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Body image with your husband & sex life

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Old 06-09-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
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Just curious for you bigger ladies with hubbies and serious significant others - do you feel ashamed to let them see you naked? Certainly no one has really seen more of me in this weight range than my fiance, but I just don't feel sexy. I guess I get grossed out just looking at MY sag and cellulite and stretch marks that I can't imagine anyone else wanting to see that. As a result we stopped having sex probably last fall (from maybe a few attempts a month to nothing) - because I always attested his - ahem - sexual issues in the "up department" to be related to me not being visually appealing. It's been like that pretty much for the entirety of the last 4 years. From the emotional and practical points, we are made for each other, but it makes me really REALLY depressed to not feel like a normal couple. I really don't want to start married life off this way... but for whatever reason, he is fine not having sex and has little interest in it ever since we met even when I was a bit smaller. He's one of those people where if he doesn't want to talk about something, it's not getting talked about.... so it's hard to discuss. I know he's told me over and over he loves my body and that I SHOULD feel sexy, but I think there's something inside of me that just really can't process that because I hate my body SO much.

I don't know if losing the rest of this weight is going to make a difference, but it's a good first step. If not for him, but for me, to feel like I am more deserving of intimacy.

So I'm guess I'm hoping I am not alone!
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:37 AM   #2
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I have been married for 16 years so my husband has seen me at my best and worst. I have never liked my body, I have scares and stretch marks and really fat legs. Any intimacy is done in the dark. I am sure that my husband wishes I am more aggressive in bed but we have always had a fairly normal sex life. Meaning, at least once a week (okay, there have been times that it has gone as long as 3 weeks in between).
Anyway, my advice to you, as hard as it is, is to work through this issue before you are married. Maybe your SO just is not interested in sex (have not heard of many men who are not) but you also do not want to go into a marriage where your physical needs are not being met. You do not want to continually questions whether he finds you attractive or what you maybe lacking if your needs are not being met.
I wish you all the best. I talk openly with my daughter about having safe sex but my husband and I do not discuss it either.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:58 AM   #3
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You're not alone, but you (and everyone else who feels this way) do not have to do anything to deserve intimacy - just being human gives you that right.

If only people with perfect bodies were entitled to intimacy, that would leave most of us SOL.

I used to feel this way before I encountered the "fat acceptance" movement in the early 1990's - I was in my mid-20's.

You can say what you want about the movement (there are a lot of major flaws with the doctrine), but the main tenet that fat folk deserve a life just as much as any one else really changed my life.

I learned that fatness doesn't have to prevent you from being sexy, having romance and sex in your life (with partners who aren't repulsed or pitying), being active and exercising and even just existing [gasp of horror] in public... It really changed my life.

I gave myself permission to do everything that the fat didn't physically prevent me from doing.

Ironically, for me the hardest to grasp was being active in public. I've always loved swimming too much to avoid the water, but the walk to the water always felt like a deathmarch with all eyes (I assumed) on me. In the water I felt safe (which was really kind of odd, when you think about it. After all, pool water is transparent).

But the social taboo against fat folk exercising is rather extreme. I felt silly and stupid, and ugly, until I slowly realized no one gives a rat's patoot. I still feel self-conscious when I try something new, but overall I'm ok with taking all from life I can, including my right to be a sexual human being.

My husband is great, but he's not much for initiating romance. He leaves it to me to let him know when I'm in the mood, because he's overly afraid of hurting me (with fibro sometimes my skin hurts to the point that even a light back rub or any touch at all is painful). I point out that I can always say "sorry honey, but I'm not feeling well," but like most males he has a bit of rejection-phobia so he's afraid I'll say no, and also afraid I won't say no when I should (he's got a bit of a point. My sex-drive tends to be a little higher than his and sometimes not entirely comfortable sex is better than no sex).

Maybe I'd feel differently if hubby had a perfect body, but I kind of doubt it. I always have figured that my clothes don't hide much. Anyone who sees me in clothes, has to have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to look like naked (after all at my size, they know they're not getting Uma Thurman), so if a man finds me attractive IN clothes, he's going to find me attractive out of them.

When I met my husband I was near my highest weight. Our first time naked togetherness time was a little awkward, but we got over it (all I can say is practice, practice, practice).


One summer, we'd been out doing something together. Active enough that I was very warm, and went directly to the bedroom and started getting undressed. I don't know why I removed my clothing before my socks and tennis shoes, but hubby walked in on me and said "now that's a sexy look." And he meant it!

It's become a bit of a joke (I'll say "I could take off my clothes and put on my tennis shoes").

For us, silly is sexy. Which is a damned good thing, because we look silly naked. Silly, not horror-movie, scarred-for-life-just-at-a-glimpse ugly. Just silly. And silly can be extremely sexy.

Perfect isn't necessary. Don't wait for perfect to feel sexy, to feel entitled to everything that life can offer.

I strongly believe that weight loss as a way to love yourself works better than weight loss as punishment. I never could muster the self-loathing I thought was required to lose weight. I didn't start having lasting success with weight loss until I started seeing weight loss as a way to pamper my wonderful self, rather than a way to punish my horrible self.

You can be sexy now, even if your romantic style isn't silly. Silliness is just "my thing." I've even brought Crayola washable markers to the bedroom (so we could draw temporary tattoos on each other).

Sexy for most people really is 80% effort. Men AND women are visual creatures, but we're emotional as well. Love makes silly, weird, and even (by most standards) butt-ugly sexy. Ugly people have sex too (and most don't put bags over their heads to do it).

As unattractive as I've been and felt, I've never felt "scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel" ugly. I've felt at worse, "significantly below average." Not a 10, but not a 2 either.

That just meant I had to work at sexy a little harder than a "natural 10." I could bring my score up to a 5 or higher just with a little extra effort (before I met my husband, I thought negligee not tennis shoes, but hey whatever works).
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:55 AM   #4
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My fiance and I moved into our apartment the first week of January. This combined with me switching from the pill to a hormone implant in my arm for birth control resulted in me gaining about 15 pounds just since January... It's not like I was small in the first place but I can definitely see the extra weight.. But I feel like since then our sex life has just diminished.. I'm not sure if its just because we've moved in together or me gaining weight but to me its the weight.. He's a lot bigger then I am.. Almost 80 pounds heavier.. But he has made comments since the weight gain.. That I don't take care of myself anymore and even gone so far as to call me fat... These comments just swirl around in my head everyday... Then at night, when hes felt fine all day, he doesn't feel good when we get into bed.. So I've quit trying to be intimate, asking, or even trying to plan it as pathetic as that sounds. We are just intimate whenever he decides that he would like to. Which is usually about once every 2-3 weeks. I definitely feel like this is all because of my weight gain..I don't feel pretty at all, I lost the small amount of confidence I did have once the name calling started, and now I just don't know where to go from here. I feel like I have all the motivation in the world to start really losing the weight but its just not happening.. Thanks for posting this thread.. I needed to vent.. haha!
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:01 AM   #5
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He's a lot bigger then I am.. Almost 80 pounds heavier.. But he has made comments since the weight gain.. That I don't take care of myself anymore and even gone so far as to call me fat... These comments just swirl around in my head everyday... Then at night, when hes felt fine all day, he doesn't feel good when we get into bed.. So I've quit trying to be intimate, asking, or even trying to plan it as pathetic as that sounds. We are just intimate whenever he decides that he would like to. Which is usually about once every 2-3 weeks. I definitely feel like this is all because of my weight gain..I don't feel pretty at all, I lost the small amount of confidence I did have once the name calling started, and now I just don't know where to go from here. I feel like I have all the motivation in the world to start really losing the weight but its just not happening.. Thanks for posting this thread.. I needed to vent.. haha!
This is a red flag, not something to use as motivation. This displays a lack of love, consideration and respect. I would seriously consider moving on and away from him if this is what your future holds with him. I really hope that you will not let him destroy your self esteem. I have been there done that. You don't deserve it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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maybe i'm just built different, but i've always been comfortable in sexual situations (and i've never been less than 260lbs).

i agree with kaplods, if they find you sexy in clothes, they will find you sexy out of clothes. men in general, but especially the man who loves you, will not be seeking out your flaws when your clothes come off. they just don't. that's not where their brain is. to them, at that moment, you are perfect to them, exactly what they want.

i can't say much to married life, i've only been married 2 and a half weeks, but i've been with my husband for well over 2 years and he's always made it known to me that he's attracted to me. i've worn sexy things for him, we've had sex with the lights on, etc. confidence is a turn on. and it's a funny thing too. it's one of those rare "fake it til you make it" things.

if your significant other is talking down to you, then you need to have a serious discussion with him about that issue in particular because that's just not cool.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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Jolly green,
I was wondering, if its been like this for that long, has he been possibly suffering from kind of medical problem that would prevent frequent quality intimacy? That maybe he might be embarrassed or scared to address? You have already lost 40 which is a huge success, so if that didn't change anything I don't think its you. Be proud of that 40 lbs.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:22 AM   #8
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Wow - it's like I just read the story of my marriage. My husband doesn't initiate anything, has a difficult time in the up department, and usually sex is very unfulfilling for both of us. Even when I try to initiate something (which admittedly is rarely now) I usually get turned down. (I stopped trying to initiate because of all the rejection)
But I've come to realize it is because of my husband's weight. He is also overweight, and (TMI) diverting that much blood flow is just hard work for his body. Who wants to have sex if it's work and not fun, especially if there is rarley a happy ending?
However, because of his weight issues, I no longer have any feelings of inadequacy (sp?) around him. I love him and even think he's sexy at the weight he is - close to 375 lbs. So, if I can love him, he can love me and my body. Yes the fat is there, but it's things like the softness of my skin, and the natural curves I have that turn him on.
Think of it this way - your fiance proposed to you right? After he had seen you naked, right? It's not like you are keeping it a secret, or hiding in the closet - he know what you look like, and he's still around. He wants to spend the rest of his life with you. That says more than anything about how he feels for you.
At least this way, you know he loves you for you, and not what you look like. Imagine being skinny, and never knowing if he loved you or just your body! The problems in the up dept may be just him and his body - like ED, and instead of talking to you (although he should feel comfortable doing so) maybe he would rather talk to his doctor - it's something you could suggest anyways.
Another possibility, does he have a lot of magazines aound for self-gratification? That was a problem my DH had when we first got married. He was so used to being alone, that his body didn't know how to react to the different touch a woman provides. And the only way to help that, is to readjust his body. He made need to stop the self love and practice with you!
Anyways, we've been married for almost 5 years, and we have had sex less than 20 times in all that time. I have been thru most of the same questions you have asked yourself. If you want to, pm me. I know it can get pretty personal, but I am willing to help you work thru your feelings.
Keep strong - you beautiful, sexy woman!
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:32 AM   #9
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You know what....I don't think that our weight has as much to do with this as it seems.

I have been 220 pounds to 120 pounds and every weight between since being with my husband. I can tell you that I am just as self conscious naked when I'm thin. It isn't totally about what number is on the scale, I think it has more to do with self confidence than anything else.

Not just the feeling sexy part, but the BEING sexy part too. Confidence is sexy! And even if you are thinner - trying to hide, fidgeting, not enjoying yourself, and having a look of terror and sadness on your face while you're naked is NOT sexy.

I think no matter what size we are it can be scary to be vulnerable...naked, in a swimsuit or skimpy clothes, etc. If you aren't worried about a pound, you're worried about a hair or a mole or a scar. The list could go on and on. EVERY woman has flaws and most of us amplify them in our minds and think they are much worse than actuality.

To be perfectly honest....I fake it. I have never been at a point in my life where I was totally happy with my body and genuinely wanted to flaunt it. But I am also very aware of the fact that what really makes people notice our flaws is us pointing them out constantly ourselves. So I pretend I'm confident lol. The end result is the same. Everybody has a good time, and no one points, stares, or laughs at my jiggly jello belly. But if I get down on myself all the time and was always worrying about how horrible I look naked, I'd never want to have sex either.

Also, I agree with kaplods in that clothes are kindof a false sense of safety. No one is looking at me in my clothes thinking I'm hot, only to be shocked to find out I was hiding a ton of blubber under them. People already have a pretty good idea what you'd look like naked. Fully clothed can only hide your shape so much, so if a man was attracted to you to begin with then he absolutely wants to see you naked.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:43 AM   #10
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This is a red flag, not something to use as motivation. This displays a lack of love, consideration and respect. I would seriously consider moving on and away from him if this is what your future holds with him. I really hope that you will not let him destroy your self esteem. I have been there done that. You don't deserve it.
Cosign this. Please consider an entire future of this. You don't deserve to be treated less than at any time.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:18 PM   #11
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I hear you, JollyGreen. I met my guy when I was 17 at about 140lbs and now 12 yrs later where I am. I haven't felt sexy in a long a time and that effects my sex life. I don't like him to see me this way. He used to say a lot of things that bothered me and I think that's where I got most self-conscious (he weighs about 150). Things are better in that respect, but it didn't positively change my self-image.

With that said, I have learned I need to want to lose weight for me. Not him. Not for guys to drool over me (though I do miss that sometimes), just me. U have to do it for you. There could be a lot more issues then body image/size for the both of you. It might help to talk to someone--a relationship therapist or coach. It could do wonders. Good luck.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:39 PM   #12
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A couple thoughts, based on my own experiences, though I second a lot of what has been said already.

First: is it possible he has the issue, not you? And I mean that issue is his own body. Has he had his testosterone checked lately? Could he be in need of a little blue pill? I don't mean to sound flip, but I was in a long-term relationship where my man stopped showing any interest in intimacy, constantly turned down my advances, and no matter what I did it didn't matter (okay, I didn't lose weight, but I dyed my hair, bought sexy underwear, etc.). In the end, I really think that it had to do with his medical issue and his sex drive suffered because of it.

Secondly: Do not accept that you don't deserve intimacy. And certainly don't settle for not getting any sexual gratification! I'm not telling you to cheat, but if he can't get it up, he can still hold a vibrator, right? I'm not trying to be crude. It took me a long time to first use a vibrator, let alone do it with a partner, but it can be extremely hot and sexy (and now it's often my husband who wants to pull it out and use it on me!). If he loves you and cares for your happiness, hopefully he'd be willing to give this a try to bring you pleasure.

sacal: I have to admit, what you wrote sounds like a red flag to me, based on what I've gone through. But you know your own relationship best -- just be sure you're happy!
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:42 PM   #13
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One thing I have noticed with the men I've dated is that they feed off of confidence. I've always dated men that are in great physical condition so of course intimacy scared the crap out of me. I was afraid that before me he could have been with a girl who was 120 lbs her whole life.. Once I stopped worrying, everything was different.

I don't think anyone wants to have to reassure their significant other that they're sexy before they get intimate. I certainly wouldn't want to have to sit down with a guy and say "NO YOU'RE SEXY THE WAY YOU ARE!" to get him to take his shirt off. If they didn't think you were beautiful, they wouldn't be there in the first place
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:05 PM   #14
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No matter my size, I have never felt ashamed to be naked with someone I love. On the contrary--sex was and is so empowering and beautifying, for want of a better word, that when I was a lot younger, I craved it as much for the confidence boost as for the intimacy with my boyfriends. I wanted (and still want) the lights on so he could see all of me. At my biggest, I joked with my husband that I felt I looked better naked than I did with clothes on.

That doesn't mean I haven't been self-conscious of where I was wobblier or larger than I used to be, but in the heat of the moment, I am always able to push that aside and focus on his body, on what will make him melt, on giving myself completely to what we're doing rather than on my appearance. Sometimes I have had to start off feigning a little more confidence than I actually felt until I got in the mood myself, but it always pays off.

I can't urge you strongly enough to "fake it 'til you make it" with your confidence. That doesn't mean you need to do something totally out of character or risk a flat rejection, but it means feeling comfortable with romantic (not necessarily sexual) contact. Do you stiffen or shift position when he hugs you? Do you feel so uncomfortable with yourself that you don't put yourself in a position to be hugged? Getting comfortable with stuff that isn't overtly sexy like full-body hugs that let him feel your whole beautiful body against his, casual kisses that last a second longer than he might expect, wearing something that shows you off rather than concealing you can definitely lead to bigger things.

You should also have a talk with him about what's going on with his body. There are guys with low sex drives, but they're not common and they usually try to rectify the situation; is he truly okay with having no interest in sex, or is he just resigned to it? You and he need to understand what's going on and discover if it's a physical malady or a psychological reluctance because of his own body issues, something in his past, or what have you.

My first marriage was to a man with a far lower sex drive than mine. I shouldn't have married him, but I did it anyway because the dress had been bought and everyone had already gotten their invitations. I felt like a calf in the chute to the slaughter--no way out but forward to doom. It left me feeling loveless and ugly and forlorn and old at 25 and 130 pounds--worse than I'd ever felt about myself before at any weight. That marriage lasted for eight weeks before I escaped it and started to live again. At 40 and 230 pounds and after 15 years of marriage to a man who is as interested in me as I am in him, I felt like a goddess. (You can imagine how much better I feel at 41 and 191 pounds! )

I'm not saying you should get out, mind you--but you really, really owe it to yourself and to him to find out what's really motivating his lack of desire and his lack of concern over it. If you want a complete marriage with him, you both need to understand why your relationship is currently incomplete.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:08 PM   #15
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My own body has affected my views of intimacy so much that I have never been in a relationship before. I've never been kissed, never had a boyfriend. That's pretty sad considering I'm now 30 years old. It's certainly not because the opportunity wasn't there. It's more because I've never felt comfortable enough with my body to persue things in that department. I'm also afraid to give myself over to anyone emotionally for the fear that they'll eventually trade me in for something better.

Now I am steadily losing weight and I'm already seeing the jiggly skin and sagging belly and I'm even more disinclined towards being intimate with someone than I was before. It's like a losing battle.

So while I don't know exactly what you're going through with your husband I can empathise with your feelings.
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