Does body confidence affect your sex life? It does mine.

Let’s talk about sex (baby) and body confidence.

I written about my weight gain, I’ve written about body confidence and I’ve written about sex but I’ve never written about how they affect each other.

To fill you in briefly in case you haven’t seen it, I’ve gained rather a lot of weight in the last 2 years. I lost almost all of my baby weight after I had Edith and I worked really hard to get myself to a position where I felt my “best body” and I was the weight and body size that I wanted to be for a friend’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable on the day. 6 months it took to get “back into shape” although to be fair I think I had started to lose touch with the “shape” I wanted long before I was pregnant with Edith. I now stand at a heavier weight and larger size than I was when I was full term with Toby. Yes, full time. I can’t seem to get back into the habit of cleaner eating and whilst I often think I feel physically worse for eating all the chocolates and the sugary things, instead of the veggies I used to snack on, I’m happier within me than I ever have been really. What I will note is that I feel sluggish every afternoon and I can hardly function properly between the hours of 2 and 5, then I’m wide awake. I think a lot of these struggles come less from the weight gain (which has plateaued completely) and more from the lack of movement. Yet still, despite knowing that I’m mentally much happier than I have been when I was crash dieting and I was obsessed with my weight and body shape, I find body confidence to come in fits and starts, and elusive little bugger at times. Times when I REALLY want mu cup to over flow with confidence.

When I was clean eating and I was in a job where sitting down wasn’t an option I felt AMAZING. I felt vibrant and healthy, I had glowing skin, I had lovely hair… I just felt the best me that I could feel like… on the outside and from a physical perspective. Emotionally I was still incredibly insecure and I would frequently remark that I didn’t feel happy – though I felt sexier. Then slowly I started snacking again, I started gaining weight and not really being that bothered. I was still sort of fitting in my jeans, then not in those ones but the ever-so-affectionately termed “fat jeans” for the bloat days. Those became my constant wear and now? Yeah, now they don’t do up and I am back in clothes that I made myself promise I would never wear again. Most days, I don’t mind. I am worth more than my body.

It is something that I really feel so conflicted about. I’m not interested in dieting and I refuse to go back to the mentality I had before – Monday I would start a healthy eating routine (read: obsessive diet that often meant one small portion of veggies in the evening and nothing else), Wednesday I would give it up because I was so hungry. By Saturday its take out and chocolate cakes. Sunday you may as well present me with a trough because I’m going to cram as much food as I can because the ever popular tomorrow I’m going to make a difference and break the cycle. The shame and the diet culture didn’t help – I can guarantee that I spent years being the woman searching on Pinterest for a crash diet that promises a huge loss in 7 days. Then the rebound happened and I was back where I started. It’s a horrible cycle and one I have no interest in ruining my mental health to own the body I once thought made me a better me.

What I have noticed the most in this ridonkulous weight gain, weight loss cycle that I have steadily allowed to consume me, is that I am no longer as confident with my husband or my body in any way. I often don’t feel sexy at all, to be told I am instantly makes me want to holler “Who the devil are you looking at buddy, because it sure as shit ain’t me!” I don’t feel the same sex drive, there is always that blocker there reminding me that I should probably turn the lights out for this one because no one wants to see marshmallow man getting a good seeing to. I confided in a few girlfriends that this is how I feel about myself at times, and they instantly said that they felt the same, especially post children. A quickie is fine but if they want to get that extra some-some then the self doubt creeps in like a ninja with a big placard that screams “You’re gross, no one is going to enjoy this, least of all you!” It’s SO unhealthy, and yet I can’t seem to break away from it in a relentless cycle of being body confident and being down on myself. Society has raised me to be a product of diet culture and frequently, especially when you discuss body positivity online, you aren’t allow to have a backslide.

When it does come to the deed, I frequently can’t seem to focus on the act at hand rather than worrying about my thighs making seismic ripples and my tits flopping to the side like dachshunds ears. Adam has reminded me I’m beautiful to him relentlessly since the day we met – not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me this – when I was a size 20 to a size 10 and even when I was pregnant and post splash-down. All this time I’ve had this wonderful support but I swear to you it doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t able to love yourself and see yourself. From masturbation to sex to trying on new clothes to sitting and eating a meal, none of these perfectly normal things will feel right when you are so low on yourself.

This post isn’t going to culminate in a revelation – I don’t have one. Some days I am body ambivalent, even confident, and I feel that my size is a small, unimportant and frankly boring part of who I am – my brain and my kindness is sexy, and then other days I wonder how on earth I could see myself as anything but a lump.


  1. Avatar March 20, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    I can relate to this on so many levels. When my daughter turned 1 I had a smack in the face of how big I let myself get. I am 5’2 and was pushing 14st and a size 20. I dropped to 8st 9lbs and a size 8 and still had no sex drive or body confidence. One would think that after losing the weight the body confidence would flood back. It didn’t. Instead my brain found new flaws other than fat. Now it was deflated saggy pancake boobs, excess skin that had more twists and turns than spaghetti junction on the M6 and a non existent arse that meant my back end was flatter than a 2×4.

    Now after I’ve had my son I am sitting somewhere over 10st and in a variable of sizes. I think the best thing I did was ditched the scales and ditched clothing numbers (okay yeah you need to look to shop but more so the number doesn’t matter). As you said, body confidence is something very personal and different for each person. But for me I realised it wasn’t so much how much I weighed or what clothing size I wore that made me feel sexy and proud of my body. I sat back one day and really looked at my body. It created life twice and there is going to be scars from that. There are also scars from weight loss and gain abuse. All of these things are okay because they made me who I am today. I also then found an article of clothing that I felt amazing in. Like better than Beyonce. As long as I fit in those then I was on top of the world.

    I hope you find your mojo, because you are amazing and beautiful.

  2. Avatar March 20, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Holy shit Harriet! This is me! I’m almost theblog weight I was when I had my first child Bethany. I think to myself each week that next week will be different, bloody hell, even my recipes are trying to be healthier on the blog..erm, forget the cream egg, and that cake…and that other cake. The funny thing is we don’t eat a lot of the stuff I make, it goes to family or Brett takes it to work with him. I digress. With a daughter with Type1 and coeliacs and a son with autism you’d think I’d be hot on healthy lifestyle and nutrition…not true, okay I carb count Beth’s food…oh fuck who am I kidding, I don’t even do that properly now, we look at a plate of food and estimate the carbs! Lewis eats crisps, pancakes with chocolate spread and strawberries, Ben&Jerrys Phish Food by the tub and more crisps with the odd packet of Maryland Cookies thrown in. Beth binges on sweets on the way home from school with money she gets from God knows where and I just go through the motions at dinner time making a half arsed dinner most days becuase I’m too tired to fact I’ve been known to sit with the family and drink a glass of fizzy flavoured water whilst they eat and then stuff my face an hour later with crap because I’m now ravenous! So far today I’ve eaten a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes with soya milk, two teacakes with df spread, and a tropical snack shot thingy from aldi….I’ve actually cooked a proper dinner for tonight…pulled pork but doubt I’ll eat much having smelt it cooking all day..then at around 8pm I’ll turn n into the cookie monster and cram my face. I was supposed to be writing a post and commenting on linkies today but instead I finished reading a draft book by another blogger and slept for two hours under a blanket coz our heatings broken and now I feel a complete twat! Maybe tomorrow I’ll start the healthy diet for myself and my family, we’ll embrace, it all eat the same foods, all take the dogs for a walk and skip into the sunset…THE HELL WE WILL!

    ….sorry, needed that!

    • Harriet March 21, 2018 / 8:54 am

      Ahh thank you my lovely! It’s so bloody good to know I’m not alone!!

  3. Avatar March 20, 2018 / 10:42 am

    I think this is totally the problem with diet culture. You haven’t failed at the diets, they are set up to fail. That’s how they make their money. I would really recommend you read Megan Crabbe’s body positive power. She briefly touches on getting to intuitive eating which is what I want to do (I’m not there yet, also feeling the pull of diet culture). Some of the intuitive eating books she recommends are next on my reading list. I definitely feel the same as you and I wrote about it a year or two ago in my blog post’ how the patriarchy ruins sex for us all’, because it does. The constant shaming of women in the media, diet culture and all that comes with it makes us hate our bodies and that has a hugely negative impact on our sex lives. You should read my blog post/rant on it if you haven’t already. I feel like at the moment I have body positivity on one shoulder telling me to love myself and then diet culture on the other telling me to go on weight watchers or cut sugar to lose weight. It’s an ongoing battle. I’m chronicalling my body positivity journey on my blog so I’ve a few posts in a series now and one the other day of me in my undies not holding my tummy in – I’m very much a work in progress. So anyway, very long comment to essentially say you are not alone, you look fab and go easy on yourself.

  4. Avatar March 20, 2018 / 12:50 am

    You’ve hit this spot on and thank you for writing even without a fix or what’s going to change. This just felt real and so where I am at right now.

  5. Avatar March 19, 2018 / 11:27 pm

    Have you watched the Embrace documentary? I highly recommend it – (you can get it on iTunes) and it completely reset my thought process on body positivity, confidence, what sexy looks and feels like and more. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it was a life changing watch for me and I now recommend it to all my girlfriends xx

  6. Avatar March 19, 2018 / 6:57 pm

    I can identify with this so much.

    I gave birth 12.5 weeks ago. We stopped having sex at 27 weeks coz it felt weird for me. Husband is gagging for it. I feel huge. I’m breastfeeding so don’t feel sexual at all. I’m starting Weight Watchers tomorrow and if I don’t get my sex drive back when I’m thinner, I actually considering a therapist!

  7. Avatar
    March 19, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    I’m in the same place. It’s hard for my husband to understand because he says I’m beautiful no matter what. I just don’t have the drive. I started the Whole 30 and am definitely feeling better but I have a long way to go. I’m on day 20.

  8. Avatar March 19, 2018 / 11:37 am

    My goodness I could have written this… I like hat you wrote it without actually having g found the answer. Yes I’m pregnant at the moment which adds a little extra obstacle to the old S.E.X but I have a sneaky suspisciion that I won’t feel any better about it when this baby is out. Buuuuuut am I doing anything about it? Not a bloody thing. What does feel a little better is that I’m not the only one. Thanks for that H x

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