- Weight does affect who will date us.
- Weight does affect how much our partners want to have sex with us.
- Looking fit and healthy makes us more attractive as a romantic partner
- Stick with the lower calorie foods when eating out with our romantic partners. It's attractive that you take good care of yourself.
This post is not meant to fat shame anybody but to deal with the reality that most people are attracted to people who look trim and fit for their age. Yes, there are cultures where thinness is not as valued as much as ours, and yes, there are individuals who have preferences for fatter sexual partners. But we don’t live in such a culture and the individuals who have a preference for fatter partners are a small minority. Unfortunately, we are teased growing up for being fat, and if you’re a boy, for having “man boobs.”
Your body is not considered "hot" unless your body conforms to the ideal male and female forms—an hourglass shape if you’re female and an upper torso like an inverted triangle if you are male. Being fat makes your body more pear- or oval-shaped so it no longer conforms to those ideal forms that most people find most attractive.
Evolutionary psychology has a theory about why that is. Sexual maturity is revealed by our secondary sex characteristics that arise during puberty as a result of increasing sex hormones. Testosterone makes males grow tall and lean with large upper body muscles (i.e. the upper torso begins to look like an inverted triangle). Estrogen gives women full breasts, butts, and lips (i.e., the hourglass shape). Trans individuals use sex hormones to grow the secondary sexual characteristics of the other sex.
These are what evolutionary psychologists call sexually selected indicators of fitness because they advertise one’s fertility and health. Attraction to sexually selected indicators of fitness ensures that one would be mating with someone who is fertile and healthy. Being overweight is, therefore, less attractive because it suggests that we lack certain sexually selected indicators of fitness. As a consequence, we might have to compensate quite a bit for being overweight by making a concerted effort to display the personality characteristics others might look for in an ideal romantic partner.
Excess weight remains a handicap to be overcome because it is human nature to long for an ideal romantic partner who has it all even though we don’t have it all and a partner that has it all might be out of our league. Overweight men might attract women more physically attractive than themselves if they are rich and famous. Overweight women might attract men more physically attractive than themselves if they have a pretty face and exude a winning personality.
Weight affects who is willing to date us. The first impression we make on someone is our physical appearance. Do we have an attractive face and body? We lose points for weight despite having a nice face and a winning personality. I remember going on a date in my late twenties when I was struggling with my weight and was probably around 30 pounds overweight. An extremely fit and attractive work colleague seemed interested in dating me. I was extremely flattered because all the single—as well as married—men at work wanted to date her, but she played hard to get and no one had as yet gotten a date with her.
I couldn’t believe my good luck that someone out of my league wanted to date me. The date was a lot of fun. But I suspected it was going to be our last date when she affectionately patted my stomach and teasingly told me I needed to lose some weight. I guess I was interesting to her because I was smart, but I was out of shape and that was a deal-breaker for someone who was a “boy magnet.”
Fortunately for me, when I met my future wife, I was briefly down to fighting weight though once we started going out for frequent romantic dinners at gourmet restaurants, I put the weight back on. Also, fortunately for me, my wife is not “judgy” in that way and my personality sufficiently compensated for having acquired a paunch from eating all of those romantic dinners. Yet as a practicing therapist I hear all the time, especially from men, that they have lost sexual interest in their spouses because their spouses have let themselves go.
Such spouses guiltily acknowledge that they are superficial and appearance-oriented because of their narcissism. Nevertheless, they can’t force themselves to feel a sexual desire that is now simply lacking. Medical obesity can sometimes make it difficult to perform sex in the missionary position.
Later in life, being overweight is associated with diabetes and heart disease that can adversely affect one’s sex life. Sexual functioning tends to gradually decline with age, but it can decline much more rapidly when suffering a serious illness that is associated with impaired sexual functioning. Avoiding obesity-related diseases is important if you wish to have an active sex life well into your old age.
What to do?
To avoid these weight-related difficulties in your love life, you need to lose weight and keep it off in order to maintain a normal body mass index. Easier said than done. Sticking with a diet and not regaining lost weight is quite challenging. Certainly, the benefits of being trim to your love life are a good incentive to lose weight. Nevertheless, dieting is not so easy when you are dating or married.
How romantic is it to go on a date or a candlelit dinner if you have to stay on a low-carb/low-fat diet? Do you forgo the wine that gives you a little buzz? Do you forgo incredibly succulent but high-fat French cuisine? Do you forgo spoon-feeding each other dessert? Do you forgo chocolates for Valentine’s Day? Do you forgo ice cream while taking a stroll in the park on a hot summer’s day? At least you could eat oysters together which might be an aphrodisiac.
Since I’ve reached the word limit for this post, you’ll have to wait for my next post on dieting and dating, in which I will begin to discuss how you can successfully diet and lose weight without spoiling romantic dinners with your paramour.
Josephs, L. (2021) Food Fantasies: Overcoming the Diet Lies We Tell Ourselves. Kindle Direct Publishing.