Five brave women find out - and the answers are surprising and endearing
By JILL FOSTER
Could you bear to hear the truth about what your spouse really thinks of your naked body? Does she loathe your love handles? Does he secretly wish you’d tone up that tummy? Here, five brave couples shed their clothes and reveal their innermost thoughts about their partner’s bodies...
Karen Phillips-Craig, 32, is an outreach support worker and husband Mark, 38, is a hotel maintenance manager and retained fireman. They’ve been together for 11 years and married for six, and have a son Kieron, ten and daughter, Megan, seven. They live in Penrith, Cumbria.
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MARK ON KAREN
Karen has a very curvaceous body and I’ve always found her very sexy. I don’t like skinny women, I like something to get hold of. She likes Jennifer Aniston’s physique, but for me, someone curvy like Kate Winslet is much more beautiful.
I know Karen is not particularly happy with her B-cup breasts, but there’s nothing wrong with them. Yes, they’ve dropped a bit because she’s had kids, but so what? I wouldn’t want them any bigger or smaller — they’re just right. She has a nice nipped-in waist and curvy hips. And I love her bottom. She says she hates her thighs, but her legs are very toned.
FAVOURITE BIT: Her bottom.
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: I can’t think of one — she’s gorgeous and wish she’d stop worrying.
KAREN ON MARK
Mark has a great physique. His pert bottom was one of the things that first attracted me to him when we met at work. That and his gorgeous dark eyes.
He’s ageing really well. His hairline hasn’t receded. He’s thinning a bit on top — like his father — but you’d hardly notice. When we first got married and had the kids, he stopped working out for a while and got a little pot belly which I’d tease him about. It never put me off him, but now he’s back to playing more sport and looking fitter again, I’m not complaining!
FAVOURITE BIT: His bottom.
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: When he’s put weight on his belly.
KAREN’S REACTION: It’s nice of Mark to say he likes my breasts, but I’m not convinced. I’d love to have them lifted up. I used to be a C-cup, but since having children, they’ve headed south and are quite droopy.
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Mark always says I have a nice bottom and tells me he loves my smile, teeth and my blue eyes. Looking good and keeping attractive for your husband is really important. I’m 5ft 4in and my weight never drops below 10st, which is mainly muscle. I work out in the gym regularly — I’d hate him to think I’d let myself go.
MARK’S REACTION: After 11 years, it’s reassuring to hear Karen still fancies me. I’m pretty happy with my body — I’m 5ft 9in and 12½st, so that’s a healthy size. I’m not surprised she mentioned my bum — she’s always liked it — and my legs. I know she’s not fond of my pot belly, which hard as I try, gets worse with age.
Yasmin Duggan, 60, a retired businesswoman, has been married to husband John, 57, a former HR manager, for nearly 30 years. They have two grown-up children and two granddaughters and live in Epsom, Surrey.
Yasmin and John: Still in love after nearly 30 years of marriage
JOHN ON YASMIN
I find Yasmin’s body as big a turn-on today as I did 31 years ago. She’s put on a bit of weight recently but as most of it has settled on her breasts, that’s no bad thing as far as I’m concerned!
She’s more than 9st for the first time in her life — her weight usually hovers at a few pounds under that — but I think she still looks utterly fantastic. Even when she was pregnant in the Seventies, she looked gorgeous.
She lost the baby weight quickly and retained her slender figure throughout the Eighties and Nineties.
These days, she complains that her tummy is a bit saggy and her legs are too thin but to me she looks the same to me as she’s always done. What I can’t take my eyes off when she’s naked is her amazing skin — it’s always so silky and smooth. You just want to stroke it.’
FAVOURITE BIT: Her skin.
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: Possibly her stomach — but it still looks fine to me.
YASMIN ON JOHN
John’s body has changed so much. Thirty years ago, his chest measured 36in, and I loved the fact he was tall and slim. I absolutely adored his bottom and couldn’t keep my hands off it! But over the years, thanks to eating too much, he went up over 19st.
Of course it never stopped me loving or even fancying him. And even though he was not such a head-turner physically, I loved the fact that he had become so cuddly.
But health-wise, I was really worried about him so I’m pleased that he recently lost more than three stone in four months.’
FAVOURITE BIT: Still his bottom — it’s very firm!
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: His feet. When he was a young child, I don’t think his parents looked after his feet and his toes are slightly deformed.
YASMIN’S REACTION: I knew John would say he loves my skin. He’s always saying it’s soft and smooth. He compliments me a lot, which I think is very important to keep a marriage alive. It’s good to feel attractive to your husband, even after a long marriage.
Since I started the menopause five years ago and went onto HRT, I’ve gained weight that I simply can’t shift and it’s gone around my middle. I’m surprised but glad that John hasn’t noticed. I’m also grateful that he doesn’t hate my stick-like legs.
JOHN’S REACTION: When Yasmin met me I was tall and thin. Then I became tall and plump, then tall and fat. Yasmin never seemed to mind and she’s always coming up and giving me hugs. It’s great that she thinks I’m still attractive whatever my weight.
Four months ago, I decided I had to do something to lose weight, so I cut back on my portions. I’m now 15st 11lb and could lose more. But I’ve never liked my own body and my skin is too fair and freckled. I’d rather look at Yasmin’s body than my own!
Denise Burdin, 58, a housewife, has been married to Christopher, 61, a long-distance lorry diver, for 17 years. They live in Retford, Notts, and have three grown-up children from previous relationships.
Denise and Christopher: Don't care that their partner's body has changed since they met
CHRISTOPHER ON DENISE
Since we met 21 years ago, Denise has put on a bit of weight, but she was too thin before. We settled into a period of contentment and both put on weight. I went up to over 15st — far too much for my 5ft 8in. I’ve no idea what Denise weighed, but she was definitely rounder. Now we’re settled at a good weight.
Denise could still do with losing a few pounds around her middle, but she’s had two kids and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I tell her she looks lovely whatever shape or size she is.
She looks fantastic in a pair of nice, figure-hugging trousers. Her }:) are perfect and she’s got nice legs, too.
FAVOURITE BIT: Her bottom. It’s a lovely shape and nice to touch. Not too big!
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: Her middle bit.
DENISE ON CHRISTOPHER
When I first met Chris he was a lot slimmer. He put on a lot of weight in our early years, but I never stopped finding him attractive.
He once dropped to under 10st and I warned him I’d stop finding him sexy if he got any thinner. But his weight could never affect how much I love him.
He’s in good shape now and, even though he’s in his 60s, I’m always amazed by how his skin is still so smooth and I love cuddling up to him in bed.
FAVOURITE BIT: I love his bottom. It’s very pinchable!
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: Perhaps I’d like him to be a bit slimmer around shoulders, but that’s all.
DENISE’S REACTION: I’m over the moon that Chris loves my body. He’s always made me feel so attractive. I feel better about my body at 58 than ever before.
It was only when I had my children at 21 and 27 that I developed what I’d call a womanly shape and began to accept that I looked OK.
My favourite body part is my breasts and it’s nice to hear that Chris likes them, too. I don’t like my middle bit — I’ve got too many stretch marks and am a bit saggy — but again, I’ve grown to accept that it’s part of who I am. I’m 5ft 5in and imagine I’m around 11st. I’m still a size 12 so I’m happy with that.
CHRISTOPHER’S REACTION: Denise never comments on my body, so it’s great to hear she loves my skin.
Apart from the time when I overdid the weight loss and got very thin, I don’t think she’s stopped finding me attractive. Even then, once she’d pointed it out to me, I began to eat sensibly again and got back to 13st, which feels about right.
At 21, I would have given my body a five out of ten. Today I’d award myself an eight out of ten. I’m happier not only because of my age but because 20 years ago I became a naturist and once you’ve seen lots of naked bodies, you stop caring so much about your own.
Deborah Kelly, 45, who runs Angel Academy beauty training school and husband Keiran Kelly, 43, an NLP lifecoach, have been married for three years. They live in Loughton, Essex.
Deborah and Keiran: Perfect to each other
KEIRAN ON DEBORAH
Deborah’s skin is always tanned and smooth; such a lovely contrast to my pale, Irish complexion. She’s had eczema in the past and I hate it when she scratches at it, making her gorgeous skin bleed.
She has a perfect hourglass figure, a lovely bottom, shapely legs and soft brown eyes. I love her breasts — she’s a 34B which is just right for her figure. But her best bit is her smile. It lights up her face.
She’s always talking about the fact she doesn’t like the rolls of skin between her breasts and stomach, but I really can’t see anything wrong. She used to be very skinny when she was younger, but I wouldn’t want her to be too thin.
FAVOURITE BIT: Her skin.
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: Nothing. She’s perfect — although I wish she wouldn’t make her skin bleed by scratching it!
DEBORAH ON KEIRAN
He’s like a Duracell battery with a bright orange top. I love the colour of his hair — such a contrast to his pale skin and it’s lovely to put your fingers through. It’s the complete opposite to mine.
He’s tall with long legs and a cute, pert bottom. He’s very manly and toned which makes me feel protected because I’m so short. If I could alter one thing, I’d give him a shorter neck. I encourage him not to wear round-neck T-shirts because they’re really unflattering.
FAVOURITE BIT: His hair.
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: His neck.
DEBORAH’S REACTION: Bless my husband for saying he thinks I’m perfect. That’s why I married him! I’m very self-conscious about my skin; I’ve suffered chronic eczema since childhood, but finally it seems to be clearing up. But I’ve got lots of scars and would love to have some sort of laser treatment to heal them.
KEIRAN’S REACTION: It’s nice to hear that Deborah thinks I’m toned and attractive, but we’re still in the early days of our marriage and she’d be the first to tell me off for putting on weight. A year ago I had a little belly and she wasn’t going to let the fact my trousers went up from a 32in to 34in become a permanent fixture. She wasn’t cruel, but reduced the amount I was eating so I could get into my old clothes.
Louise Egan, 40, a housewife, and Adrian Dell, 46, an audit manager, have been together for four years. They live in Luton, Beds, and have four grown-up children between them.
Adrian and Louise: Happy with their curves
ADRIAN ON LOUISE
When I met Louise, she’d recently divorced and wasn’t eating properly. She’d shrunk to a size six to eight. Of course I found her attractive, but now she’s a size 10-12, she’s far sexier. For me, there’s nothing worse than that horrible ‘Essex girl’ look of skinny bottom half combined with large fake }:).
Louise’s B-cup breasts are her best bit, they’re a lovely shape and size. The worst bit is her stomach. It’s a bit ‘muffin top’ with quite a few stretch marks, thanks to two pregnancies. I know she hates it and feels self-conscious, but I can hardly talk when at 17st I’ve got a large stomach myself. And it doesn’t put me off — she’s a whole package, not just a few body parts.
FAVOURITE BIT: Her }:).
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: Her stomach.
LOUISE ON ADRIAN
Adrian has a ‘pudding belly’ and I’m always telling him not to have any more apple crumble. We’ve only been together four years, so his body hasn’t changed much.
He’s tall, so he can carry off extra weight, although I wouldn’t like him to put on too much. I like his firm bottom and nice long legs.
FAVOURITE BIT: His bottom.
LEAST FAVOURITE BIT: His pudding belly!
LOUISE’S REACTION: I’m delighted Adrian likes my }:) because I think they’re my worst feature. I’ve gone up a couple of dress sizes since meeting him, but I’ve never been happier about my body. So what if I’ve not had much of a waist since I gave birth to my children more than 20 years ago? I’m 5ft 4in and around 9st 7lb, and eat more because I’m content with Adrian. I’d rather be happy and wobbly than unhappy and skinny.
ADRIAN’S REACTION: I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been, but it’s nice to hear Louise is so happy. I’m 6ft 3in and about 17st so I could lose a bit of weight, but Louise and I both think there’s more to life than having a six-pack.