kind of draped over me and either made the whole world look like Willy Wonka or made me super ebullient and wanting to share my good mood with someone. Kind of like a certain variety of orgasm, but so so much longer lasting. And also kind of like the Little Match Girl before she freezes to death in the snow.

So, while people don't really talk about random acts of euphoria (I contemplated telling my classmates that I felt orgasmic, but reconsidered) unless you're, of course, having sex, it's interesting to see that something so wholesome, like exercise, can produce such a profound reaction in the body. I LOVE it. And what better place to talk about it than in the frankness of the blogosphere?

I felt something like that today, walking home after I interviewed my first movie director over the phone. I had been so nervous, and then it went really well, and I just felt giddy and happy and relieved and it all felt so good.

I think this might mean I'm becoming happier in general.

And do you know what--I've been feeling a lot happier lately, and I've also been doing much more strenuous exercise. Although I've been walking to and from work for five months now (that's 2 miles a day, provided it's not raining really hard or I don't take the subway to a screening after work), and doing yoga a couple times a week, it's only now that I've started running (20+ minutes on a treadmill; funny...that was how long the test subjects were on there...) that my body has really been activated and made use of those pleasure centers (in order to help with the pain of getting back in shape?).

I really like the idea of the body as a machine. I think it's empowering, healthy, etc.. Noticing such a big difference in mood, I definitely think I will work to keep this gym habit going.

Current Food/Alcohol Obsessions

-I can live on nuts and fruits alone. My eating habits closely resemble that of a squirrel. I also love cracking nuts. I recently went to wine bar Gottino and spent the night splitting a bottle of wine and cracking walnuts and hazelnuts. It’s so much fun! And you can have contests, like who can crack a walnut in the largest pieces. While not a new obsession, Turkish Pistachios (smaller, more intensely flavored) are an old standby, though quality can vary from supplier to supplier (Manhattan Fruit Exchange > Economy Candy), so you have to be careful.

-Wine: Shiraz, Syrah, yum, yum, yum. I will never get tired of Shiraz, my first wine love. Full-bodied, meaty, fruity. It’s how I like it.

-Champagne: I love Chateau St. Michelle. Had it a couple times in the past month or so. I need to visit it when I come back to Seattle! I also recently bought some strip club champagne from a discount wine store (Scores lost their liquor license) so I will have some $7.99 champagne that retails for $250 in tittie land.

-Microwbrews/Craft Ales: I hate the term “microbrew” because it sounds so damn pretentious, but beers produced by small breweries have SO much flavor in them; they’re practically like wines. I especially like beers with high alcoholic content in them. I love carbonation, and thus champagne, and these have that whole “champagne of beers” thing going on (not that I’ve ever knowingly had a Miller High Life) while being able to utilize a greater variety of flavors. Troeg’s Mad Elf (which I’ve had at Pacific Standard a couple times) is a delicious, spicy, cherry-undertoned example.

-Tofu made by small, local places. It seriously tastes so much better. Laura, you totally turned me on to this! There is one brand at Whole Foods with a blue package that I really like, and The Bridge tofu (made in Middletown, CT, although I don’t know where) is absolutely fabulous, and retains more of that nutty soy flavor

-While I’m not that big of a fan of maple, and this vanilla soymilk has strong maple flavor to it, WestSoy Unsweetened Vanilla soymilk is great in chai tea, especially with a splenda or two thrown in. My weekend go-to.

-Cashews and Mixed Nuts from Costco. Such amazing quality. So good.

-Clementines. One of the few oranges I really like. I also like Blood Oranges, but I’ve been really disappointed with the quality lately—they’ve been less-than-sweet, and very pulpy.

-Brown Rice! I cooked it myself for the first time a month or so ago. I love that it’s chewy and has a slightly earthy flavor. I also just bought some Brown Basmati Rice at the health food store (Integral Yoga Foods, the one with the hot checkout guys) so I'll have that soon.

-The soup at Paradis-to-go: I am still dreaming of this amazing potato-leek-bacon soup I had there. It had pieces of cut-up potato, corn, and arugula in it. Amazing. That place knows their soups. And the checkout guys are hot. Too. (I think I am obsessed with the attractiveness of people providing food for me, plus they can't be mean to me because it's their job to smile and act nice, even if a gal like me is acting psycho. I also really need to see 9 1/2 weeks, isn't that some kind of food sex movie?)

Monday, January 26, 2009

2 girls, 1 adventure...

While at Lori's in Boston this weekend, she insisted I watch (while recording) the most horrifying, disgusting video ever. It's not even available on YouTube. It doesn't really start until :20. The best part is when it kind of accidentally goes in slo-mo around 1:12 while my face is contorting hideously.

The reaction video is:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why do I like Google?

Google is kind of funny, in that typing in a query (nowadays, anyway) not only brings up searches you've done before, but also has "suggestions."

What does this say about the American psyche? WWWFD? (What would Freud Do?)

(For the record, I was with a friend, and tried to google "why do i like inaccessible men." This is another story, ha ha.)