My wife has slowly put on the kilos over the past few years. I still find her really attractive but what seems to have happened is that as the weight has gone on, she has lost any desire to have sex with me. Does weight affect women's libido? I love her and find her new shape sexy but I'm worried that our relationship is going to fall apart if we don't address the lack of sex issue. Any advice?

It's natural to be concerned about your relationship when your sex life is not going well. Often couples consider sex the glue to their relationship. Many other things bond couples together, but a passionate relationship is dependent on intimacy and sexual intimacy is an important part of that. Some couples can be in deep conflict, but still rely on sex to keep them feeling together as a couple. Others however, can be quite happy together, with very little conflict or stress, and yet maintain a very limited sexual life together. This situation works only when both partners are satisfied with this arrangement however. And mostly, when libido issues arise, it becomes a problem because at least one of the partners is unhappy with the quantity or quality of their sex life. Whether your relationship "falls apart" based on whether your sex life is fulfilling is up to you and your partner. Some couples can split over lack of sex, and others will try to work on it until it gets better.Libido does fluctuate - that's normal. There are a multitude of factors that influence libido so it's only natural that it goes up and down, depending on what's going on in our lives, and our selves. Your wife's libido may be down now, but it doesn't have to stay that way - and likely won't - so while it's natural to be concerned about the lack of sex and its effect on your relationship, be aware that it can be fixed, and that will stand you in great stead for dealing with this issue the next time it occurs - whether it happens again to your wife, or perhaps next time to you.

Certainly libido is affected by weight, and also body image and sexual self concept - do we find ourselves sexy. People will heavier weights can absolutely have healthy libidos, but the sexual response is like any other body response in that it needs the correct fuel in order to function optimally. So if you want the best possible sexual desire, arousal, response and climax, with healthy function and pleasurable, intense orgasms, you need to take care of your body. Your sexual response utilises your brain, nervous system, circulatory system and muscles, to name a few, and therefore you need to put good nutrition into your body to support these systems, and also exercise to enhance your body responses in terms of blood flow, muscle function etc generally and sexually. Someone who is gaining or has gained weight may not be taking the best care of themselves. So a bit of exercise and an improved diet can definitely help the sexual response, and once that feels better, a higher libido will result.

Also fatigue plays a huge role in whether someone is in the mood for sex - does your wife get enough rest? How old is she, and has she talked to her doctor about checking her hormone levels? Many people know that testosterone is a key hormone responsible for libido, and males have more of it than females, but women do have it too, and it is an important hormone for libido in women as well. A simple test can tell whether her levels are low. Also levels of DHEA play an important role in libido and calming activites like meditation increase levels of DHEA. Psychological aspects also decrease libido such as stress, poor body image, negative self talk, distance, anger or resentment in a relationship, or feeling disconnected from your partner.

To treat low libido, you need to identify what the specific causes are - and they could be more than one. Certainly your wife's weight could be part of the equation, but don't assume it's the only trigger decreasing her libido. If there is no outlet for affection except for attempts to have sex, that's another libido killer because without some sex-free affection, intimacy and touch, the reaction to retreat from your partner intensifies. The person with low libido may crave some touch, but doesn't want to initiate or respond to any advances for fear it must always lead to intercourse. This becomes a negative spiral to the point that a couple never interacts intimately at all - whether it includes sex or not. So talk to your wife about your feelings, and express the problem in the context of "we" and your relationship, and not that it's only her fault. Ask her what she needs to feel more inclined for sex - is it more pampering time on her own to feel sexier, is it more compliments, more time touching and connecting without it leading to sex, more intimate talks ... you can't know what she needs and what may help support her desire for sex with you, unless you ask. Make no assumptions, and talk to her with open ears and and open heart, willing to listen and willing to do what's necessary to work on this, or other, aspects of your relationship together. Work on the shape of your relationship together, rather than emphasise her body shape. Keep things positive, not blaming or despairing or negative, and you'll find the teamwork will improve things between you. And when you feel more connected, more intimate, and even a little bit sexier and healthier, libido will naturally follow.



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