Sex in the “Post Skinny Jeans” Era

“Yeah. You gotta stop shopping in the junior section. You’ve given birth.  Those jeans just aren’t going to fit you anymore,” my friend said.

Her words rang piercingly true, laden with equal parts of sympathy and sarcasm.  She was right.

That was years ago, of course.  But she was right.  Babies do a number on your body, don’t they? I mean, they are cute and all… I wouldn’t trade my two for anything.  But when it comes to sex with a post-baby body, is it any wonder so many women feel insecure. “Sex with the lights off and the covers over us,” one woman said to me. “And don’t even think about me being on top.”

I speak with many women who share these sentiments.  Sweet children created in the grips of passion spend their gestation and entrance (and first year or so) wreaking havoc on our flat stomachs, shapely hips and firm breasts.  (If you are a woman who has given birth, you are nodding right now, I imagine).   Let’s not even talk about stretch marks and extra pounds.  How can one little precious parasite…uh I mean child…go so renegade on his or her mother’s body?  Incomprehensable, I tell you. And yet, undeniably true.

Body image is a huge inhibitor for many women who begin to question why their husbands would even want to have sex with them.  If this is how you feel, let me speak some encouragement to you.  If your husband is like the majority out there, he wants to have sex with you…not just because you are in close proximity, but because you are his wife.  The effects of age and childbirth on your body more than likely are not turning him off as much as you think they are.  I know it may sound crazily courageous, but ask him.

If he has expressed some reservations about your post-baby body, it could be because he is being easily swayed by unrealistic images in the media. I don’t know about you, but never once have I had a lighting specialist and air brush expert show up in my bedroom right before my husband and I make love.  That would be weird if I did, but you get the point.

You may have to help him see that comparing you to unrealistic ideals is painful and not helping your sex life.  Another thought to consider is that if he has expressed concerns about your body, it could be because he cares deeply about your health.  And this shows how much he loves you…he’s not trying to hurt you, but rather wants you in his life for many, many years.

I could blog endlessly about how body image struggles rob married couples of hot sex.  Stay tuned for more posts to come down the road on this topic.  I know many of you struggle with it.  Sure, there is a lot to be said for trying to maintain a healthy weight and overall general health.   But there’s even more to be said for growing in your sexual confidence too.  (BTW, Shannon Ethridge has a tremendous book I highly recommend that addresses this issue, among others.  The Sexually Confident Wife).

Don’t sacrifice sexual intimacy with the man you married while waiting for “skinny jean days” to return.   They might not return (at least not the “skinny jean days” you loved your first year of college).

God wants you and your husband enjoying great sex.  The journey there isn’t always easy, but so totally worth it.    So let me know what you think… how has body image affected sex with the man you married?  Let’s keep the dialogue going on this one.

Copyright 2010. Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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8 thoughts on “Sex in the “Post Skinny Jeans” Era

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  4. Mama Bear says:

    I love your site and have been browsing around at all your wonderful posts. Wow, I can’t believe this one hasn’t gotten any responses.
    Yes, I am one whose body image has affected my sex life. I have given birth to six children. You can only imagine if one or two wreaks havoc on your body what six will do. Plus the fact that I’m pushing middle age.
    And my husband is one of those men who have expressed reservations at the changes in my body. Not for health reasons; I take care of myself and am healthy and fit. His reservations come from the unrealistic images he is bombarded with. He knows those images are unrealistic, and I believe he sincerely tries to overcome his views and avoid temptation.
    But I also know that he is less attracted to me, that I am not pretty to him, and it makes me feel bad. I never refuse him when he wants sex, but I don’t initiate. It has greatly decreased the amount of enjoyment I feel when we do have sex.

  5. JulieSibert says:

    Hey Mama Bear… thanks for your comment. I’m sad with you that your husband seems less attracted to you.

    I think, though, that you are wise to recognize that he (like a lot of men) has unrealistic expectations about what “sexy” is because of the images he sees. Those images are not even an accurate portrayal of those women, because more often than not, they have been airbrushed, doctored, etc. etc. Rare in our mass media and advertising is a photo that hasn’t been manipulated in some way. For a powerful short video on this, go to:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlmho_RovY&feature=youtu.be

    Possibly your husband would be willing to watch this?

    Also, I would encourage you to remember that we each are accountable for our actions (God’s word is clear about this). So, if your husband is not taking it to heart what it means to honor and respect his wife, then he will need to wrestle with God on this…he will have to be accountable some day to the Lord on this. All you can do is to strive to be the wife God calls you to be — and in that effort, God is well pleased.

    And God is sad with you that your husband does not see your body as beautiful. Continue to lean on the Lord, because He cares deeply about what grieves your heart.

  6. a good ROI says:

    Julie, Just came across your blog linked from somewhere else (sorry can’t recall from where now). I have read several of your posts, a few of them related to body image. While I understand that modern day society has a preponderance of misleading advertising portraying beauty and youth, etc. I am curious what you have to say about a woman who has let them self go… they have gained 60lbs, etc. And when their husband has shared his concerns with her (health related) she took offense at it and concluded that her husband just didn’t love her anymore because she was fat and that he had terrible expectations if he thought she was going to look exactly like she did the day they got married, etc. When in reality that was not the case, 10lbs, 20lbs… maybe 30lbs over 12 years of being married, but 60lbs that is NOT healthy. And yes, to be honest it does affect the level of attraction, but in my opinion the fact that it causes all sorts of health issues is more important. Anyways, I am curious as to what you have to say on the subject. Being confident of your after baby, 10 years older body, but also taking care of yourself so you are not unhealthy.

  7. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you “a good ROI” for your comment.

    You bring up a good point that is indeed an issue in some marriages. Sadly, an unhealthy weight can become a vicious topic in a marriage, where insecurities and discouragement about body image can creep in so quickly.

    I think having a motive of wanting a spouse healthy is a loving attitude with regard to weight. And for some women, a husband who expresses his concern for her health is indeed enough motive to compel her to become healthier.

    What’s even better is if the couple can work on it together… both becoming committed to holding each other accountable, exercising together if possible, eating healthier, food shopping together, setting goals, etc.

    If you have done all you can to lovingly express your heart and concerns with regard to her weight, I would encourage you to on your own begin to make healthy choices. Even if you are not overweight, exercise can benefit you, as well as healthy eating. If you make healthy steps, she will possibly see this and follow suit. Don’t do it to try to get her to do it; but instead, do it for your own healthy well-being.

    Continue to compliment her and affirm her, but I wouldn’t go over-the-top with it… that can just turn into a vicious cycle where her perspective on her body becomes dependent on the degree to which you compliment her.

    And of course, continue to pray for your marriage and your wife, that she would see herself as God sees her… with much love, and with a heart that wants the very best for her, including healthy choices that she has the ability to make.

    julie

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