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Ever since puberty, I’ve been aware of my belly fetish. I’m not ashamed of it or anything; I just don’t bring it up because I feel it might be a little embarrassing. A little research shows that it’s not uncommon, and there are plenty of videos online about it. I’m comfortable with it.

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I realize there are many ways for this fetish to manifest itself. What I’ve read says that it often ties in with attraction to pregnant bellies or to women with flat bellies or a particular hip-to-waist ratio. Neither apply to me. What I like is a woman with a round belly, maybe even a muffin top. Not obese, just your average 5’5” woman is carrying an extra forty pounds or so, that’s ideal. I was in love with a slender woman once and I was able to look past it. But my animal side craves more around the middle.

I've been married now for over a decade to a woman with an average frame. Over the years, she has put on about forty pounds, and it drives me wild. I enjoy looking at her, whether she knows I’m looking or not. I always thought she was beautiful, but since she’s gained weight, she’s even more beautiful. Other men might not see it this way, but I don’t care what anyone thinks. I know what I like. What I’m unsure of is whether or not I should tell her. She’s said she wants to lose weight, like most people seem to want to do. If it makes her feel better, I’m all for it, and I’m sure I’d still feel attracted to her. I worry that if I tell her, she might feel she’s letting me down if she drops the weight, and I don’t want to pressure her, especially if it makes her feel better to lose the weight. I also worry that putting so much emphasis on a changeable physical attribute will diminish our emotional connection. On the other hand, she might be really into it, if she knows. Is the risk worth it? Could it be helpful if I say something? Sign me...

Mr. Alvinolangia

First, a definition courtesy of Kinkly...

Alvinolangia is a sexual interest in other people’s stomachs or bellies.... Researchers believe that a woman’s waist to hip ratio is one of the key indicators of a her attractiveness. Slender, muscular stomachs are especially desired, while some people prefer stomachs with more fat. However, it’s important to note that simply finding a person’s stomach attractive does not constitute alvinolagnia. [This interest] often goes hand-in-hand with navel fetishism, but this isn’t always the case. Some people with alvinolagnia may feel attraction to the entire midriff, and see the navel as merely one component of this area. Some people with alvinolagnia also have a pregnancy or inflation fetish. For these people, the bigger the belly gets, the more aroused they become.

...and now on to your dilemma, MA. Diets, we're told, don't work...

Not just paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets. Since 1959, research has shown that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost. The reasons are biological and irreversible. As early as 1969, research showed that losing just 3 percent of your body weight resulted in a 17 percent slowdown in your metabolism—a body-wide starvation response that blasts you with hunger hormones and drops your internal temperature until you rise back to your highest weight. Keeping weight off means fighting your body’s energy-regulation system and battling hunger all day, every day, for the rest of your life.

...so if your wife somehow does manage to lose the forty pounds she's gained—the pounds that drive you wild—she's highly likely to gain all those pounds back and more, MA. Unless she were to make permanent changes to her diet and lifestyle, some argue. That means not "going on a diet" she gets to go off eventually, MA, but making permanent changes to her diet and lifestyle and sticking to both for the rest of her life... a move that, according to Michael Hobbes (quoted above), will leave your wife battling hunger "all day, every day," for the rest of her life.

So... you could keep your mouth shut and let your wife lose the weight, if she can lose the weight, and then bide your time until the belly that drives you wild reappears, which it almost certainly will.

But personally, MA, I think being open about your kinks and fetishes with your partner is better—for your relationship and for your mental health—than keeping your kinks secret. And successfully hiding your kinks from you primary partner is more unlikely than permanently keeping the weight off after a diet. In your wife's case, MA, she's doubtless noticed you checking out women with bellies and she's probably stumbled over your porn stash—excuse me: she's probably stumbled over the videos you found during your "research" into the prevalence of alvinolangia—and she's also probably noticed the way her big belly drives you wild. Which means, MA, when it comers to your belly fetish, she already suspects or she already knows. (She may also have picked up on your discomfort with your your kink, which you describe embarrassing, and didn't raise the subject herself to avoid putting you on the spot or making you feel bad.)

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If you can't bring yourself to say, "I have a belly fetish," MA, maybe you could say something like this: "I love you at any weight—I found you attractive before you gained weight, I'll find you attractive if you lose weight. But I want to open up to you about my lifelong attraction to women with bigger bellies on the off chance that you've been thinking about losing the weight for me. When you talk about losing weight it makes me worry that you think I'm less attracted to you now than I was a decade ago. If anything, I'm more attracted to you now. But it's your body and if you want to lose the weight, I support you and any changes you want to make to our diet or lifestyle that would help you achieve that goal."


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