Reader Question: Help! My Husband Has a Big Belly

by | Feb 27, 2017 | Uncategorized | 212 comments

My husband is fat--and sex is hard. What to do when his belly gets in the way.
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How do you have sex with your husband if he has a big belly?

That may seem like a little out of the ordinary for a Reader Question of the Week, but it’s amazing how often I get it. Not to intentionally make a pun, but this is a big problem. When your husband is too fat, sex just often doesn’t work. Plus it’s hard to see him as attractive.

Reader Question: How do I have sex with my husband when he has a big belly?

One woman writes about her husband’s belly:

Reader Question

What should I do- my husband is something like over 40 pounds overweight but he thinks he is very athletic and hot and he does not see he has a very big belly. I have tried to focus to the things what I like about him but sometimes this thing just overwhelms me. And problem is also that he wants me to say that I like how he looks and that he is athletic and hot but I’m awful liar. What should I do? I love my husband but this thing is very difficult to me and I don’t know what should I do. I don’t understand how he can see himself so different than he is but also I know he has low self-esteem and I do want to honor and love him the way he is.

Another woman writes:

My husband is getting so fat that having sex is becoming almost impossible. Seriously, his stomach gets in the way! What am I supposed to do?

So, I’ve got to tell you, readers, usually when I’m tackling a problem I have in my head a series of things I’m going to suggest, and I can visualize the answer in my mind.

This one more or less has me stumped. I think that’s why I’ve never really answered it, in all my five years of doing reader questions. It’s not like I haven’t got the question; I get it all the time. But I look at it, and I just think, “Yeah, that’s really crappy,” and nothing really comes to me.

But I’ve got to say something, so let me give some rather technical sex advice, and then we’ll just get philosophical for a moment and deal with how you handle an overweight husband.

My Husband Has a Big Belly: So how do we have sex? Some thoughts on what sex positions work best, and how to address his weight issues.

Sex Positions that Work Better when Your Husband is Just Really Big

Even when I’m having sex there’s something I like doing even more, and that’s BREATHING. Breathing is a very good thing. I appreciate it a lot. And let’s face it: if your husband is too big, the missionary position just doesn’t work. First because you can’t breathe; and secondly because if his belly is too big, he likely won’t be able to achieve full penetration because his belly will get in the way.

So what do you do?

Think about it this way: If one has a big stomach, then the erect penis is likely going to rest right along the stomach. In some cases, the stomach could even protrude over the penis. So if sex is going to work, you’re going to have to do something that will angle the penis away from the stomach. That leaves standard missionary and often woman-from-behind not working particularly well.

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Try Woman on Top, Leaning Back Away from His Belly

I tend to like the woman-on-top positions if your husband is overly big, because it makes use of gravity. Not to be too unpleasant, but the fat can fall towards his sides rather than go straight up, and it will likely diminish quite a bit compared to when he’s on top or upright.

If you can then lean back towards his feet, this can work better, because the angle is quite different. I read too in some research I was doing (yes, I actually did some reading for this one) that one of the benefits is you can actually get some clitoral stimulation against his stomach, so that’s good, I guess.

Try Woman on Top, Facing His Feet.

This is a little bit different, but you climb on top and turn around. Again, the point is that he’s angled more down, and so there’s more room for you to move and get penetration.

Try You Lying Down While He Kneels

If he isn’t too big this can work better because if he stays kneeling upright during penetration, then he’s angled away from his stomach again.

The Reality of Excess Fat and Sex

Basically, too much fat is difficult when it comes to sex, and not just because things don’t work together as well. When men have bigger bellies, their testosterone levels also fall, which leads to a lower sex drive. And no matter what I can tell you about being attracted to the whole person rather than just his physical appearance, let’s get real. It’s just difficult to be attracted to your husband when he’s really overweight. It doesn’t mean you can’t have sex by focusing on the pleasure that he can give you (and he can give you pleasure!) and focusing on how much you love him, but that spark can definitely be gone.

But How Do You Get Your Husband to Lose Weight?

That’s a tough one, because you can’t control someone else and you can’t change anyone else’s behaviour. I do have some tips for helping a husband stay healthy here, and those are good. But I was talking to a woman recently who does all of those things and her husband still orders full sugar pop at restaurants and still buys his own Kraft Dinner and chips even though she never buys any of that.

 

I don’t think it’s okay to say to someone that you don’t find them attractive. I think that’s too much of an esteem killer and you can never take those words back.

But I do think it’s okay to say something like, “I want us to have so much fun together, and I enjoy sex with you, but your weight is really starting to impact our sex life. I don’t want that for us. Can we make some goals together?” And addressing the issue as being about health (not getting diabetes; not putting strain on your heart and your joints) is a better way to frame it than being about how you find him gross.

Honestly, though, maybe sex can be the incentive. I think a lot of men don’t realize they’re creeping up and up and up on the scale, but when their wife suddenly says, “we can’t do missionary anymore because I can’t breathe,” that can be the wake up call that they need.

I have a friend who promised her husband that if he lost 25 pounds she’d have sex everyday for a month. He lost the weight. She made it through most of the month before they both decided that it was okay to stop pushing things so much. So maybe that can be an incentive, if you can do it playfully. To manipulate, though, is never really a good idea. But if he’s wanting to lose weight anyway and recognizes the problem, and you promise something like that–that’s a different dynamic than if he denies there’s a problem or is really defensive about it.

But I really I don’t have any other brilliant thoughts.

I asked my now-married daughter what she thought last night as I was getting ready to write this, and she said, “just say to him, “you know what’s really sexy? Jogging! Jogging is sexy!” But somehow I think you need more than that, and quite frankly I don’t have it.

I’m hoping you all do.

What works to help a guy understand that he has to lose some weight? Let’s talk about it in the comments, because this is such a common problem, and there aren’t easy answers. 

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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212 Comments

  1. Becky

    My husband has a 9 month pregnant belly but to me he is the sexiest man I have ever seen! No his body isn’t perfect but neither is mine! What would happen if the male was asking this question?? Women would be defensive, mad, and say the husband should love them for who they are, not what they look like! I TRULY love every part of my overweight husbands body! I love having sex with my husband and we have absolutely no problems with sex positions!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m glad, Becky! That’s wonderful. And for the record, I really don’t think it’s ever okay to say to someone that you don’t think they’re attractive, and I do believe that we need to put effort in to appreciating his body. But I do also think that it can be very difficult in some marriages, and that’s just a fact. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to love him anyway, but I do understand the difficulty sometimes, especially when sex becomes difficult.

      Reply
      • Chloe

        I think your reply hit it right on the head. My husband has weight problems, struggles to lose and it all goes to his belly. It has affected his testosterone, and his health over all. He is now using a prescription testosterone and it is helping a lot. Several yrs ago, he lost all his excess weight. Occasionally I will remind him, Hey, remember how great such and such was when you had lost your weight. I never condemn him for it, i try to build his self-esteem up.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I’m glad the testosterone is helping! I hear that from so many women–they were so miserable for years and then they got the testosterone, and wished that they had seen the doctor earlier! But I agree–the ideal is if he would lose the weight and get the testosterone elevated naturally.

          Reply
          • Pam

            When a man becomes very overweight he can become estrogen dominant. This affects their moods and energy as well as their sex lives. Lifting weights and building muscle is a natural way to build testosterone.

    • Sassymom

      I feel the same. I know I’m not the super model body and have so many scars and stretch marks so I never put his weight down. He only got his belly because of medical issues. He had a great physique, then was in pain one day, he never complains, but was. The Dr said he had diverticulitis. He was hospitalized for a week, then a month later had surgery to remove part of his intestines and resecured. He wasn’t allowed to work out after for like a year. Then 5 months later found out he had a hernia, went in for that surgery and the doc found 4 not 1 once inside. Then another year of no working out. Then again, 6 months later another 2 hernias! The doc said he’d hope this time he wouldn’t get more, he put mesh all across his stomach! He hasn’t had another one yet, but his belly is big. He hates it and is overweight, but I still want him every day! We don’t do it everyday, but I wish! He’s my hero regardless of his belly. I love every part of him! He’s trying to lose weight and I’m not seriously overweight, but I ask to do things together anyway. I could still stand to lose more weight left from 4 babies!

      Reply
      • Kendra

        My husband has steadily gained weight in the not even 3 years we’ve been married but it’s like once he was diagnosed with diverticulitis, he ballooned. It’s making sex difficult. It’s all in his belly. His body doesnt turn me off, the Olympic like positions I have to do in order to enjoy sex anymore, is making sex a turn off altogether. I dont know what to say to him.

        Reply
        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          I’m so sorry, Kendra. That must be difficult.

          I must admit, though, I’m a little confused–diverticulitis doesn’t typically lead to weight gain from what I understand. It’s a digestive issue, not a metabolic one. In fact, the diet recommended to treat diverticulitis includes a great deal of high fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. If he’s eating in a way that is causing him to rapidly gain weight that likely (not in all cases, but most) means a low-fiber diet of processed foods, which will also make his diverticulitis WORSE.

          I wonder if it may be helpful to talk about treating his condition through diet so he won’t suffer with any of those symptoms anymore and reduce the chances of having to go for surgery later. Because being able to have sex is important, definitely. But it’s also really important to not have to go for major surgery for something that is relatively preventable. And I wonder if that approach may be easier for him to get on board with, since often that’s a wake up call.

          Reply
      • Maria

        I can’t exercise due to pain and disability. Diet is most of weight loss. If one or both of you is serious about losing weight, get a food scale, work out your TDEE, reduce it by 500 or 1000 calories a day depending on if you want to lose 1 or 2 lbs per week. Easy as that. I’m mid 30s, disabled, lost 50 lbs this way, have kept it off, and just keep tracking my calories. I do not eat at all the way I used to – lots more vegetables, less meat, almost no alcohol, healthy snacks, and most importantly consistently tracking calories. A year of dieting is 52 to 104 lbs lost.

        Reply
    • Ginger

      I agree about men being kind. But I have to say I was pregnant 9 months twice. That maybe 8 months of wearing a big belly. But my husband has been wearing his for 20 years now, and it just gets bigger. It’s getting to be like riding a turtle. It’s not about pleasure any more. It’s about how I am starting to get hip problems and back pain.

      Reply
      • Sheila Gregoire

        I agree, Ginger, and it really can be a serious problem. We present weight issues as if they’re only about looks and vanity. But they’re not. They’re also about health, and it does matter. It isn’t comfortable for you or healthy for you, either, having to accommodate someone of that girth. Something should be done!

        Reply
    • cindy

      I love having sex with my mans big belly however, positions are an issue. If you would not mind please share some positions that work for you. He has a 9 month pregnant belly and I have a very large butt. any advise is appreciated.

      Reply
      • MarriedandInlove

        Doggy. This is the best for men with a bigger belly. Ask him to lift his belly once you and he are joined together.

        Reply
    • Sam

      What position do you use?

      Reply
    • Fay

      Try being 115lbs to his 300, then you’ll start having some problems. I really appreciate the article. Love him dearly but really struggling.

      Reply
    • Jay

      I am a 50 something-year-old male who is morbidly obese. I am so fat that not only does my belly cover my penis the fat layers around my penis have basically made it in an Indy instead of an Outy like the belly button. Even on occasion when I can get erect it is like having a micropenis because of the fat. Yes I still can ehaculate but it’s more of a chore than a pleasure and almost impossible to do myself. As many of the replies have said I have lost all interest in sex yet my wife is a very sexual person end it bothers me every day. There’s a lot more I could say and share but for now I just wanted the people that follow your column to know there are many consequences of male morbid obesity Both physical and mental.

      Reply
      • Al Balodino

        I’m now 565 lbs and my enormous lower belly (pannus) is almost to my knees and probably weighs 60-70 pounds alone. Can’t even fit behind the steering wheelsAl of our vehicles any more, let alone any restaurant booths. My wife and I are extreme foodie gluttons, and she’s over 400lbs herself. When we attempt intercourse in any position, we spend 90% of our time trying to push, pull, or lift our endless heavy fat-rolls that are covering our genitalia, and our sex-life always seems to be drowning in an ocean-of-fat, and no matter which position we attempt, the in-the-way fat has always gotten there first! None of this is easy when the couple weighs over 1000 pounds, literally over half a ton.

        Reply
      • Debbie

        I appreciate your comment, Sir. I lost my husband 3 months ago and he had the same problem. Part of the reason he is gone, I seriously believe is because of all his extra weight complicating his health and life. He was overwhelmed by his obesity every day. We had a doctors appointment scheduled for the day after he passed, but unfortunately, we didn’t make it. He was also too sedentary. He had hip surgery 11 months before he died and the area always felt tight for him. I couldn’t get him to take a walk with me because of the discomfort, and now it’s too late.
        Please take care of yourself and lose the weight, Sir. Your wife will help you. My husband was only 68. I am, and will still be grieving for him for a very long time.

        Reply
    • Anne

      I do not find anything on the web about feeling like getting crushed to death under an 160 kg guy who struggles to come and needs 30 to 40 min.
      I literally fee my organs being harmed. He always complains I am not making enough sounds for him to come well I am struggling to breathe. My husband is not satisfied with sex less than everyday even if I can not handle it and feel like seriously sick. He will be offended at my slightest attempt to breathe so I have to watch never to make any sound or face that might look like I am in distress. He complains all day and if he cannot come he gets up and curses me for the rest of the day.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Anne, that’s abusive. If it’s hurting you, then that matters. You should not have to suffer through that. You can try other positions where it’s more comfortable for you, but also, you should matter during sex. Sex is not only for your husband. And it is okay for you to matter. If he’s getting upset at you for “doing” sex wrong so that he doesn’t get pleasure, even though not only do you NOT get pleasure but you’re actually hurt, that’s wrong. Sex should be mutual. It’s okay to say, “I will no longer have sex with you unless it’s for me, too. I’m more than willing ot make love, but it has to be mutual.” If that would put you in danger to say that, then please call an abuse hotline, because this is not okay.

        Reply
      • Amanda

        I can empathize with you but what do we do? I do not find my husband attractive at all. He knows it and this causes many more problems. He rarely ever gives me any compliments. I am 63 but people think I could be 55. I am 5’7 and 123 lbs. His big stomach and the fat around his face makes me feel sad. He is younger than me and wants sex every other day and gets really upset if I am not into it. Just looking at his belly is such a problem and talking about it goes nowhere. He says he Sorry for the venting but this is not something I can talk about with anyone.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Amanda, I’m sorry. I want to talk about this more in the new year, because it is a huge issue (pardon the pun). It really does affect us, and it’s difficult because we feel as if there’s nothing we can do. I’d like to address this on the first podcast this year.

          Reply
          • Mary

            Was there a podcast episode where how to handle this was addressed? I would love to take a listen as I am struggling with many others in this area. My husband is 450 pounds, over 200 pounds heavier then me, and sex is often painful both physically, emotionally and mentally because the attraction is not there and it’s just really hard to get into. Plus I have my own health issues that can make sex difficult. Yet, he still expects me to not only initiate it consistently but enjoy it as well even though I have communicated that it is uncomfortable and painful. I’ve been trying to get him to lose the weight for 6 years and although he may be occasionally working out it’s still a half hearted attempt and not at the level needed for someone his size to make any significant process. Yes counseling (both individual and together) is being worked on but what do I do in the in between? I literally dread physical intimacy but feel obligated to “figure it out” even if he isn’t holding up his end of the responsibility to help our situation.

      • Debbie

        That is his problem, dear lady. You shouldn’t have to live like that taking that from him. I am so sorry you are in this situation. God bless you and please take care of yourself!

        Reply
    • Cathy

      Maybe you think he’s sexy because he can still give you an orgasm. My husband had never given me an orgasm and won’t even try so I’m completely turned off by my husbands fat guy!

      Reply
      • Lyndie

        Hi Cathy, I can relate to that. They should still try and make the effort every time because trying to get there is still incredibly fun for a woman, especially when she gets close. Just because orgasm can be hard to achieve for some like you or I, the guy not trying or just giving up and selfishly just seeing to himself eventually every time is a total turn off and makes orgasm impossible, because we end up knowing they’ll be so quick it’s like why bother, why invest the time just to be disappointed. Sometimes you think you marry a gentlemen lover and unfortunately they forget to be one. Ugh.

        Reply
    • Diana K

      Wow, this article was so spot-on. My issue is I married a guy who was in great shape and I was super attracted to him, but I had an older brother growing up who was fat and constantly tormented me, with the result that I find fat men physically repulsive, as far as having sex. It does not mean I am not friendly with any guy just because he’s fat.

      Now my husband is fatter than my brother was as kids, and I can’t even be in the same bed with him – it just grosses me out, he has tits and is just yuck. I do have sex with him and pretend to be into it but just seeing him walk around the house when he doesn’t have a shirt on is nasty.

      I want my buff body hubby back! We’ve only been married 6 years. And I do weights, running, biking and I’m the same size 6 I was when we walked down the aisle.

      It’s so bad I feel like calling him names…but don’t, of course. There have also been young workers around our house this spring and I can’t help fantasizing about this one tall, lean, rough one, wondering what it would be like to have him on top of me.

      Reply
    • Lisa N Garnett

      Hi Becky,

      I appreciate everything you said. Different positions work and are enjoyable. My issue is I love missionary. I can look in his eyes and kiss him passionately. Yet with him having a rock hard 9 month belly it ends up one way, painful. My back takes such a beating. Usually I need a muscle relaxer later. Yes I could stick to what works for us. Screw that. I want what I want. I strapped a basketball to my belly and went to work. He now knows how I feel. I said I will find some help if he doesn’t at least try. I am too old not to be satisfied. I have sacrificed enough. I’m not perfect either and have said we can do I together. I am very busty and if they got in the way I would consider a reduction.

      Reply
  2. Mb

    To be honest, I’m a bit surprised this post doesn’t go both ways for either spouse being overweight. I feel like coming at the husband like this seems ok but if anyone were to say anything like this to the wife, that would be unacceptable! And I have an issue with that. As an overweight wife, if my husband would approach me like that I know I would feel offended and I am not your typical wife (I identify with the male side of most things in marriage books/advice). Do you have any advice (or maybe I’ve missed it in previous years) for a husband on dealing with his overweight wife?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I have written before about how we women should make an effort to look good for our spouses. And I’ve written a lot about how we women do need to be healthy! I do definitely think it goes both ways! But again, I don’t think it’s right for either spouse to ever say that they’re not attracted to their spouse. That’s just hurtful. But we do owe it to our spouses, I think, to stay in the best shape that we can, given our lifestyles and our other responsibilities (going to the gym 4 times a week, for instance, just isn’t feasible for many people, but cooking healthy meals is).

      Reply
      • Mb

        I totally agree. I think more of what I’m asking is do you have a post for husbands on how to approach it with their wives? I can’t see my husband succeeding well if he approached me the way this article suggests and I’d love a few more tips for positions for when she’s the one overweight.

        Maybe part of my hesitation with this post is that it feels like it’s fine for a wife to think (but never say) she’s not attracted to her husband because of his weight but if a husband were to think that about his wife, we’d be all over him to love her the way she is.

        I LOVE your blog and tell so many people about it all the time. I’m not worried if we have conflicting opinions a bit sometimes. Just figured I’d share my feelings on it. Thanks for everything you do! It has really helped my view on my marriage a lot!

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          That’s a good idea about a post about how to have sex if the weight issue is reversed (or even if it’s shared where both parties are heavily overweight!). I’ll try to get that up soon.

          I do think that you can’t change what you think; but you can change how you act. And if someone doesn’t find their spouse physically attractive anymore, I don’t think that’s something worth berating anyone about, male or female. I do think it’s incumbent on you, however, to focus on the things that you do love about your spouse and to keep the physical aspect of your relationship alive. But I don’t think you can force attraction. You can simply train yourself to focus on the positive, if that makes sense!

          Reply
          • Nicole

            Have you written this article yet? It could be really helpful to my boyfriend and I

        • John Grady

          As a husband reader of this blog, I thought the exact same thing concerning the consistency between the treatment of overweight spouses. Mb, you are absolutely correct in predicting character assassination if a husband expressed displeasure in an overweight wife.

          Sheila, thanks for taking the time and courage to write about difficult topics. You are an amazing help to husbands who need help communicating their needs to their wives.

          Reply
        • Melissa

          [Editor’s note: Slightly edited]

          My husband’s weight is a problem having sex not because of positions but because his weight is causing ED. He was never thin but had more energy in the past. Hes 44 years old, I’m 48.
          I finally spoke the truth in love. He’s working on it but its slow. In the meantime the doggy position with him standing works and we use toys when he doesn’t get there.
          Talk to him honestly but with love. There’s many 2ays to have an orgasm besides missionary. When we are in our 60s, 70s we are going to have to be creative, might as well start early. I love my husband and his sexiness is all that he is even his big belly! If yours is willing to play and have fun, its more about the spiritual connection, having intimacy, than physical.

          Reply
        • Lisa N Garnett

          Mb

          I would appreciate my husband coming at me. I’ve chosen men that want me to tone down my glamour. I admit not being dressed up even to go to the grocery store feels good. Yet they won’t open their mouth when you get to comfortable. I told my current husband we are not playing that game. I won’t even allow him to see me with my hair undone. I told him glamour first for me in this house. He thinks it’s ridiculous. I lost myself once and I won’t it happen again. In Beyonce’s words, I woke up like this… So please husband tell us if we start to slip. Nicely is preferred but if you need to get raw, do so…

          Reply
  3. Libl

    Men are often told that they need to make their wives their standard of beauty no matter her weight. My husband sometimes has to take meds that cause him to bloat and gain weight, but I don’t find him unattractive. I have a friend who is tiny and is married to a big man. He dresses very well, grooms himself well, is a man of respect and treats her like a queen. No problems there.

    I don’t think it is the weight that makes him unattractive. It’s the obvious lack of personal care. When my husband is ill and carelessly grabs another soda or tobacco product, I don’t find him attractive, regardless of his weight.

    But, yes, a beer gut interferes with sex.

    One thing you can do, if you are the chef of the house, is cut carbs out of his meals. If he wants you to cook, you serve healthier meals. If he wants the junk, he has to shop for them on his own time with his own weekly discretionary income. He has to use up his own time to cook them.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I totally agree with what you’re saying about personal care. I think all of us, regardless of our size, can put in effort and show that we respect ourselves and respect our spouse. And honestly, if wives have no problem with a heavier husband, this is WONDERFUL! I just get so many letters from wives really struggling with this, and I do get it.

      And totally agree with cooking properly, too. The problem is, as my friend pointed out, her husband still goes out and buys the crap and then cooks it himself. And that is his choice, and you can’t do anything about that.

      Reply
  4. Carrie

    About 18 months ago my husband had been carefully mentioning that he would appreciate me loosing weight. When he did, I would turn it around on him and point out that he wasn’t in very good shape either.
    I’m not sure what the exact tipping point was that made me decide to change, but I made that decision. I went on a very strict, Dr approved, diet. It was hard doing it by myself, especially since my husband continued to eat poorly.
    6 months later I had lost around 60 pounds and my husband decided to join me.
    Together we have lost over 200 pounds and our lives have improved more than I can explain.
    Sex now is awesome!
    Looking back I can say I agree with the woman on top idea. That’s pretty much all we could do at our heaviest. It’s hard, because the decision to make a change is so complicated! The best thing to do is help your spouse know that you love him completely and do your best to set a good example with eating well and exercising.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wow, Carrie, thanks for sharing your story! 200 pounds together! That’s awesome. It can be done–but only when we decide that we have to do it.

      Reply
    • OlderMarried

      That is awesome, losing together, for no matter what reason. That may give you years together, even decades. Kudos to both of you guys.

      Reply
    • TM

      Lightbulb moment!

      It’s soooo
      hot that want to look better for each other.

      That’s motivation.

      Reply
    • Lisa Manske

      Congrats Carrie!

      Reply
    • Becca

      I did the same thing. Got down to 145. Was running 5 miles. He continued to gain, ate what i cooked and fast food. ate his way to a size 40 pants. He was a sex every 6 to 8 weeks before…now he isnt into it at all. I love sex, have a higher drive than him….but hes too heavy. I cant breath and it hurts my hips. And…he looks so feminine to me. im not into it. Ive never faked orgasms until now…just so he will finish because hes breathing like he is going to have a heart attack. weve been together 23 years. My eye is wandering for the first time. I wish he would get himself healthy and together. He refuses. says why would i go to the gym and make myself sore. I feel like im going to end up chained to an unhealthy, heart diseased diabetic guy. hes only 47.

      Reply
      • AliC

        My hubby is 40 yrs old, an amazing father and husband. He’s a size 5x shirt, and size 60 pants. We don’t have sex because he has no more drive. He’s got a bipap with oxygen, he gets winded easily and wants to sleep a lot. We think he may also be suffering from depression. He is irritable, and does a lot of negative self talk We hope to get help for him. I really do love him, and our 3 kids love him to pieces. I am praying for change

        Reply
      • Nadine

        Thank you so much for your comment. It has taken me so long to even admit my feelings enough to do a Google search. You comment reflects so much of my own feelings and it’s nice to know that I am not alone.

        I have watched my husband’s weight increase pretty steadily over the last 15 or so years. He has gone from a XL to a 5X shirt and I don’t even know the pants size. As the weight increases, his sex drive decreases. Sex has gotten more infrequent and much less pleasurable. Often I just pray to just get through it.

        During this same time, I have seen the health problems increase. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and my goodness, the snoring! The weight makes it hard to enjoy travel because he is uncomfortable in plane seats and gets tired from walking too much.

        Though I don’t want to hurt his feelings, I find myself bouncing between distant and resentful. Sometimes I don’t even want to be close for fear it will lead to another disappointing encounter. I have tried to communicate about it but face denial avoidance. I have tried and want to be a loving and accepting spouse but I sincerely feel that each spouse owes their partner at least an effort to create a satisfying sexual partnership. Otherwise we are just business partners or coparents.

        At this point, I fear for his health and our future. We have been married for almost 21 years. This is not the only problem we are facing but it seems to make the other issues worse.

        Thanks for a safe space to share.

        Reply
  5. Belle

    Seriously, what is with men being so delusional? I mean, as women, we are so hard on ourselves, and mostly when there is no need to be, while men are completely the opposite?

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Belle, it’s an interesting psychological phenomenon.

      Generally, if you take a random sample of men and ask them to rate their athletic ability or fitness level, they will over-rate themselves. Women will do the opposite. Generally, women will under-rate themselves.

      If you take a random sample of men and observe them interacting with attractive women and then survey them, the men will state that the women were flirting with them and/or were attracted to them. The women will state they were just being friendly and were NOT flirting and definitely NOT attracted to the men.

      In the opposite scenario, women tend to think flirting men are just being friendly.

      This isn’t true across the board, of course, but it’s a trend that shows up repeatedly in social experiments. Men tend to overestimate their sex appeal and whether or not a woman is interested. Women tend to underestimate those same things.

      I’ve had a few friends over the years whose husbands complained about their wives carrying an extra 10-20 lbs while they themselves were carrying a good 40-50 lbs extra. You can’t help but wonder about that.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That’s really interesting, Lisa! And now that you mention it, I can totally relate to all of those things. Definitely true!

        Reply
    • Dina

      This is very true!

      Reply
    • Tara

      Nadine,

      You literally wrote my exact life. I’ve been trying so much positive reinforcement, tell him how handsome he is, show him pictures of how absolutely hot he was when he was thin (I’d take thinner or anything that leads in the right direction). I have the higher libido, also, and I feel rejected and emotionally scared by his lack of desire. He had a back surgery go horribly wrong. I went almost six years, you read that correctly, six years without sex. Over the past six months we are slowly getting the intimacy back, but it’s been an uphill battle. We’ve also been married 21 years, almost 22. I’m very concerned for his health and for our future. I’m so sorry you’re in the same place as I am. But it feels good to not be alone. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Reply
  6. Trey

    Sheila,
    I’ve been a long time reader of your work and you have really helped me to see the female side of many issues. I was excited to read this article when I saw the title but was confused after reading. Many articles have been written about weight gain by the wife and most would say “you should love her no matter how much weight she puts on”, “look at the inside person, not the outside”, and “your wife should be your standard of beauty”. Heaven forbid if a man were to say “It’s just difficult to be attracted to your wife when she’s really overweight” or “I don’t find my wife attractive after she has gained 40 pounds”.
    If a husband were to try and use your points above, I’m certain the reaction from his wife and other female readers would be rather hostile to say the least.
    I believe that Love is a decision. I can Love my wife no matter her size because I have made the decision to do that. But what we find attractive is something that is innate within us. The longer I live the more I believe that attractiveness has less to do with appearance and more to do with attitude. Even the most attractive person in the world could be unattractive if they are hard to live with.
    Should we all be concerned about our size and weight? Sure. There are definite health benefits for not being over weight. If our spouse were to use some of your points above and approach us about our weight, should we listen and try to make some changes? Sure.
    I’m just afraid that two standards are being used and it’s really not fair.
    Thanks for listening to my rant.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Trey, I’m really sorry you felt that way, and I didn’t mean to say anything about a double standard. I’ve actually written quite a few posts before about how we need to appreciate our husband’s body no matter what, and that’s part of 31 Days to Great Sex, but I’m trying to say something different today and really deal with the practical problems that come with excess weight. And it really can be a problem.

      I also said that you should be attracted to him anyway, and you should concentrate on the things that you love about him. But I’m just acknowledging that it’s hard, just like I’ve acknowledged for men that it’s hard when their wives are very big, and I’ve even raised here on the blog the thought that we need to talk about weight differently because we can’t just say “it shouldn’t matter no matter what”. We need to be fair to our spouse and gracious to our spouse, and taking care of ourselves is one way to do that.

      I’m sorry if it came across as one-sided; I didn’t mean it to be, I just felt that I had always given the other side (appreciate him no matter what!) and I wanted to be more practical today simply because of the huge volume of emails I get about this topic. I’ve never dealt with it well before because it’s just a hard thing to deal with well, as these comments show. No matter what you say, even if you try to be fair, you end up offending people, and I really wasn’t intending to do that. I was just trying to be realistic.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        One other thing–I think what’s missing in some of the pushback I’m getting is that being overweight is not healthy. It’s really quite dangerous. And I think wives are right and good to be worried about their husband’s health. Diabetes is a serious disease. Heart disease is serious. We should be trying to prevent this.

        And saying, “You should just love him no matter what the size” I’m not sure is totally true. I think the same about women, which is why I’ve written so much on health this year and how we owe it to everyone to stop eating improperly and to start getting control of our health (I spent a whole week on that in November, for instance). It’s fine to say “It doesn’t bother me that my husband is 100 pounds overweight”, and I’m glad it doesn’t bother someone in the bedroom, for instance, but it should bother us in general, because it just isn’t healthy.

        Reply
        • Mije

          These are excellent points. We are also given a biblical mandate to take care of our bodies, something the “love no matter what” crowd seems to ignore. My wife is way overweight and she has heart issues in her family history. Nothing I’ve tried has gotten her to take her health seriously. I agree that we should want to be our best for our spouse and it hurts when your spouse doesn’t care enough to keep up themselves. Whenever I get chastised for feeling this way I ask “Would it be OK if your spouse stopped showering and brushing their teeth?” Not exactly apples to apples but the general point stands.

          Reply
        • unmowngrass

          Being overweight does not by itself cause bad health, it’s poor diet and lack of exercise that causes bad health, and that often also causes people to be overweight (or sometimes underweight). A subtle difference, but it’s important. Of course some people eat well and exercise well and are just physically bigger, or gain weight because of medication or a medical condition, which is also important to note. If any individual’s circumstances are not because of that, though, then yes, those that love them should be concerned.

          Reply
    • Chella

      I’m a female who works in the health care field and my entire life is about a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating, mental and spiritual wellness, maintaining an active lifestyle, etc. I don’t have a perfect magazine body nor do I expect my partner to (esp because we’re both in our late 40s), but I AM within a very healthy weight and body-fat level. And I ABSOLUTELY agree with what you’re saying.

      I just don’t understand at all that we are (man or woman) just supposed to somehow FORCE ourselves to be attracted to someone when we’re just not, and I think it’s just wrong that men are unfairly and unequally shamed into feeling like a bad person when they lose physical attraction when/if their partner gains weight. I mean, yeah, loving someone no matter what is a really different thing from having the chemicals roar through you that say “I want to have sex with this person”. It’s one thing if a man expects something different in his wife than he expects out of himself (double standards…a man can be 40 pounds overweight and expects a supermodel in his girlfriend or wife…not cool), but if a man OR woman is simply losing attraction based on weight gain in their partner, how are we solving ANYTHING by making that person wrong/bad? Any more than we’re solving anything by fat shaming the other person?

      My S.O. of several years has a different view of his weight than I do…he easily gets pudgy, will get a “beer gut” (not from beer but just gorging himself) and major flabby muffin top exploding out over his pants. I just have zero sexual desire for him when he’s at one of these higher levels of weight, and he balloons up and down constantly. I found this website because I’m trying to figure out what to do about this.

      Yeah, I love him dearly. But I don’t have any desire at all to be intimate with him when he explodes in weight like this. But there’s no way for me to bring it up, because doing that is “fat shaming”. Those of us who actively work to stay healthy and lean are now being made the bad-guys for wanting that in our partners as well. So we’re both stuck. Neither one of us is getting sex, and there’s a huge elephant in the room that we can’t talk about because it’s taboo.

      Reply
      • Bev

        Hey Chella
        I totally agree! As a wife I almost feel like it’s sinful that I find my Husband unattractive because of this new weight. I know for a fact that if I was too put on weight, my Husband would not hesitate to tell me to loose it. It’s like as women we should throw the desirability factor out the window!

        I have personally said to my Hubby that I would like him to loose his belly fat. I’m a petite gal and my hubby is avergage size, but his belly has grown over the years. It does get in the way of us having sex. I also feel like it communicates to me that he doesn’t care about our marriage. I take care of myself really well, but he doesn’t which is making me unhappy…

        Reply
      • Will

        Please don’t marry your SO. You clearly do not love home. If your desire can fluctuate with his weight, you need to let him go. Let him have a woman who loves him.

        Reply
  7. Jeana

    I am so disappointed in this post. My husband is more than 150 pounds overweight and it has NEVER been an issue in the bedroom . I thought the point of Christianity was to look at the person as a whole, not as a number on the scale? How would these same women feel if their husbands all of a sudden didn’t find them attractive because of a big belly, or arm jiggle, or stretch marks from babies? Such a superficial question to be asked on a CHRISTIAN site! I have faithfully followed this blog for years but I’m seriously questioning that decision right now.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Jeana,

      I’m sorry for you’re disappointed. Just please note, though, that I NEVER said it was okay to tell your husband that you’re not attracted to him. And you should see how many questions I get about this! I just think it’s a hard issue. I’ve written a whole bunch of posts on how to appreciate your husband’s body no matter what, and that’s even part of 31 Days to Great Sex. But the simple fact is that anatomy can make sex difficult for many women when there is a big weight discrepancy, and I think that is a fair thing to talk about.

      I never said to reject him, or to not have sex with him. I simply said that there are some helpful ways of dealing with it, and some not so helpful and wrong, and let’s try the helpful ways.

      I’m really glad that it’s never been an issue in your marriage. I really am, and that’s wonderful! But it is an issue in many other marriages, and I’ve counselled men the same way I’m counselling women today, too.

      Reply
    • Cara

      Jeanna-Sheila never encouraged anything that is not living or kind.
      She was mostly dealing with the practical side of how to have sex when the husbands weight is physically IN THE WAY!!!
      That’s good that sex is not a problem for you even though your husband is way beyond morbidly obese. However, if he becomes disabled or passes away prematurely because of his physical health…

      Reply
    • Lisa

      This is the issue– If there is a problem, especially regarding sex, can a spouse open the discussion? The answer needs to be yes.

      The fact that your husband’s extra 150 lbs doesn’t affect your sexual intimacy is great. But it is affecting many other wives. And they should be able to open the discussion.

      If there’s a husband that doesn’t want to work and his wife is okay earning all the money, that’s great. But that doesn’t mean that every couple just has to accept that arrangement if the husband doesn’t feel like working.

      Or any other issue that is a non-issue for some couples. I have a friend that actually is happy that her husband plays video games for 3 hours every night. It gives her a chance to pursue her own hobbies. I was very unhappy early in our marriage when my husband chose to spend his evening on video games. I needed to be able to talk about. We found a solution that works for us.

      Reply
      • Becca

        Agreed. My husband is a huge person. his weight gain and refusal to address it means he snores like a freight train, physically when he moves around ive learned to watch out. i had back surgery and struggle with stability and he can bump me into things. His clothes fit terrible and he doesnt want to buy larger. his blood pressure is high and so us his cholesteral. im angry that he doesnt seem to value his life or our sex life. its exhausting. Like he is a teenager not an adult…eating whatever he wants and refusing to take care of himself. I love him…but does he love me enough to take care of himself?

        Reply
    • Amber

      I wish some of you would find less things to be offended about. Some of us are really struggling! My husband is 70 pounds over weight, all in his belly. He can’t even perform. Literally! He gets too tired and things go south very quickly. I am at a cross roads. Not because my husband is fat and I want good sex (seriously, I could do without it) but because of WHY he is fat. He is not the man I married! I married a man who liked building stuff, fixing stuff, doing stuff your traditional man would do. These are the things that attracted me to him. He can’t do any of that anymore. He comes home from work and lies on the couch and over eats and I hate him for it. I hate that he has decided to take control of our life by giving into unhealthy addictions like overeating, never exercising and tv and video games. How I am suppose to love someone unconditionally when they selfishly hijacked our future? I bet THAT is where most women’s concerns are over their husbands tubby belly. Most often they have changed and are taking us on a ride we never wanted to be on.

      Reply
      • Denise Foster

        Amber, I soo appreciate your comment! From wishing that some people would stop being so offended to the fact that you are upset about why your husband is overweight much more so than the fact that he is!
        I find this to be a VERY big issue in marriage!! My hubby(who is a wonderful man for the most part) topped out so far at 220 lbs overweight- 460 lbs. I am no longer attracted to him. I used to be angry (but am now just depressed) and don’t think now after 23 years that a total weight loss(however unlikely that is would result in renewed attraction. I just don’t see how laziness and overeating is worth destroying your marriage!!
        I can’t see any way around the fact that I have VERY tough choices left in my marriage. Give up my life for his after his poor choices or divorce him so that I can have a life and partner(yes, I know this is unbiblical!) but holy cow, what do you do??

        Reply
    • SadWife

      I’m glad that sex has never been an issue in your relationship but it is for a lot of other people. This is something that I am really struggling with because I feel so unfulfilled sexually most times. There are times that we are having sex and I feel our stomach rubbing together and I am turned off instantly but have to keep going for his sake. Other things are starting to really bother me too. Like he makes cookies almost every night and eats them very late into the night. Most times that I see him cooking and baking now, I am instantly disgusted. The way he hobbled up his food embarrassed me when we are in public. I’ve tried to sweetly suggest to stop or eat healthier and he is always very defensive and shuts me down.

      I love my husband very much and want to get past this so we can be closer again.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m sorry, SadWife. I do want to write more about this soon, because it is a real issue!

        Reply
    • pam

      I don’t understand at all when people say obesity is a superficial thing to discuss. I think it is unfair of the overweight spouse to put the family in the position of having to overlook and accommodate. First there is something in between perfect model and obese. There are reasonable ranges. And the health problems are not superficial. They take a lot of time with dr. appts and hospitalizations and procedures and expensive medicines for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The person is at higher risk for ALL kinds of cancer. Activities are limited because an obese person cannot keep up. Depression can become an issue and not just because of how the person feels but because all that weight disrupts hormones. Sleep is a problem which contributes to depression. Living with preventable problems can be frustrating and make the healthy spouse resentful. Why isn’t that taken into consideration? People always go to the extremes because they are so defensive. A man who expects his wife’s body to be back to perfect 3 weeks after giving birth needs an adjustment. But a man who is frustrated with his wife 9 years after she gave birth and she is still carrying an extra 50 pounds is justifiably frustrates. And men really should step it up. They do not have the monthly hormone surges, they don’t give birth and they have testosterone in their side. Their job as a man is to protect. They SHOULD take that seriously and at least be in good enough shape that they could run to help their wife if she needed him. This is not unChristian to discuss in a respectful way. But man people get so defensive.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Thank you, Pam.

        Reply
  8. Mel

    Thanks for this. I love how you don’t shy away from awkward things and you have some really practical and helpful tips. We don’t currently have this problem but you are right, we owe it to ourselves and our spouse to try to be healthy and to make conscious choices to keep the weight within a range that is satisfying for both people. Thanks for this!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Mel!

      Reply
  9. Elizabeth

    I think this is a great post and it’s not a double standard. Husbands may not know how to tactfully say they’re not attracted to us if we gain weight but I bet it’s in their mind.

    When we got married my husband was very overweight. His testosterone wasn’t great and many positions were difficult. He’s since lost 40 pounds and it’s made a huge difference. Your tips crack me up but they’re spot on.

    Reply
  10. Mandy

    It was refreshing to read a post from this side of things! Honest and real. Totally not a “love” issue because love brings attraction and that’s good. But it opened my eyes to see that this is not just a female issue but our men need to be taking care of themselves too! He’s the only man I’m allowed to (and the only one I want to) look at sexually and I’m the only women he can look at that way and I want to be at my best and I hope he does too! It makes me feel “worth it” and pursued when my man wants to take care of himself. Thanks for tackling a touchy issue Sheila!!

    Reply
  11. Tbg

    Interesting comments. When I read this I was disappointed in the readers who wrote the questions, but I was NOT disappointed in Shelia’s response.

    I felt the same way many of you do, that if you deeply loved someone you would love every part of their body. My husband is not obese, but neither is he Mr. super fit, and he does have a belly, albeit, not so large to impact sex or life at all. But I want him all the time and want to put my hands all over his sexy body LOL

    But I think Shelia did say they should focus on their love for hubby and on his whole person. But she acknowledged that it was hard for them to do that, it they would not have written.

    So, she went on to give technical advice for any logistic problem and gave tips for trying to improve long term health and to kindly express their preferences and desires.

    So I really think the frustration and disappointment may really be with the letter writers , not Shelia’s response and we may be projecting our overall feelings when we read the post onto the answer, instead of, the question

    Reply
  12. Ashley

    I see this post as addressing a legitimate issue. I know a few commenters said if the male/female roles were reversed there would be a lot of outrage. But if I was 100 lbs overweight and in denial that there was a problem, my husband would be right in asking for advice.

    As it is, hubby and I are both somewhat overweight, and I feel like even the weight we are carrying affects our sex life. Sex is hard, physical work! And you can’t go as long without leg cramps or something. And when you’re out of shape just reading together in bed can seem like a better idea. Just being honest.

    Here’s an idea for either spouse. Why not join a gym and see if your spouse will go with you? I did that a couple weeks ago. I wanted hubby to go so I would have moral support, and eventually I got him to join too! Now we also have a shared hobby (If that even qualifies) and more to talk about. Some gyms will let a person take a guest an unlimited number of times too, so that’s nice for spouces who want to workout together.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That totally counts as a hobby, Ashley! That’s wonderful. And thanks for your encouragement.

      Reply
  13. Michelle

    I’m actually very glad to read this post, which seems to differ from the vast majority of opinions posted here.

    First, Sheila’s post here is clearly about things that can be done if weight is a legitimate issue. She also stated that love/attraction/marriage is about so much more than the physical, and directed to posts with similar topics. Second, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there several posts (directed at both husbands and wives) that specifically address the issue of finding the spouse attractive? It isn’t okay to berate your spouse’s appearance, but at a certain point, it’s very helpful to have technical tips and tricks for this issue.

    That being said, this is my experience here:
    -I had to get an emergency hysterectomy after being married for only 3 months, and in the year following, I gained nearly 50 pounds. I knew my husband was becoming less physically attracted to me (and yes, he did actually tell me this), but there was little I could do while sick. So after getting the doctor’s clearance, I changed my diet to Paleo and started exercising again. Have I lost all the weight? No. But my husband has told me that the fact that I’m trying is attractive to him. Now, my weight was not interfering with our “ability,” it was merely attraction (and obviously health), but that brings me to my next point…
    -During the time when I was home-bound, my husband also stopped going to the gym, and he had to do much of the cooking, so we ate rather poorly, and he gained weight as well. This WAS problematic. And although certain things were no longer feasible, it just eroded his self esteem, rather than motivating him to change it (and just to be clear — I NEVER told him I didn’t find him attractive, I do, but even if I didn’t, I never would have said that). So we made it a competition, and scaled it to our abilities. This might be difficult if one spouse is in much better shape than the other, but the point here is support. If they are open to it, I would suggest doing something with them. Yes, you might not need to eat that kale, but I’m sure they would appreciate it if you did it as a team, so that indeed, it doesn’t seem like a double-standard.

    Also… There are *ahem* certain items that can be found on Amazon (and elsewhere, I’m sure) that are made for this type of assistance. You can find furniture and toys/tools, among other things.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Michelle! And yes, some furniture can really help with this, too, I believe.

      I love the idea of making it a competition.

      And let me totally back you up on that kale thing, and take it a bit further–I have a very fast metabolism. I don’t gain weight easily. My husband just has different genes. If I want him to eat healthily, it is totally unfair if I eat a cookie in front of him, just because my body can handle it. I think if you want your spouse to change their exercise and eating habits, we totally need to do it with them. If one person needs to lose weight and the other doesn’t, you still should both be changing your diet to be healthy together. I think that gives much more of a sense of “we’re in this together” rather than “this is your problem you have to take care of.” And it’s just plain nicer. 🙂

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Speaking of “furniture”, another reader just emailed me this tip to post: “I have dealt with this problem and we successfully came up with a solution. I put a throw pillow under my hips and it works well. It tilts my pelvis up so he is more in alignment. It does get a little difficult for me to breathe if he lowers his body down, but we do successfully have enjoyable sex.”

        Reply
  14. JR

    I’ve got some personal experience with this so I’ll just share that, because Sheila said she was looking for some help on addressing this issue.

    My husband is diabetic and, as a result of that (diabetes makes it very hard to lose weight for a lot of people) and poor food/exercise choices in the past, is a fair bit over a healthy weight. This doesn’t affect my level of attraction toward him, desire for him, or our sex life. As others have pointed out, attraction and love for someone is a choice more than anything, and we can choose to love our spouses and see the attractive qualities about them even if they’re overweight. However, on a practical level, weight and other health issues can affect a sex life.

    When it comes to trying to encourage a husband to be healthier (exercise more, eat better, lose weight) there is only so much a wife can do. I’ve learned this the hard way. If it gets to the point where the wife is nagging she’s only going to make things worse (been there, done that). My best advice? 1) Set a good example. Eat well, take care of yourself, make it obvious that you’re making your health a priority. 2) Help your husband avoid temptation when it comes to food. Don’t buy stuff he shouldn’t eat, don’t make stuff that’s not going to help him, learn how to cook food that will benefit him. (In my case that’s as sugar-free and low-carb as possible.) 3) Realize that you are NOT his mother and you cannot change him; he will only change if he wants to. I can’t control what my husband chooses to buy and eat and that’s true for every spouse. If he wants to eat junk food, not much you do or say is going to stop that. It’s not your place to scold, put him down, or criticize. You *can* and do express concern but beyond that is not your place, IMO. 4) Pray for him. God can give him the ability, desire and attitude to want to change, and the will to make changes, and your prayers can make more of a difference than pretty much anything else you can do.

    So, how do you help your husband lose weight/get healthy? Be an encourager, be a supporter, be a good example, be a prayer warrior.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks for that! Totally agree. We can’t nag anyone into losing weight, and it’s really not our place. It’s not recognizing their boundaries, and not being respectful. But I think it’s also not loving to ignore it while a spouse gets increasingly unhealthy. So this is a great balance!

      Reply
  15. Big Daddy

    Ok, ladies my wife shared this with me and there are a lot of interesting comments. I won’t touch on the many things that have been covered already as there is no need for repetition. As I am sure you can tell by my nickname, I’m a big guy. When my wife and I got married it was my 260ish to her 107lbs. Marriage, happiness and a baby added about 50lbs over the years. It may not be the “christian” thing to do or say here but if my wife came to me with this in this manner my first reaction would be to find the gal that gave me attention in the supermarket, gas station, etc. You want your man to cheat, just say any of the things I have seen here! Going to him with worries of his health or something of that nature is legitimate, but making him beg for your attention because you no longer find him attractive…that’s a sure receipt for infidelity. Ladies, get over yourself! Do you really think we as men don’t have the same feelings you do? Are you still a size 0? As men our feelings are often ignored and we are expected to just roll with it. Well, we do have feelings and once you damage our fragile ego, many bad things can happen to the relationship. Some of those things can be irreparable if it goes on long enough. Seriously, what would happen if your husband had to have an amputation, was scared from an accident, or had a medical condition that effected his looks? Would you feel the same? As a side note, the size difference makes zero difference in the marriage bed if either of you know what you are doing. It’s not OK for either of you to do or say these things. If you feel this way then get yourself to counseling and take a deep look at yourself. If you really feel this way then it’s you that’s flawed because you married for all the wrong reasons. Looks change over time, hearts should not.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I understand that, Big Daddy, but I’m just wondering what I said that was so bad? I suggested going to him and saying that his weight was making sex physically difficult–which is what we were talking about. I do think that’s a valid issue. I never said to make it about attractiveness–in fact, I said distinctly to NOT make it about attractiveness. But to say that “sex is becoming really difficult because of your size” is simply the truth, and it is an issue, just as health is an issue.

      I mean, if we couldn’t have sex without me feeling suffocated or without having to distort the positions to make it physically possible, is that not an issue? I think it is, and if a man reacts to that by lusting after other women, then perhaps the problem is not with her?

      And obviously we would not feel the same about an amputation or about an accident. But there is a difference between something that is beyond one’s control and something that is within one’s control. And I do think that dealing with these things is important in a marriage, though, as I said, it isn’t okay to tell someone you are no longer attracted to them.

      Reply
      • Big Daddy

        My comment was a general response to all the comments, and not directed at you alone. What I feel like is missing here is HUGE as Trump would say. Let’s take it point by point so it is clear what I am saying. 1) You can’t distort sexual positions. There is no “Thou shalt only partake in missionary position” commandment! There are more positions than I can even count. When my wife was pregnant we had to find what worked. Are you telling me that the same can’t be done for a husband? I have no idea why a woman or man couldn’t change positions to make things more enjoyable for both parties. 2) We aren’t talking about a man deciding to go out and lust. We are talking about a wounded man who isn’t getting the attention, love or intimacy he deserves at home from his wife for the sole reason that she doesn’t find him attractive anymore due to his weight. Over a period of time those cuts become very very deep and a man will let his mind wander into places it shouldn’t go based on human nature. We all need to feel loved, wanted and appreciated as a person. 3) No it isn’t obvious that you wouldn’t feel the same way for a medical issue. My ex-wife left me due to medical issues. I had “changed” is what she told my daughter. That’s a cop out that is a complete lie we tell ourselves because it happens everyday to soldiers coming home or women with breast cancer, etc. 4) It doesn’t matter what you “make it about” when you are saying he’s too fat for sex. Women regularly put on upwards of 60lbs during and after a pregnancy and I certainly don’t think they are too fat for sex. Are you seeing what I am saying here? We seem to be working with a huge double standard. I am doing my best to be pleasant in my response, but I have experienced a similar situation and I’m speaking from experience. If you want to talk among yourselves and decide what you think is correct, that’s just fine, but I was attempting to tell you exactly what a man’s response would be to these two questions above. Satan is alive and well and will use every opportunity that is presented to him. This is a huge open door to destroying a marriage. It seems to me that there are many other ways for this to be addressed that are not destructive to the relationship.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Hi there! I really do appreciate you trying to be pleasant (and I don’t think you’re trying, I think you ARE being pleasant.) This is actually quite a fruitful discussion!

          I guess what I’d say is this:

          The thing about the sexual positions: You’re right, there is no ONE sexual position, and at times we do need to vary our positions to find what works. And that’s why I provided some potential ones here. At the same time, one thing I didn’t share, but which is also true, is that women’s ability to orgasm during intercourse is much higher in certain positions than others. The reason that the missionary position is so popular, for instance, is because if a woman tilts her hips up, and then they angle properly, she can get great clitoral stimulation that way.

          Now, the same is not necessarily true in other positions. In addition, one of the problems with excess weight specifically around the belly is that it does become harder for her clitoris to come into contact with his pelvic bone, which is what normally stimulates her to orgasm during intercourse.

          So, yes, technically they can find other positions, but her pleasure is often hindered by excess weight in certain areas.

          2. Totally agree that we all need to feel loved, which, again, is why I was never talking about telling him you weren’t attracted to him.

          3. I agree that it isn’t obvious that a person would treat a medical condition with immediate grace, but that doesn’t change the spirit of it. Whether or not people extend grace properly, the simple fact is that there is a big difference between something that is out of our control and something that is in our control. Weight, while very difficult to lose, is within our control. Accidents, injuries, cancer, etc., is not. If someone treated you badly over something that was outside of your control, that is a sin, and I’m ever so sorry. But I don’t think that you can equate a wife wanting a husband to lose weight to a woman dealing with a husband who is paralyzed from the waist down. She simply must learn to live her life differently in the case of paralysis, and accept him wholeheartedly. But in the other case, it is incumbent on him to do something to help his wife.

          4. I’m sorry if I ever gave the impression that sex was off of the table if he was too big. I was deliberately trying to make it so that sex WASN’T off the table by giving examples of how sex could still work if certain positions were virtually impossible due to his weight. But to say that we can’t talk about it because it may hurt his feelings too much is problematic. God wants us to be growing, and maybe the area that God wants many of us to grow in is the area of self-control. North Americans, for instance, seem to forget that gluttony is a major sin in the Bible. Because we don’t want to shame people who are overweight, we stop talking about it. But it is serious. And I think it’s incumbent on BOTH spouses (women and men) to do what they can to make themselves healthy and attractive for their spouse.

          I don’t mean that sex is off the table. But to say that sex is difficult when someone is bigger is simply true. And it should be able to be said in love. If a person can’t take the truth when it’s presented in love (which is what I tried to show people how to do), then perhaps the problem is not with the spouse who is bothered by the excess weight, but with the spouse with the excess weight? I know it’s a very sensitive issue, but I also feel tremendous sympathy for spouses who are trying to accept, love, and have a great sex life with someone who simply isn’t caring for their body the way they could. That’s asking a lot of one spouse, and virtually nothing of the other. Surely there’s a way to meet in the middle, where spouses both say, I will accept you and keep our sex life as frequent and great as I can, but at the same time, I want you to love me and respect me by taking care of your body? Can’t we both make that commitment without the one being told it’s off limits because it may hurt someone too much?

          That’s an honest question. Because excess weight is a very important issue, not just because of sex, but also because of health, longevity, quality of life, and energy levels. If we’re saying that a spouse can never be approached about the fact that they’re hindering their sex life, then that’s really putting the onus completely on the one spouse to have to sit back and watch what very well could be destructive behaviour, and I don’t think that’s what God would want either.

          Reply
          • Lisa

            I think this is a great response to a tricky situation.

            I’m really surprised by the accusation of a double standard. I’ve read multiple posts here reminding wives that physical attractiveness is important. To dress well, exercise, and eat right. You can find many male marriage bloggers telling women how important this is, too. The message is definitely out there that wives need to stay in shape.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thanks, Lisa.

          • Lisa

            I also wanted to add that it’s very true that many women can only have an orgasm in one or two positions. If both of those are impeded and something can be done about it (getting healthier) than why not?

          • Big Daddy

            1) The idea that a woman can only orgasm in a certain position is a question of skill and simply untrue. No matter the size, shape or any other factor of any part or whole of the husband, it is more than possible. My wife is a full foot shorter and a minimum of 100lbs + smaller than I am. I am a big guy and have always preferred smaller women. I will leave it at the fact I have never had any issues at any time with anyone in any position. Some women orgasm internally while others do externally. If your body types don’t match up, then there isn’t a hands off policy is there? Either of you can manually stimulate as needed. Again, this is skill and not body size related.

            2) Telling a man he is too large for sex using any word or phrase is telling him he is unattractive, not good enough, and less than what you desire. It is way out of line for any woman to say to her husband.

            1 Corinthians 7:2-5

            But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

            3 &4)Your comments were not making it seem as though sex was off the table but the overwhelming responses seemed to have that idea in mind. My weight fluctuates, always has. I’m epileptic, diabetic and take a pharmacy daily to control seizures and diabetes. I also have severe injuries to my back, shoulder and neck. Weight is not something that can always be controlled. Again assumptions are being made by even you. I am large (read overweight), crippled and have a host of medical issues but still have a wonderful sex life. Gasp, how is that possible? Depression, stress, and other un-diagnosed problems lead to obesity. It seems that a wife telling her husband that his weight impedes sex would just add to those issues rather than improve them.

    • Michelle

      That is a sad relationship where either party will go and cheat because their feelings are hurt, mad, etc. There is no excuse for infidelity. I think you have a problem since it is already premeditated in your mind. Readers question aside, I am disturbed for your wife.

      Reply
      • Lisa Manske

        That’s exactly what I thought.

        Reply
      • Big Daddy

        Ok, gotta address this one directly. How is it that I explain how Satan works and human nature and I premeditate infidelity. Your comment is extremely ignorant. My wife (who is commenting as well) doesn’t need your pity. We have an extremely healthy marriage. I completely agree with your first two sentences but then you go off the rails making assumptions about someone’s heart and mind due to your own inability to comprehend what was written. 1Cor 7:3-4 (NRS) The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I just wanted to apologize for letting that comment through that accused you of something. I missed that one, and I usually try to delete or edit comments that impugn someone’s character, since we don’t know each other in real life. So that was wrong of me, and I’m sorry. I’ll leave it up because you’ve responded to it. Just too many came in last night and this morning and I didn’t see everything what with running errands, but I do try to remove things like that.

          Reply
        • Pesto

          I’m glad you don’t have issues in the bedroom.Even many normal weight couples have issues! But not every overweight man is you. Not every woman is your wife. There are plenty of idiosyncratic issues that can occur that you may never come across. You can still be attracted to your spouse and have problems with their weight in the bedroom. You are not a representation of how all over weight couples should be– just as I can’t be a representation for how all average weight people should be in the bedroom.

          My friend has problems with her spouse losing sex drive from weight, getting tired quick, and dripping massive amounts of sweat on her face and body during intercourse– these were not problems before weight. But she’s not tempted to cheat– she loves him and finds him attractive still. She encourages him every day.

          As for me– I’m a normal weight woman– but I do get tachycardia depending on what position I’m in because of an autonomic nervous system condition I have. There are too many positions to count that are not an option for me. An overweight partner limiting positions for me would be a struggle since I’m already limited in the positions I can do.
          I completely agree with you people also need to take into consideration things like external stimulation– this can be forgotten often with any couple. There are plenty of tools and toys out there to help. This is such a good option for many people. Right on sir!

          Finally– I’m not sure what to tell anyone where a spouses edifying criticism causes them to be tempted to cheat. My partner and I have an agreement to talk about anything and everything even if it hurts. I would never be in a relationship with someone who can’t take criticism and who’s afraid to serve it right back at me. If my partner told me my weight is causing problems for him in the bedroom– I would not be offended and we’d work together on it. Same if it’s the other way around. Don’t be hurtful or spiteful of course. In a hypothetical situation– if I tell my partner something in a tactful yet firm way– and it causes him to cheat– he’s still responsible for making the choice to cheat as opposed to ethically ending the relationship (or talking about how it hurt him with me and figuring out a resolution). I’m responsible only for my actions and choices– not his. I did not cause him to cheat– it would be him choosing to solve his hurt with a more hurtful choice.

          TLDR: Relationships have idiosyncratic problems– you cannot represent every overweight couple. Tools can help. If someone cheats because you confronted them in a healthy and tactful manner– you are not responsible for the cheating.

          Reply
      • Mel

        Oh Michelle and Lisa, please don’t feel sorry or worried for his wife, how tacky and patronizing of you. She is utterly happy, sexually satisfied and I assure you that there are not only 2 positions for a woman to orgasm in. Not only can you orgasm in ANY position, but if your man knows what he’s doing, he can make you orgasm without you having any control over your reaction. Let’s not pity anyone we don’t know or feel disturbed because a man has pointed out an opposing side of something. If you should feel sorry for anyone it’s yourselves. Thinking that orgasms only happen in 2 positions for most women and and worrying yourself about a very sexually satisfied married woman with a man that loves her like Christ loves the church. LOL!

        As his wife I can tell you that he has dealt with a woman who left him because of health issues. She is quite frankly not someone that should ever be in a marriage because she has no idea what it means. His “size” is quite a bit more than mine. He’s 6’1″ 300 and I’m 5’2″ and was about 100 pounds when we married, I’m now about 145 after a baby at 37. There isn’t anything hindering sex with a larger person (and I’m talking about the original question here of 40 pounds). This question in the main post is exactly what he’s referencing with the double standard. A woman that is 40 pounds overweight isn’t obese or unable to have sex, she may be “unattractive” to her spouse, but she isn’t in danger of major health issues and yes, it is a double standard to act like either of these questions would be answered and responded to the same in the comments if they were men asking about their woman who was 40 pounds overweight.

        As for the “premeditated” comment, the idea that a man being realistic about what men think, and this even includes what women think sometimes, is offensive or that you should feel disturbed for his wife is tacky. Are you so naive to think that no person in an affair has ever been told they weren’t attractive or that their spouse was not longer attracted to them and they didn’t go out and find some attention somewhere? He’s not saying he’s going to have an affair on me, he’s saying (and rightly so) that if I ever said this to him, which I wouldn’t because he’s hot and good in bed, that his thoughts would turn to the person that might have interest.

        Interesting that our deal breaker in our marriage is cheating, there is never an excuse, there is never a reason, you can ask him and we agree on this. However, if you’re going to be so shallow that you can’t find your spouse attractive because of weight, then you should be prepared for them to react in whatever way they do, no one said it was right (in fact he said it wasn’t the right way to say you aren’t attracted). I think people lost sight of what he actually said which was “if my wife came to me saying any of the things here…” He was saying that these responses are NOT how to talk about this with your spouse. There is always a correct way to say something, and if you don’t want your spouse to have any inkling of wanting to find attention elsewhere, you might want to listen to a man’s opinion on the matter…even if you don’t understand what he wrote.

        Reply
        • Mel

          Sheila, thank you for responding. I don’t think either of us took it in a bad way, we both laughed like “uh, no, that is NOT something to worry about in our marriage!”

          I would like to share an article of yours I found that I think may help you understand those here saying that there is a bit of a double standard on this topic (not just with your replies, but in the comments too). I think you could have used this old post for the answers to the women that wrote in! There are great insights here and you even hit on the 22 pounds vs 150 pounds overweight issues. I also think you changed up your answers (as many are saying it’s kind of a double standard) when it was a woman being told her husband didn’t find her attractive, vs here where women are saying they aren’t attracted to their husbands belly. It is interesting to read both posts and comments. The opposing comments on this post don’t seem far fetched after reading your older article advising a woman about a man being attracted to her.

          https://baremarriage.com/2013/05/what-if-my-husband-doesnt-find-me-attractive-a-round-up/

          Here are some of your own words:

          “You can make a commitment to get healthy and to keep yourself attractive, but that’s only half the story. It’s also about recognizing that godly intimacy is a meeting of bodies AND souls, not just bodies. And if you say, “your body isn’t attractive, so I don’t want to make love”, you’re also basically rejecting the soul. God designed sex to help us feel like one SPIRITUALLY, not just PHYSICALLY. So if you say, “I physically don’t want to have sex with you,” you’re also saying, “I don’t want to feel like one with you.” That’s harsh. And it’s wrong. And it means that you’ve bought into a shallow version of sex.”

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thanks, Mel! And I think I should have reiterated more of that last paragraph about the shallow version of sex, but in that post I was specifically talking about a man who had told his wife she was no longer attractive because she had gained 25 pounds. It was really a harsh situation.

            Again, though, I just want to reiterate that I NEVER said in this post that a woman should feel unattracted to a man, or should tell him that. I said that she should love him no matter what, and appreciate his body, and I linked to those posts.

            I said that it was okay to raise the issue that his weight was interfering with their sex life (and it definitely does for most people who are obese). So I do think that I’m being accused of things I didn’t say!

            I do think it’s difficult to be attracted to someone who is morbidly obese. That’s just a fact. Humans are naturally more attracted to slimmer people. Again, a fact. And I did acknowledge that fact, without taking away from the responsibility to try to make the sex life awesome.

            But just as the spouse has a responsibility to still try to make sex work, so the overweight spouse does have a responsibility to do something about their weight. Since I wrote that post that you quoted, I’ve become more vocal on the blog about the need for women to respect themselves and their husbands and get healthy, and I spent a whole week in November talking about that. So I really don’t think I’m telling men anything different than I’m telling women. 🙂

            Let’s just all respect each other. For some of us, that will mean deciding to take charge of our health and lose weight. For some of us, that will mean working on our sex life regardless of impediments. But I think ignoring the issue of obesity does not help anyone either.

        • Lisa

          You seem to be taking this very personally. We are discussing two letters and the topic in general. I disagree with over part of your husband’s comment, and more importantly, my own husband disagrees with him. And we can disagree, that’s okay. No one here is feeling sorry for you. It is disturbing to –say– that a wife cannot talk to her husband about a sexual issue without him running away to flirt, as your husband suggested. No one is saying your husband did that or is disturbed for you personally.

          While I really don’t need to know how great your sex life is, I’m happy for you. It’s not really relevant, though, to the flirting comment. The flirting comment was in relation to when there IS a sexual problem in the marriage and the wife opens the discussion. We’re not discussing your marriage, we’re discussion this topic of a sexual impediment.

          All of my comments on this page are about the topic, not my marriage or your marriage. This particular topic doesn’t apply to me, personally.

          Reply
    • John

      Big Daddy,

      I appreciate your comments, but have to disagree with what you said: “Well, we do have feelings and once you damage our fragile ego, many bad things can happen to the relationship. ”

      I would never be in a position to judge where you are coming from based on a few posts, but I can say that overall in my many conversations with men over the years in terms of relationships, I would find it rare to characterize the majority of men’s ego’s as “fragile”. Without question, overall there is more pressure on women in our culture to fit certain physical standards, which I think is even exacerbated more by their unique emotions (no offense ladies….please take this the right way). Rarely, have a seen a guy who has discussed physical aspects with a spouse / girlfriend have their “fragile” ego wounded, much less to the point of leading them to an affair. Again, I have no idea what path you have walked, but I think using the risk of damaging the fragile egos in men overall as a reason to tread carefully is more of a outlier, than than how most men would react to this.

      Reply
    • Jacqueline Orosco

      Hey Big Daddy, I appreciate you taking the time to comment! Of course it’s healthy to have different input from different people, but I wanted to take issue with one set of comments you made. To say that a man’s first reaction to his wife bringing up a sensitive issue with him is to actively seek out other women and engage in infidelity is neither biblical nor Christian behavior. Even if what the wife says is hurtful or wrong, that does not give a husband a “free pass” to seek attention elsewhere. I understand your frustration of this seeming to be a one-sided issue. But to say that men’s egos are “too fragile” to handle a wife’s honesty is a dangerous, slippery slope. It is also extremely triggering to wives who have had husbands that committed adultery, like myself. I am the same weight as when we met, even after a baby, have NEVER said anything to him about HIS weight or other physical shortcomings, but ended up with a wandering husband after less than a year of marriage. Porn use, a wandering eye, and infidelity are disorders of the heart. It is NEVER ok to blame our deliberate choices to violate our marriage vows on our spouse just because our spouse hurt our feelings. For example:

      “You want your man to cheat, just say any of the things I have seen here! Going to him with worries of his health or something of that nature is legitimate, but making him beg for your attention because you no longer find him attractive…that’s a sure receipt for infidelity. Ladies, get over yourself!”

      I agree that we women should do everything to make our men understand that they are wonderful and loved by us! But to hold that over the wife’s head by saying that it will be OUR FAULT that our husbands made a CHOICE to cheat is manipulative and frankly abusive.

      As I am also a recovered porn addict, I feel that I understand both sides of the issue as I have been both the betrayer and the betrayed. Please prayerfully consider your views on this: the overwhelming majority of literature suggests that the cause of infidelity is much more than “my wife said I look fat so now I’m going to find some random woman to give me the attention I deserve.” Thanks for considering!

      Reply
  16. Reiko

    Love is certainly a choice, and we can and should love and care for our spouses regardless of their weight, appearance, or state of health. But attraction isn’t so much of a choice. Especially for women, we can make ourselves have sex, but we can’t so much make ourselves want to if something is turning us off. And if we keep forcing ourselves to have sex with an overweight spouse when attraction is gone, it can actually lead to sexual dysfunction or aversion, which is much harder to overcome than just a lack of attraction.

    That said, there’s more to attractiveness than weight or appearance. If the spouse ticks enough other behavioral boxes, then maybe there’s no problem in the bedroom despite extra weight. But for some people, including myself, too much weight is really a turn-off, and if the guy doesn’t do enough else to generate attraction and give pleasure, then there’s going to be a very real problem in the bedroom. You can say “just love him for who he is” but that’s a pat answer that doesn’t solve the problem. If one spouse can’t or won’t do anything that turns the other on, then sex is just one using the other’s body.

    If the roles were reversed and my husband couldn’t get an erection at the sight of me due to my weight and nothing else I did overcame that, then sex would certainly be very infrequent or maybe even off the table until I improved my health enough, and you can be sure I’d be doing my best toward that goal. (For the record, I’m at a healthy weight.) Why should it work any differently the other way around just because sex is physically still possible?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very well put, Reiko. And I like the emphasis, too, on giving pleasure. A guy who is very overweight can still be a great lover with the right attention to her body, and that can overcome a lot of other issues!

      Reply
  17. Five Under Five

    I actually thought you were spot on here! Please don’t be discouraged by the negativity. You addressed a real issue for wives (and it is just as real an issue when the weight problem is reversed) and you did it gracefully and well. Any problem that is getting in the way of your marriage is a real one, and should be addressed, whether it is obesity, smoking, drinking, any obsession or area of low self control. And sex is just harder with these types of issues! There’s nothing wrong with the husband or wife who finds sex more challenging because of their spouse’s weight.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you!

      Reply
    • Cara

      Amen!!!

      Reply
  18. Abby

    Thanks for this response.. While husbands may be labeled “shallow” in our culture if they dislike their spouse’s weight, we live in a culture that encourages women to be super thin. A woman can be attractive and healthy as a size 2 AND as a size 10. And a 40 year old woman, due to childbirth and hormones, will probably weigh more than she did at 20, and that doesn’t mean she is unhealthy. In mainstream media, men are depicted with a far greater range of body size and still considered attractive, like the “football player” type of body. And if a man’s belly is so large that it interferes with sex, we probably aren’t talking about just a typical “big guy” but something that is more of a health concern.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Abby, thank you! Yes, I do think a big belly is a health concern (and it is linked with so many health issues). I don’t think it can just be dismissed.

      Reply
  19. Oli

    It isn’t loving for either spouse to be 40 pounds overweight. Carrying excess weight, not meeting exercise guidelines and eating badly are the three biggest risk factors for a whole host of life limiting conditions. Dealing with diabetes or heart disease is expensive, it is boring and it is quite likely to kill you prematurely. Married couples sign up for in sickness or in health, but I don’t think we sign up for our partners to choose to massively tilt the odds to sickness.

    I think that if you are dealing with this you shouldn’t talk about it as an attractiveness issue. Frame it as an act of service if that is your or your spouse’s love language, regardless of gender. If you are quality time types than make sure you are eating and exercising together. But talk about it as something that impacts your life goals, because you are adults.

    A practical tip for people with husbands in the denial – take a photo of them naked and show it to them.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Love this part especially:

      I think that if you are dealing with this you shouldn’t talk about it as an attractiveness issue. Frame it as an act of service if that is your or your spouse’s love language, regardless of gender. If you are quality time types than make sure you are eating and exercising together. But talk about it as something that impacts your life goals, because you are adults.

      Reply
    • Big Daddy

      Diabetes and heart disease are diseases that are genetic. You can hold off symptoms with proper diet and exercise but eventually you will need medication for either. Do the research. Bob Harper (host of biggest loser) who is in great physical shape is a great example. My brother is 165lb, works out regularly and has Type 2 diabetes. Hmm, go figure.

      Reply
      • John

        Though I do agree that a small percentage of heart disease and type-2 diabetes are genetic, the medical literature seems to imply that this is the minority of cases.

        “The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. About 9 cases in 10 could be avoided by taking several simple steps: keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking.” – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/

        “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of U.S. men and women even though almost 80 percent of it is preventable, a Mayo Clinic cardiologists says.” – http://www.upi.com/80-percent-of-heart-disease-is-preventable/28211359680539/

        Do you have research that disputes this? This is from Harvard and the Mayo clinic, so just not some random web site.

        Reply
      • Pam

        Genetics play a role but all the more reason to fight those genes. My family is highly predisposed to type 2 diabetes; mother, aunts, siblings. I’m 49 and have exercised and maintained a healthy weight all my life. My glucose numbers are great. My overweight and even younger siblings have diabetes. My attitude is to fight with all I’ve got to NOT get it. Not everyone can fight the same but we SHOULD fight.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Totally agree, Pam! My husband has terrible genetics as well, and he’s been adamant that he won’t develop diabetes if he can help it.

          Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Oh this hits home….I married my husband when he was already overweight. I was attracted to his heart and his adorable face and personality. That said, he has gotten a little larger in the 6 years we have been married, and for the last few months, sex has been so tricky and honestly pretty sucky because pregnant belly+obesity=no go. He is in college full time online and works full time so working out faithfully is not super possible right now. It’s been a trial for me especially, because I am also a higher drive wife. But we have grown closer together because these things produce powerful emotions that require us to talk and fix. I’m thankful to God for that. Hopefully after baby and this last year of school he can do more than just watch what he eats and make some big progress!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, dear! I can see how pregnant belly + Obesity is really hard! Hopefully in a year or two you can start leading more active lives with the baby (or babies by that time!). Get outside a lot and find things to do outside. Congratulations on your pregnancy, and I hope it goes well!

      Reply
  21. Laura

    Thank you for addressing this. It’s something we’ve been struggling with more and more and I haven’t known where to turn for input. My husband is obese and, in addition to making sex difficult at times, I am extremely concerned about his long-term health. His diet/alcohol consumption has been garbage since college, with some better choices the first several years we were married. But I honestly wonder frequently if he’s going to die quite young from his choices. All that to say, it affects our sex life (and my ability to sleep, as our bed tilts his direction), but I’m far more concerned about his health and leaving our young family without a husband/father.

    Reply
  22. Anon

    I think this is a good post, but definitely shows the double standard that exists between men and women. If you change the first subheading to read:
    “Sex Positions that Work Better when Your Wife is Fat” and put it on a blog written by a man, that guy would get skewered by every female reader.

    Overall though, good information on a very tough subject.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You know, that’s a really good point, and I’ll go and change that header right now! To be honest, I put it that way because that’s what my keyword specialist was recommending in the little program I have for Google. But it’s not worth hurting people to try to get better SEO!

      Reply
  23. Maree

    As this article has come at just the right time. My hubby even told me last week he needs to loose some of his tummy because it’s impeding on our sex life. I have a low Libido ATM but am working on that (must be going ok because last night he asked for a night off lol). So I will be using all of your suggestions in the article to help us both through this issue, I need to loose a few kgs too.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So glad, Maree!

      Reply
  24. Lisa

    Hi Sheila,

    I appreciated your honesty in saying that you weren’t sure how to respond to sex questions from unhappy women with overweight husbands.

    It’s a very complicated issue.

    You seem genuinely puzzled about feedback from Trey and Big daddy about why your post could be considered as a double standard.

    A couple of specifics might help to see why some people might read it that way. The word choice of fat rather than overweight in a couple of places for husbands was hard for me to imagine fat being used for wives in a similar post.

    “Sex Positions that Work Better when Your Husband is Fat”

    Hard to imagine reading sex positions that work better when your wife is fat.

    Fat is a very different emotional word than overweight. It carries more judgment in its delivery.

    Another specific is mentioning decreased libido as a result of a man having a big belly. Not questioning the truth of this just questioning why this was necessary since that was not the topic. (Maybe other women have written complaining of low libido in their overweight husbands? )

    I appreciate you saying that you have been blessed with a high metabolism and it’s hard for you to gain weight. I think it’s harder to directly relate to how hard and complicated it is to be overweight if it’s not our struggle.

    So that another thing that I think is usually mentioned in the post. If a woman is overweight there is usually a lot of conversation of stress or depression or hormones contributing to the excess weight.

    For the husbands there was not a similar discussion. Men are overweight for many complex reasons. There is a need in my opinion to have compassion for why the weight may be there.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Lisa, you made a really good point about the header, and I’ve gone ahead and changed it!

      I think the low libido thing is an important thing to mention, though, because it is so common and many women do complain about it (even here in the comments). And it’s not just being overweight; it’s specifically having the “beer belly”, for want of a better term, that’s related to lower libido. So I think it’s important because we need to see that it’s not just an issue of not being attracted to your husband; it’s that his weight (and weight distribution) is honestly affecting the sex life, and I think that does need to be dealt with.

      I do agree that I often do talk about other issues that go into a woman’s weight, but in the last year or so I’ve gotten much more forthright on the blog that we need to take better care of ourselves.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      Reply
  25. mdk

    I agree with the double standard issue, which I think can often be an issue. Men can seem so “tough” we often forget they have the same issues and insecurities we women have. It can even be harder for them because we can talk to our girlfriends, but I don’t think men really feel comfortable standing around talking about having to lose a few pounds or “do I look fat?” Lol! So, I think it is important to “switch the shoe around” and ask ourselves, how would I want him to handle this situation with me.

    My thoughts on this are the same way I try to handle anything in marriage with plenty of “we” and “I” statements. We live in the Northeast and it is dark and dreary for months on end up here. It makes getting out and moving a challenge and it is easy to stay in the house and eat comfort food all winter long. Therefore it is pretty easy to put on a few pounds in these long months. My husband and I just recently had a conversation like this recently. My side of the conversation went something like, “Winter is getting long. I think WE should make an effort to try to lighten up our meals and eat healthier.” and the conversation went from there about what WE can do to eat better. Then I said, “I’m anxious to get moving again, WE should really make an effort to get out more. Let’s try to make time for a walk, or even pull out the workout DVD’s. If we both try to make time for it, we can help each other.” He was very open to the conversation and we discussed alot things we can do together. If I had told him, “You need to eat less”, or “you need to workout”, or even “You need to be healthier” I know he would have taken offense to that, would have felt bad, and probably wouldn’t have done it.

    we are both over 40 and it isn’t as easy to stay in shape as it used to be. I am much more conscious of what I eat than he is, although I still love chocolate, and bacon!! But although I do my best to stay in shape, I am far from perfect and I recognize that. Other phrases I’ve used are

    “I don’t want to be the only one eating salad trying to be healthy. It’s hard for me to resist the temptation when there is junk in the house. Can we please agree to keep it out of the house?”

    Or turn it around “I want to stay looking good for you. Can we work on this together?”

    Or “Let’s set a good example for the kids. Its easier for them to make healthy choices when they see both of us doing it.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love that! Great, practical examples.

      Reply
  26. Melissa

    I read several of the comments, but not all. I feel that the comments I did read are really judgy. We are human. The woman who asked this question identified a problem in their marriage and asked for help. I applaud that.

    My husband and I were both overweight and it was beginning to interfere with our sex life. While my husband was overweight I didn’t find him physically attractive, but I did find him sexually attractive. My husband lost a lot of weight. He isn’t ripped but he is healthy and healthy is physically attractive.

    I had not lost weight until recently. When at the store My husband has lead us to the produce rather than chip isle and talked a lot about getting healthy together. He also said that once we are both down to a healthy weight we should celebrate by renting a cheap hotel room in town and having a night alone. Very attractive thought to me. Now Im wondering what blog he has been reading! Lol!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome!

      Reply
  27. Exhausted but trying

    Sheila,

    Love this blog post! And I disagree with all the negative feedback you were getting. We get so many posts about how women should look nice for their husbands but this is the first I’ve ever seen addressing a guy’s weight issue.

    Both my husband and I have gained a significant amount of weight over the years, and while I care and try to work out and eat healthy. He has absolutely no desire to improve his health. He eats healthy food because that’s what I buy and cook, but he also eats non stop. And gets little to no exercise. And while I definitely worry about his health, it has really put a damper on our sexual relationship. As, like you said, that extra weight impedes the blood flow causing things not to work the way they are supposed to. It is extremely demoralizing when everytime you husband try’s to enter, things deflate. You begin to question if something is wrong with you. You start avoiding it altogether rather than being disappointed, again. It’s a struggle because I want to be attracted to him but the truth is I’m not and I don’t know how to fix it.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks for sharing! And that’s something that I also didn’t mention, but it’s very true: excess weight is a big contributor to erectile dysfunction, because of the increased demands on the heart for circulation, combined with hormonal changes. This is really tough. I’m glad you cook healthy, and that does help, because it would likely be worse if you didn’t.

      Can you share this post on 79 hobbies to do as a couple? Maybe you can find a more active one, like hiking or something, that you could try to start doing together.

      Reply
    • Big Daddy

      Shelia, never forget the emotional component of sex. Yes, even for men. A man truly has to be on the verge of a major health crisis for ED to have that much of an effect generally. If you react badly and then avoid sex, act disappointed, etc it creates a problem that doesn’t actually exist because he feels unworthy and less than a man. If he feels too much pressure then things aren’t going to work properly. If you avoid it, he isn’t going to feel wanted and things aren’t going to work properly. It is a vicious cycle that you have to deal with. If it’s medical, deal with it, you could be saving his life. If it’s emotional, deal with it. There isn’t much communication can’t fix.

      Reply
  28. Amy Livesey

    Hi Sheila
    I love that you are always so kind.
    Do you know what I think you missed out? Grace!!
    We have had 3 children in 4 years. They are now 7,5 and 3. During my last pregnancy I BALLOONED. Now I have never been sex-hinderingly big but I went up 4 dress sizes. Then I got stuck at 3 dress sizes bigger than when I met my husband.
    Do you know what he’s always shown me…Grace
    He’s never once called me big etc just beautiful.
    Over the past 18 months I have worked on losing the weight. He always has the kids so I can take a class/puts them to bed so I can work out upstairs.
    He NEVER berates me if I skip exercise and will still go to the shop for snacks if I fall off the waggon.
    What he also does is encourage me. He notices when I hit my goal of 4 work outs per week. He complements my changing shape when we make love. He was VERY appreciative when I could fit back into some lingerie I bought pre-kids.
    He tries every new healthy recipe I cook and encourages the kids to do the same.
    His attitude made me want to lose weight, and not beat myself up. It took time for me to gain weight, it takes time to lose. I’m still a size bigger than when we met, but I’m OK with that. My hips are not as narrow and my belly isn’t as taught, but I’m in my healthy weight range and, because of his support, I like the way I look now more than I ever did.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s beautiful, Amy!

      Reply
  29. Curtis

    WOW, reading some of these negative comments about it being okay to be fat is just making an excuse and possibly for yourself.

    Reply
    • Cara

      ^^^^ this!!!

      Reply
  30. TC

    Sheila, first of all I have been reading your blog for several years and I greatly appreciate how you handle tough topics. I come from an abusive background – mom was physically abused by dad, and I was sexually abused by a family member – so I have very difficult-to-resolve issues concerning sex, physical intimacy, trust, etc. (although hubby and I have sex approximately every 48 hours, I have realized through reading your blog that I am still withholding myself mentally; but I’m working on that). I also have PCOS and diabetes runs in the family, so weight is also a big issue. When hubby and I were dating he told me he could never be attracted to an overweight woman. I told him I didn’t want to be overweight and would fight it to the best of my ability. After 22 years of marriage and 5 children, I am about 100 lbs overweight. (He is also about 40 lbs heavier.) Believe me, it is not for lack of trying to lose weight. I have tried multiple diets, both with and without doctors help, exercise (including hiring a US Marine as a personal trainer), working out with hubby and without hubby (he “can’t” work out with me now because he has back/knee problems), everything I could think of. I have just gotten bigger. Now I am 45 and thinking that if I keep trying, I will actually impact my health adversely. The last time (last year) I tried to diet and exercise I got severe migraines and triggered my high blood pressure (which had taken me nearly 5 years to get under control) and injured my joints in my knees and elbows. I’m afraid to try again. I said all that to say – this post makes me sad. I have tried everything I know how to do. Hubby has told me many times over the years that he is not attracted to me, and has now decided that this is a spiritual issue, requiring me to submit to his judgement the way God intended because if I just listen to him, I will lose weight. I have no desire to “submit” because his solution for several years to his lack of attraction to me was to take pictures of other women (nude and otherwise, although he never had an affair and has since stopped taking those photos) and I honestly don’t trust his judgement. Am I wrong? Should I continue my attempt to lose weight? Should I “submit”? Anyway, I don’t think anyone can solve these issues, however I really hope someone outside of our relationship can comment on this topic for me, and give me an independent view. As I said earlier, I appreciate you (and your readers).

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, TC, I’m so, so sorry that your husband is ABUSING Scripture like that and telling you that he’s not attracted to you and that you need to submit–or he’ll keep looking at porn. I can’t tell you how absolutely wrong that is.

      I also know that PCOS really does cause weight gain, and it’s so hard to combat. Here’s what I would say: your husband is being manipulative and unloving and has violated the marriage vows, and that does need to be dealt with. A man who is doing that is not acting in a Christlike manner at all. And for him to tell you that your whole problem is that you’re not submitting is for him to miss the whole point of Ephesians 5. I’m wondering how he’s submitting to you in all of this (since Ephesians 5:21 says that we are to submit to one another, and since he is to love you as Christ loved the church). I’m not seeing that by his judgment to you, and I would really recommend seeing a counsellor or dealing with the toxic spirituality that he seems to have adopted.

      At the same time, I think your weight issues need to be separated from the marriage issue. Regardless of how he is treating you, it simply isn’t healthy in the long run to be diabetic and 100 pounds overweight. I understand that exercise may have triggered blood pressure issues, but can you talk to a nutritionist or a holistic health person about a different diet? I don’t recommend diets at all, in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t think that we should temporarily starve ourselves or eat bizarre things. But I think many of us do need a drastic diet overhaul, where we stop eating certain things (for many of us gluten triggers weight gain, and PCOS has also been linked to some food issues) and start adopting a whole new way of approaching food. And I think that’s likely a good idea regardless of your marriage. It’s not about him; it’s about YOU.

      So I’d say deal with the unloving ways he’s been treating you, but also, don’t give up on your health. You have challenges that many people don’t have. It’s harder for you. But to give up is to give up on your kids’ futures, too, and I don’t think that’s fair or loving in the long run for anyone.

      Reply
      • TC

        Thank you for your response. I appreciate you saying I need to separate the marriage issue from the health issue. That’s tough, but necessary. I would really love to have someone walk me through a new way of eating. I have no idea what to do next. My cousin and several PCOS friends have had weight loss surgery and been successful with weight loss. But hubby doesn’t want me to have surgery. Do you, or any of your readers, have a link or something which I can look at ? I am truly desperate.

        Reply
        • Kari

          Hi TC! I am so very sorry for the things you have faced, and are currently facing! I wanted to mention an eating plan called Trim Healthy Mama. The book was written by a pair of Christian sisters, and is perfect for someone with PCOS and/or diabetes. I am unable to exercise at all due to health issues, and I lost the 40+ pounds I needed to and have been maintaining it for months. It’s not a “diet” but a way of eating that is sustainable long term :).

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            I love Trim Healthy Mama! Great suggestion, Kari. Thank you.

          • TC

            Oh Thank you so much Kari (and Sheila)! I will check that out right now.

          • E

            Yes! Another ‘Amen’ for Trim Healthy Mama here! I have just started the program (baby steps!), and even if you can’t follow the whole plan, I would really look hard at giving up sugar, it is such a bad inflammatory to our bodies, so if we are suffering imbalances and health issues anyway, sugar is going to be even more detrimental.

            Praying that you find the help you need for these issues, TC!

          • Cara

            I second trim healthy mama! It’s more of an lifestyle approach to food than a diet.

        • Meredith

          Hi TC,
          I also have PCOS and have spent my whole life (no joke, I began gaining weight in 3rd grade) struggling with weight, so I know how you feel. And like you, I exercised and dieted, and lost NO weight. It was always so frustrating to me when people would tell me to workout more, or just east less, because I was exercising 5 days a week and eating less than friends who were half my size! What I’ve learned though, is that everyone is different, and a diet that works for one woman won’t work for the next, so find out what works for you. For me, the ONLY thing that works is a strict low carb, high fat diet. I can’t really even eat much fruit, or I start to gain weight. The book that saved me is called, “Why We Get Fat, And What to do About It,” by Gary Taubes. If you don’t like too much technical reading (although this book is invaluable and I really recommend it), the website http://www.dietdoctor.com also is a great resource. I lost 50 pounds in one year, and I didn’t exercise at all, because I wanted to see if the eating plan alone would work.

          A lot of people who never have had weight struggles think it’s as easy as eating less and moving more, but when they tell you that it just makes you feel like a failure because you think you aren’t doing enough, even though you KNOW there is nothing else you could be doing! At least that’s how I felt. I always hated that people thought that all I did was sit on the couch and eat chips and candy all day because of how I looked, when in fact, I was eating healthy and working out for 1-2 hours a day. The unfortunate truth is, that for some of us, are bodies are really sensitive to certain types of foods (like carbs, sugars, even fructose in fruits) and until we get rid of those things, nothing we do will work. All that to say, I know how you feel and want to encourage you that it is possible! 🙂 Blessings as you go on this journey!!

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Great suggestion, Meredith! I think finding the right combination of food is so important, and it really is very different for each person, I think. That’s one of the hard parts in our marriage–I can handle some things fine that my husband just can’t, and vice versa. Our bodies are just so complex, and we need to understand what works for us in particular.

        • Lisa Manske

          http://www.t-tapp.com has helped several of my friends with PCOS. You can call their 800 to get advice on which DVD to start with. Teresa Tapp has been helping women for over 35 years. Her program is unique and is recommended by Mary Shomon (thyroid guru) and Dr. Perricone because T-Tapp actually reduces inflammation.

          Give T-Tapp 60 days. Three times a week. You will feel and look better and you can help balance your hormones with mindful movement.

          This is not an MLM and I get nothing for recommending it. I truly believe in the benefits of T-Tapp.

          Reply
  31. Chris

    I have lots of experience in this area, as both my husband and I are overweight. It is hard to change a lifetime of habits, but we are trying to get healthier. It is going to take us some time. Meanwhile, we still need to figure out how to make sex work with the bodies we’re in now.

    I’ve found several things helpful, in terms of both mechanics and being attracted to my husband.

    …Remember that intercourse isn’t the only way to have sexy time together.

    …Pillows and sex wedges go a long way in helping adjust some angles so that sex can work despite a large tummy. Seriously, these things can be amazing.

    …Focus on a physical aspect of my husband that I love rather than on the belly. My husband’s eyes light up when he sees me naked–and that is the most attractive thing of all to me. I know some women find it helpful to focus on arm muscles, overall strength, chest hair, or sensuous lips.

    …Admire the effort. My husband knows he’s a big guy, and it takes a lot of vulnerability to fully expose himself to me–yet he does it anyway. That demonstrates a trust in me that makes my heart melt.

    Sometimes I’ll whisper to him all the fun sexy things we can do together after we’ve lost some weight. That’s good motivation for both of us!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I love your last paragraph! That’s great. And those sex wedges–maybe I need to look into those and write about those. Many have recommended them. Thank you!

      Reply
  32. Elizabeth

    Love this post, Sheila! I totally agree that it is concerning for the husband’s health and as a wife, we should want to kindly and lovingly encourage them to be healthy. And I disagree with the comments that say it would be different we’re the roles reversed. We’re I heavily overweight, I would hope that my husband would know that he could kindly and lovingly come to me and encourage me to get my weight under control. I think the best way to do that is for both spouses to work together, even if only one is overweight. It is unhealthy to enable our spouse to continue in an unhealthy eating/exercise pattern, particularly when the weight is an issue of eating unhealthy and not exercising.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Elizabeth! I know that I’m not doing all I could to help my husband lose weight. It’s my issue that we still have chocolate bars in the house (dark chocolate mind you, but it’s still my issue!)

      Reply
      • E

        It is important to remember that even if only one spouse has a weight issue, there are plenty of other issues that are less visible that come from eating unhealthy foods (not picking on your dark chocolate Sheila, just a general observation!).

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Yes, completely!

          Reply
  33. Rebecca Vickery

    SO I read this as the wife of a very skinny husband. I have been the one who always struggled with health issues that cause my weight to fluctuate. I don’t know what it’s like to have a husband with a belly. BUT I will say, I would imagine that it would be good to approach this with extreme care and tenderness, AND to think “how would I feel” if the role was reversed.

    The role is reversed in my case. BUT in my case, I’m the one who eats right, exercises all the time and he’s the one who doesn’t. Yet, I am the one who is overweight. I’m even seeing a doctor about it. And in spite of the fact that I know it’s a health concern, the weight isn’t really my health issue, it’s the health issues that I have that cause the weight. They haven’t figured out how to flip that switch for me, we keep trying different ways to fix hormone imbalances and none of it works.

    Here’s my point. Yes, you both should exercise. You both should eat and be healthy, but even when my husband decided he was attracted to me again–and I didn’t lose weight for it to happen–I still FEEL the weight (pun partially intended) of his words and his lack of affection in the YEARS where he decided to make it all about me and my weight. So even though my confidence EVERYWHERE else is better (not because of my husband but because I’ve grown in the security that comes from knowing God has placed value in me and calls me beautiful) I still have a terribly hard time in the bedroom feeling confident. He wants me to pursue him more and it’s almost paralyzing sometimes. EVEN though I have forgiven him.

    Your husband may be doing all the right things and still have that belly. Are you going to choose to love him anyway? Are you going to choose to give him pleasure anyway, and allow yourself to enjoy him?

    P.S. When I say I exercise regularly Imean, I’ve won fitness contests. SO if you’re reading this and scoffing and thinking– you just need to– yeah buddy, I just need to… and I’ve probably already done it and it didn’t work. 😉 Also, I don’t recommend telling your husband he just needs to— because that’s a great way to set him up for failure when he tried your prescribed method and it doesn’t work.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks for that Rebecca! That’s a great perspective.

      Reply
    • K.S.

      Rebecca,

      Have you tried Trim, Healthy Mama? I have seen lots of testimonials of ladies in your situation who were able to “flip that switch”.

      Reply
  34. Keith

    Regarding the mechanics, the position that has worked best for my wife and me is one you didn’t mention, Sheila. It’s a variation on spooning; basically, it is spooning, except that the wife curls forward at the waist but the husband doesn’t. (He can still caress her back, side, waist, and hip for intimacy.) Think of it as wife on top facing backwards, except the whole thing is laid over on its side. Best with a lot of face-to-face kissing and foreplay first. And it’s not too acrobatic or strenuous for anyone.

    Regarding the sample letters and the comments back and forth, I’d just like to say that I really appreciate the heart of the woman who wrote the first sample letter. It seems that she is really trying to honor her husband, but she’s dealing with a physical something that, like it or not, is a problem, and her husband’s fragile ego to boot. Compared to the standards and pressure that so many husbands put on their wives, I think her attitude is pretty terrific. I think too often we push one another into denial, or silent stewing, because we think that something ought not be an issue when we are human and it is. It’s possible to be both godly and real at the same time. (And I include kindness in the “godly” part.)

    Reply
  35. Deborah A

    I am sick to death of people saying “it goes both ways” in response to a gender specific article. Yes, it goes both ways, everyone knows it! There is a target audience for an article, and in this case it’s wives. Also, men and women are not the same so you can’t always approach an issue in the same way, hence the need for articles like this. Personality comes into as well, so knowing your husband and applying this advice, only a wife can come up with the appropriate way to raise the issue.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Deborah. I’d agree.

      Reply
  36. LL

    Sheila,
    First, kudos for broaching a difficult subject — and who knew it would turn into such a firestorm? Both men and women obviously have alot of feelings about this issue. In my marriage, I am the one who is overweight, and I am aware that it can make sex more difficult. However, when we are intimate, my wonderful husband treats me as if I were the most beautiful woman on the planet. When he does this, I feel so sexy and so confident that we have a great time together. I can’t begin to say what a difference it makes to feel desirable. I am working on my health issues, and time will tell, but what I can say for sure is that we do the best we can, with what we have in the present. I really appreciate that you provided practical advice, because that’s what women have been asking you for. Just found you recently — loving your blog.

    Reply
  37. Lisa

    I have two tips for fun ways to be more active together.

    Activity trackers such as FitBit, VivoFit, etc. There are many brands and models and if you do a search you’ll find blogs with the pros and cons of each model. You don’t need to spend a lot unless you’re going to be training for races or want to keep track of altitude and that kind of thing. It’s really very motivating to try and beat yourself for steps in a day. If your husband is motivated by gadgets, apps, and/or competition, than an activity tracker might be a fun way to be more active together.

    Wii Fit U. If you have a Wii U, the Wii Fit U set (disc, balance board, & pedometer) is really cheap, less than $30 on Amazon. There’s lots of fun fitness games on it that really make you sweat. You can set goals for weight loss, minutes of activity, calories burned, etc. If your husband likes video games, this could be a great motivator. I will say that the pedometer that comes with it severely UNDERcounts my steps. It’s not useful if you want an accurate pedometer. But it’s a fun addition to the game. We love to use it during our long winters.

    Reply
  38. Hot Guy's Wife

    I recently read that a man carrying an extra 30lbs loses 1 inch of penis length. If a man has average to less than average penis length to start with, carrying 30 to 60 extra pounds can decrease his length so much so that penetration is difficult for many positions and can reduce pleasure for both husband and wife.

    My husband has put on about 40lbs since we married. He is on the smaller side of average to start with and his extra weight has hindered positions we used to really enjoy. He’s an amazing lover and knows how to make me feel sexy, beautiful, desired and fulfilled.

    Lately we have switched from PIV sex to more manual stimulation to orgasms. That’s OK occasionally but I miss the closeness and connection we had during PIV sex. I’ve had some medical issues (back surgeries) that affect my ability to take on the female superior positions while I recover. His extra weight makes it difficult for him to take on most male superior positions.

    Hubs does the grocery shopping and some of the cooking. He brings home “goodies” every time, drinks soda by the 2litre bottle and won’t touch a vegetable. I’ve been trying to find a way to get him to use his gym membership. I would go with him if I was recovered enough and my surgeon cleared me but right now, I can’t. He hasn’t been in many months.

    It’s been tough but after reading this post and most of the comments, I’m going to find the right words to let him know that I miss the way we use to enjoy each other’s bodies without bruising his ego.

    The extra weight hasn’t changed my attraction to him one bit. He’s the sexiest man I’ve ever known and I am attracted to him, aroused by him and want him all the time. My issue is the mechanics. We’ll find a way to get back to our amazing sex life. Prayer first, discussion after.

    Reply
    • unmowngrass

      This comment is tear-jerkingly beautiful.

      Reply
  39. Purity

    How should I handle feeling unattractive during sex with my husband? I am technically only 5 pounds over my acceptable weight range for my height according to my bmi, but am 35 pounds over the weight I was when we first married. We’ve been married almost 6 years, we have 3 children ages 3.5, almost 2, and a 6 week old. I haven’t had much time to shape up as I’m always taking care of the kiddos, nursing, or pregnant, and trying to maintain my home. After my first baby I did manage to lose all of my baby weight plus an additional 10 pounds, making me actually smaller than when we got mappgdd. However after my second it wasn’t so easy. I got pregnant with my 3rd before I was able to lose all the weight from number 2 so then even more weight accumulated.

    I concern myself about feeling unattractive to my husband because 1. occasionally he’ll make comments comparing me to his heaviest sister, who is much heavier than me, when I eat sweets or something, even though he does too. 2. After our first baby I found he had been dabbling in pornography. He repented and has since used covenant eyes to help keep him from temptation. But sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t struggle with entertaining those images during intimacy as he doesn’t hardly ever look at me during intimacy (or outside of intimacy for that matter) 3. Since the beginning of our marriage I always had the higher sex drive and was frequently turned down when I tried to initiate. It wasn’t uncommon to go 6 weeks without sex.

    Overall things HAVE gotten much better as we have discussed this over the years and he understood my rejection. However his recent comments again comparing me to his sister, he will not discuss. He says I’m drawing conclusions from his comment that it insinuates I’m overweight and therefore unattractive, but he will not explain to me, if that is not the case, what he DOES mean by those comments. He just gets angry and refuses to talk about it.

    When my husband does initiate sex, as he had gotten better doing, how am I supposed to ENJOY it if I feel so unattractive and that he’s not really enjoying me in the moment. It feels humiliating.

    Of course, I would love to be in shape again and I should probably strive to do so as it would probably help me feel attractive and maybe he would actually find me so. But at the same time, I don’t think it is very healthy to have to chase beauty in HOPES my husband would find me more attractive or to please him. It’s not like I’m very overweight and even when I was in lower range of weight for my height, like I said he didn’t hardly initiate. I don’t want to reinforce the world’s standard of beauty or feel I have to compete with that just to keep my husband happy. It is exhausting to try to measure up to a false and ever changing standard!

    You really can’t make someone be attracted to you. You can work on character and even your body but in the end, how do you just accept if your partner isn’t attracted to you and enjoy intimacy? Your partner may never actually say it directly, but even according to this post many people think it. Still feels hurtful.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Purity, That is so difficult! I can understand your struggle–the porn use; the comments; the lower sex drive. That is a lot to process.

      I think the biggest thing when you’re having these issues is to work on your friendship so that you’re having fun together and you feel close emotionally. When you’ve got that in place, it’s much easier to talk about these deeper issues. I do have a FREE 5-lesson emotional reconnection course you can take by email, and it could be that once you’ve worked through that then talking about your feelings about this may be a lot easier. I think when we feel close then things tend to work a lot better.

      Reply
  40. Amy F;)

    Thank-you for writing this post.

    Reply
    • Sheila Gregoire

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  41. Lezlie

    My problem is that I grew up with an older brother who was very overweight and who constantly tormented me. When my husband and i met, his belly was flat as pancake, and now that he has gained about 80 pounds, he reminds me of my brother, and it is a 100% turn off, like I don’t even want to sleep in the same bed with him, although of course I do, and he is as sweet as he can be with me, but his 45-inch waist is something I wish I could snap my fingers and have be gone. If I watch him walk around the house without his shirt I have to look away, it is nasty.

    I have not told him the truth because I think it would really hurt his feelings. PS I work out 3-4-5 times a week and weigh exactly the same as what I weighed when we met, 116 pounds. Thanks…

    Reply
  42. Dawn

    I’m very late to the conversation, but I am hoping to find hope and help from anyone who has found a solution. I was kind of crushed to get to the comment section and read so many negative responses. The consensus seemed to be “shame on you for thinking this way.”

    My situation is genuinely one of mechanics. I love my husband with all my heart. He’s my world. I am attracted to him. But the reality is that he was a size 52 when we married and has gained at least 100lbs since then. (We’ve been married 20 years.) We’ve only had sex 8 times in the last 5 years. Not because I don’t want to, but because he doesn’t think about it. Ever. And when we do, it’s gotten to the point where where I can’t even be on top anymore. He carries his weight in his belly and thighs, so the belly completely obstructs everything and his thighs are simply too wide for me to wrap around. I’ve never said anything about his size because I don’t want to hurt his feelings (he’s had gastric bypass surgery in the past, but the weight only stayed off for 3 years—I know he’s frustrated by it) and asking for more than zero sex always makes me feel desperate and sad.

    But something drastic needs to happen. Pretending that I don’t mind is not working.

    Reply
  43. Peri

    Ok ladies..I️ am so grateful for this blog. It really shows a commitment to her readers to jump on this hot topic. She probably knew there would be a lot of comments about double standards and people expressing that they love their overweight humsbads in a defensive sort of way. So, I’ll get it out there, I’m attracted to my overweight husband. I am not overweight and maybe that is what makes it that much more difficult. It is not about me being not attractive to him. It is about the true difficulty of having sex with him. He has recently gained 25 more pounds and that extra 25 on top of the other just makes it very very difficult. I don’t have cushion to match his, He crushes me missionary style, his stomach was in the way for doggie style, and I️ can only sit straight up and there is NO WAY to even try to lean over and kiss him or lean forward period. It sucks because I AM attracted to him and I NEED this intimacy with him. It is so imoritant to me for us to connect like that. Last night I finally gave up and orally finished the loved making. I don’t mind doing this, but I still want to have the closeness of us being one at least time from time. Now ladies, please don’t take this as a double standard or fat shaming, I️ truly need some real help.

    Reply
  44. Mel

    Good advice in theory but until he wants to lose weight nothing will work. I’ve tried the super nice approaches mentioned. I’ve tried the mean approaches. I cook healthy and I exercise, so I set a good example. NOTHING has worked. He is 70 lbs more than when we married and I no longer feel connected to him cause sex is rare and uncomfortable. And worse, he does not care at all. I’m the one who needs to get over it and be on top all the time. Well I’m sick of that and it’s not fair.

    Reply
    • JM

      I googled this question because I am trying to save my marriage! Please don’t get me wrong ladies, I love my husband. But sex is important to me and I hate that because he has gained 120lbs over the last few years my sex life has take a hit. I am attracted to his eyes, his smile, his mind, kindness and love for me. But the stomach has to go, I don’t find him physically attractive anymore. Plus he isn’t the most well endowed male so the belly makes it worse. I’m sorry but it does. My husband was always thick, broad shouldered and thick muscular thighs, so by all means he was never skinny.
      I am also on the thick side and go up and down in weight, I am my worst critic. I have tried the nice supportive approach and the mean negative, neither worked. I truly need help, I can’t keep going this way. I think if the sex want so impacted the weight wouldn’t bother me as much. But when I find myself reaching for my vibrator more than trying to initiate something with my husband because I know it doesn’t work sucks!
      I have tried the reverse cowboy and it does work best but again he isn’t the most endowed so the weight again has become a problem. Lol I have a big butt so yeah lol let’s just say it’s hard. I use to do this position often when he was thinner but I lose out on the intamet touch and kisses I use to be able to get with good old missionary. I feel like as dumb as it sounds that I’m jumping on a blow up doll to get my fix instead of making love to my husband. I want him to understand this, but he always has an excuse not to work out. Either it’s the kids or now the new one is he hates our local gym. His old anytime fitness was more masculine oriented and our local one is ran by women and he can tell. So he refuses to go, mind you he moved to my home town 19 years ago!
      The excuses even infuriate me to the point I’ll actually argued with him. I don’t want to cheat on him (even though at this point I kind of am with my vibrator daily) and I don’t want a divorce. But I work 400+ hours a month, he has way more time off than me, he can work out but chooses not to. He won’t even walk the dog or baby.
      I almost think that his lack of trying has made it worse! Like why am I not good enough for you to try. I even told him I wanted a divorce if he didn’t change because I’m so worried he’ll die way before me and my mind goes everywhere that I just get even more upset that we end up arguing. I need help because I know I can’t take what I have said back. I honestly do not want to lose him but I also can’t help how I feel or the fact I’m so unsatisfied. Call me selfish but I’m tired of giving in to satisfy him when I get nothing from it. Please help me with honest suggestions not judgement. I’m actually really thankful I found this and was able to read so many different opinions and issues with the subject.

      Reply
      • Holly

        So sorry for this! …. would he be willing to have his testosterone, iron, and thyroid levels checked?

        Reply
  45. Holly M

    I just found this. Having this very issue right now! Hubby is in the military so he’s not super overweight but he has had issues with some running of late and not eating well and he has 20-30 lbs to lose. I definitely struggle with this – thank you for an honest reply and take on the issue.

    Reply
  46. Susan Blair

    It has been quite interesting reading all the comments, thoughts and suggestions. I am completely beside myself and have no idea what to do. Need constructive advise or help. Our grown children are upset and frustrated. My husband and I have been married 44 years. I am 66 , 5’3”and wear a size 6, at 125 lbs, work out, yoga, eat healthy food, no red meat for 35 years, and take no medications – not much different from 44 years ago. DH on the other hand is 68, 6’ and needs to lose at least 125 lbs. At nearly 400 lbs he loves to eat and eats constantly. Day and night. Has every imaginable health problem., including cancer 4x, open heart surgery, psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis, and lung issues for which he has oxygen. He can barely cross the room without huffing and puffing. His Drs have told him he will die sooner than later if he continues to gain weight. ALL of his doctors can’t convince him. I cook and buy all the food. There is no junk food in our house. NONE. The man has a credit card and car keys – after dinner he will think it’s ok to go out for fast food or candy. He hides his junk food. He doesn’t see that he has a problem. He can easily eat 2 huge corn beef sandwiches in one sitting and doesn’t see anything wrong with it! What I don’t understand is with so many “wake up calls” why does he continue this behavior? I have tried to help but he is not interested. Love this guy so much and it is heartbreaking to see him like this. He wants sex all the time – but it is very difficult to accomplish, even with “alternate positions”. He won’t go to a psychologist so I do , just to vent. His parents were morbidly obese and DH’s. eating habits were established in childhood. He had a very successful professional career and business, now retired. I work nearly full time because I enjoy it. Impossible for us to do the fun things we used to do together. We recently went on a tropical vacation. DH could not / would not go down to the beach. All I wanted was a photo of us on the beach. Didn’t happen. What was the point of going away to be together in a beautiful location and he just wanted to stay in the room? He has no interest other than watching tv or googling on the web. He is not depressed. Don’t know how to help him. My Dr told me the best thing to do is to take care of myself. So sad, never thought this stage of life would be this way for us. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Sheila Gregoire

      Susan, that’s so sad. I’m so sorry. It sounds like your husband is on the road to killing himself, and it just doesn’t matter to him. Have you and your children sat down with him and told him, in no uncertain terms, that you don’t want to lose him? I really am sorry.

      Reply
  47. Sam

    My husband has a 9 month old prego belly, and it has always worked but now I’m pregnant and I cant do what I’ve done in the past. It’s very emotional.

    Reply
  48. Jamel

    Instead of different sex position to accommodate the belly, perhaps he should just put the work in the lose the belly…..and I am a man.

    Reply
  49. Ankhsen

    My husband and I are going through that very issue for the last few years: he used to be super active and athletic but had a number of accidents that stopped him from being able to exercise as he used to, and he started developing a belly. Then he quit smoking, and piled on more weight.

    I’m 55kg for 1m65, he went up to 130kg for 1m85. I love him very much, but at some point, I just had this constant image of his belly spreading, a bit like a fat sea lion on the bed, and it was a total turn off for me… I never said it out loud, instead I tried to keep our bed times going on a regular basis and got myself reading steamy novels for inspiration, but he was puffing, sweating heavily and just couldn’t keep up, that made him realise he couldn’t satisfy me any more and it was quite frustrating for both of us, leading to a lot of tension.

    With that in mind, he decided by himself to go on a low-carb, low sugar diet and started exercising… he lost 10kg over 2 months, and just that already changed everything. We are not 100% there, but he is definitely committed, and his main motivation was to be able to satisfy me. So… it can all improve with the right motivation, but the person HAS to find their OWN motivation, as a partner, we can only wait and see, and stay supportive…

    Reply
  50. Natalie

    I’ve read and re-read this article about 15 times since it was published. I’ve also read Sheila’s book “The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex”, hoping that would help my sex life and relationship with my morbidly obese husband.

    We’re both 28 years old. I’m 5’6″ and 145 lbs (still have about 15 lbs of baby weight after giving birth last year); I make a point to do either weight lifting or cardio 6 days/week. I cook extremely healthy (which is how I was raised) and try to live by example when it comes to weight management and healthy lifestyle. My husband is 6 foot and is currently 325 lbs (though he was 225 lbs when we got married 4 years ago and 198 lbs when we first started dating 9 years ago). Everyone in his family and extended family is obese and has a terrible diet.

    A year or so after our marriage, his weight really started getting out of control. I later found out that he was “sneaking” McDonalds when he was at work, even though I made his breakfast, packed him a lunch, and had a good healthy dinner for him to come home to daily (all of which he ate and often had seconds). He lied about that habit of his to me for the longest time, and I’m pretty sure he still does (though he knows that I know about it now after finding a receipt in his pants pocket while doing the laundry). He says his weight is the only thing he lies to me about, but honestly, I don’t know anymore if that’s a lie in itself. He rarely tells me his weight, and/or will lie about that to me too.

    Even though I’ve always been concerned about his health, his weight is now really starting to effect our sex life. I’ve found that my sex drive has steadily increased since giving birth, though whenever my husband and I start to get frisky, the sight of his naked body instantly takes my libido from 60 to 0. It’s really disheartening! I’ve tried praying about it and asking that the Lord help me look past the exterior and see the man I love. I’ve tried inviting him to go on walks with me (which he almost always declines because he says I walk too fast or his knees or feet hurt too much). I’ve tried to phrase my requests that he lose weight delicately, but he knows he has a problem and he knows it’s effecting me sexually. We have sex 2-3 times / year now; I’m not sure if that’s due to him not initiating because he knows how I feel about his body, or if it’s because he has low T / libido.

    I’m honestly at my wits end. I re-read this article and others by Sheila hoping that something new will jump out at me. I just feel like we’re missing out on SO much! Like the best, youthful years of our marriage are passing us by! This is the time when we should be getting frisky regularly, enjoying each other’s bodies, since gravity will just continue taking its toll as the years go on. I waited to have sex till we were married, thinking that that would not only honor God but would also create a really solid foundation for a wonderful, intimate, fantastic sex life. Now a part of me is feeling cheated, like I waited all that time and fought against the temptations for all those years, only to be rewarded with an absolutely awful sex life. I don’t know what to do anymore, and have become very apathetic about the whole thing. Help!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Natalie,

      I’m so sorry! That is really difficult. And it’s hard just from the health standpoint–here’s a young guy who now can’t go on walks already because of his knees? What’s going to happen when he’s 50? 60? 70?

      What a waste. I wonder why people don’t see that?

      Honestly, I think you just have to be open about it. “Honey, you have a problem. You’re digging yourself into an early grave. You’re not going to have energy to keep up with our kids as they grow. This isn’t the kind of life you want. I know it’s not. You don’t want to get diabetes at 45 or need knee replacements. So we need to do something, and I’m going to be on your side, cheering you on! But this is serious and it needs to be dealt with.”

      Have you tried something like that? Obviously you can’t change someone, but I think we’re often so scared to shame people that we aren’t honest. If it were drugs someone was addicted to, we’d say something. But when it’s food, we don’t. Maybe we need to start rethinking that? I don’t know. I just think it’s such a waste, too.

      Reply
      • Natalie

        Thanks Sheila!
        Yes! I feel the exact same way about his age and him having these problems already. It breaks my heart to know that the possibility of him having serious health problems or even dying before he reaches retirement are very high. It breaks my heart to not have the partner I thought I’d have to go hiking with me or traveling and sight seeing with me. I know he wants to do all these things with me and the kids, but that doesn’t seem to be enough motivation for him to change.

        I am a very blunt, honest person so I’ve probably said too much or said it cruelly in the past that’s he’s way too fat and needs to make a change not only for himself but for me and our family. But if/when my frustration gets the better of me and I say something meanly, I always follow that up with a heart to heart with him explaining where my frustration is coming from and that I love him and only want the best for him.

        I wish we had the money for him to meet with a personal trainer regularly or a weight loss clinic counsellor, but those don’t seem to be financially feasible for us right now. However, that’s at the top of our priorities list, and I don’t see us having anymore children until his weight is addressed (not just simply because we pretty much never have sex anymore but also because I’ve read that new research in epigenetics is showing that obesity can be inherited to some degree, which concerns me, even though our children will be cooked for and taught about food and nutrition by me).

        But my primary question for you is about sex: what can I do to improve our sex life / intimacy? I know that men need sex to feel loved, and women need love to get in the mood for sex. I know that my job as his wife is to meet his needs sexually (& me being so revolted by him makes me feel really guilty and like I’m not being the wife God wants me to be). But I’ve never orgasmed (I don’t masterbate), and feel that that’s something my husband should help me do… that we should play and discover what I like together. I also feel like, as my husband, he needs to understand that his body is “mine” now that we’re married, just like my body is his. By him taking awful care of his body and making it so that I want nothing to do with him physically, it’s not only taking a toll on me physically/sexually but even more do mentally and emotionally (& we’ve discussed this together ad nauseam). I’m wondering if I’d like sex more if I orgasmed or felt some sort of pleasure from it. But as it is right now, I’m so distracted by the look of him during sex (or by the feel of him if we’re doing it in the dark) that I can’t “get my head in the game” and it just becomes automatic – he climaxes, we clean up, we go to bed. I don’t know what to do anymore.

        Reply
  51. JBeans

    Hi, new here. I came across this post while doing some internet searches for position options when one or both partners is very overweight. My partner and I are both overweight, but I am definitely the smaller one by several hundred pounds. Over the last two years I’ve lost about 100 pounds and am finally becoming closer to the size I’ve always wanted to be. My partner is a very large man, but that doesn’t affect my attraction to him. He was large when we met and has stayed relatively the same size throughout our relationship. Even though I find him attractive as is, his size does make certain positions difficult or impossible. We have the best success with me on top, and as you mentioned, gravity is your friend here. I don’t find that leaning back is neccessary, but I usually have to be in an almost “take a knee” position to get maximum mobility. If I could be so bold as to offer some advice, just be willing to try different things. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to try and fail a few times before you find something that works and is pleasurable for both of you. My partner is large and not much more than average in equipment size and we still manage to have a great physical relationship. It’s not impossible, even for very very large men OR women. I hope this was helpful for anyone struggling for ideas and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Reply
  52. Marie

    This is a very real issue, and I’m glad you addressed it in a REAL way. And not just a “Sunday School” answer, as I call it. It sucks to have an overweight husband who doesn’t care to change at all. My husband is 100 lbs overweight, yet I’ve heard him say on numerous occasions that he could never be with a “big girl.” So, I think the double standard comes from men. They put pressure on us to look a certain way, but how dare we say anything. I’m to the point that I’m repulsed when my husband even touches me. I literally can not have sex with him. I hate it. It’s disgusting. I can hardly stand to look at him even when not in the bedroom. Anyways, thanks for addressing this. If not for anything else than to let me know I’m not alone and I’m not crazy for having these feelings.

    Reply
  53. RS

    Part of the problem is lack of nutrients in food so people eat more and more to get less and less. Medically approved diets generally do very little. Of the diets and weight loss programs out there, most have the same things in addition to buying their products. I have tried these and they seem to be the only thing that works.

    * Eat 6 times per day instead of 3. You have to force yourself to do this.
    * Eat smaller meals.
    * Drink lots of water. 1 quart/day for every 50 lbs of body weight.
    * During weight loss mode, you don’t want to consume more than 500 calories/day. Generally speaking, this means that your entire meal , if put into a measuring cup would be about 1/4 cup and no more than 1/2 cup. (but remember, you get to eat every 2.5 hours.
    * To keep hunger pains back, be sure and balance carbs and proteins. Otherwise your blood sugar will spike and yo-yo back and forth.
    * Get rid of your normal dinner plates and start eating on smaller plates such as those used for salad.
    * Once a day, eat a normal, small, balanced meal.
    * Initially cut out dairy and sugars.

    Reply
    • Cara

      Woah!!! 500 calories a day? That’s insanely low and will wreck your metabolism in the future. You can’t keep that up for long. Also, if you’re doing that you had better never exercise. That’s not even enough calories to support your natural body function.

      I have many hormonal issues etc and weight loss is hard for me but even I have had success with 1500 calories per day and exercising 6 days per week.

      Be careful people!!!!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Totally agree, Cara. Restricting calories doesn’t work in the long run.

        Reply
  54. Anne

    Another position that can work with a large belly is a variation on missionary where the woman is laying down and the man is sitting up. The woman can have her legs up or down. This way the belly isn’t putting pressure on the woman (unless it’s very large).

    Reply
  55. Katharine Edwards Wilson

    My husband was big when I met him, maybe low 300’s? now he is 70 pounds more and it all goes to his belly. I never stopped being attracted to my husband because of it, just extremely annoyed that he never saw an issue to be consistent with weight loss for himself let alone his family. My husband knows his stomach is in the way, I have to now help him button up his pants as he lifts his belly…when is enough enough that you get tired of it?! When last attempted sex we couldn’t even do missionary on the ground (we just moved and didn’t have our mattress yet) because gravity and his belly wasn’t allowing him to penetrate me fully. 8 years ago that wasn’t an issue. My husband is older than me 7 years my senior I’m much thinner then he is. I’m 196 6ft and he is 370ish 6ft 1. I’m always trying to get in shape, eat healthy and try to be a positive influence to my two boys 6 and 9 because I fear that hereditarily they will be fat too if I don’t make them eat the right foods or make them play outside and join sports so they wont be lazy like their dad. I love my husband but he wants everything easy…surgery instead of building good life long habits to control his weight. He is diabetic and doesn’t even take the meds or restrict his food since he is so forgetful!

    I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to leave my husband in the dust getting in shape again and he cant keep up with my physical desires but how do you make someone who just thinks they are fine as wine just as they are when they really arnt? How do I make him see things are going down hill when he is living in lala land?

    I don’t to hurt his feelings, he is aware the weight is an issue. He is aware he not 100% satisfying me.

    I just don’t get it, I never thought in a million years this would be my issue at 33?!

    I just cant believe it, that amongst other things.

    Reply
    • Melissa

      I’m dealing with something very similar. My partner is overweight, diabetic and an alcoholic.

      Reply
  56. Emmy

    Tis is a very tough thread about a tough question.

    I’m also wrestling with this problem. It is not about attractiveness for me, not at all. He is just so very heavy. And he won’t try another position. If I even suggest we could try and experiment, he becomes very quiet and awkward and closes up like a clam and won’t talk about it. He has never been open to anything else than missionary position an PIV, even long before he started gaining weight.

    Like someone already said here, there is no Thou Shalt not Have Another Position Besides the Missinary Position, and I agree there isn’t. I’d be happy to try whatever works but I have not been able to convince my husband. He really seems to think such a rule exists and I really don’t know how to convince him otherwise. I also don’t want to sound like complaining or blaming him, and I don’t want or won’t to make it about attractiveness. I so much would like to make it sound I’m offering him something that’s fun and good.

    The worst thing however is the health issue. Hubby has already had two heath attacs and a bypass operation. I’m afraid he is eating himself to an early grave and that saddens me much more than just sex being difficult. I still love him as a person and I don’t want to loose him yet.

    Reply
  57. patrice

    OOh! I admire the ladies that show respect to their husbands despite their huge bellies.
    My husband has one too and unfortunately I am already experiencing some challenges due to the weight, He has tried for two years consisitently to lose it but nothing seems to happen. After reading the posts, O think the hypertension, and heart meds and perhaps stress contributes to it.
    He is a great mad and takes good care of me! I love him and try to be senstive to what he is experiencing. He is trying! Any suggestions would be great

    Reply
  58. BW

    My husband is a good 100 lbs overweight and this is a big problem for us. 🙁 I’m not attracted to him. Missionary position worked best for us for years but it’s hard now (I can’t breathe so it’s gotta be quick). We try me on top and I’ve finally got that working. He “tries” to lose weight but won’t change any habits to make it happen. He still loves all-you-can-eat restaurants, late-night snacks, and chips even while he pats himself on the back for eating “low-carb” or not having sugar in his coffee. I don’t know how to talk about this with him but it’s a big issue in our relationship.

    Reply
  59. Pam

    My husband has worked out for almost every day at the gym for his entire life and he eats most of the same things I do and I weigh 135 and he has a huge belly and weighs about 285. I just can’t understand why he can’t lose weight and if you didn’t know he went to the gym all the time, you would never guess. He also has bad knees and sometimes problems with ED. We only have success in the bedroom when he stands beside the bed and holds my legs. In our old bed I used to use a couple pillows under me to raise me up a bit. I’ve recently purchased a new bed and put it on risers to get me to the exact right height. It would be nice to do other positions once in a while, but this one is pretty great and definitely better than nothing.

    Reply
  60. Fatman

    As a husband with a very large belly, I must admit sex has gotten more difficult as I’ve gotten fatter. I used to be able to get full penetration, even though my wife is also very obese. However, as my weight has crept up close to 350 lbs, there’s just way too much of my fat in the way. I can barely get in at all. The exertion is also getting to be too much with me on top and I’m too wide for her to straddle if I’m on the bottom. However, we find other ways to enjoy each other as I continue to outgrow the act itself. You just have to be creative! I know sex will become impossible for us soon, probably in another 25 pounds or so, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s wonderful that you are both trying to keep an active sex life. It really is. But may I suggest that rather than accepting that your weight will creep up, the best way to love each other would be to get healthy? I know it’s tough, but 350 pounds is not safe or healthy for anyone. That’s a big red flag that some major changes do need to be made in your life. If you have kids, too, they need you and your wife to do this for them. They really do. Now’s a great time to start!

      Reply
  61. Sarah

    The truth is that certain sex positions that I find very connecting sexually and emotionally like both sitting up holding eachother looking at eachother while actually having sex, truth is i cant share with him because he his very overweight with a large belly. I understand when a person cant help it because of a medical reason but if he makes no effort to care about health or try to be healthy and then gets some med condition because of habits and on top of isnt really trying to be that good of a person and doesnt have respect for you either well that makes it difficult to even want to self sacrifice and give up desired position and accept the weight. If he was trying to be a good person on the inside and towards others the emotional adoration and respect for that can sometimes override the physical desires. But there isnt even that it is almost impossible not feel disgusted with both him and yourself when you really dont want to. That can take its psychological and emotional damaging toll.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I understand, Sarah. I’m sorry.

      Reply
  62. Sexless Valentine's Night

    Thank you so much for acknowledging wives need to breathe! I’m sick of the guilt of not making him feel bad about himself. But when husbands themselves don’t care why should the wife? When a husband desires food OVER his wife, he is sinning against her. Not only is my 5’8″ husband 240+, but our 19 yr son is 250+ at 5’9″. I live with 2 men that sit all day (work and evening)and eat / drink whatever they want (that they themselves buy). While I exercise and eat Paleo. They think it’s so funny too. I am not doing sex only sideways 100% of the time just because that’s the only position we can. I’m too young to live like this for the rest of my life – 55.

    Reply
    • India

      You and I are in the same frustrating place, and it SUCKS.

      Reply
  63. EM

    I completely sympathize with the spouses that are overweight for medical reasons, but the ones that are just lazy and sneak to fast food restaurants to stuff their face need some tough love! I am sick of the people that say you need to love them the way they are. It’s just more to love blah blah blah. This isn’t about love. We do love them, but should we also stay with a drug addict that is destroying themselves? It is not as easy as encouraging them to walk with us or buying healthy foods. They sneak whatever they want and many wont even get off the couch to walk. My spouse used to blame me for lack of sex when the fact is I got sick of the hip pain trying to straddle someone three times my size. On top became the ONLY position workable (which is boring in itself) but then as he grew it became painful. SO now we have NO sex life. I have explained to him that he is too big, but he tells me to get more limber! wth! sorry no, I’m not the one stuffing my face every day. And I am talking about obese spouses, not ones with just a few extra pounds. There is a huge difference. Obesity impacts everything: sex, affection, cuddling, traveling, activities together, even sitting next to each other in the movie theater (if you can even go), the furniture you can buy, the cars you can ride in together, the amount of the food bill every month. I mean it literally affects EVERYTHING!
    I might sound harsh, but for all you overweight spouses that are making the choice to be fat, you need to wake up. We love you and want you around. We want to spend time doing activities with you. Do you want us to end up widowed at a very early age when you drop dead? And what about your kids? Stop eating and start walking for gods sake.

    Reply
  64. Iynne

    Whoa, so many comments! It seems it’s near impossible to talk about the issues without criticisms of fat-shaming and conditional love. It looks like most of the discussion became “How to change your spouse?” or “How to choose to be attracted to your spouse”.

    Sheila I think it might be helpful to add links to some of your other more recent articles?

    After trawling through all of the mixed comments there was actually very little practical advice about the sex positions – which is what someone might need in the interim while they’re working on health and fitness and communication.

    Maybe there could be another article which considers pregnancy belly or obesity and a list of suggested positions? (You’d probably need some ground rules for the comments section) If there already is one it would be great to have that link here!

    I have another question which is about being afraid of hurting your spouse’s feelings. How do you know when to potentially hurt their feelings to prevent harm? Or are there situations where it’s better to keep your mouth shut and not hurt their feelings?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, Lynne! We’ve broached the subject of weight a bit in our iron sharpens iron series as well. Sometimes you just have to say it, especially when they’re hurting themselves. And I’ll put it on the list to write a post about positions for when you just don’t “fit” together well!

      Reply
  65. SadCass

    I think for me, my issue is I see his unwillingness to lose weight as a sign that he does not care about me.
    When I was pregnant with our daughter I gained a lot of weight, I remember reading endless forums with women discussing what to do when their husband won’t be intimate with them due to size/pregnancy. I felt like it wasn’t my fault, I have a kid in me, and everyone told me I have to understand his lack of desire and it’s okay, it’s a me problem not a him problem and I need to get over it.
    After I had the baby I still looked pregnant, and he said that to me. He told me about 3 months after having the baby that he found me unattractive, with my belly, because I still looked pregnant. I felt so sad. Sad is the easiest word to write but I felt a lot of things. I began exercising, and within 10 months I lost 75lbs and I looked good, I did this for him and for my kid so I can keep up and be healthy for them.

    Now he is 50+ lbs overweight, he has a large belly, I am scared all the time because his father and his grandfather both died from heart attacks, I can hear him breathing from the other room sometimes. It leaves me worried what to do when he dies young and leaves me with our child alone
    To make things worse, he has an addiction to his phone he pretty much just stays parked on the couch buried in it when he is home. We have not been out on a date in years… our wedding anniversary is this week and I just feel sad thinking not only will we not celebrate I will sit and think about how lonely I feel on that day
    I just wish he would try for me like I did for him.

    Reply
  66. Crypta

    I am in love with a very large man. I knew that going in. No regrets. We met playing video games. It’s challenging but if I was judgemental I would be missing out on being loved.

    He is aware of his health, and working thru it. He is helping me quit smoking which we all agree is worse.

    I don’t care he is big, small, skinny, tall. He is my beautiful partner and he makes me feel alive on either side of the bedroom door. Making love is more than sex, intimacy is marriage is more than sex. I hope everyone can find ways to strengthen their relationships.

    Reply
  67. MYSTERY

    you ALL SPELLED VACCUUM WRONG !!!!

    Reply
  68. Jo

    Great response, but what if he has both age and weight working against him? Attracted or not attracted he is my only option for sex and my body wants it so most times I take what I get … just saying

    Reply
  69. Lynn White

    So my fiancé is an amazing guy that I love dearly. He is very obese and we want to have sex but his belly is in the way and well I’m not near as flexible as I used to be. What positions can we try? We need ideas!

    Reply
  70. Mikaela

    Still struggling with this one. I’ve tried the suggestions above. I haven’t orgasmed in at least four years now, which is just shy of being half our relationship. Not only that, but when I am on top, I find my hips in pain from how wide I have to straddle. The other night we were having sex and his stomach rubbed up on my clitoris — not only did it hurt, but major mood killer.

    I stopped buying practically anything [food] for myself and find that we barely have food in the house in an attempt to curb his snacking but now I’m becoming underweight because he eats with no regard as to if I’ll have anything I eat. I’m down to one meal a day and I’m HANGRY. We’ve been together for slightly over a decade and his weight started steadily increasing after our first year together. I’m 110lbs, 5’4 and he is 340 5’8 — he now jokes that for every pound I lose he gains and it’s not funny.

    I agreed to do a weight loss program that one of his friends recommended to him and he was very much down for the idea of us tracking macros and whatnot but I’m the only one who has actually stuck to it even though he brought the idea to me.

    I pull the weight financially so he stays home with our new child and I am fearful that our child will also become overweight learning from his bad habits as the primary caregiver.

    I knew he had trauma from his earlier life and I have been super supportive until this point. He tried therapy but didn’t stick with it because he “doesn’t have time”. He even cheated on me and used the trauma as his excuse. I tried looking the other way but now he’s only showering once a week if I’m lucky, he suddenly “doesn’t believe in deodorant” and wears the same smelly clothes for multiple days. I’m quickly losing the attraction and I think I may have lost myself trying to be kind and supportive. I feel like I’m going to be reaching for the last straw soon. HELP.

    Reply
  71. Rucky Rawg

    That’s it. I am breaking up with my boyfriend so I don’t end up in a marriage like many of these comments. I feel like I’m suffocating just reading some of these comments. I am fully aware that I need to take good care of myself and fully aware when I make unhealthy decisions and what I need to do to get back on track.

    If someone is so unaware of themselves that they can’t even tell when their body drastically changes, I really don’t know what to say.

    Denial is mental illness and enabling it may make you a widow very soon, and severely limit your quality of life in the meantime. This is just…really depressing.

    I don’t think it’s cruel to be honest. I think it’s cruel to lie, pretend, make excuses and hide from the truth so as to seem “nice” aka not hurt their feelings and allowing yourself to die inside. Equally cruel to both parties to be enabling their complacency, gluttony and/or entitlement (however well disguised it may be).

    It’s one thing to speak gently and be patient in truth.

    It is quite another thing to lie, deny, make excuses and pretend.

    Satan presents as an angel of light.

    The world hates people who speak plainly the truth. The world likes to lie to themselves and be deceived. No one can handle the truth. Now it’s intolerant and hurts peoples feelings.

    It’s still the truth, is it not?

    We’re instructed to not to be corrupted by the ways of the world.

    Think about it.

    Reply
  72. Craig L.

    Jogging may be fine for some people, maybe alternate methods should be looked into. My sister has bad knees and a hip and she used to jog alot, (when you’re younger it seems like a good idea) she blames all her joint problems on high impact jogging, as this sort of results in a high impact on your knees and hips. It catches up to you later in life.

    Reply
  73. Melissa

    My partner is going to be 55 in September. He’s at least 50 pounds overweight and so am I, but his weight is all in his belly and mine is all over, so I don’t look like my weight. Anyway, since he’s put all this weight on over this past winter, it affected our sex life and my attraction to him. I honestly don’t care if we ever have sex again. I feel like now I have to have sex with him just so he doesn’t ask why we’re not having sex and my having to tell him. I’ve gotten where I don’t really look at him anymore because all I see is his huge (think full term with twins) belly. None of his shirts fit so they’re either really stretched out or his belly hangs out from under them. This is the biggest he’s been since we’ve been together. I can’t say anything because he gets angry.

    Reply
  74. Marian

    I still find my husband attractive but I haven’t orgasmed since he reached a certain weight. I don’t know how to tell him!!!

    Reply

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