Before we get into the gist of the subject, it’s vital to put a disclaimer out there.
This article shouldn’t be seen as a fat-shaming tool. While some of what may be discussed here might be triggering, it’s vital to acknowledge and understand the realities that we deal with every day in our search for love and use the gains for self-improvement.
If you’ve had any experiences with online dating, you will notice that as you fill out your dating profile, there’s a weight category you can fill in. Or, even if you don’t fill it, the more you get to know someone while online dating, the more questions about how you look will come up. This is when you have to send a potential date your picture.
Ever given thought to why this is so? Well, while men are credited with being visual creatures, women are also visual. The majority of the dating pool is attracted to those who look fit and trim. Call it a bias, an ingrained instinct for survival of the fittest, or personal choice, but it is what it is.
Some cultures indeed put more value on plus-size partners. However, they are the minority and the society and culture we live in now would beg to differ. Many of those who grew up on the bigger side of the weight scale were teased. If this relates to you, you may notice that you probably aren’t considered hot if your body doesn’t conform to our society’s perception of the ideal female form.
If you’re a man, you’re expected to have an upper torso that looks very well worked out, and if you’re female, the hourglass shape is more preferable. When you’re heavier or obese, you tend to look more oval or pear-shaped and are considered not ideal.
While all this is true, it’s not only society’s perceptions and expectations about obesity that affect our dating life. Science and biology have a lot to say about it too. Let’s dive into it.
Evolutionary Psychology and Sexual Maturity
When someone achieves sexual maturity, you can tell by the secondary characteristics their body displays during puberty. These characteristics are awakened by our increasing sex hormones. Males have testosterone that allows them to have larger upper body muscles, a heavy voice, and grow lean and tall.
Estrogen, on the other hand, is responsible for the lips, full breasts, and fuller butts that females have. If you’re transgender, you rely on sex hormones to give you the sexual characteristics of the sex you want to change into. Evolutionary psychologists refer to these secondary sexual characteristics as sexually selected signals of fitness since they are an indicator of a person’s health and fitness.
According to evolutionary psychologists, these indicators of health and fitness point us in the right direction of mating with someone we know is healthy and fertile. As a result, being overweight or obese is not as attractive as being fit because it is an indicator that we don’t have the sexual indicators of fitness that our in-shape, healthy counterparts possess.
Consequently, we tend to make more effort to display personality characteristics ideal mates may be looking for in a romantic partner to compensate for being obese or overweight. Excessive weight and obesity is a disadvantage we have to deal with because humans intrinsically want to have ‘perfect’ romantic partner’s even though we are far from perfect. Even so, this isn’t to say that being obese means no one will ever be attracted to you.
An overweight woman will attract men that are more physically attractive than she is because she portrays a winning personality and a pretty face while an obese man will attract more physically attractive women if they’ve got fame and money. Can you see the compensation at play here?
Obesity During Dating: The Risks
- Plunging Testosterone
Obesity affects both men and women in dating. However, when you take a deep dive into love life, you might realize that the guys have the short end of the stick. As we discussed earlier, the male hormone testosterone is responsible for libido, sperm production, muscle development, and the development of male reproductive organs.
The levels of testosterone in men peak during early adulthood and then slowly go down during middle age. However, studies have shown that testosterone drops dramatically when males are obese. An article by Harvard Health Publications reported that one major indicator of testosterone deficiency is an increasing waistline.
The article referred to a study done in 2008 and reported that normal aging of 10 years only increased the chances of having low testosterone by 36%, while an increased waist circumference of four inches increased the odds by 75%! Obesity and low testosterone can result in erectile dysfunction, so guys, if you want to have an active sex life, you must maintain a healthy body weight.
- Depression and Other Psychological Issues
Unfortunately, both men and women who are obese are more likely to suffer from poor body image, low self-esteem, and experience depression. These issues can particularly affect your sex life or your love life in general. Being able to express yourself openly, feeling confident about your body, and having a healthy sex life aren’t possible when you’re feeling inadequate or depressed.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at some of the effects of obesity on your sex life.
Effects Of Obesity On Your Sex Life
XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America’s Love Life, a book authored by Sara Varney, explores the statistics related to obesity and how it affects intimate and physical relationships. The author, after two and a half years of intensive research, concluded that obesity affects intimate relationships in different ways:
- Physical Barriers- partner’s who are obese can experience barriers during certain sexual positions. Their shape or larger size can make things more challenging and make intimacy hard to achieve. Physical size can also affect stamina during intimacy.
- Health issues and medication- some diseases related to obesity including heart disease, depression, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension can affect one’s sexual function. Some of the medications used to treat these diseases or conditions can also lead to sexual dysfunction.
- Hormonal imbalances- having excessive fat in the body can result in changes to your hormonal levels. Men that have decreased testosterone levels can experience erectile dysfunction and women that are obese experience changes in their estrogen levels that affect their fertility and menstrual cycle.
- Body image issues- having excess weight can result in negative body image or not feeling comfortable with your partner seeing you without clothes.
How you feel about your body can have a significant influence on how you feel about enjoying sex. If you’re confident about your body, then you most likely will enjoy it. If not, you will want to hide your body from your partner. Even so, everyone regardless of weight has certain insecurities about what happens in the bedroom.
Here are more ways obesity can affect your love life
- Lower Levels of Motivation
Just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean that your performance in the bedroom will be affected. A lot of it depends on whether you feel sexy, desirable, or confident so that you can transport these feelings to the bedroom. However, for many people, being obese has a direct relationship to lower motivation and lower energy levels. You might have some limiting beliefs or be self-conscious about your body.
- You Focus On The Negative
When you’re obese, you might not be comfortable with your body. This feeling can take over your mind and cause you to be blind to some of the parts of your body that you should be confident about. Even if you’re obese, there are certain parts of your body that you like so concentrate more on them. If there’s an outfit you feel good in, put it on. If you like dancing, look at yourself in the mirror while you do it. Try to smell good, dress well, and be confident in the choices you make as ultimately, all that will make you feel sexy.
- It’s Harder to ‘Get It Up’
One of the most common conditions that obese men experience is erectile dysfunction. Being overweight increases the likelihood that your penis won’t be cooperative when it’s called to task. In addition to this, obesity can lower the levels of testosterone in men. Testosterone is vital for sexual function. With this in mind, men must maintain a healthy weight if they want to have a regular, healthy erection.
- Limited Sex Positions
If you’re obese, chances are that you’re finding it difficult to maneuver around different sex positions. Remember that sex is a physical activity so the more physically fit you are, the more likely you are to want to have sex. Keep in mind that just because you are limited in sex positions doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a satisfying sex life. Even so, the problem blows up when both you and your partner are obese and cannot enjoy different sexual positions.
- Your Hormones Are Imbalanced
Both men and women who have high amounts of body fat can also get higher amounts of the sex hormone building globulin (SHBG). This chemical binds to testosterone. When there’s a lot of testosterone bound to this chemical, there’s usually nothing left to make induce desire. If you combine that with a bad diet that reduces your want for sex, your love life hangs in the balance.
- Fewer Orgasms
When you’re obese or overweight, there’s less blood flow to your genital area. This is because the extra weight you’re carrying results in narrower blood vessels. It’s important to have proper blood flow if you are to have an orgasm. Your sex hormones need to be well balanced if you want to have a sex drive or reach orgasm.
- You Become A Pleaser
Feeling sexy has to come from the inside no matter what size one is. Your sex appeal comes from you, not from other people, regardless of your weight. Even if you’re not where you want to be weight-wise, you can focus on what your partner likes. Just make sure that you don’t focus so much on them that you forget you need to feel good too! Being confident in the bedroom has everything to do with your state of mind rather than your pant size.
Turning Your Life Around
Dealing with and conquering obesity isn’t an easy thing to do. However, that’s not to say that you cannot do it. With some determination, the will to succeed, focus, and discipline, anyone can turn their lives around. The first step you need to take is to determine the cause of your obesity. If it is a result of depression, you should seek expert help and work with a healthcare practitioner to help you overcome it.
If obesity is a result of bad lifestyle choices like not considering nutrition or working out, you can still change the narrative. You will have to dig deep to find motivation for getting into shape. Don’t give up! You can do it! Keep your mind on the prize and focus on the good things that can and will happen to you once you start to take control of your life.
Remember when we said that this article isn’t a tool to body shame anyone? We meant it! We hope that you will overcome the challenges we mentioned here. We also hope you understand that you can still have a fulfilling love life even as you work on yourself. All you need is a dash of confidence and a sprinkle of positivity. Confidence in who you are inside is the ultimate pointer to how sexy you can be.
Understand that you will not see changes immediately after you start to take control of your body, mind, and spirit. Be patient with yourself and embrace even the small changes you see. They will lead to bigger ones that are evident to anyone who bothers to look!