A plus-size woman can enjoy sexual intimacy.

Being a plus-size woman brings challenges in many areas of life—including the area of sexual intimacy.

I know first-hand how painful this subject can be.  I was a thin and active child, but when I was a young adult I began to put on weight. I am now quite overweight. Fortunately, Big Guy adores my curves and always has.  Yes, I want to be healthier. I would like to be thinner. For the most part, though, I’ve come to terms with my weight. This is who I am and how I look. This is the body I have right now, and it’s the one with which I live my life.

Still, writing this post is a struggle.  I’ve never had any problem sharing about the sexual intimacy in my marriage here. This feels different. Harder. More vulnerable. Nakeder. (I totally made that word up. It works.) I was not prepared how difficult this post would be to write.

I’m not going to lecture anyone about health here. We all know we need to be healthier.

I’d like to be honest about the unique sexual challenges we plus-size women face. In this post I’m going to talk specifically about body image and our feelings about our weight. I have a follow-up post that will address some physical realities of plus-size intimacy.

Read More →

Body image got you down?

Body image is a common struggle for women.

We think we are too much or not enough. Too tall or too short. Too curvy or not curvy enough. Breasts that are too small, too saggy, too uneven. Hair that is too straight or too curly, too shiny or not enough shine. Big feet. Small feet. Too sturdy or too frail. Too fat, or not meaty enough.

Many of us have faced self-consciousness about some aspect of our bodies, whether it is due to a lack or an abundance. Read More →

 

Are you a Christian wife who wants to work on sexual intimacy in her marriage? Join us as we chat about Getting Comfortable Letting Our Husbands Look.

One thing I really love about women is how we reach out to support and encourage each other. My favorite thing in comments on my blog posts is when women reach out to each other. I have been looking for ways to encourage these even more here.

I am going to try out a new feature at The Forgiven Wife—live chats! Read More →

I didn’t think my body was perfect when I was 18, but sadly, it turns out that’s when my body was at its peak in terms of physical beauty.

The decades have taken their toll on me. Weight, pregnancies, breast-feeding, gravity, and hormones have all changed my body. Read More →

pathway

A journey doesn’t always go forward.

Before I began this journey of transforming our marriage, the arguing was frequent. The tension was constant. I went years without feeling even a moment of peace with my husband. One comment or question with the wrong wording or timing would set the other one off, and there we would go again.

As our marriage has changed over the past three years, we have argued less and less. We still disagree about things, but we just don’t argue. In fact, this past weekend we talked about the fact that neither one of us could remember the last time we’d fought.

We can’t say that anymore. On the way home from an errand last night, I was reporting to him what my doctor had said about how I can approach weight loss. I was expressing frustration, and he wanted to tell me how to lose weight. I responded with “I’m not done talking about how I felt about the doctor yet,” he said that I was trying to control the conversation, and before I knew it, we were having an argument.

Sitting in the same room all evening, we exchanged little more than small talk for most of it. Lying in bed next to my sleeping husband hours later, I still felt incredibly agitated. All the feelings from the difficult years of our marriage flooded back into my heart and body. I remembered what it was like to believe that my feelings didn’t matter and that my heart was irrelevant.

I woke up at 4 this morning, surprised to find myself full of tears. My husband woke up, held me, and tried to comfort me–but I realized that body image was now part of my tears. In all our years together, my husband has never, ever, ever made a comment about my weight or indicated that he sees me as anything other than beautiful. But last night, simply in saying that he wanted to give me advice, I heard a criticism.

All our culture’s messages about women’s bodies slammed into me, even though I knew that my husband’s desire to share a weight loss approach came out of his need to lose weight, not his thoughts about me. Knowledge does not always lead me to the right feeling.

Sexual attention has become a comfort for me, so that is how my husband tried to comfort me this morning. I found myself yanking my nightgown down to cover my stomach and trying to pull the covers over myself. I was able to recognize what I was doing even as I was doing it, but I still did it.

It would be so easy to let all these feelings pull me down and back into habits of gate-keeping–lights off, covers on, and wearing full-armor sweat pants and t-shirt to bed in hopes of deflecting his sexual attention.

Sometimes I travel this journey by leaps and bounds, and other times, it’s a matter of two steps forward, one step back.

Regaining ground gets easier as I travel further along in this journey. Three years ago, barely a month into my efforts to change, I would have seen this as a sign that it wasn’t worth the effort. Now, however, I know that I just need to take a deep breath and keep on moving.

It is so easy to feel discouraged and to let that discouragement interfere with our progress. Those moments are when we most need to be intentional and thoughtful. These are the times we take deep breaths, tell ourselves we can do it, remind ourselves how much better things are, and pray for perseverance.

As I dressed this morning, I intentionally chose my sexiest bra. It is my husband’s favorite. Every morning when I go downstairs, he asks me what I’m wearing underneath my clothes. I showed him. The huge smile on his face was a balm on my spirit.

And I knew that I was back on track.

Light

It’s no news to anyone that women have body image issues. We’ve even had the recent Dove campaign  remind us that we’re more beautiful than we think.

I’ve been reading lots of blog posts and articles about men being visually stimulated and needing to see the women they love while making love.

For some women, the thought of having sex completely naked, in full light, is quite intimidating. We look at our bodies and don’t think we look so hot. It may be hard to understand, but if your husband tells you he wants to see you naked—and if he reacts positively when he sees you partially or fully unclothed, being naked in the light is a worthy goal.

Our husbands want to see us—but with all these body images issues we have, just how are we supposed to get comfortable getting naked and being in our own skin? I’ve written about this a bit here  and here .

I used to prefer sex under the covers, with the lights off. Once I got warmed up, I was okay being completely naked with dim lighting on—but there’s no way I ever wanted to start off in the full light, wearing nothing but my birthday suit. Now, I am completely comfortable doing the deed in the broad daylight, without a stitch on. How did I get here?

I’m a big believer in the value of taking things slowly, of just taking one small step at a time. (See this and this.) Here are some suggestions for small steps you can try. All have been tested by yours truly.

  1. Start with dim lighting. Candles (on a safe stable surface away from the bed) add a little romance. Start with just one candle, and as you get more comfortable, you can use more to increase the lighting. Scented candles add to the ambiance, too.
  2. Wear something that exposes your husband’s favorite parts while covering what you don’t like. I’m overweight. My stomach is way too big and covered with stretch marks. I found a slinky nightgown with stretchy spaghetti straps. I would pull the straps way down to expose the girls and lift the hem up to expose another relevant area, but my stomach would stay covered by the nightgown. Being able to cover the part I most disliked made it easier to get comfortable having other parts so exposed.
  3. Put a blindfold on your husband while you have the lights on. Yes, the whole point is for him to be able to see you—but if you can get used to being naked with the light on and not being seen, it will eventually be easier to be naked with the light on with him seeing you.
  4. Use strip tease principles. Show a little something and then cover it back up. Show him all your parts, one at a time. Teasing is a good thing, and it allows you to experience the build-up of seeing your man start to go ga-ga over what he’s seeing. I have absolutely no sense of rhythm or how to dance, so when I strip, it’s really about taking clothes off strategically. I don’t think my husband has noticed the lack of music or dancing yet.
  5. Allow the light to be on while you’re naked just for one or two minutes. Give him an eyeful, and then  turn the lights back off—or way down. It gives him a little of what he needs, and it gives you a chance to slowly get more comfortable. This is basically the strip tease concept, but instead of removing the clothes, you’re removing the lighting.
  6. Dress and undress in front of him. And go slowly as his favorite parts of you are exposed. Let him see. And watch him react. This can be good for your confidence about your body.

Some of these things took a little more courage for me than others, but over time, I got more comfortable being naked in the light. Even more important, my husband was able to see that I was making an effort to try to do something just for him. This was huge in our marriage.

If your husband would like to see you in the light and the thought terrifies you, pick just one of these things and give it a shot. Take it slowly, and gradually build up the length of time you do it.

You are more beautiful to your husband than you think. Let him enjoy the image of your body, one step at a time.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net