More sex, less fighting: 2 women share how diet pills have changed their relationships

  • The boom in weight loss drugs is helping more and more people to successfully lose body fat.
  • Many of these people find new, more confident versions of themselves.
  • This can affect relationships, whether couples have more sex or fight less.

Ever since he started Taking semaglutide and later tircepatide last fall, Elizabeth Wood has gone through the usual stages that patients can expect with these new tortuous weight-loss drugs.

He has lost 125 pounds, his appetite is now almost non-existent, and he has stopped buying junk food.

A side effect she didn’t expect, however, is that she argues with her husband less.

“We don’t have as many petty arguments just because my mood is so much better,” she told Business Insider.

Weight loss and relationships have always been subtly intertwined. When trying to hold a calorie deficit or meal plan, the support of those around you can be made or broken. Some partners don’t like losing their eating or drinking buddies and having indulgent date nights replaced by healthy hikes, so they may subconsciously sabotage their efforts or consciously coax them out.

But with the boom in appetite-suppressing weight-loss drugs like semaglutide (marketed as Wegovy but commonly called Ozempic) and tircepatid (Zepbound or Mounjaro), that excitement has taken on a whole new dimension. People navigate their lives with new priorities and drastically reduced appetites and bodies, and their companions are taken aboard.

Lose weight, increase self-confidence

Patients can lose more than 20% of their weight with these life-changing drugs, known as GPL-1 agonistswhich are prescribed alongside exercise and a healthy diet, although as in Wood’s case, quitting highly processed fast food isn’t difficult when you can’t take it anymore.

For the 26-year-old, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, the post-GLP-1 version of him is more confident, in a better mood and with a higher sex drive.

“Because I’m happier, things are just better all around,” Wood, who has been with her husband Geoff for 12 years and been married for almost two years, said.

Elizabeth Wood and her husband Geoff.

Elizabeth Wood and her husband Geoff.

Elizabeth Wood

Dr. Beverly Tchang, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College who works with weight loss patients dealing with relationship challenges, told BI that she has seen many people who use these drugs, whether single or in a relationship, develop more confidence.

In fact, a 2022 study of 1,441 bariatric surgery patients found that single people who received weight loss treatment were more than twice as likely to marry within five years. Married people who had surgery were more than twice as likely to divorce.

Lead study author Wendy King, a professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health, said relationships were a motivating factor for people who signed up for her study hoping the surgery would increase their chances of finding a relationship or improving an existing one. one.

The GLP-1s seem to have done that for Wood, who says her newfound confidence means she’s now more eager to go on dates with her husband.

Ashley Dunham, another GLP-1 patient, has gotten the boost she needs to go out with her girlfriends. He lost about 105 kilos in 16 months on semaglutide after he started using it in the summer of 2022.

“I’m not embarrassed about how I look when we go out for group photos,” the 32-year-old, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida, told BI. “So I’ve been prioritizing time with my friends without our husbands and kids and doing things for myself that I probably felt a little too selfless to do before.”

Dunham said she felt “skinny privilege” for the first time in years and has more self-esteem: “I don’t feel guilty about showing up and existing in spaces I didn’t traditionally feel like I belonged in.”

Ashley Dunham before and after weight loss.

Ashley Dunham before and after weight loss.

Ashley Dunham

Weight loss drugs can reduce the desire for food and sex

Women’s different social priorities not only reflect how GLP-1s can affect patients in different ways, but also their contrasting sexual desires. Wood did not notice a decrease in libido with the drug “not at all,” as did patients in a 2022 bariatric surgery study, in which those who lost the most weight were more likely to experience an increase in sexual desire. But Dunham’s appetite for sex and food is “pretty level.”

This matches Insider’s previous reports about how these drugs, which work in the brain’s reward circuit, can affect the desire not only for food and sex, but also for alcohol, so much so that they could one day be used for addiction treatment.

“You know you need it and you know you want it, but it’s just not there,” Dunham said of her desire for sex. “Some days it feels like a mental task instead of a physical and emotional one.” One small-scale study in men without weight problems found almost no difference in sexual desire after four weeks of GLP-1 treatment, more research is needed on this topic.

“As much as I love my husband and we’ve been together for over a decade, it has nothing to do with him and nothing to do with me,” she said.

Dunham married her husband Bryan five years ago.

Dunham married her husband Bryan five years ago.

Ashley Dunham

Tempted to try tircepatide

Either way, Dunham’s husband supports her taking semaglutide, not least because restaurants are now inviting the couple to a free meal because she’s shared her GLP-1 journey on TikTok and become an influencer. Plus, he likes her new look. If anything, he’s more worried about himself.

Both Dunham and Wood said their husbands have considered taking diet pills themselves after seeing their wives’ success.

“The most interesting part of our relationship now is that she’s just living off of what’s left of me,” Dunham said. “I always joke, I’ve lost all this weight, and you’ve gained a little more because you’re eating all the food I can’t eat anymore.”

“He’s very tempted to try it,” Wood said. “He’s lost a little weight with my diet because I’m not cooking the same foods as before.”

Elizabeth Wood before and after weight loss.

Elizabeth Wood before and after weight loss.

Elizabeth Wood

Tchang said when one half loses weight, it can make the other question their own lifestyle.

“Your spouse may watch you lose weight and wonder, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ What is he doing right?’ And there can be complex dynamics that develop,” Tchang said. “We talk to our patients about all of these things, both before and during the medication, and we try to figure out with them, Does this still feel like the right direction for you?”

For some, the new spotlight on each other’s bodies may feel uncomfortable.

Weight loss drugs as a lifelong commitment

Barry Tacktill, 51, and his wife Debbie Schubert started using Ozempic in February. Although he stopped because of side effects, which can include nausea, diarrhea and constipation, Tacktill stuck with it and had lost 41 pounds by July, the WSJ reported.

Doctors like widely weight loss pills a lifetime commitment, and it is common for the pounds to gain back when the patient reaches their goal weight and stops taking them. For some, unpleasant side effects or over $1,000-monthly price tag can be too much. All of this can put a strain on the relationship.

Tacktill told the publication that Schubert had made hurtful comments, telling her that she might get back up and that she “still has a stomach,” which made him think his wife might be mad at him. Schubert said he’s sorry he hurt her feelings and is glad he’s looking and feeling better.

As for Wood and Dunham, neither of whom experienced long-term, unpleasant side effects from the drugs, they are figuring out how to plan their new lives with GLP-1, which will likely be the new standard for at least the foreseeable future.

“It’s been fun just rediscovering how many other activities there are that have nothing to do with food and are all about making memories,” Dunham said.

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