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Why Your Sex Life Matters If You're Trying to Lose Weight
One under-recognised factor in overweight is lowered metabolic rate due to anxiety or depression related to a non-existent or unsatisfactory sex life. In examining a range of important lifestyle factors that impact on metabolic rate and weight loss, this is one area that certainly deserves consideration and support.
There is no doubt that a healthy metabolic rate requires a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy sex life is part of that for almost all adults. If you are working toward weight loss, it's sensible to consider that this area of life might also need improvement.
Did you know that diet and exercise programs fail for nearly 100% of people? It's no wonder, because the whole issue of overweight and obesity is much bigger than diet and exercise. In fact a poor diet and too little physical activity can be seen as SYMPTOMS, not as causes of overweight. When you've successfully "ticked off" all the important lifestyle factors, you won't have to think about dieting ever again because overweight will be a thing of the past!
When it comes to weight loss other lifestyle factors are just as important as the topic of this article, but I'll be writing about those separately. For now let's just focus on your most intimate relationship, and see what we can do together to improve that and ensure it supports your sense of wellbeing.
The Role of the Intimate Relationship
Intimate partners have all kinds of sex, from "fast-food" sex, to "perfunctory" sex, to "charity" sex, to "gourmet" sex. All these different expressions of physical intimacy have one thing in common, they are communicating the state we're currently in, and the state of the relationship itself.
Sex is as much about communication as is any other interaction that you, as intimate partners, could possibly have. And the same considerations apply to sex as apply to purely verbal communication!
Are You Talking the Same Language?
When intimate partners don't share the same sexual language, or aren't on the same "wavelength" they risk destructive fallout from misunderstanding each other. This can be as mild as a feeling of disappointment or confusion, or as devastating as actual hurt feelings or burning resentment.
Although technique can be important, what I'm talking about here is not technique, but the non-verbal communication which makes up nearly 100% of the intimate encounter. Matching sounds/silence, matching eye contact, matching facial expressions, even matching breathing.
Practice being more aware of your partner's non-verbal expressions; mirror those back and notice what happens to the quality of your interaction as a result.
Obviously not every partnership is between people who are naturally compatible. Different body clocks may have libido rising at completely different times and there's not much you can do about that if your libidos virtually live in different time zones.
If she likes wearing flannelette to bed because it keeps her warm and toasty and she sleeps better, and he is revolted at the sight, barring therapy there's not much you can do about that one, not if he also refuses to have an electric blanket!
He prefers sex that is deathly silent, with no eye contact, and she likes "connection", eye contact, and racy conversation!
If he likes wearing women's clothes and she finds such "lack of masculinity" totally off-putting, that is also a basic incompatibility.
I'm not saying these problems are the end of the relationship, but each of them does present a very big barrier to the enjoyment of a good sexual bond between the partners. It takes a great deal of love and commitment to work through and resolve these types of challenges.
Left alone, left unspoken, these types of incompatibilities can cause raging resentment that eventually implode the relationship. If you have these kinds of incompatibilities, then the best thing to do is to be very honest and open about them, very respectful of each other's differences, and work, if necessary with a therapist, to resolve them happily.
If only we lived in the sort of ideal world where people were more aware of the variety of human nature, were able to acknowledge and accept their own characteristics, and feel comfortable and confident in sharing those with potential partners. I'm sure the divorce rate would plummet.
And of course that leads to .....
So many relationships stagger on with very little sexual honesty. I'm not talking about infidelity here, but the sexual dishonesty of holding back one's true thoughts and feelings about sex, and in a cowardly or resigned way, giving up on making that all it could be. And the longer it goes on like this, the harder to face up to it, and the harder to now communicate the truth.
But that's what you need to do if you're committed to building (or rebuilding) a truly fulfilling intimate relationship.
There's a joke that goes "women may fake orgasms, but men can fake whole relationships" and in fact in the intimate relationship, faking an orgasm is faking a relationship. It is not a "white lie". More usually it is a deliberate deception to bring to an end a boring or unsatisfying sexual experience.
This faking has more consequences. Practised often enough it can become so habitual that the woman is unable to achieve the real state.
So putting up with unsatisfying sex is harmful for the individual as well as for the relationship itself.
A good way to deal with this is to take a deep breath and actually write down:
1) What is not happening during sex that you want to happen, 2) What is happening during sex that you don't want to happen, 3) The words you might actually speak to your partner, or the things you might actually do, to clearly communicate your wants
For most people this is very unfamiliar territory and it could help your comfort to practice a little first. You might benefit from reading chapter 4 of my book "Intimate Partners", where you learn to pre-frame a request (and also respond resourcefully to criticism) and chapter 6, where you'll learn to ask more directly for what you want!
Getting Time Out
What makes an intimate relationship intimate is it's exclusivity and privacy, so without sufficient experience of privacy together, and without that feeling of exclusivity, intimacy can struggle to survive.
With all the busy demands of daily life, particular where there are new babies or small children, the challenges of intimacy may seem insurmountable. Keep in mind that the world, including your children, must turn around YOU. Together you are the solid foundation to their lives and it's up to you to keep that foundation intact and healthy.
Sorting Out those Sex Issues
I believe that adult human beings actually need to have immensely satisfying sex, much the same as they need to breathe good, clean air, or to eat good-quality nutritious food, in order to function well physically and mentally. And yet many couples are tolerating a less-than-satisfactory sex life because they just don't know what to do to make it any better. That's not good for the relationship, and it's not good for the people in the relationship.
This article can't possibly hope to be a complete sex manual for every issue that might impact on your sex life, and even if I were to present you with hundreds of pages of information, it might not be quite what you were looking for. That's why it's important to seek out specific support if you decide that this part of your life could do with an overhaul.
With your sexual relationship in great condition, you can be confident that it's supporting your health and wellbeing, and thus helping you to maintain a naturally healthy weight, permanently.