Obesity and sexuality
Obesity is in the line of fire again. A number of studies have shown that it damages the quality of sexuality in a variety of ways, both for men and women. Including erectile capacity.
These results have been confirmed by a number of researchers. At Duke University Medical Center (USA), for example, it has been found that obese persons suffer from lack of desire and pleasure, the tendency to avoid sexual activity and (don't say it too loud) low performance. Statistics also tell us that these problems can be up to 25 times worse than for persons of normal weight.
At the Center for Obesity Management, Second University (Naples) researcher Katherine Esposito subjected 110 obese men to a weight loss programme, of whom half followed an intense training schedule. After two years, subjects who had trained hardest and lost most weight got better erections than those who had trained less or not at all and lost less or no weight.
Again: a study run at Lancisi Hearth (Ancona) by Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli and his colleagues, shows that modest physical training can help to improve sexual function in cardiopathic men. This news may be welcome to men with erectile problems, since Viagra and similar drugs have hazardous contraindications in combination with the drugs prescribed for heart disease.
Let's take a closer look at the studies. The Duke study was presented to the North American Association for the Study of Obesity at Las Vegas. The researchers, Martin Binks, Ph.D. and Ronette Kolotkin, Ph.D., say that their study "shows a substantial difference between the quality of the sex lives of obese and normal weight persons. The quality of our sex lives is important to us all and with obesity currently on the rise, the number of people suffering from this problem is also increasing".
Binks and Kolotkin have developed a programme for the obese which emphasises lifestyle changes, promotes physical exercise and encourages healthy eating. In their experience, "even a modest loss of weight and improved physical condition make subjects feel 10-20 years younger sexually". Kolotkin has also developed a 31 point questionnaire ('Impact of Weight on Quality of Life-Lite') which evaluates all weight-related aspects of quality of life. More than 1200 people have answered the questionnaire, as well as responding to the four basic themes regarding sex: lack of pleasure, lack of desire, low performance and the tendency to avoid sexual activity.
The main difference between normal weight and overweight people in the Duke programme was that only 2% of the first group testified that they occasionally, usually or always had no interest in sex, while the corresponding percentage of obese subjects was 50%. Furthermore, 42% said that they occasionally, usually or always had problems with sexual function and 41% said that they avoid sexual activity.
In the study run by the University of Naples and published by the "Journal of the American Medical Association" (JAMA), the authors state that after following their weight loss programme, 30% of their subjects reported good erections.
The study by Lancisi Hearth, Ancona published in the "International Journal of Cardiology" could be a ray of hope for those suffering from chronic cardiac problems, with its emphasis on physical training. The study was run on 59 cardiopathic men: half of them, randomly selected, followed an 8 week training programme, while the other half did no special physical exercise. At the end of this period, those who had followed the programme reported, among other data, an improvement in the parameters related to sexual function, including the quality of their erections, and they also reported improved relations with their partners.
Sources: IHRSA (Newsletters: 'Obesity Impairs Sexual Quality of Life for Men and Women', 15 Nov 04; 'Better erections if you lose fat and exercise more', 23 Jan 04); International Journal of Cardiology, 11 May 05