Intimacy can be difficult for even those with the best self-image. After perhaps a lifetime of a less-than-stellar body image, obese people who undergo bariatric surgery often have problems establishing or reestablishing intimacy within relationships. Existing partners are often afraid of hurting their loved ones both physically and emotionally, and the one who is losing the weight isn’t yet comfortable in his or her new, changing body. There are things one can do, however, to help ease the transition and kick-start a new, exciting, and sensual life.
1. Exercise: It’s what you are supposed to do anyway, and believe it or not, exercise can help with more than the weight loss. Physical activity sends blood to important large muscles including the pelvis. Ultimately, better circulation make things happen.
2. Eat right: Following a bariatric diet low in fat and sugar can help lower high blood pressure and blood sugar, helping to turn around a low sex drive in you and your partner.
3. Think about sex: If stressors like bills, job, and other responsibilities are keeping your mind tied up, it might be hard to spark libido. The book Fifty Shades of Gray is popular for a reason. Make time for yourself. Whether reading a romance novel or something more explicit, focusing on sex can boost desire and drive.
Making the decision to have bariatric surgery is an intensely private and personal matter. You’ve made that difficult decision already, so now take the next step toward making your life what you have always wished it could be. This year on February 14th, whether you are in a relationship or not, love yourself. For some, getting physical problems under control is all it takes to increase libido. Don’t let the years of negative thinking and poor self-image haunt you. Don’t buy into society’s messages about the perfect sexual body, be your own sexual person inside the body you have. Happy Valentine’s Day from Dr. Shawn Tsuda!