In an ever-growing consumerist society, obsessed with status and appearances, looks are paramount. As unfortunate as this may be, it’s true, and it’s not rocket science either. Martina Said tries getting around the argument: do women think of dieting more than sex?

Sex seems everywhere these days; from the stuff we watch to the clothes and accessories we pick (f*** me shoes sound familiar?) Agreeably, sex is important in the name of posterity, but it has become an overused cultural theme.

Staying slim, on the other hand, takes hard work, focus and time. It requires discipline and attention. And while starting is hard, maintaining it is even harder, which drives us to obsess over getting it right.

Love & Hate, Sex & Food

While men are becoming increasingly fond of caring for their appearance – cue the metrosexual debate – the instinct to want to look good is somewhat more dominant in women. And, as the natural assumption goes, it’s primarily to attract the opposite sex.

We tend to fool ourselves into believing that we want to look good ‘for ourselves’, and to feel comfortable in our own skin. While it may be partially true, we mainly want to look good behind closed doors and, especially, between the sheets.

After a few-too-many mega burgers and tubs of ice-cream in moments of need, we are reminded to regret it when, lying face up in a steamy embrace, some body parts begin to wobble and shake shamelessly. It’s as if that last burger is shouting out ‘hey, I’m here!’

Which leads me to ask: Do women think about dieting more than sex? And not just during sex but, well, all the time?

The Proof

A survey carried out in the UK by the weight-loss company Atkins found that more than half the women surveyed think about food more than sex. A quarter of these felt dieting was more important than their relationship.

An even more worrying discovery is that women feel guiltier about straying from their diet than they do about cheating on their partners.

While the latter is hard to understand, the former is barely surprising.

The urge to be thinner is a compelling impulse which drives us to resist tempting food – or any food for that matter – or to go to the gym when all we want to do is curl up in bed.

If you had to chuck a bunch of strangers in a room, it’s probably only a matter of time until they start talking about how big their bums are, how annoying the cellulite on their thighs is and what diet plan they’re on. 

However – and this might simply be a matter of opinion – it is a little off the mark to think that women think about dieting more than sex; reason being that they probably think of dieting BECAUSE OF sex. They want to look thinner in order to feel better about themselves while in the act. 

Self image and Sexuality

A woman’s relationship with food is rather complex (most men would agree it’s not the only thing that’s complex).

According to Psychology Today, it has much to do with sexuality and self image, and because women are pounded with more information about dieting than about a healthy female sexuality.

Women are subliminally taught to believe that by withholding food – which is nourishment but undeniably a form of pleasure – we’ll find happiness because we’re in control, and because, simultaneously, we’re shedding the fat.

Yet, through eating, we indulge in a different form of pleasure; one that doesn’t carry sexual shame with it, like say, a mind blowing one-night stand does. So, either way, conflict ensues.

Supposedly, if women stopped battling their weight issues and made peace with their bodies in all its perks and flaws, then their relationship with their sexuality would also improve and their preoccupation with dieting would decrease. Which, in turn, would heighten their sexual appetite.

That a ‘majority’ of women think that dieting is more important than a relationship exposes some deep weaknesses of the modern woman; that it’s better to suppress pleasure and live with the thought of hunger than engage in sex is unnerving.

But perhaps that’s all it is; we only think about wanting to be prettier, thinner and firmer; and we’re often preoccupied about it because we constantly think of the future; or an imagined one – where batwing arms are a thing of the past and our thighs don’t smack against each other.

When faced with the real temptation – of sex, not food – then the importance of dieting loses its significance. Especially if that temptation bears significance in our lives.