I’ve lost weight and want more sex — but he doesn’t 

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I’ve been on a health kick and lost weight. I feel great – my confidence has been boosted and so has my sex drive. However, my husband and I are no longer on the same page when it comes to our love life. He’s happy to stay in the same old routine, but I’ve had a new lease of life. How can we bridge the gap?

Losing weight and getting fitter makes you feel better about yourself and it pays big dividends in the bedroom too. Feeling more confident about your body can make you less inhibited and there is a great deal of research to show that women who have higher levels of body satisfaction are also less likely to monitor, criticise or evaluate their bodies during sex. They also have more frequent sex, feel more desirable, experience greater sexual satisfaction and have fewer sexual difficulties.

You don’t say whether your husband is overweight, but people do tend to choose partners who have similar physiques to them, and weight changes that occur during a marriage also tend to be concordant. Unfortunately, the normal marital weight trajectory is up, not down. There is a psychological aspect to it too. When you pile on the pounds with a partner, it is very easy to get stuck in an unhelpful feedback loop where excusing your partner’s weight gain makes it easier to excuse your own. It is a comfortable conspiracy and one that is easy to fall into, because sharing food is so often at the heart of many relationships.

It would be great if your husband wanted to join you in dieting and exercising. If, as has happened with you, one partner makes a decision to change and the other partner doesn’t, it can create division. The person who is losing weight and working out starts to feel better about themselves, and comparatively, this can make their partner feel inadequate. In your case, it’s not just your body that has changed – you now want your sexual relationship to change too. From your husband’s perspective that may feel a little daunting, so try to be sensitive to that. The last thing you want is for him to feel self-conscious because negative body image has been linked to sexual avoidance and sexual dysfunction as well as lower self-esteem and assertiveness.

Getting your physical relationship back on track may mean reassuring your husband that you still love him and are still attracted to him. It could also be worth being clear about your motivations for changing yourself – presumably you are doing it for yourself, but sometimes people are not consciously aware of what is driving the changes they make to their appearance.

A study conducted in 2018 by Per-Arne Svensson at the University of Gothenburg found that out of nearly 1,000 obese patients in relationships who had undergone bariatric (weight loss) surgery, 90 had divorced or separated within four years of their surgery and after ten years 170 people in the surgery group had divorced. This shows what an impact extreme weight loss can have on a relationship. We are always evolving as people, and physical changes often occur in tandem with psychological changes, so to protect your relationship the most important thing is to keep a good flow of communication.


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