In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman – Weightloss and Sex – A big weight loss can negatively affect your sexual desire and function as well. Body dismorphia is when you look in the mirror and don’t see what is actually there. Dr. Laura tells us, it’s a habit that you have to break in order to be able to see what you really look like.
Our couple this week is Rachel, 32 and Shelly, 35. For eight years years, they have been together in a relationship…and up until 2 years ago, they were very sexual with each other. Two years ago, Shelly had gastric bypass surgery and has since lost over 160 lbs. Now…Shelly doesn’t feel sexy or confident…and Rachel feels her own self-esteem dropping quickly.
Another contributing factor is their living situation. For financial reason, just before Shelly had the surgery, they moved into Rachel’s mom’s house. Now…this has put a damper on their sex life as well, since alone time is hard to come by. “We don’t have any alone time that could be considered sensual at all,” Rachel tells us. “Our sex life now is kinda non-existent. We went from having sex 5 times a day to now it’s’ every couple of weeks.” And Shelly tells us that she only does it for Rachel. If it was up to her…she wouldn’t have sex. Help Dr. Berman.
Dr. Laura B. tells us that, “most people would think that if you’d lost more than 100 pounds you would be on top of the world, confident and your sex drive would be through the roof but that is not always the case. If the weight was serving you emotionally in some way, then being without it suddenly can make you feel vulnerable and really insecure.”
Dr. Laura B. gets the back story from the couple and tries to understand what is happening in their lives. Then, she goes one on one. Shelly talks about being molested as a young girl. Dr. Laura talks about the confusion about being a sexual abuse victim. “It’s very confusing and one of the hardest things about being a sexual abuse victim is that shame and anger at oneself and that part of the idea – and it’s all unconscious – is that if I can make myself ‘unattractive’ then no one will come at me…and try to sexually abuse me.” With Rachel, Dr. Laura finds out that Rachel was raped at 14…and something that she hasn’t completely told Shelly about. Also, Dr. Laura notes that while sex is a way that Rachel feels good about herself…there might be other things to that will help in the self-esteem area.
Dr. Laura notes that weight served an emotional purpose and was a barrier between them and the world. Now, without that protection, they feel vulnerable and afraid. For the fist night, Dr. Laura gives them some homework – to list 5 adjectives to describe each of yourselves before and after the surgery and also, for Shelly, try to receive some pleasure. Dr. Laura points out that how you see yourself and what you think your partner thinks of you is really not what they see.
Dr. Laura takes them on a field trip to a studio. Here is the exercise – they are going to disrobe, sit on a seat and let their partner look at them and study them for 3 minutes. Afterwards, they will go to 2 different sketch artists…and tell them what they saw in their partner as well as have the artist hear what they see about them. From the exercise there will be 2 sketches of each person – how you see yourself and how your partner really sees you. “My goal in this exercise is to really let them see themselves through their partner’s eyes,” Dr. Laura tells us.
After this experience, Dr. Laura gives out the homework for the evening: Study the artist sketches and talk about them; Rachel must pleasure Shelly for 15 minutes.
Going forward….they are going to work on moving out and working on their body images and how they feel about themselves. .
Reflections on the show: This is my first 60 minute ITB show…and I have to say that I am humbled by the honesty and strength that it takes to talk with Dr. Laura on camera about your most vulnerable self…and share with the world your own relationship and story. Here is what I am taking away from this episode:
- What you see in yourself isn’t necessarily what the world sees.
- Let go of any shame. There is absolutely no shame in being a sexual abuse survivor…so let go of that.
- Being vulnerable with those that love you is safe…remember that.