Confession: Weight Gain Killed My Sex Life

Our contributor is a student at an East coast university. And that’s all she’s willing to say. Except this…

There’s something about the heat of the summer sun that makes everyone a little more frisky, a little more excited, a little more promiscuous — it’s the season of bathing suits, little clothing, late-night dates, sex on the beach. I used to be into all this. I used to look forward to whipping out the ripped jean shorts, the sexy summer dresses, the skimpy tank tops. I used to take every opportunity to go to the beach. I used to enjoy sex. But things have changed. It’s the tired old campus story: too much booze, too little exercise, too much late-night junk food, and all of a sudden I’ve gained 27 pounds and am no longer comfortable getting naked with a guy.

I have let the weight completely alter my lifestyle. When asked out on a dinner date, I kindly decline. When invited to the beach, I say I can’t. Shopping? Clubbing? Forget it. I’m inside reading books about how to lose weight. I’ve tried a few methods to help me lose weight. I’ve eaten healthy and been to the gym, but neither of those methods worked. I might try some fat burners instead since a friend of mine uses them and she’s seen great results. I just want to lose a bit of weight!

This is by no means the first time I’ve suddenly withdrawn from society out of weight-gain embarrassment — but it is the first time it’s happened since I started having an active sex life. Now I’m discovering how the extra pounds affect my sex life, too.

When you’re in a steady relationship, a bit of unwanted flab isn’t the end of the world. The two of you are comfortable in bed together, you have seen one another naked, you have established a sexual routine or understanding. But when you’re single and considering getting naked for the very first time with someone? My extra heft is something I just can’t get past.

I was in bed for the first time with a friend-turned-hookup a few weeks ago (turns out, in college, forgoing dates and clubbing doesn’t stop you getting laid: I met him playing pick-up basketball at the gym) and it was horrible. Not only did we have to work on establishing a rhythm together, but I was too self-conscious and uncomfortable to let loose. I refused to go on top, where I was certain my flab would flop around in his face, and I barely put any effort into being on the bottom, where I was afraid I was displaying a multitude of chins. Forget trying unconventional positions, he was just lucky I was out of my sweatpants.

Needless to say, the sex was the worst I have ever had, and I was so ashamed at my lackluster behavior. I often wonder how men deal with this. Do they get self-conscious in the sack if they pack on some pounds? Or does their pride in their dicks simply override any embarrassment of the gut? In my experience, women are much more likely to beat themselves up about a jiggly belly, cellulite-y thighs, or flabby arms. And even if a man does feel self-conscious about his weight, it’s not something that’s going to occur to him — or distract him — in the middle of sex. Perhaps it’s not dick pride so much as an ability to focus.

Whereas a woman’s body insecurities can give her the attention span of a gnat during sex. You look down at your belly and become convinced that your partner is trying to avoid looking at the rolls of fat, and suddenly all you want to do is close your legs and throw on a shirt. And don’t even get me started on Hollywood’s (or Madison Avenue’s) narrow-minded concept of “sexy.” All the Dove commercials in the world can’t make up for what that does to a woman’s body image.

In the end, I think it comes down to confidence. My problem is not that the extra flab is affecting my physical ability to perform in bed; rather, those couple dozen pounds have decreased my self esteem. A woman can be attractive at any weight if she radiates confidence. And body confidence means you’ll be able to focus on what’s really important during sex: a happy ending — for both of you.

I’m still trying to figure out my own personal route to body confidence. I know that happiness will have a lot to do with it — cliche as it sounds, that tends to shine through. And I also know that unsatisfying casual sex isn’t exactly a recipe for happiness. So I have vowed not to even consider having sex again until I feel better about myself — whether I lose the weight or not.

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  1. OMG, Ms. East Coast University – THANK YOU! I thought it was just me!! I’m in my 30s, and about 10 years ago I could have written this piece. No one understands! They think you can just get in and screw anyone (thing) no matter what. Thank you for reinforcing my ideas and letting me know I’m not crazy.

  2. i completely relate. but know what? i learned a way around out. turns out that sex is great exercise!

    i used to be incredibly frisky, sexual and kinky. i gained weight and all of a sudden, my sexing became boring. my boyfriend and i still had sex, but we stopped *having* sex. you know, those nights where you devour each other like animals? where your every limb twitches with ecstasy? it stopped. i was ashamed of my body. i’d cover myself up or be really embarassed to be naked. i suffered and my sex life suffered because of it.

    and then it hit me. if i’m insecure about my middle, i can wear a corset. it’s sexy as hell AND it covers up what i’m insecure about. next come my thighs. well, they have seen better days. so let me decorate them with thigh highs. if i felt ugly, i’d do my hair and makeup so that i FELT beautiful. well, having your hair and makeup done while wearing sexy corsets and thigh highs bring back all the confidence you need (plus it’ll excite your guy like never before so it’s a total win-win). it’s been about a month and i’m 10 pounds lighter and i KNOW its the sex.

    guys like shape. and if there’s one thing i’ve learned, many men are secret chubby chasers. same as women are pressured into being stick thin, men are pressured into showing attraction for only that. but most men do not mind the extra boobs and butt and once you realize that sex is about the two of you, not just yourself, it becomes much easier. and hey, if you’re really feeling that bad, you CAN cover it up and be smoking hot while doing so. the unwanted pounds will melt away with all of your rediscovery of sex and you’ll feel like goddess in the process.

  3. Listen. I once read an article that was talking about how the more a guy can accept different body types the more he actually appreciates women. Not just women who he will be having sex with but all women and their ideals. Sometimes it’s hard to understand, especially when you’re in college and guys are dorks, but if/when you are comfortable it’s about the guy too.

    My boyfriend is like 5’10” and weighs 140. I’m 5’8″ and weigh 150-160. Guess what? He told me I should gain weight. I think it’s nuts but he likes SHAPE. God bless him. Nothing obese, but shape he loves. He’s a real fan of Joan Holloway on Madmen. Let me tell you…

    It comes together.

  4. I use to have weight problems like that but if you start watching what you eat, cut soda outta your diet, exercise regularly you should be fine. i am 5’1” and weighted almost 200 lbs just by doin those three lil things i am down to 127 and still have my boobs, didn’t lose any of them. As for exerciseit don’thave to be nothing major, i recently had knee surgery and still losing weight doin what i can, thing i found that helps the most is walk…often and fast. Be confident with who you are, they don’t make you and if they wanna judge a book by it’s cover then they weren’t worth your time anyway, that was learned the hard way.

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