Obesity, Fitness and Sexual Pleasure

One of my regular clients asked me the other day whether or not being overweight would have any impact on his sexual enjoyment.

I had to smile to myself, because there is considerable body of evidence on the Internet to suggest that being overweight, and in particular being obese, are definitely ways that you can deny yourself the best sexual experience, or indeed interfere with normal sexual functioning.

For example, men who are obese are very much more prone to erectile dysfunction to men who are fit and healthy. In part this is due to physiological issues such as high cholesterol, but it is also due in part to emotional issues such as a poor self-image which detracts from the emotional experience of sex and may even cause erections to fail.

Itís worth bearing in mind as well, that men who are overweight have many fat cells Ė and these are a production resource for estrogen or estradiol, hormones which interfere with testosterone receptors on a manís cells, thereby rendering him less masculine or even in a state of testosterone deficiency.

Now, itís easy to simply suggest that a man should lose weight to regain normal sexual function, but of course nothing in life is as simple as this Ė particularly when it comes to overeating!

The truth of the matter, of course, is that most addiction to food is based on psychological wounding in childhood, and there are those Ė and they include me Ė who would suggest that to overcome such difficulties it is necessary to do deep psychological work and explore the root issue of the habit of eating Ė which really means comforting oneself with excess food.

And having said that, is also true that life in itself gives us the opportunity to grow and develop psychologically and emotionally, and it is possible for people to stick to a diet with dedication until they are once again fit and healthy. But the failure rate of most dieters suggests that the number of people who have an emotionally mature enough psychological position to lose weight in this way is rather limited!

So where does that leave us then with regard to the issue of sexual fitness and losing weight or dieting?

In short, itís all down to the individual Ė but we know that individual choice is not necessarily the most powerful component of choice when it comes to dieting. People know that they are obese and likely to die prematurely, but they continue to stuff their faces with unhealthy food. Clearly thatís not a rational choice! Itís a choice that based in the emotional wounding I mentioned above, and itís unlikely, at least in my opinion, that a person will be able to overcome that compulsion to eat unless they attend to the personal work that is necessary to resolve their emotional issues.

And letís be clear about it Ė whatís at stake here is not a minor thing. Weíre talking about erectile dysfunction for men, feminization perhaps, certainly not being able to sustain intercourse for any length of time before becoming exhausted, and possibly even premature ejaculation.

And when you think of the body image issues that accrue from being overweight, you begin to build up a picture which strongly suggests that even though the reward of good sex can be fabulous, the compulsion to overeat may be stronger.

Iíve no hesitation in suggesting that obesity and overeating leading to own overweight body are antecedents of all the male sexual dysfunctions: my experience in meeting men who are overweight and sexual dysfunction, and who can resolve these issues by losing weight or going on a diet, has confirmed this.

For example, Web MD better shape for better sexĎs article on the benefits of better sex shows how achieving great sex is related to being in good physical shape.

Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the American Council on exercise, has confirmed that the link between exercise and good sex makes absolute sense from every point of view. If you think about the elements of fitness, youíre going to think of something like muscular strength, flexibility, and the aerobic endurance of an individual.

Now itís obvious, I think, that all of those three components of fitness are going to be an advantage during intercourse. We all know how flexibility can make experimentation with sexual positions more enjoyable. We all know how aerobic endurance can allow intercourse to be sustained for longer. And we all know how muscular strength can aid us in sustaining sexual positions such as man on top where the man is supporting his weight on his arms.

But it isnít just about sex! Many studies demonstrate that stress is much lower in individuals who are physically fit. That could be of course because the exercise itself reduces stress levels, but it could also be because there is some physiological benefit to being physically fit Ė a reduction in cortisol, or a reduction in anxiety perhaps.

There is a more subtle link here as well Ė if you feel anxious or stressed, youíre not likely to feel in the mood for sex, because those two activities are under the influence of opposing elements of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.

dreamstimefree_114885Keep in mind as well that exercise can have significant effects on how youíre feeling Ė indeed, people who exercise regularly usually report consistent feelings of well-being.

Although itís a minor point, you might also want to consider the fact that many women who exercise experience what become known as ďcoregasmsĒ.

These seem to be some form of orgasmic response occurring when the muscles and nerves of the pelvic area stimulated.

For women who find it difficult to reach orgasm and who want to give their partnerís assistance in the art of bringing a woman to orgasm, itís clear that fitness acts in some way to facilitate female orgasm.

Now, of course, a lot of this material isnít documented in scientific studies, but what seems particularly interesting is that my experience brings the sex-fitness dynamic up time and time again. This leads me to propose that by following a particularly good and widely recommended diet itís going to be possible to improve your sex life out of all recognition.

I suggest that men and women get a diet designed specifically for their gender, because the requirements for the two sexes are somewhat different in terms of physiology of weight loss.

And my suggestion would be that you donít engage in a diet and fitness program just for the sake of better sex, but you regard it as an holistic approach to life, ensuring that not only are you in good health (and therefore likely to live longer) but that you also can experience the pleasure of good sex with your partner.

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