Can obesity dampen your sex life? Come, let’s weigh in on it
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 25, 2023
Amita Singhal (36) had a crazy sex life with her partner, up until a few years ago. After her first pregnancy, she put on a massive amount of weight. Although she has been trying to lose all the flab, it has really been futile. She believes she has lost her charm, and with that, all the spark in her sex life.
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“Sometimes, I deal with body image issues. At other times, it almost feels like I do not get turned on at all. My weight has really impacted my sexual performance, I would say. Before my weight gain, I had a very exciting sex life; today, it is almost non-existent,” she says.
Singhal is not alone; there are many like her who do not just deal with insecurities around their bodies, but also struggle with sexual health issues. In fact, according to the Obesity Action Coalition, higher body mass index (BMI) in women can be the cause of several sexual problems. That’s because blood isn’t properly circulated in the genital area, and that may also lead to decreased satisfaction in the bedroom.
Does it happen to everyone?
It isn’t necessary that your weight has to govern your performance in the bedroom. If you feel sexy and confident of yourself, nothing can stop you from having a steamy sex session. But for most people, being overweight causes them to lose their mojo, and that’s where the problem lies.
“I just can’t enjoy sex anymore. Every time I think of initiating sex with my partner, all I think of is my roll of fat. I keep thinking how my partner is going to be turned off. This has really strained my relationship, and I am trying to fix it,” says Ashima Pradhan (41), a marketing professional.
An expert tells us all
According to Dr Tripti Sharan, Senior Consultant, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, BLK MAX Hospital, “When we speak about obesity, it will cause problems, either directly or indirectly. It can give stress and cause a woman to have a negative body image. Moreover, it can cause discomfort during sex.”
Moreover, it’s also a play of hormones. Higher levels of body fat means that your body will produce higher levels of the sex hormone binding globulin, which binds to the sex hormone, testosterone. When this happens, there’s not enough in the body to stimulate your desire. Clearly, getting the big O will be a struggle then!
“That’s because fat cells produce a lot of hormones, and they all go through your brain. These are all regulated by stress. There are hormones, which could inhibit your sexual desire. It all boils down to the interdependence on the hormones and neurotransmitters,” she adds.
That’s not all – the menstrual cycle also gets irregular, and that causes stress too. Plus, it predisposes one to diabetes and high blood pressure, which in turn, affects sexual and reproductive health, says Dr Sharan.
She also believes that our lifestyles are to blame. We are so dependent on mobile phones that we are driving away intimacy from our lives.
“People check their phones during sex, or even shortly after. We have deadlines to meet, and we think about work all the time. This impacts your life, more so in the case of women. That’s because everything is connected to our brains,” explains Dr Sharan.
What can be done?
“The most important thing we must do is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Pay attention to your diet. As Indians, we consume too many carbs. Also, take out some time for relaxation to de-stress and do something that makes you happy. There are so many factors that are affecting us today,” concludes Dr Sharan.