Another Reason to Get Healthy: Great Sex

This is probably going to ruffle some feathers. Heck, it will probably make a lot of people angry and I'm sure we might lose a few followers. But, here goes nothing. In a new study, Duke researchers studied 91 obese men and 134 obese women who completed a sexual functioning questionnaire before enrolling in a weight loss study. Nine areas were covered including interest, desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, behavior, relationship, masturbation and sexual problems. Dr. Truls Ostbye, a professor in the department of community and family medicine, said in a Duke news release, "We found that there was lower sexual satisfaction and lower sexual quality of life among women than men, and overall sexual quality of life was low among both groups." The study also compared obese patients' scores to the results from a group of cancer survivors, as well as a general population group. Obese women's scores were lower than both groups' scores, while obese men's scores were between the scores of the cancer survivors and the general population group. "Our findings contribute to a growing body of research that indicates obesity is associated with reduced sexual functioning and sexual quality of life among both men and women," Ostbye said. In a another study by Duke University researchers, "dieters who dropped 12%  of their body weight over two years felt more sexually attractive and had greater sexual desire." But it's not about self-esteem. There is has been a growing amount of evidence that prove that obese men are more likely to have erectile dysfunction and some men may also be taking medication that could lower their sex drive. This study definitely got the conversation started on Facebook and I couldn't wait to weigh in (no pun intended). So how do I feel about it? Oddly enough, I was just thinking about this the other day. Does weight/health/fitness impact your sex life? Turns out, it isn't the first scientist have asked the same question. In 2006, Duke conducted a similar study was published in Obesity, a research journal. The study found that:
  1. Obese individuals report a higher frequency of sexual difficulties attributed to their weight (lack of sexual enjoyment, lack of sexual desire, difficulty with sexual performance and avoidance of sexual encounters)
  2. Higher BMI is associated with greater impairments in sexual quality of life
  3. Sexual quality of life is more impaired for obese women than for obese men
  4. Gastric bypass candidates reported greater impairment in sexual quality of life than other obese individuals
It's important to note that those individuals who participated in the studies were enrolled in a weight loss program and the studies did not consider those individuals not pursuing weight loss. When I posted the article on Facebook, you can imagine that we received a barrage of comments ranging for agreement to complete annoyance with Black Girls RUN! for perpetuating stereotypes and bashing those who may be overweight or obese. We always find these comments very enlightening and we quite frankly, like stirring the pot to get the conversation going. I think we need to get one thing straight. Whether you're overweight or obese, it not healthy. Period. End of story. Anyone who doesn't agree...well, we won't even waste our time. Another thing I think we can all agree on it that being overweight or obese is physically limiting. So whether your running, riding your bike, or getting your shag on in the sack, if you're overweight or obese, you aren't going to be able to "perform" as well as someone who is not (ie. Overweight individuals have decreased stamina and endurance. Heck anyone who doesn't workout regularly does). Now that we've proved the purely physical aspect of it, let's move on to medical. Several studies have shown that obesity can cause erectile dysfunction. I think that's pretty self explanatory. Emotionally, we all know that physical attraction is important in relationships and thus plays an important role in those late night activities. But what about the people who are attracted to larger men or women? To each his own. But I can't help but to think that overweight or obese individuals are somewhat self-conscious in the bedroom. Especially women, as most women (overweight or not) are. In the Facebook thread , someone commented Wow. Is it so farfetched to enjoy fitness through running without denigrating the bodies of others and making assumptions about how they feel and enjoy their bodies? If that's the brand of sisterhood BGR is fostering, that for me, is a real problem. FYI fat folks run. I am one of them. So how about showing a little more respect? Just a thought. Let's me set the record straight. Black Girls RUN!'s M.O. isn't to attack or assume how others may feel about their body and that's obviously not the type of "sisterhood" we foster. However, our job is to dispel the myths. Like being overweight or obese is okay. (Because it's not). Not because you should look a certain way, but because it's not healthy and thousands of African-American women die each year due to obesity-related diseases. If you're looking for someone to sugarcoat the truth, then we're sorry to disappoint you. Obesity is a VERY REAL problem that needs to be addressed head on. Someone else commented, Making fun of fat bodies is not cool, and neither is one more scientific study telling me that my life isn't good enough. We completely agree that making fun of overweight/obese individuals  is lame. However, I don't think the point of the study was to tell people that their life isn't good enough. Yet, I think the point was to bring awareness that while everyone knows obesity contributes to heart disease, etc. it also affects quality of life and PEOPLE have the power to change that by living a healthy and active lifestyle. And last but not least, Excuse me but as a [big black woman], my sex life is very fulfilling. I can and do get it as much as a skinny woman. Again, we all have different preferences and just because someone is skinny doesn't mean they are getting it on the daily and vice versa. We're glad that your sex life is good. However, having been overweight at one point in my life, I GUARANTEE YOU that my love life is better now that I'm not. Both emotionally and physically. I feel great about my body, I'm active and boy does that translate into my relationship with my husband. It's not about casting judgement or making people feel bad about looking a certain way. It is about educating individuals about the health and lifestyle issues associated with being obese, overweight and inactive. Keep in mind that both Ashley and I have been there, so we're not just two skinny girls with a vendetta against people who don't look like us. The reason we created this group was to shock people into getting healthy and fit. If it's posting controversial articles and talking about difficult subjects then let it be. The statistics speak for themselves and we intend to change them.


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