There are two contradictory trends at odds in this country: a growing obesity pandemic and a oversexualized society. When these two trends meet, people often find themselves in a bad place: on the one hand, they’re constantly titillated, but on the other hand, they’re unable to achieve satisfaction, resulting in frustration and stress.
If you find yourself in this place, it may be time to consider losing weight because your weight may be responsible for your inability to enjoy a healthy sex life.
Lack of Energy
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Overall, people who are overweight tend to have less energy. An obese individual is carrying around a lot more weight every time they move. This tends to wear them out a lot faster, leaving them less energy for “optional” activities like lovemaking. For overweight people, the act itself may take more energy as well, making it harder to accomplish, which may make it not seem worth it to people who are already overdrawn at the energy bank.
Lack of Confidence
Lack of confidence is a powerful libido-killer. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you may not have the confidence to initial sexual activity, even with a long-term partner that you know loves you. Unfortunately, people who are overweight tend to have low self-esteem.
Your Partner’s Response
Even if you feel good about yourself when you are obese, your partner may not share your assessment. If your partner finds you less attractive because of your weight, it can kill your desire as well. You may attempt to initiate sexual activity, only to be rebuffed or find that your partner just has no interest. Repeated exposure to negative response can blunt your sex drive.
Diabetes is commonly linked to obesity. In fact, obesity may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 42 times! Diabetes in turn can significantly impact your libido. Perhaps 50% of all people with diabetes experience some type of sexual dysfunction.
Obesity can reduce your levels of sex hormones. Obese men have lower testosterone. For women, the effect may be less pronounced, because obesity may actually be correlated with higher estrogen levels. However, testosterone affects the sex drive of both men and women, so obesity may still have a significant effect on women’s sex drive as well
In order to engage in healthy sexual activity, you need the blood to be flowing to all the relevant regions. I you don’t have a healthy heart, you may have trouble getting the blood where it needs to be, which in turn can lead to sexual dysfunction. This can happen to both men and women.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops intermittently during the night. To resume breathing, your brain must awaken slightly, which can occur hundreds of times a night, even if you don’t know it. Sleep apnea has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men and sexual dysfunction in women. It’s also a major contributor to low energy in people who are overweight.
Make a Change
If you are overweight and unhappy with a diminished sex drive, you don’t have to just accept it. Instead, you, can make a change, lose weight and find yourself with a healthier sex drive as well as a healthier body overall.
It may not be easy, but taking the first step gets you closer than taking no steps at all.
Dr. Matthew B. Candelaria (PhD, U of Kansas 2006) is a freelance writer who is happy to have finally reached a “normal” BMI. He enjoys his happier, healthier, skinnier life and encourages others to pursue their own weight loss goals.