Weight Gain and Sexual Intimacy

I was not overweight before I got married. After I had my two kids, I gained more than 20 pounds and I am still struggling to lose but nothing seems to work. My major problem though is my embarrassment before my husband. I feel like he doesn’t like me anymore because of the extra pounds I put on especially around my belly. I feel so unattractive. I feel exposed whenever I think of sexual intimacy. My husband repeatedly told me that he doesn’t care. Does weight gain affect sexual intimacy? What do I need to do to feel good about myself and enjoy my intimate moments with my husband as I used to?”

Very interesting question!

First, let me state my assumptions here before I jump into your questions:

I assume that you are doing well when it comes to your personal relationship with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I assume that you pray, read and mediate the word of God almost every day. You go to church and fellowship with other believers in Christ. If this is the case, then I will try to address your question.  Joy and happiness are only found in Christ. Apart from Him, the rest of my advice would be nonsense.

Okay, so, yes, weight gain can be a problem for most mothers especially after a baby. Yes, there is genetic component to it but only 30% , as some researchers assert. The rest of 70% of your weight represents your lifestyle choices. I know that is kind of tough truth to swallow but it is the fact.

When you said, “Nothing seems to work”, how many things have you tried? Did you try exercise; did you try changing your lifestyle (means changing your diet from junk to healthy food, like vegetables and fruits)?

You see, sometimes we wish to lose weight but we are not willing to do the work. We just enjoy complaining about our problem while we do absolutely nothing about it.

After my first child, I gained around 20 pounds and continued to gain. I was breastfeeding 24/7 and I excused myself from drinking water and eating fruits and vegetable saying, “I have to eat food that is high in fat and carbs so I would be able to feed myself and my baby.” (BTW, breastfeeding helps burn those stubborn belly fats but only if you eat healthy food and drink lots of water; no soda and no sugary drinks, including 100% juice.)

And one day, browsing through the Internet, I found this method which worked for many mothers and I applied it to my life and worked for me like a magic.

All you have to do is this: Have a notebook that you take with yourself wherever you go and you jot down whatever you put into your mouth; starting from one skittle to full blown lunch, and a cup of water (you record everything in a measurable way, like two skittles, one juicy fruity candy, and so on) and you will record what time you eat.

Well, I did this for a couple days and my dearest, I found out, to my surprise, that I was eating like a hippopotamus or a pig, without any exaggeration. I mean I was literally eating my heart out. I used to eat anything and everything and every three to five minutes. May God have mercy on me!

Sometimes, my list gets so long that I get embarrassed to show the list to my Berhan (my husband). Yes, I would hand it over to him at the end of the day so that he would be my accountable partner, to hold me responsible and accountable.

That was an eye opener for me. That was the time I realized that weight doesn’t just come on me. I work towards gaining more pounds.

Well, this worked perfectly for me when it comes to facing my own failures head-on.  Yes, after that I changed my eating habit for life.

And do you know what else I found out about myself during that time? Well, I was eating not because I was hungry but stressed or feeling lonely or bored. My stomach (well I better say, my brain) took food as “stress reliever” or as “antidepressant.” Not good!

If I can’t fall asleep because my baby is up, I would just sit and eat ice cream. If I get stressed and feel blue, I would cook lasagna and eat.

Well, that simple method worked for me quite well. It won’t hurt if you try it.  Don’t eat anything without recording it on your notebook. And if you feel comfortable, share your notebook with your husband or someone so you will be accountable and responsible to your actions.

Well, does weight gain affect sexual intimacy? You bet it does! What you are feeling right now is very common for most women with weight gain problems after a baby.

But let me tell you one fact about your husband’s sexual nature (unless he is one of those unique ones). Most husbands’ sexual interest rarely gets affected by their wives’ out of shape body. I know! It is so counter-intuitive!  If I am not mistaken, I read this fact in one of these two fantastic books, “For Women only” by Shaunti Feldhahn or “No More Headaches” by Dr. Juli Slattery).

What you see in the mirror is not what your husband sees when he is in the mood for sex.  Your floppy belly is the least of his worries. So, don’t bother and I’m glad that your husband is affirming you that you still look fabulous. I’m so proud of him!

That being said, though, if your weight gain gets out of control to the point of taking away your energy and sexual interest (which sometimes it does) and expose you to multiple health issues including sleep apnea and depression, your husband sexual desire towards you will be affected in a negative way.

You see, you are always sexually attractive to your husband when you feel good about yourself. So, find a method that works for you to lose the extra weight you put on. And you are also attractive for your husband when your heart is healthy and happy. Exercise is the best way to feel good about yourself. However you may not lose that much from exercise if you don’t change your eating habit but still light exercise like walking will boost your stamina, energy and gives you good feeling (because of the endorphins which are released in your body after exercise).

So, change your diet, exercise and understand your husband’s beautiful sexual nature, and feel good about yourself. And the rest will be as easy as running down the hill. ///