Can Gardening Make Your Sex Life Better?
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Let me set the scene. It's a summer day somewhere in central Vermont. There's a sweet-smelling breeze picking up whiffs of the last day of lilac season. There are no black flies in this luscious breeze, and you're kneeling in the dirt. You reach across a 30-inch bed to gently pluck the weeds away from the brassicus varieties. You've been working outside all morning, there's sweat under your arms, on your face, on your chest. The smell of the earth infiltrates your being, and all is beauty, efficiency, and food production…until a thundercloud passes overhead. The sun goes away, and the clouds bring the threat of rain. You look at your better half, who has reached the end of the row he or she has been weeding. They're bending over, working their hands in the dirt. You've just pulled out the first carrot of the season, and you brush off the dirt, and take a sweet bite. It's the best thing you've ever tasted. You pass a water bottle back and forth with your lover. It begins to rain. You rush inside, and I bet you can guess what happens next.
Gardening -- besides my proposed sexual connotations -- is satisfying. And while weekend-long weeding can suck at the height of summer, all in all gardening is a valuable alternative to the grocery store, and allies humans with the sensualities of the land. There have been tomes written on gardening (see here and here); both the various techniques for various seasons, and the philosophy behind what it means to work the land. There is no doubt in my mind -- and if you're into gardening or enjoy visiting gardens, I think you'll agree -- that gardening, albeit hard work, is an intimate way to connect with the earth, and a delightful way to spend the day. My question is -- aside from all of the obvious benefits to man and land -- does gardening make sex better?
The skeptical reader will probably go, say what? Okay, I feel you. It may seem like a gross neo-hippie generalization. But I believe gardening is a good model to go off of -- in terms of getting off.
Gene Logsdon, author of The Contrary Farmer , is a farmer who writes, a writer who farms, and a well-respected voice on small-scale food production, animal husbandry, and the self-reliant life on a homestead. To him, "Contrary gardeners today are motivated by a great love for the pleasures of eating good food and enjoying other physical stimulations of the natural and garden environment." Sexy, right? Aside from these other physical stimulations (endorphins, for one) he sees the aim of gardening as joy -- both in the intimate connection one forms with their home and their land, and the bond between partners and animals, food and shelter, the earth, and (I can only assume) rolling around in it. Logsdon is no stranger to the idea of the human body in relation to the land; he has even conducted casual surveys into the idea of nude gardening on his blog. And while he doesn't think people's desire to garden in the nude is necessarily sexual, Logsdon does describe a life of gardening -- and therefore, a life of simplicity -- as sensual:
Ironically enough, the more one immerses oneself in the complexity of the familiar, the more one can attain simplicity of life. We contrary gardeners often refer to this simplicity as "the simple life," even though we know that its manifestations are simple only by the very complex design. Thus we cherish "simple" pleasures…a sunset; rest after hard physical work; eating after sharp hunger; stripping away anxiety about what we should wear until we wear nothing at all…the touch of a drying wind on bare skin after swimming; the taste of a pullet egg, laid today…of a winesap apple pie with a lard crust…