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Sex and Obesity: Can They Coexist?

By HERWriter
 
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NBC’s hit show, "The Biggest Loser", starts each season with a cast of severely overweight people; lately several have been morbidly obese. We’re introduced to these people and learn why they want to change their lives. A few of the younger contestants are desperately looking for love. Romantic love typically leads to sex. And well, it seems obesity and sex don’t always go together.

It’s no exaggeration that obesity is epidemic. Globally, there are more than one billion overweight adults. Nearly 300 million of them are obese. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control reports more than 400,000 adults are obese.

Obesity is associated with numerous health problems like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. The public is aware of these health issues, but the risk of sexual problems isn’t quite as well known.

One sexual problem is erectile dysfunction. It is linked to medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol.

The physical limitations of excess weight can make sexual activity too strenuous. The constant feelings of lethargy, caused by obesity, also tend to diminish a person's sex drive. In many cases, the heavier a person gets, the less they’re interested in sex and the less sex they get, the more they crave satisfaction from food.

According to one study, the obese reported 25 times as many problems in their sex lives, compared to people with healthy weight levels. Both men and women experienced a lack of sexual desire and enjoyment coupled with hampered performance.

Martin Binks, a Director of Behavioral Science at Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center, and his colleagues surveyed nearly 1,000 obese people. They found those suffering from obesity sometimes, usually or always felt no desire for sex, compared to just two percent of those who were not obese.

About four out of every 10 reported physical problems with sex; 41 percent said they avoided sex. In contrast, just 2.5 percent of the non-obese people said they stayed away from sexual activity.

There is also a social stigma attached to obesity.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Ridiculous article - has this author ever heard of genetics?
Fat people have sex and have fat babies.
As a provider of social events for fat people, I have
met thousands - believe me they are ALL interested
in expressing their sexuality.
Don't you agree that the most critical sexual organ is the brain
anyway? You are woefully misinformed.

May 27, 2010 - 1:40pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

On behalf of all the people at PeopleOfSize.com I will say, this article is preposterous. Simply foolish. Absurd. It's astonishing that a site intended to empower anyone would publish such bunk. Not that fat people need to prove their sexual worthiness or prowess to anyone, but simply as a matter of fact, fat people, obese people, and all kinds of other people, have sex. Lots of sex. A third of the US population is supposedly obese, two-thirds fat. How do you think we are making so many more people? Body insecurity is hardly owned by fat people. And as for function, your information is just wrong. Shamefully wrong. I will not go into the medical issues in depth, but none of the illnesses you mention, even if they do sometimes cause sexual dysfunction, are limited to obese people. Blood pressure medicine and Viagra are purchased by the fat and skinny. Do your research. But mostly, please, there is enough bias against fat people. Think before you perpetuate embarrassing mythology. And stay out of our bedrooms, we are busy.

May 26, 2010 - 7:23pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Sorry, but this article missed the mark. I suppose that people who "suffer from obesity" do have problems with their sex life because they are led to believe that they are of less worth by articles like this. I am not suffering because I am obese...and, perhaps, that's why my sex life both with my partners and with myself are quite satisfying.
In the future, it might be helpful to actually speak to fat people yourself before writing an article that makes all sorts of assumptions about them.

May 26, 2010 - 6:57pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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