But cultural messages also continue to tell us that no one bigger than a
size 6 should be singing the siren song of sexuality. Much like oil and water,
being overweight and sexy just don't mix. For those already struggling with
weight and image issues, that powerful message can easily throw a wet blanket
on even the most active libido.
By Ty Wenger
Fifteen years ago, I found myself in a romantic pickle: Cheryl, a woman I
had been dating for about three months, was nearing her 25th birthday. The
birthday gift in any three-month-old relationship is a dicey one, and I
deliberated over it for weeks. Too big too soon and it could look like I was
trying too hard. Too little and I might appear indifferent. Too romantic and
I'd run the risk of setting the bar too high.
And so it was with great enthusiasm that I finally unveiled...
"Unfortunately, people are internalizing society's definition of what it
takes to be involved in sex, particularly the body shape -- there are clearly
societal biases out there that are influencing us on an individual level and
not in a good way, " says Martin Binks, PhD, a clinical psychologist and
director of behavioral health at Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center in
But it turns out that cultural messages aren't the whole story. New research
suggests certain physical conditions that go along with obesity also affect sex
drive, further dampening the desires of those who are overweight. The good
news: You can make some changes to your body (and how you think about your
body) to enhance your libido. You can:
Lose a little weight, even 10 pounds, to stimulate sex hormones
Eat more nutritious foods, which control cholesterol and blood sugar
Key your workouts to getting blood flowing to the pelvic area
Pick up a sexy novel and start reading
Accept your body at any size
Believe in your sensuality
How to begin? Start by identifying the physical and psychological obstacles
that could be standing in your way to a fulfilling sex life.
How Too Much Weight Hampers Sex Drive
According to a recent study conducted by Binks and his colleagues at Duke,
up to 30% of obese people seeking help controlling their weight indicate
problems with sex drive, desire, performance, or all three. Often, the latest
research shows, these problems can be traced to physical conditions that
co-exist with obesity.