Guides

I'm Ahungry, What's That?

I'm ahungry. I took me a bit to get it, but being friends with cool people exposed me to new ways of thinking. Now, it seems pretty obvious. It fits. But if I didn't know what ahungry meant, there are probably people around me who don't know either. So, if that's you, let me explain.

First things first, this isn't an eating disorder. I don't have a lot of stress about eating, I enjoy foods, I like tasty foods, and I definitely get hungry. This isn't a response to trauma, or something that I've been conditioned to believe, it's just a better model of explaining how hunger works for me.

The thing is, food doesn't make me hungry. I get hungry, and I want food to satisfy that hunger. I can see a really nice lasagna, or a delicious steak or something, and know that it would be tasty to eat. I can respect the work that went in to making the food so well. But just looking at the food won't make me hungry. If I'm already hungry, I'll enjoy looking at the food before eating it. But it doesn't matter how tasty the food is, if I'm not already hungry, it's not making me more hungry.

So when there's, say, a burger commercial on TV, and all the ingredients are cascading across the screen to land perfectly on a golden bun, my mouth isn't watering. "That's what a burger looks like" is about as much of a reaction as I get. But people around me will say "Oh, I really want a burger now" or "Wouldn't you love a bite of that?" Usually I just nod and play along, it's easier than explaining that I'm not hungry.

For the most part, I know that I will wake up hungry, and that I will get hungry a little bit before bed. I don't need to do anything special to get hungry, my body just gets hungry. I can grab a quick snack, or I can make a meal, or I can even cook for someone else, or go out to eat somewhere, but I have to eat. I can't skip meals too often, or I get to feeling pretty weird.

Now there are two notable exceptions to this. For some reason, pizza is a special food. Not just any pizza, but a specific style of crust, the right cheese, the perfect toppings. When I see a pizza like that, boom, hungry. It's like a lurch. Like "Oh wow I want that in my mouth right now, let's go be close to that." Sometimes when I want to stimulate my appetite, I go look at pictures of well made pizzas online because the effect is so strong. It's not good for me to eat pizza all the time, and my usual eating schedule keeps me well fed. But still, pizza is perhaps the only food that can actually inspire hungriness in me on its own.

The other exception isn't a particular food, it's when someone I love goes out of their way to cook a meal specifically for me. It can't just be anyone, there's something about the feeling of being understood and cared for that is important to me. So it has to be someone I'm comfortable with, someone I've spent time with shared stories with, and someone I've talked to about my few food boundaries. And I have to be specifically considered and invited to enjoy the meal. It has to have been made with me in mind.

When that happens, I can empathize with the loved one who is caring for me, and it makes this feedback loop that I can ride up to an intense hunger. When they desire specifically to make me hungry, and I desire to please them, I become hungry. This is maybe the most fun way to eat, but it takes effort and energy and time and space. And a connection with someone who wants to cook.

There's lots of ways that our culture imposes the idea that we should always be hungry. Especially for guys. Women get a lot more pressure to not eat, which is its own big problem, but guys are often depicted as voracious carnivores who are always ready for another steak and a beer. So I often feel out of place if a conversation turns into sharing food stories or talking about foods we'd like to eat someday. But I'm learning that it's not a problem to experience hungry the way I do. Most of the people I explain it to, even if they don't quite get it, are happy that I'm learning myself better. So I'm practicing being more authentic, and not "playing along" just to fit in as much. And I'm learning to express my own experience, so that people like me don't seem so unusual.

So, that's how ahungry works for me. It's different for other people. Not every ahungry person has a food like pizza or a special situation that makes hungry happen. Some don't even like food in general. And for some, the rules just aren't clear, and hunger happens chaotically. There's nuance to it, but at the core is the understanding that for some people, hungry happens differently.

In case you haven't caught on yet, this isn't really an explanation of food and hunger. I'm actually describing my asexuality. The food/hunger metaphor is useful in many different communities while discussing attraction and sexual desire, and it feels like a great analogy for my experience as an asexual. My actual experience with food and hunger are pretty typical, food can certainly make me hungry for it. Especially pizza!

I'm Ahungry, What's That?

I'm ahungry. I took me a bit to get it, but being friends with cool people exposed me to new ways of thinking. Now, it seems pretty obvious. It fits. But if I didn't know what ahungry meant, there are probably people around me who don't know either. So, if that's you, let me explain.

First things first, this isn't an eating disorder. I don't have a lot of stress about eating, I enjoy foods, I like tasty foods, and I definitely get hungry. This isn't a response to trauma, or something that I've been conditioned to believe, it's just a better model of explaining how hunger works for me.

The thing is, food doesn't make me hungry. I get hungry, and I want food to satisfy that hunger. I can see a really nice lasagna, or a delicious steak or something, and know that it would be tasty to eat. I can respect the work that went in to making the food so well. But just looking at the food won't make me hungry. If I'm already hungry, I'll enjoy looking at the food before eating it. But it doesn't matter how tasty the food is, if I'm not already hungry, it's not making me more hungry.

So when there's, say, a burger commercial on TV, and all the ingredients are cascading across the screen to land perfectly on a golden bun, my mouth isn't watering. "That's what a burger looks like" is about as much of a reaction as I get. But people around me will say "Oh, I really want a burger now" or "Wouldn't you love a bite of that?" Usually I just nod and play along, it's easier than explaining that I'm not hungry.

For the most part, I know that I will wake up hungry, and that I will get hungry a little bit before bed. I don't need to do anything special to get hungry, my body just gets hungry. I can grab a quick snack, or I can make a meal, or I can even cook for someone else, or go out to eat somewhere, but I have to eat. I can't skip meals too often, or I get to feeling pretty weird.

Now there are two notable exceptions to this. For some reason, pizza is a special food. Not just any pizza, but a specific style of crust, the right cheese, the perfect toppings. When I see a pizza like that, boom, hungry. It's like a lurch. Like "Oh wow I want that in my mouth right now, let's go be close to that." Sometimes when I want to stimulate my appetite, I go look at pictures of well made pizzas online because the effect is so strong. It's not good for me to eat pizza all the time, and my usual eating schedule keeps me well fed. But still, pizza is perhaps the only food that can actually inspire hungriness in me on its own.

The other exception isn't a particular food, it's when someone I love goes out of their way to cook a meal specifically for me. It can't just be anyone, there's something about the feeling of being understood and cared for that is important to me. So it has to be someone I'm comfortable with, someone I've spent time with shared stories with, and someone I've talked to about my few food boundaries. And I have to be specifically considered and invited to enjoy the meal. It has to have been made with me in mind.

When that happens, I can empathize with the loved one who is caring for me, and it makes this feedback loop that I can ride up to an intense hunger. When they desire specifically to make me hungry, and I desire to please them, I become hungry. This is maybe the most fun way to eat, but it takes effort and energy and time and space. And a connection with someone who wants to cook.

There's lots of ways that our culture imposes the idea that we should always be hungry. Especially for guys. Women get a lot more pressure to not eat, which is its own big problem, but guys are often depicted as voracious carnivores who are always ready for another steak and a beer. So I often feel out of place if a conversation turns into sharing food stories or talking about foods we'd like to eat someday. But I'm learning that it's not a problem to experience hungry the way I do. Most of the people I explain it to, even if they don't quite get it, are happy that I'm learning myself better. So I'm practicing being more authentic, and not "playing along" just to fit in as much. And I'm learning to express my own experience, so that people like me don't seem so unusual.

So, that's how ahungry works for me. It's different for other people. Not every ahungry person has a food like pizza or a special situation that makes hungry happen. Some don't even like food in general. And for some, the rules just aren't clear, and hunger happens chaotically. There's nuance to it, but at the core is the understanding that for some people, hungry happens differently.

In case you haven't caught on yet, this isn't really an explanation of food and hunger. I'm actually describing my asexuality. The food/hunger metaphor is useful in many different communities while discussing attraction and sexual desire, and it feels like a great analogy for my experience as an asexual. My actual experience with food and hunger are pretty typical, food can certainly make me hungry for it. Especially pizza!

I'm ahungry. I took me a bit to get it, but being friends with cool people exposed me to new ways of thinking. Now, it seems pretty obvious. It fits. But if I didn't know what ahungry meant, there are probably people around me who don't know either. So, if that's you, let me explain.

First things first, this isn't an eating disorder. I don't have a lot of stress about eating, I enjoy foods, I like tasty foods, and I definitely get hungry. This isn't a response to trauma, or something that I've been conditioned to believe, it's just a better model of explaining how hunger works for me.

The thing is, food doesn't make me hungry. I get hungry, and I want food to satisfy that hunger. I can see a really nice lasagna, or a delicious steak or something, and know that it would be tasty to eat. I can respect the work that went in to making the food so well. But just looking at the food won't make me hungry. If I'm already hungry, I'll enjoy looking at the food before eating it. But it doesn't matter how tasty the food is, if I'm not already hungry, it's not making me more hungry.

So when there's, say, a burger commercial on TV, and all the ingredients are cascading across the screen to land perfectly on a golden bun, my mouth isn't watering. "That's what a burger looks like" is about as much of a reaction as I get. But people around me will say "Oh, I really want a burger now" or "Wouldn't you love a bite of that?" Usually I just nod and play along, it's easier than explaining that I'm not hungry.

For the most part, I know that I will wake up hungry, and that I will get hungry a little bit before bed. I don't need to do anything special to get hungry, my body just gets hungry. I can grab a quick snack, or I can make a meal, or I can even cook for someone else, or go out to eat somewhere, but I have to eat. I can't skip meals too often, or I get to feeling pretty weird.

Now there are two notable exceptions to this. For some reason, pizza is a special food. Not just any pizza, but a specific style of crust, the right cheese, the perfect toppings. When I see a pizza like that, boom, hungry. It's like a lurch. Like "Oh wow I want that in my mouth right now, let's go be close to that." Sometimes when I want to stimulate my appetite, I go look at pictures of well made pizzas online because the effect is so strong. It's not good for me to eat pizza all the time, and my usual eating schedule keeps me well fed. But still, pizza is perhaps the only food that can actually inspire hungriness in me on its own.

The other exception isn't a particular food, it's when someone I love goes out of their way to cook a meal specifically for me. It can't just be anyone, there's something about the feeling of being understood and cared for that is important to me. So it has to be someone I'm comfortable with, someone I've spent time with shared stories with, and someone I've talked to about my few food boundaries. And I have to be specifically considered and invited to enjoy the meal. It has to have been made with me in mind.

When that happens, I can empathize with the loved one who is caring for me, and it makes this feedback loop that I can ride up to an intense hunger. When they desire specifically to make me hungry, and I desire to please them, I become hungry. This is maybe the most fun way to eat, but it takes effort and energy and time and space. And a connection with someone who wants to cook.

There's lots of ways that our culture imposes the idea that we should always be hungry. Especially for guys. Women get a lot more pressure to not eat, which is its own big problem, but guys are often depicted as voracious carnivores who are always ready for another steak and a beer. So I often feel out of place if a conversation turns into sharing food stories or talking about foods we'd like to eat someday. But I'm learning that it's not a problem to experience hungry the way I do. Most of the people I explain it to, even if they don't quite get it, are happy that I'm learning myself better. So I'm practicing being more authentic, and not "playing along" just to fit in as much. And I'm learning to express my own experience, so that people like me don't seem so unusual.

So, that's how ahungry works for me. It's different for other people. Not every ahungry person has a food like pizza or a special situation that makes hungry happen. Some don't even like food in general. And for some, the rules just aren't clear, and hunger happens chaotically. There's nuance to it, but at the core is the understanding that for some people, hungry happens differently.

In case you haven't caught on yet, this isn't really an explanation of food and hunger. I'm actually describing my asexuality. The food/hunger metaphor is useful in many different communities while discussing attraction and sexual desire, and it feels like a great analogy for my experience as an asexual. My actual experience with food and hunger are pretty typical, food can certainly make me hungry for it. Especially pizza!