Originally posted 2011-01-13 12:55:09.
Many thanks to Chi Chi for this link.
I… um… I’m just going to post the article, and then share a few of my thoughts:
Being obese can really get in the way of your sex life—and not necessarily in the ways you might think. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, people who are obese are less likely to have been sexually active in the past year, but surprisingly, they’re more likely than people with an average body weight to have sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. I’m no rocket scientist, but something tells me those are the results of not practicing safe sex.
Researchers in France surveyed 12,364 men and women between the ages of 18 and 69. Half of the participants were in the normal weight range, while the rest were overweight or obese. The survey showed that obese women were 30 percent less likely to have had sex at all in the past year, while obese men were 70 percent less likely to have had more than one sexual partner.
Despite spending less time frolicking between the sheets, single obese women reported unplanned pregnancies four times more often than thinner, unmarried women. That’s because obese women are less inclined to seek birth control advice or use oral contraceptives, say the study’s authors. Research presented at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 58th Annual Clinical Meeting last month backs up these findings. Data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that obese and overweight adolescent girls are less likely to use condoms or other birth control methods.
Chalk it up to low self-esteem. Past research has shown that obesity is related to poor body image, which is associated with high-risk sexual behavior, like unsafe sex. And it’s not just women. The French survey also showed that obese men were much more apt to have had an STD, despite fewer sexual partners.
Though weight did not appear to affect women’s ability to climax, erectile dysfunction was two and a half times as common in obese men as in men with healthy BMIs. Because the penis requires healthy blood flow to become erect, ED can often be a sign of undiagnosed heart disease or circulation issues—all the more reason why someone with ED symptoms should put their embarrassment aside and talk to their doctor.
No matter how much you weigh, or how you feel about your body, these studies underscore how important it is to always put your health first. We all hate exposing our flabby imperfections to strangers—whether it’s the gynecologist or our latest crush. Still, regular doctor’s visits, and a satisfying sex life, can help keep us healthy and happy. If losing weight helps get you there, even better. But even if you can’t get the scale to budge, never let those extra pounds diminish your value. That’s not the way to hotter sex. Loving yourself is.
Now… before we come jumping head first into the comments to play the role of “PR Person for The Overweight Delegation,” let’s be realistic, here.
You’re talking to Erika, here. I have NO desire to beat any woman with poor body image over the head with “what’s wrong with her.” I also have no desire to ignore a very real and realistic problem just for the sake of protecting the image of “The Strong Overweight Woman” or “The Strong Black Woman.” Not gonna do it.
The reality is… in a society that openly and outwardly devalues women who don’t look the way society wants them to look… it is wholly realistic to expect those women to have less-than-healthy body images.
It is also realistic to expect that those women would feel less than worthy of attention from those whom they desire.
It, furthermore, feels realistic – at least, to me – that a woman who’s self-esteem has already been beaten down by society for not looking the way they want her to look, who also doesn’t feel like she’s worthy of the attention of those she finds desirable, would also be more willing to “do extra things” to get and/or keep the attention she has.
Which means.. if she thinks her current significant other might leave her or be less compelled to give her attention if she turns down condomless sex… and she already feels like it’s unlikely that she’d ever get the attention of another… is it so unlikely that she’d just “suck it up and do it anyway?”
Before I unleash this topic… let me declare a few obvious things.
All women feel some sense of desperation for a man’s attention at one point in time or another.
All women, unfortunately, have felt that pain of having to make the hard decision that’s in their best interest and suffered the consequence (regardless of whether or not that’s for the better.)
However… I also know that this site reaches out to a lot of women who are currently uncomfortable with their bodies, and while I know that there are women of all body sizes who frequent this site? I also know that a lot of the women who frequent this site are larger than the size society says a woman should be. So yes… I’m taking the “weight bait” on this one. Commenters may not.. but its obvious to me that this is going to be a more prevalent issue with overweight women because society beats us over the head so often.
That being said… what, on Earth, do we do about this? For all women, but especially those who our country insists upon demeaning?
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