In a recent post, I tackled my concern that society as a whole and women in particular are harming male body image with unrealistic appearance expectations. Most of our husbands will never have a six-pack (unless you’re talking about the beer sitting in your fridge). Instead, we should appreciate the real men in our lives for who they are and how they look.
But here’s the flip side: I hear from wives struggling in their sex lives because their husband is seriously out-of-shape and overweight. I’m not talking about a few pounds. Rather, it’s a big health problem that negatively affects their sexual intimacy.
Once we ditch the ridiculous notions about body image, we are freer to embrace what really matters about our bodies: caring for our health. That’s simply taking care of the body God gave us. And while it applies to both women and men, I’m specifically addressing husbands today.Once we ditch the ridiculous notions about body image, we are freer to embrace what really matters about our bodies: caring for our health. via @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet
(For more about the wife side, check out Putting Your Body to Work to Help You Feel Beautiful, a guest post from Gaye Christmas or Feel Beautiful: Dust Off Your Exercise Shoes!)
Poor health can lead to performance issues.
Obese men have a 50% increase in erectile dysfunction compared with “normal weight” men, partly because obesity is related to medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, that affect both sex drive and performance. But also because obese men have lower levels of testosterone. Additionally, wives tell me their out-of-shape husbands fatigue more easily.
And some men worry about how big their penis looks when surrounded by a lot of bulk and are thus reticent about being naked and making love.
This doesn’t mean that being obese or out-of-shape means you’ll have problems or cannot engage in sex. Don’t put your sexual intimacy on hold! You can still have a good sex life now. But trimming down and getting more fit will have a positive impact on your own health and your sexual intimacy.
Some positions are off-limits or at least hard to do.
If a man outweighs his wife by many, many pounds, some man-on-top positions are going to be difficult to accomplish, if not impossible. Look, my hubby only outweighs me by about 30 pounds, and I sometimes push him up a little and say, “You’re crushing me.” Not, not literally. But it doesn’t feel good to have a whole bunch of weight pressing down on your body.
Again, don’t wait to enjoy sex! Chris Taylor of The Forgiven Wife wrote a wonderful two-part series on plus-sized lovemaking. I highly encourage you to go read it: Enjoy a Plus-Size Sex Life, Part 1 and Part 2. Christian Friendly Sex Positions also has an entire section with Sex Positions for Plus-Size Lovers. But the reality is that more angles and positions will open up once you pursue better health.
By the way, this is not true just for overweight people! One can certainly be out-of-shape and still in the weight window your doctor recommends. Any out-of-shape spouse will notice an increase in flexibility and stamina after investing in better health and exercise.
Taking care of your body can increase your appeal.
Let me begin here: The last thing I want to do is “fat-shame” anyone or suggest that some body types are less attractive. I don’t believe that at all! But if your actions indicate a lack of care in how you value your own body, it can be harder for your spouse to value your body as they should in the marriage bed.
And now and then, I’m contacted by a wife who says that her husband has gained so much weight that he has lost the musculature typical of the male build. With his high ratio of body fat, he sweats more and thus struggles with smelling good. There aren’t many clothes that flatter him. And it’s just not the man she married.
Every time I get those messages, I encourage the wife to accept and embrace the man she married. You do not need to wait for a lot of progress in the health/weight area to begin enjoying your sex life as much as possible. Moreover, a spouse should be an advocate for their beloved against the problem of obesity, not in contention with their beloved.
But I understand those feelings—the disappointment the wife feels that she isn’t quite as attracted to her husband as she used to be or could be, if only he would make some effort to care for his body a little more. Most of these wives are not asking for the superhero body, just wanting to see more of the man they love.
Let’s wrap it up.
Of course, I am aware that one’s weight is related to hereditary factors, health conditions, medication side effects, and more. But again, I’m not talking about some extra pounds, which are no big deal, but rather life-impacting obesity.
Moreover, I encourage you not to make goals based on height/weight charts, which do not take your particular body into account. If you want a target to aim for, get a health professional to do a full workup on your body that considers your bone structure, body fat percentage, etc., and you may find your goal weight is far less daunting than what was on the standard chart.
And lest you guys think I’m calling you out unfairly, I want to say that yes, I could say almost all of this to women as well. While I hate the ideal-body expectations out there that cause women to struggle so much with embracing their beauty, I also know that taking care of yourself is an important aspect of both life and your marriage. Your health matters.
But husbands, if this post describes you, could you take a step this coming week toward better health? Could you commit to doing something, a small something even, that shows you want to do better for yourself and for your marriage?