I’m a 41-year-old lesbian. Back when I was 26, I weighed 125 pounds and had a girlfriend. Sex with “Amy” was mind-blowing. Amy was exactly my type from head to toe, and she had more experience than me, so she really opened me up sexually. Our physical chemistry was off the charts. Unfortunately, Amy and I broke up (dysfunctional relationship issues), and then I moved to the West Coast. Fast-forward to age 31. I weighed 165 pounds, but I carried it well. Then I fell into a severe depression and had to live with my parents for a while. Amy lived about two hours away from me at that time. She’d seen me at my new weight and was still interested in me. Amy called me every night for months. After months of talking, we decided to meet up in person. However, because of depression meds and “mom’s cooking” and whatever...
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...’s cooking” and whatever else, I was approximately 200 pounds when we finally met up. Amy and I started sleeping together again, but it was obvious that she wasn’t into me physically anymore. The insanely good sex we once had together never returned. Within a few months she told me she was attracted to other people, and we ended things.
I want to be very, very clear when I say that I do not blame Amy at all for losing attraction to me due to my weight gain. Going from 125 to 200 within five years is an extreme amount of weight gain. But the experience broke my heart and I have not had sex or even kissed anyone since. That’s nine years of celibacy. I was (and am) deeply ashamed of my body. I continued to receive treatment for depression — lots of different psych meds, lots of group and individual therapy, etc., and my mental health has slowly but steadily improved — but I also gained more weight — and I lost every last drop of self-acceptance about my body. I went from loving my body, to being ok with it, to being dumped for it, to becoming severely obese. I finally started seeing a weight loss doctor last year and have begun to slowly lose some of the weight — I’m down to 230 pounds from my 275 max — and I REALLY want to have sex again, but I can’t even stay on dating sites for more than a few days before deleting my profile, because I’m so horribly ashamed of how I look. I used to be young! And hot! And pretty! And hot girl Amy wanted to fuck me! Constantly! I don’t want to get back together with Amy, not at all, but I miss the kind of life-altering sex she and I used to have when my body was at its best.
How do I even begin trying to start dating and having sex again when I was dumped for getting fat and have such self-loathing and shame about my body?
Fat Middle-Aged Celibate Lesbo
“To begin to work on accepting our bodies, it’s essential to get to the core of the issue,” said Elle Chase, a certified sexologist, sex, relationship and body-image coach, and the author of Curvy Girl Sex: 101 Body-Positive Sex Positions to Empower Your Sex Life.
And at the core of your issue, FMACL, you’re not going to find your weight gain or the trauma of being dumped by hot girl Amy. No, according to Chase, your issues go much deeper, FMACL, and they’re cultural, not individual.
“From the day we are born, we are inundated with made-up, ever-changing standards for beauty and our bodies,” said Chase. “These standards are rooted in systems of oppression like patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. These man-made ideas of attractiveness and desirability distort, skew, and infect our perception and opinion of ourselves — and others — convincing us that we must look a certain way in order to be sexually desirable or deserving. But that’s a lie!”
Because sexual attraction is highly subjective — there are lots of different people out there, FMACL, and different people find different bodies and different body types and different personalities attractive.
“It’s just like art,” said Chase. “We could be looking at the same painting and have two very different feelings or opinions about it. And neither of us is wrong.”
Differing tastes in art may be easy for us to wrap our heads around. We’re not going to take it personally when a friend — or a stranger on a dating app — disagrees with us about pointillism or surrealism or cubism. The stakes are higher when we’re the painting someone else thinks is beautiful (when we don’t feel beautiful) or doesn’t feel is beautiful (when we wish they would).
“When what you see in the mirror doesn’t match that artificial standard it’s hard for your brain to see you as the inherently sexually desirable human that you are,” said Chase. “Your brain becomes an unreliable narrator trying to protect you from the pain of rejection by telling you that you aren’t attractive or sexually desirable enough to deserve a sex life.”
So, how does one — how do you — dismantle this, er, system of self-oppression?
“Here’s a ‘Cliffs Notes’ version with some hopefully useful tips,” said Chase. “FMACL needs to rewire her brain by disrupting negative self-talk patterns. If she hates what she looks like and her inner dialog is endorsing [that self-hatred], she should acknowledge her feelings — if you feel like crap, you feel like crap, and it’s important to validate that — and then say something true but neutral to herself. Something like, ‘This is what my body looks like today,’ or, ‘I feel ugly, but feelings aren’t facts.’ My favorite mantra: ‘What I think of my body is none of my business.’ Don’t be discouraged. I know it’s challenging but it’s a lifelong practice that I myself continue to do daily.”
As for dating — as for putting yourself out there on a dating app and staying out there — Chase advises lowering the stakes for now.
“FMACL can take the pressure off herself for now by just dating for practice,” said Chase. “The goal is not to get laid or find a new partner, but to grow more at ease and confident with herself. Notice how it feels to go out with people and have conversations, share experiences, even flirt. She should pay attention to how she’s feeling rather than what she assumes her date is feeling. Prioritize her own joy, comfort, and desires over all else right now — she deserves nothing less.”
To learn more about Elle Chase, her work, and the services she provides, visit her website www.ellechase.com. Chase is offering readers of Savage Love 15% off a session or package if you use the code SAVAGE.
This is a question I should have asked you ten years ago! I’m a 68-year-old GWM, who was sexually assaulted by my (also gay) medical provider, multiple times, until I finally distanced myself from him both socially and professionally. I vacillated for several years whether or not I should report him, but never did. Recently, I discovered that he apparently committed suicide after another patient accused him of multiple sexual assaults. I contacted this man’s attorneys, and they are moving forward with a lawsuit against the clinic and the provider’s estate. At their request, I have agreed to provide a deposition. They have also suggested that I consider filing a suit. I am a happily married man, retired, and living in Europe. Should I just let all this go? Or should I jump into the fire with a lawsuit?
Decline Or Challenge
Agreeing to be deposed — or agreeing to file an affidavit — in support of the other patient known to have been assaulted by your former medical provider… that’s no small thing. So, even if you decide not to file a lawsuit yourself, DOC, you aren’t just letting this go. You’re doing something meaningful and significant; you’re helping another victim get the justice and restitution he needs and helping to hold accountable the clinic where you, this man, and most likely other men were sexually assaulted.
So, the question isn’t, “Am I going to sit this out?”, as you aren’t sitting this out. The question instead is, “Am I going to file a lawsuit of my own?” And the answer to that question… well, that’s not an answer I can provide you with, DOC. Because the answer depends on what you need to feel whole. If you don’t want the hassle and don’t need the settlement, you aren’t obligated to get more involved than you have already — and, again, agreeing to be deposed (by both sides) in a case like this is no small thing. Justice is being done, institutions are being held accountable, and you’re already helping. If you want to file a lawsuit of your own, you should. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.
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