Why Bingeing and Extreme Exercise Means You’re Not Getting Enough Sex

Young CoupleMy husband and I were married for fifteen years. The passion had long ago disappeared from our relationship (if it had ever really been there at all). We were lucky if we had sex once every three months.

In the beginning I blamed it on the Depo Provera I was using for contraception. After I went off that, I blamed it on my weight loss — since my period had stopped, I figured my libido wasn’t working because my hormones weren’t.

My husband didn’t mind. He seemed happy enough with the occasional hand job on the mornings he was awake when I got home from the gym. I’m not really sure though, we never talked about it.

I convinced myself that there were more important things in life than physical intimacy. I had a husband that was gainfully employed, who let me do whatever I wanted without interfering and although he frequently got pissed off at me, we never fought. We were more flatmates than partners. I thought that was how all marriages ended up after the first flush of romance disappeared. I lived without being touched, or kissed, or being told that I was beautiful. I thought it didn’t matter. I convinced myself that everything was OK.

When I felt the urge to eat everything not nailed down, I didn’t think it had anything to do with my emotions. I had a good life and I didn’t think I was unhappy. I was confused because from the outside, everything looked fine. It wasn’t until I stopped dieting and working out and took a break from my job that I realised that my relationship was over. I didn’t feel anything for my husband. We didn’t talk, we didn’t spend time together, and I no longer found him attractive. And I realised that most of all I was desperately lonely and aching for an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual connection.

When I trashed myself at the gym, lifting until I hurt and running until I couldn’t breathe I was letting out all the feeling I couldn’t express. The words that I was unable to say to my husband were purged by a relentless exercise regime.

I was bingeing  and exercising an hour and a half six times a week because I wasn’t getting enough sex. Not just any old sex, but mind-blowing, defences down, totally surrendered sex with lashings of affection, passion and desire. I was trying to sooth the emptiness I felt inside by distracting myself with the endless emotional roller-coaster of giving in to the sensual pleasure of food and then wallowing in the swamp of guilt for not having any self-control. I was releasing the pain, the frustration and the unspoken requests to have my needs met by pouring my energy into the physical sensation of lactic acid and burning lungs. My heart ached for love and my body yearned to be touched.

If you’re bingeing without knowing why and you can’t take a day off from the gym or the pavement, count the number of times you’ve had sex this week. If you can’t remember the last time your brain dissolved into the pores of your skin as you were stroked by your lover then maybe that’s the reason you’re feeling unsatisfied and off kilter.

Look at your relationship*. Is it working for you? Are you with someone who can take all the love you have to give and reflect it back to you tenfold? Can things improve or do you need to walk away? Talk about it, write about it, express how you feel and what you want to change.

If you have an intimate connection in your life, it needs to be passionate, exciting and evolving. A mediocre relationship is far worse than none at all. Half way between something and nothing is lonely and frustrating.

Have sex tonight – the kind that makes thinking and breathing impossible. And then do it again tomorrow. I guarantee the urge to never stop eating and the compulsion to push your body to exhaustion will disappear. And I wouldn’t be surprised if other things in your life improve too. Go on now — you know you want to.


*If you aren’t in a relationship then find something to be passionate about. Your work, a cause, creating art — anything that makes you lose track of time and gets you out of your head. Same thing applies though. You need to be fully engaged and completely surrendered when you do it or you are going to substitute bingeing/restricting and compulsive exercise as a way to feel satisfied and heard.

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

20 thoughts on “Why Bingeing and Extreme Exercise Means You’re Not Getting Enough Sex

  1. I don’t binge, and these days I don’t even low fat (I consider that poison now)-but both hubby and I workout HARD because we like to (and yes I love being able to lift heavy at almost 44-and he’s almost 51)-yet, we have lots of wonderful, spiritually lifting sex.
    I know what you’re saying-but I just had to throw that out there-you can’t lump all of us exercise junkies into one basket. 🙂

    1. Exercising because you LOVE it is fantastic! When we exercise because we have to, workout when we are sick, and panic when circumstances prevent us from getting our daily dose then it becomes a problem

  2. Bravo and bless you!!!! Absolutely true and brilliantly, beautifully, poignantly, powerfully written, Katie. Thank you for so wonderfully putting into words what so many of our hearts are aching over and trying to express…in one way, shape, or form. Your blog posts are blessings…you are a blessing. And you’ve got so many friends around the world (literally…I’m writing from East Coast U.S., was about to close my computer at the office and head home after throwing myself into work for 4 hours, numbing out, alone at work – as usual – after my colleagues are long gone…so I don’t have to face what waits at home). Thank you, Katie…with all my heart!

    1. Thank you Lynne
      Go home and have a hot bath, a glass of wine and think about what needs to change. I know you deserve to be treated like a princess. x

  3. A-freaking-MEN sister. You have managed to write exactly what I am thinking. If you were here, I would hug you. I feel the urge to hug my computer screen with this on it.
    Small problem is the lack of a man, though I have got myself a FANTASTIC lady toy. If it could rub my shoulders and make me coffee, I would marry it.

            1. If Sensei turns out to be a 9 inch high performance high technology love machine with unique innovations that allow single-handed stimulation for a new generation, does that mean I have to take up golf?

      1. Duckfish – you have made me laugh so hard I nearly leaked weewee.
        The sensei is technically more proficient than any man I have come across, I am like a piano, I must be played with feeling.

  4. DEFINITELY to your asterisk. I realized that the times I started binging again after being ED-recovered were always times I felt idle & like I had nothing to do– no passion in life. Passion is important. Passion is awesome.

    P.S. I loved your short video on eating disorders, I wanted to repost it but I think it would have been too triggering– it made me feel a little sad about old times myself.

  5. Fantastic post! I was in a marriage that lasted far too long and during which I gained more than 100 lbs. binging, because the sex stopped after my daughter was born (4 years into the marriage). I gained the 100 lbs. in the 14 years during which I eagerly waited to have sex with this man. I tried every diet out there, hoping that I would be “good” enough, blaming it on myself that he couldn’t possibly love a woman with curves. As it turns out he loved the bottle more than he loved me. Today I am happy, 100 lbs lighter, but alas still alone, so occassionally I do still resort to bingeing because those old demons are hard to fight off; I mean those demons that tell you that you are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, etc. Sorry to be so long-wided, but your post today really was a reminder of how true these words really are; thank you Katie!

    1. It is interesting how our body image becomes entwined with our sexuality. The truth is that we are worthy of love no matter what our size.

  6. I am in the middle of what you are describing except I ramped up quickly into Ironman Triathlons and Ultra-marathons. I just completed a 100 mile running race, and am laid up with sore knees and fatigue. It is now that I am forced to deal with all of the reasons I started this journey over the last few years, and it is now that I am coming to terms over the fact that I have not had sex more than once a year (anniversaries) since kid number two (4yr old). We both are at fault but I subconsciously went to excessive exercise as a release. I thought the racing kept me in line (fidelity wise) and gave me the passion that I needed and WANTED. But I am now realizing that it was a myth and put off the inevitable and maybe extended the symptoms to the point of no return. My wife and I are going to counseling but I fear the worst, and am depressed with a lump of fear in my stomach that is not going away. There is such a thing as post-ironman depression syndrome PIDS, which I think I have, but this is different. This funk has more elements of your experience related to self medicating with exercise.

    1. Oh John, I feel your pain.
      Not to trivialise or anything, but a good, honest, passionate roll in the hay would work wonders for many of us.
      Good luck, mate.

    2. I am sad for you too John. You sound like a wonderful, caring man.

      If I had any advice that would help, it would be just kiss your wife and tell her what she means to you. Kisses are magic.

      I hope it all works out for you … ♥

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