Is Your Food Life Getting in the Way of Your Sex Life?

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Two pink roses and an image of Emily Rosen

It’s amazing how closely linked food and sexuality can be in our mind, often without our even realizing it. We may spend years dieting with the goal of having a more attractive body that will one day bring us our soul mate, or we might find ourselves turning to food for comfort when relationships are stressful. We might even look to certain ingredients as aphrodisiacs when our desire levels seem to be low. There are so many ways our relationship with food can intertwine with our thoughts and feelings toward romance, sexuality and intimacy. Sometimes these connections will be positive and life-affirming, but at other times, our concerns with food can get in the way of our love life. In this eye-opening new podcast episode, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, looks at what can happen when food issues take over – and how we can reclaim our sexuality in the midst of our beautiful human imperfection.

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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Have you noticed that so many people can expend a LOT of energy in our daily relationship with food? We think about food, worry about it, obsess about weight, we hope for the perfect body, search for the best nutritional system, and we often live in a silent war against the natural, inborn need to eat. It’s easy for many of us to become quite fascinated with our own complex journey with food and weight. Maybe even a little obsessed. Of course, all this is part of our journey to wholeness, yet I notice that for many of us who are trying to find peace with food, something important tends to be missing.


When we make our relationship with food, weight, and nutrition too important, we will likely have less of ourselves to give to other relationships. We’ll have limited room for intimacy with another. How can we invite in love, connection and vulnerability if there’s a silent war going on inside us that commands so much of our attention?

So many people put so much effort into weight, body image and diet so they can create the hottest body, so they can be noticed and adored and have a greater probability becoming fabulous, or attracting a mate, or finding true love. Yet we push away the intimacy we seek because there’s no room left in the bed. Food has oddly morphed into our “substitute lover.” Can you see how our “food life” can put the fire out of our “sex life?”

Consider this story:

Lisa was 39 years old, hated her body, and was convinced that if she could only lose 25 pounds, she’d finally love herself, claim her sexuality, and find a man. Sadly, over 2 decades of dieting had left her exactly where she started, weight-wise.

And she was without sex or a partner for almost 11 years – a long, lonely, intimacy desert. I suggested that she may have had things backwards. Instead of trying to lose weight and get the perfect body before celebrating her sexual coming out party, have the coming out party now. Get back in the game now. Open up to sexual intimacy with the body you have right now. Stop waiting to express yourself sexually until you have lost some arbitrary bunch of body fat.

Weeks later when we met, she had this to share – she realized that she had been using weight loss for the last 11 years to distract herself from her insecurities around sex, and from a past relationship that had left her crushed and cheated on. She had never gotten over her hurt, and had somehow swept this part of her life into a dark corner. Food wasn’t her real issue. Sex was. Intimacy was. And opening up to love was.

Consider your own dance between food, weight, body image, and sex.

Can you see the wisdom in putting your food concerns to the side for just a little while, so sexual intimacy can have some room to breathe and stretch? Simply put – if food has gotten in your way in the bedroom, then it’s time to bring sex back to the table. No more waiting for the so-called perfect body. Open up to all that you have to offer now, and let yourself get back in the game…

I hope this was helpful.

Two pink roses and an image of Emily Rosen

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