Significant Weight Loss Boosts Sex Life
For obese men and women who report sexual problems, weight loss of approximately 10% may do wonders for their love lives, according to Duke University psychologist Martin Binks. Dr. Binks, who presented his research findings at the recent annual meeting of The Obesity Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, reported that weight loss improves the sex lives of some obese individuals by reducing their negative feelings about their sexuality and helping them feel better about their bodies.
The Effects of One Year of Weight LossIn the study, Dr. Binks and his colleagues met with 161 obese women and 26 obese men every three months for two years to ask a series of questions about the quality of their sex lives. Each participant answered questions about feelings of sexual attractiveness, frequency of sexual desire, reluctance to be seen undressed, sexual performance, avoidance of sexual encounters, and enjoyment during sex. All participants were actively involved in a weight loss program during the course of the study.In the initial interviews, men and women both described significant problems in all examined areas of their sex lives. Interestingly, however, both men and women reported striking improvements in these problems one year later, after losing an average of 12% of their initial weight (for example, if a 250 lb. man lost 30 lbs).At the beginning of the study, more than two-thirds of all women felt sexually unattractive and did not want to be seen undressed, but after one year of weight loss, only one-third of the women expressed these feelings. In addition, although 21% of women reported not enjoying sex at the beginning of the study, only 11% said so one year later, after their significant weight loss.Overall, improvements in participants’ sexual quality of life were directly related to weight loss, and reached their peak at a weight loss of about 12%, with only small incremental improvements noted thereafter. Though the small number of men in the study limits conclusions that can be drawn about the effect of weight loss on sexual attitudes and sexual problems among men, many of the men in the study did report feelings of unattractiveness and unwillingness to be seen undressed that improved dramatically with significant weight loss.