lifestyle

I’ve lost weight – and with it any sensation through penetrative sex


I am 38 and in a long-term and happy relationship. While I have never orgasmed through penetration (only through foreplay), I have still enjoyed it. Recently, though, I have barely felt any sensation through penetration, something I believe my partner has felt, too. I say “believe” because I don’t want to ask him directly if I feel too “loose” or if he is not feeling any sensation (it is embarrassing enough just writing it). But I can tell by his reaction that sex is not the same as it was. Is this a common situation as women get older? Is there anything I can do differently? I have lost about 9kg (20lbs) lately, but I thought sex was meant to get better with weight loss. I have tried different positions and have been doing pelvic floor exercises for the past couple of weeks. I would hate to think that is it for me ever enjoying penetrative sex again.

This is something you need to discuss with your partner, so try to recognise that you cannot allow embarrassment to prevent you from seeking answers or finding a solution. Be brave enough to have a talk with him and to frame it as a subject you must both address for the sake of your sex life – and your relationship generally. Ask him to help you understand what changes he may have noticed and how it may have affected his sexual response, his pleasure and even his ability to become aroused and to ejaculate. How does he truly feel about your weight loss? Help him to feel safe enough to tell you. He may need time to get used to it.

Start that conversation by letting him know how much you enjoy making love with him and that you want to preserve that. From your point of view, there can be medical events associated with weight loss that could affect your physical arousal, such as hormonal fluctuations. These could prevent you from becoming as engorged or lubricated as usual, so you could consult your doctor about that. There can also be psychological issues. For some people, weight loss in a partner can be experienced as loss, cause anxiety or remind them of a loved one’s illness. Talk about it.

Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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