Can being overweight or obese negatively impact our sex lives? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 69 percent of Americans are overweight and 35.1 percent of those people are obese. While many health professionals dub this as a health epidemic, we wonder if sexual health is partially affected by being overweight.
Sarah Varney's book XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America's Love Life discusses this in detail, informing readers with over 2 years of research on how obesity is altering sexual development, dating, marriage and sexual function. The book looks at how weight loss can make or break a relationship.
For example, many men and women lose confidence due to their weight problem. This leads to many pretty much giving up doing the deed with their partners as they feel self-conscious and can’t even enjoy themselves, which in turn negatively impacts their relationships.
One subject in the book, who weighed 265 pounds, had no interest in sex with her husband and he eventually gave up trying. The subject went through a a weight loss surgery where she shed a lot of her unwanted weight, but she still had problems between the sheets. It wasn't until she went to counseling that she discovered her problem wasn’t the number on the scale - it was her confidence and her body image.
Body image activist Hanne Blank says you don’t have to be overweight to experience issues with sex.
"The problem with the assumption that fatness 'challenges' relationships in some unique way is that it relies on a mistaken assumption that the exact same kinds of body-image issues do not affect anybody who is not fat," said Blank. "Orgasm is not a pants size. Fun is not a body fat percentage. There is not a magical BMI number that produces love. End of story."
Is it a matter of weight, or a matter of self confidence or a mix of both that affect our sex lives?