Photo courtesy of Anete Lusina - girl behind palm frond

Coitus! (yep… we’re going there…cleanly...)

(photo courtesy of Anete Lusina)


I’ve watched a lot of weight loss advice reels spanning the realm of absurd advice to very sound, practical advice and you know what I found? NO ONE talking about how being overweight or going on a diet impacts our sex lives.


If you are not struggling with this topic in your weight loss journey, I’m so happy to hear that and keep doing what you are doing! GO YOU!


If you have struggled in the past, or are currently struggling with sex, then please know you are not alone. I’m going to use the generic word “sex” to include all manner of intimate contact with a partner.


Talking about sex and intimacy is controversial. Some generations won’t even spell the word sex. I’m sure there are cultures where discussions about sex discouraged or frowned upon. Today, however, we are diving in.


I think the reason our sex drives and dieting aren’t being discussed much has to do with the fact that sexual feelings are complicated and very individualized. Some of us, myself included, already have challenges with respect to sexual intimacy, and being overweight or being on a diet just exacerbates those issues.


We know that body image can play a big role in intimacy. If you feel shame or guilt about the way your body looks, it’s hard to want to strut naked around the room to entice your partner.


Being on a calorie deficit diet can also impact your energy level. Remember, we are eating less calories than our bodies are burning, so there can be a few physical side effects to this diet. We may feel more tired and have less energy than we did before we started this diet. Additionally, it is possible that our bodies are not getting all the nutrients we need, which can impact both our physical and emotional state.


I will confess that I noticed a decrease in my desire to have intimate relations since being on this diet. I also want to emphasize that I have past psychological baggage, unrelated to my body image, that impacts desire for sexual intimacy, so I was already starting at a disadvantage before I started this diet with respect to my desire for sexual intimacy.


When you think about sexual intimacy with someone do you find yourself thinking or saying any of the following?


I don’t like the way I look naked...”


I feel too tired to be in the mood...”


I’m too stressed...”


The thought of sex is exhausting...”


The media has encouraged us to feel bad about our bodies not being a certain size. We have been trained by advertising, since the time of fashion icon Twiggy in the 1960s, to believe that skinny people with symmetrical features are perfect specimens, and the rest of us are not. Luckily, children and young people are being exposed to more body types in advertising these days. Us older folk were told: skinny good, not skinny, bad.


I did a brief internet search, and discovered the most common clothing size for a woman in the US is now a size 16, which is a woman with the measurements 43” bust, 36” waist, and 45” hips. I believe the equivalent size in the UK is size 20, and XL internationally. I was able to find more up to date information for women than for men (sorry guys). In 2019, the average waist size for men in the US was a 40.2” waist.


I was really surprised by this….


In spite of how we feel, we are not an overweight person in a crowd of Twiggys. We are most likely more average looking than we think, at least in the US. This is not to say that we do not need to lose weight. I hope that some of these facts will make you feel less self-conscious about being overweight and how you think you look. I apologize for my lack of information on how these numbers translate to other countries’ sizes.


We are all beautiful, inside and out, no matter what size we are, but some of you won’t believe that. I know, because I was told that and didn’t believe it either. I looked in the mirror and it (and the judgmental voices of others) told me otherwise.


My personal experience with body image and sex is that when I feel good about myself and my body, I’m more inclined to want to have sex. When I feel overweight and fat, I feel embarrassment, shame and self-conscious when I’m naked, even in front myself, let alone my husband of almost 40 years.


So, how do we cope with this feeling? If you are overweight, and your partner wants to have sex, then you need to embrace the fact you have a partner who sees you for the beautiful person you are, doesn’t care that you have some cellulite here and there, and just wants to connect with you on a deeper intimate level…. And have orgasms…


If you are feeling so-so or ‘meh’ about having sex with your partner at this point, I encourage you to think about giving it a go, whether you feel like it or not. I think we can sometimes build something up in our heads as being harder or worse than it is.


Please be aware that I’m giving this advice based on my own experiences, not any kind of therapeutic training, as I’m not a trained psychologist. If you have strong negative feelings about having sex, then don’t force it because sex needs to be consensual, not forced. Work on those feelings or talk seek out a professional. I have discussed my own issues of intimacy with a professional at times in my life and I found it very helpful.


As for myself, yes, I did notice a change in my sex drive when I started this diet. What did I do? I did what most people do these days…. I Googled…. Why? Because I love my husband, whom has been my only partner for over 39 years, and I want to take care of my marriage. I also want orgasms….


I researched what supplements I could take that would help with a woman’s sex drive and found a list of five things that could help. I researched a little further to confirm that those nutrients may be lacking if you are dieting. My husband is a Vitamin Shoppe whore (we should own shares in that company) and he was able to order what I told him I needed. I was absolutely shocked we didn’t have all of it in the cupboard…


I have to add here that I LOATHE taking pills. I hate swallowing them. I take something for my blood pressure (medication I’m desperately hoping I won’t need after I lose 15 more pounds) which seems to dissolve into a mouth of bitterness before I can get the glass of water up to my mouth. So, having to swallow more pills is horrible to me, but I’m doing it. The day my husband re-ordered more, and one supplement went from two big capsules to four small capsules was truly disheartening...


I’m not going to tell you what supplements were recommended because I do not want to be accused of giving any type of medical advice. I will say there was nothing bizarre or weird in the list. Just run of the mill vitamins and supplements that are probably present in most multi-vitamins. I’m sure if you do what I did you can find the list. I didn’t even have to scroll much, if at all.


I started taking the recommended supplements earlier this summer and I did notice an improvement, but it wasn’t like any type of aphrodisiac…


And surprisingly, I noticed other unintended benefits with respect to my skin and hair.


So, how do we know if our lack of desire stems from our minds or our bodies? We don’t. And that’s the rub, isn’t it?


If you have tried to solve this issue yourself without success, consider getting some professional advice, either through a medical doctor or a trained psychologist. You deserve to have the best life you can get, and that includes your sex life, too.


If you have that ‘I’m just not in the mood’ feeling but are not vehemently opposed to having sex, I encourage you try to ignore those feelings and try to have yourself a good old time with your partner and see how that goes. But DO NOT go into any sexually intimate encounter feeling forced. I don’t think that would be helpful or healthy.


If you have very strong feelings about not having sexual intimacy, and it’s impacting your relationship with your partner, I want to encourage you to maybe think about talking to a medical professional about your feelings. You may find it beneficial.


I will close here by quoting Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Caddyshack: “Hey everybody! We’re all gonna get laid!

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7th Decade Redhead
7th Decade Redhead

I'm 60+ years old female retiree who is finally figuring out why she's been struggling with losing weight her whole life. I want to share the lessons I learned so others can help themselves with their own weight loss struggles earlier in their lives.

60 Pounds by 60 Years
60 Pounds by 60 Years

My final weight loss attempt after 40 years of different diet failures. No shakes, no supplements, no surgery, no crazy food, no purchased meal plans, no fasting. Creating a healthier relationship with food and facing the painful truth about my relationship surrounding food. No BS, just common sense. And it worked.

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