How Obesity Impacts Sex

Struggling against obesity isn’t all about dodging heart attacks and counting calories, it’s also about improving the quality and frequency of your sex life.

You may be wondering, “So how are food and sex related to each other?”

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The answer is simple. Too much of one can lead to too little of another. Read on to find out exactly how obesity impacts sex.

Like most modern Americans, I love food and I love sex. Sometimes, these desires are so overwhelming, I go overboard and these natural and healthy urges and end up sabotaging my health goals. After learning from trial and error, I’ve realized that moderating these indulgences is the key to my ultimate satisfaction.

Obesity runs in my family and I have to be vigilant and hyper aware of my food intake and exercise routine in order to stay fit and in good shape. And, as a single lady with spine injuries, I find that it’s incredibly important to stay in the normal range of the BMI scale in order to benefit my physical health, emotional well-being, sexual health and my reproductive future.

Don’t let these humorous gifs fool you, as obesity can be serious and life-threatening. Not sure if you fall into the normal, overweight or obese range on the Body Mass Index chart? Check yourself out on the CDC’s BMI Calculator.

Body Image/Self Esteem– Having a poor perception of yourself just isn’t sexy. Body image issues and low self-esteem can lead to major depression, and self-consciousness or anxiety about being seen without clothes on. Feeling desired and wanted is incredibly important, especially for those who rely heavily on outside sources for acceptance and feelings of self-worth and attractiveness.

Male/Female Erectile Dysfunction (ED)– As we’ve talked about before, a fully functioning circulatory system is incredibly important for sexual function and sexual satisfaction. Blood flow is the basis for penile erections and clitoral erections.

If this blood flow is impeded, erectile tissues cannot engorge with blood as they should. Since erections are not vital or an essential bodily function, the body redirects what little blood flow there is towards digestion and brain activity, as opposed to pumping it into extremities.

Reduced Options for Positions– You can forget those acrobatic yoga-influenced sex positions. Obese sex means that movements will be labored and restricted by physical limitations.

Lower Sex Drive– Libido is very closely linked to the levels of hormones in the body. Testosterone levels drop dramatically in obese men, which directly affects the drive to have sex.

Studies in male weight and sexual desire show that for each 1 point increase in BMI, testosterone levels drop 2%. Many women who have experienced sexual dysfunction due to obesity find that after bariatric surgery, their sex drive returns to a more active (normal) state.

Increased Infertility– Obese women often have a difficult time conceiving when they are ready to start a family. Since weight gain is so common during pregnancy, many doctors recommend being in the normal BMI range before pregnancy for the health of both mother and child both during pregnancy and after birth. Obese men have lowered sperm counts and reduced sperm mobility, which makes conception more difficult than it is by men of the same age range who are less heavy.

Side Effects from Meds– Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart blockages can all require prescription medications, many of which will have sexual side effects, such as ED. In general, as weight declines, so do the dosage amounts or frequency of pill popping. Now that’s motivating!

Lack of Energy– Let’s be real. Carrying around all of that extra weight around is tiring. Joints ache, breathing is labored and slight movements make you sweat. If you want to increase your athleticism in bed, you’ll have to start by improving your stamina and cardiovascular health by walking, swimming, dancing, biking, etc.  As always, consult a medical professional before attempting to start any extreme exercise routine.

Also, please note that while it’s tempting, relying heavily on diet pills and caffeinated drinks for your energy is a short-sighted solution, and will do little to improve your sexual satisfaction in the long term.Buried Penis– The mons pubis and mons venus are the squishy areas around the reproductive organs, which store fat. In fact, it can store so much fat that it impacts erection size, and the ability to see the erection from a first person POV. A new method being used by doctors is to ask obese male patients to look down and assess whether or not they can see their own penis.

Unprepared for Sex– Those who feel they are undeserving of sex or those who very infrequently have offers or opportunities for sex are more likely to be unprepared for sex. A scientific study in 2010 about unwanted pregnancy found obese women under the age of 30 are 4 times more likely to become unintentionally pregnant than women of the same age group who are not obese.

The best way to avoid being surprised by sex and unprepared is to carry condoms and/or dental dams with you. Most condoms have a 4 year expiration date, so even if it’s an infrequent event to get laid, they’re worth buying and having handy. Be confident and carry condoms!

Prostate Problems– Obese men are more likely to have an inflamed prostate, which is the organ responsible for ejaculation. Other more serious prostate complications may arise from an increased likelihood of developing prostate cancer due to obesity. Read more about the importance of prostate health here.

Sources: [Harvard Health PublicationsThe Health SiteMedScapeCNN Health, Live Science]

About Condom Depot

The Condom Depot Learning Center provides free safer sex ed and has recently been resourced by Men's Health, Go Ask Alice, Her Campus, LifeHacker, Scarleteen, Bustle, Madame Noire, Jezebel, Vice, Stallion Style, aPlus, Sex Talk Tuesday and Adult Sex Ed Month.

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