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Sex Drive Following Surgery
There were several people who opened their hearts to share their similar problems with a loss of sex drive following weight loss surgery. And there are some themes that I am seeing in their responses.

One is a fear of intimacy because they are unhappy with how their bodies look following surgery. Most of us are left with a lot of sagging skin that makes us feel very unattractive.

The other theme is an unmet expectation that their sex drive would improve following surgery.  That the surgery would cure what was already a low sex drive. Many are finding that isn’t happening and are disappointed and pressuring themselves.

Jennifer emailed me with a request to ask if anyone is having the same problem that she is. So many of us feel like we are alone and no one is going through what we are. But I have seen over and over that if one person is experiencing something, chances are many more are also.

You can respond to Jennifer directly or respond to me at If you would like your contact info omitted I will be happy to post your response anonymously.

Dear Barbara,
Thank you very much for having the special article in the last newsletter on post-op babies. One of the many reasons that I had the surgery was that I was unable to get pregnant. The surgery has been a huge success for me. I started at 300 pounds and now am a happy and energetic 145 pounds and feel wonderful. I was so excited as the pounds just kept coming off. As I passed my year I was hopeful that I would finally become pregnant. I have often read that as the pounds come off you must be careful to go on birth control because your hormones will increase and your chances of becoming pregnant will be greater. I followed all the rules and we actually didn't start trying until I was 15 months post-op just to be safe.

But there is one huge obstacle that we are having. Many people have gained a sex drive after surgery. I however have lost mine. It has been a major source of frustration for my husband and me. We talked to our doctor about it and she informed us that there are more people that are having this problem. It is due to estrogen being stored in our fat cells and now that we have lost so much weight, we also lose all that built up estrogen. As time goes by I will regain it, but until then I just have to "keep getting on that bike and trying." I asked about taking supplements and she didn't think that I need them and I just have to be patient.

My husband is so supportive and has been wonderful and very patient. As time is going by, I am becoming more frustrated and wonder if others are truly struggling as much as I am and what they are doing to get over this. Is there something that I can take to help make my hormones come back that is safe? I really need some advice and direction and I hope that you will be able to help me out.

Thank you so much, Barbara,


Dear Jennifer,
I know that you are very frustrated, but it is important to follow the advice of your doctor.  If there were safe supplements that would be effective, I’m sure your doctor would have prescribed them to you. I’m afraid that I have to echo what your doctor said and that is to be patient. Perhaps give the “making babies” process a rest. That in itself is stressful as you try to time ovulation and then wait breathlessly to see if you have a period. Just relax for awhile and see if you can get support from those readers of this newsletter who may be experiencing the same thing.

Best wishes!


Jennifer’s Letter prompted these replies:

I too experienced a loss in sex drive after weight loss surgery.  When I would lay down and try to get into a sexy position all the loose skin would "flow" over
like a lava flow.  I felt horrible.  Lights had to be off and it was  "get-r-done" kind of experience.  But since my tummy tuck surgery, I can't get enough.  I still have my scar but I feel that I look better.  I finally have a flat stomach, a waist-line, and my breasts don't meld into my stomach.  I have been seen, in public, in
tank tops, halter tops and shorts.  I had enough skin to remove to warrant the re-constructive surgery, some don't.  For those that do, look out!

For those that don't, maybe try special undergarments that make you feel sexy.  Mind over matter.  If you feel good about yourself (which you should after losing all that you have) then show it.  There are lacy, control type crotchless panties out there that hold you in even during the "heat" where you will feel sexy since you are not just all out there.  I have found that matching bra and panties make me feel sexy even while I'm at work.  I know what I have on under my clothes and my fellow employees don't.  Kind of gives me an edge, a feeling of mystery, teasing - then at night when I get undressed to go to bed - hubby says, "Look out hot momma!!" 

Bottom line,  do what you need to to feel sexy.  Life is what you make of it.  Make it great!!!


Barbara -
First I want to thank you for a wonderful newsletter that truly touches on all aspects for Bariatric patients.  I had my surgery in 2002.  It seems like yesterday.  Everything in your newsletter just really hits home especially your article on sex drive after bariatric surgery.  

Oh how true!  You exchange one ugly body for another all-be-it healthier... I will never forget the time I was in seeing my physician for increased occurrences of UTI's he questioned me as to whether or not it was because of increased sexual activity to which I responded (and surprising even myself with such a strong response) a vehement NO.  He didn't ask another question and we both just let the topic drop. My husband is THE most understanding man in the world.  He told me loved me fat and loved me flabby but it just did not make the libido increase. It was really rather disappointing on a personal level that I never shared with anyone.

It was not until after I had my tummy tuck and was fully recovered did my sex drive kick back into high gear.  Now I had a body that did not flop when I ran, or engaged in sexual activity and I could actually enjoy sex again with new-found enjoyment just like pre-bariatric.  Even though I now have the Frankenstein-effect of connecting the scars, it truly made a difference in our sex life.  No magic potions, no sex therapy counseling sessions, just a better appreciation for the lack of that old fat body gone.  I really felt that I had finally shed that fat person that still lingered in the shadows. With the apron I was still fat, even after I had lost115 pounds.

I just wanted to share that with you and please pass it on to Jennifer.  I don't know if she has considered the tummy tuck or not but I honestly believe it is what was the turning point in my post bariatric life.  I actually enjoy running without the flopping of the apron!  And I honestly can say I enjoy sex again!

Thanks for your time.

I also have the same problem that was described regarding loss of sex drive. I am 2 ˝ years post op and have not seen my sex drive increase over time. I had hoped that with the confidence that came from weight loss and the way I feel about my body, that my sex drive would also be boosted. That hasn’t happened in the least. I will be very interested in learning what other people are doing to help this situation and look forward to future articles about this.  



Hi Barbara,
Have enjoyed getting your inspiring and always informative newsletters ever since I discovered your website shortly after having open R-en-Y gastric bypass surgery January 8, 2003.  Since then, I've been able to successfully slim down to a size 12 and 148 pounds, having started my weight loss surgery journey wearing super-plus size 30s. I was 330 pounds with a BMI of 51.

This month's main topic, Loss of Sex Drive, is something I'm currently struggling with myself.  Within a year post-op, I had lost 130 pounds and for the first time since I was 18, I actually could wear a size 18! I also started to notice more men, some who would have just ignored me at 330 pounds., were giving me looks that made me feel thrilled to be considered desirable, a little afraid to walk alone at night for a while, and triggered those "what the hell are *you* looking at" thoughts I used to have as a fat woman--all together at once!! 

I am in a better frame of mind these days, and am ready to start dating again. But one unpleasant aftereffect of having lost more than 180 pounds is all the loose, excess skin. I still get repulsed having to look at it myself when bathing or changing clothes in front of a mirror

Within the past 3 years post-op, I can finally wear clothes in which, I am told, I look “really hot.”  I am not used to this kind of attention. Just the thought of getting naked with someone is getting in the way of developing any close, intimate relationship. 

What's a poor gal with her libido kicked to the curb in an indefinite holding pattern by her own fear of being rejected by some guy who may be repulsed by my grotesque, albeit much lighter and healthier body to do???



I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.  I am a little on the opposite side as I felt that I had gradually lost my desire prior to surgery and that my weight and the combination of having a hysterectomy was to blame.  I was excited, as well as my husband, to start dropping the pounds only to realize my sex drive just did not magically appear.  I feel even less desirable due to the impact that my prior eating habits have had on my now much smaller body.  I have lost 140 pounds but feel like I still need to hide my body.  It is not acceptable to have the lights on and I feel like I am obsessed with my saggy skin and lack of breasts.  I never had large breasts to begin with but I have now determined there are new sizes available in bras now. I am barely an A (I think that is the same as a training bra or some fig leaves tied to some dental floss).  It is upsetting to think back and say how I thought if I were only skinny everything would be so much better. 

My husband is very supportive and tries very hard to be understanding in the bedroom. As my husband and I approach our ten year anniversary that we ( I mean I) may tend to put too much stress on ourselves.  I have tried hormone replacement therapy to try and rev up my hormones with no luck.  I am now trying some alternatives that include taking time for me. 

I try not to look at the bedroom as a chore or a means to get pregnant.  Remember back to the beginning of your relationship and the pitter patter of your heart and butterflies in your stomach just from a look he gives you.  I sometimes think we get too busy and feel that we need to "schedule" time when it is something that should really be a priority.  It has not been an overnight success for me and I do have to make priorities and let some things go.  But I think it is important to remember the past and stoke the fire before the flames go completely out.  Take time for romance and things will get better. 


Dear Jennifer,
I too am at a loss for a sex drive,  My husband  and i went through 5 years of a sexless marriage and now he is like a dog in heat.  I just want to go to bed and be left alone.  It drives my husband nuts.  I feel very asexual.


I read with great interest the article in your March newsletter on the loss of sex drive. I had my surgery July 2002. I had surgery because I weighed nearly 300 pounds and had no energy, no desire for life, much less sex. I had heard my sex drive would return after the weight loss, but if anything, it has lessened even more. It's really causing a problem for my husband and me. He is starting to talk about leaving because of it. Sometimes, I actually secretly wish he would leave so I wouldn't have to deal with the issue any more. I'll turn 50 at the end of this year, so I'm beyond my baby-making years. But this is really causing problems for us.



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