Study: Obese people report less sexual satisfaction

The study included 91 men and 134 women of every ethnicity who were moderately to severely obese, defined as having a body mass index of at least 30. However, none weighed so much as to make sex physically impossible.

In addition to the weight loss drug trials, these participants were given a straightforward and in-depth questionnaire concerning an array of areas impacting their sex lives: desire, dreams, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, behavior, relationships, masturbation, and sexual dysfunction.

The participants' scores were compared against a group of cancer survivors examined in a 2006 study and a group of the general population. The ratings of sexual satisfaction for obese men fell below the general populations' scores but above cancer survivors. However, obese women scored below both groups.

It's no secret that body image plays a huge role in our sex lives. If you're worried about how you look to your partner, you will be less likely to want to have sex. If you do agree to have sex, you may be so focused on the other person's perceptions that you can't concentrate on your own pleasure. A poor body image also makes some people more introverted, increasing the difficulty of meeting a romantic partner. These issues are particularly problematic for women who are constantly bombarded with advertisements and products that reinforce the importance of female beauty.

Obesity can also lead to a number of physiological problems that add to sexual dissatisfaction. Blood flow is a key component of sexual arousal. Anything that negatively impacts your circulatory system such as smoking or obesity will also impair your body's ability to pump blood to erectile tissues.


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Anna Nicole Smith
  • Anna Nicole Smith

A new report published in the May issue of The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, found that obese people enrolled in a weight loss study were significantly less satisfied with their sex lives than the general population. The drug study also found that this problem is magnified for obese women.

"Our findings contribute to a growing body of research that indicates obesity is associated with reduced sexual functioning and sexual quality of life," said Truls Ostbye, a professor at Duke University Medical Center, in a press release about his study.

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