Besides, it’s my blog. C’mon. C’mooooooooon.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’m abstinent. That’s right. I’m not having sex. Last time I had sex? Let’s just say the President in office used words like “strategery.”
And in any other context, it’d totally make sense for you to ask me why, on Earth, I’d bring this up on a blog for weight loss and wellness. But today, it’s important.
Why? Because my experience with losing weight has caused my sex drive to increase to such a monumental degree… that if I didn’t put a [chastity] ring on it, I might’ve lost my mind.
Mind you, my decision to remain abstinent had more to do with my desire to spend this time focusing on myself. I’d broken up with the boyfriend I had when I first began, realized that I needed to spend some time being selfish and made my decision to keep my body to myself – literally – for as long as I needed. Undergoing the changes that I’ve endured throughout this time period left me vulnerable emotionally (abandoning emotional eating and trying to find ways to cope with stress that weren’t addictive in nature? very vulnerable) and I think I would’ve either been extremely paranoid of anyone around me romantically, or become emotionally dependent upon them. That’s not fair to anyone. I’ll keep me to myself for the time being.
I first noticed it after about the 50lb mark. I mean, I’ll be honest – part of me was just excited to be able to possibly “do my Beyonce thing someday,” and I figured that I was just feelin’ myself a little bit. No biggie, right? I mean, it’s exciting to recognize that the effort you’re putting through is causing such major changes in your body, and even if you don’t feel physically sexier just yet… you certainly feel empowered. And power is always sexy, right?
At the 100lb mark? It wasn’t just “Oh, I’m empowered! I’m Super Woman! This is sexy!” It wasn’t even “Oh, I’m abstinent so that I can be selfish and focus on myself right now.” It was “Oh my gosh, why am I always horny?! I can’t take this! This can’t be life!” It was obnoxious. Couple that with the fact that at events, men (women?) who haven’t seen you in a while are so in awe of your changes that they want to touch you… and keep touching you? I’ll be honest. It made life rough. Men, who I’ve known for years, would stand near me and insisted on touching me more suggestively than they ever had before… wrapping their hand around me and resting it on my hip – my hip that no longer had a spare tire resting on it and was a nicely-shaped curve – and it took a lot of blinking, deep breathing and thinking-before-I-spoke to keep me from throwing abstinence out the window and ducking away in a damn linen closet somewhere. And did I mentioned the heightened sensitivity you feel in places where you’ve lost weight? Good grief.
I didn’t say I was proud of it. I’m just tellin’ the truth.
At the 150lb mark? I straight up gave up and became a hermit.
I’m kidding… sorta.
I feel like it came in waves. Just when I was getting used to it, another wave would come over me and I’d have to reacclimate to what I was dealing with all over again. It’s not that it got increasingly worse, but if I hadn’t struggled to become accustomed to what my body was feeling? It might’ve felt that way.
Of course there’s a scientific explanation for all this, right? Right.
Let’s talk about sex drive for a minute. Your libido is the thing that makes you want sex. It’s what compels you to want to get down to business. Primarily controlled by testosterone levels in the body, its what gives you the ability to put forth the energy necessary to develop and satisfy a sexual appetite. Men might make way more testosterone, but women are more sensitive to it.
What role does weight play in sex drive?
Men aren’t alone with sex problems caused by poor blood flow. Research shows overweight women’s sex drive and desire are affected by the same problem.
“We are beginning to see that the width of the blood vessels leading to the clitoris [the area of the vagina most closely related to sexual response] in women are affected by the same kind of blockages that impact blood flow to the penis,” says Susan Kellogg, PhD, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia.
When this happens, says Kellogg, a woman’s body is far less responsive, and a drop in desire is not far behind.
Complicating matters further for both sexes: The more body fat you have, the higher your levels of a natural chemical known as SHBG (short for sex hormone binding globulin). It’s aptly named because it binds to the sex hormone testosterone. Doctors theorize that the more testosterone that is bound to SHBG, the less there is available to stimulate desire. [source]
If you listen to Dr. Oz (my personal crush – or is that just my libido talking?) tell it, he’ll say the following:
“The big issue on weight loss, for me, is that it allows your hormones to work the way they’re supposed to. When you have that belly fat that I was showing you earlier, it becomes metabolically alive. It begins to convert hormones. It’ll convert your estrogen levels in the wrong way – which is why it’s associated with different cancers… breast cancer, uterine cancer and the like – but it also does bad things to your testosterone. And women have testosterone, too. Any guy who’s got a big waist, I can guarantee you, begins to have problems with testosterone levels. ‘Cause if your testicles are a normal size, and the testosterone that’s being made by the testicles is being converted by your big belly into estrogen or other things, you don’t have any left. The same goes for women. So one of the surefire ways to re-light the sexual adventures in your life, is to get rid of that belly fat.” [source]
The increase in my sexual appetite was noticeable to me because my entire journey has been about learning, listening to and answering to my body. It was ever-present to me because I noticed that certain things I would do would either remind me of sex or would make me think something sex-related. While I think that can be super duper fun in the right contexts… I certainly think it can also be dangerous, especially for those of us who might be feeling a little insecure with our bodies. Insecurity + an increasingly growing sexual appetite = recipe for disaster: how many times do women do things they eventually regret because someone told them “what they wanted to hear?” Especially when all you want to hear is that you’re “beautiful” and “sexy” and “amazing” and all those other vague words that really excite us for some weird reason? Yeah… no. Nothing worse than having that void to fill, letting empty compliments from strangers fill that void and then being left empty when your stranger decides they can no longer benefit from what you have to offer.
In all seriousness… losing any weight is going to be an awesome experience, but for those of you in committed relationships? Just… tell your mate to get ready. And for people like me, who will be single when they experience those waves of libidoey goodness? Especially those of you who may have a lot to lose as well? Consider taking some time out to learn how to understand and appreciate your new sexual appetite. You’d hate to have someone around who’d simply appreciate how voracious you’ve become, only to decide there’s nothing else to enjoy about you once you’ve “normalized.” Besides, considering how much you’ll be learning about yourself and your body? You might be far too excited by yourself to want to be bothered with anyone else.
No pun intended. I promise. (Sort of.)