‘It’s painful,’ Makua moaned.

‘What is painful now?’ Ojo snapped, rolling over to his side of the bed. He sat up on the edge of the bed and buried his head in his hands. He looked a sorry sight indeed.

Makua felt tears gathering behind her eyes. It was always the same story. She heaved her bulk over to where he sat, the bed creaking under her weight.

‘I am so sorry, my love,’ she plunked down next to him like a pregnant hippopotamus, her massive breasts bridging the gap between them easily.

‘My hips get so sore in that position.’

Ojo glanced scornfully at her, the frustration evident on his face. ‘So what position is good then? Eh? Whichever way we do it, you complain that it’s painful. It’s either your knees or your hips or one thing or the other.’

Makua sighed heavily. She could feel the sweat gathering under her breasts, where they folded over on her tummy. The area was slightly itchy as well which always heralded another candida infection. She could never keep the area dry enough or aired enough to keep the pesky thrush away. She was still on a course of treatment for the thrush in between her mountainous thighs.

‘You know I am trying my best to lose weight…’

‘Well try harder!’ Ojo retorted as he got up and left the room. Makua’s tears rained down like a dam overcome in a torrential storm. Her 122 kilogram frame heaved and shuddered as she gave in to her sorrow, the bed moaning in sympathy with each movement.

She had been a chubby child who everyone loved. She loved her food and her favourite game was when she would finish a meal and the adoring adults will put her on centre stage in front of them and ask her what was in her protruding tummy.

She would then recite the names of all the food she knew like rice, beans, pasta and so on till she ran out of names. If prodded further, she would add other things like eraser, pencil, paper and the adults will be engulfed in laughter.

Bad habits die hard. As she grew older, she developed a love for cooking and was never away from the kitchen for very long. The weight piled on. She seemed unable to know when to stop eating. Two pregnancies down the line and her weight was officially classified as ‘morbidly obese’ by her doctor. Her weight was now a major factor affecting her enjoyment of sexual intimacy and her husband, Ojo was getting sick and tired of it all.

So, what impact does obesity have on sexuality? A lot!

And this affects both women and men.

  1. Obesity is associated with high cholesterol and diabetes. Both these conditions cause blockage of the tiny blood vessels in the penis so that impotence and erectile problems result. The same conditions can also cause a reduction in blood flow to the clitoris in female so that the woman may not be as easily aroused as she should be. This may affect her desire to have sex.
  2. A man who is having erectile problems as above will feel discouraged and his libido or desire to have sex may reduce or even go completely.
  3. Obesity in men is one of the causes of ‘Buried Penis’ syndrome where the penis is hidden under excessive skin and fat. This makes it difficult for the man to penetrate the vagina.
  4. Obese people produce too much of a hormone called SHBG ‘sex hormone binding globulin’ which mops up the testosterone which is required to help sexual arousal. So the obese person may not have much desire for sex due to a reduction in testosterone.
  5. Obesity is a common feature in Polycystic disease which is the leading cause of infertility in women. Several years of attempting to conceive can lead to disillusionment and lack of interest in sex on the part of either the man or the woman.
  6. Obese women may suffer from lack of confidence due to poor body image and this affects their sexuality as they feel they are sexually unattractive. During sex, they are busy worrying about how their bodies look instead of participating and enjoying the sexual encounter.

What are the benefits of weight loss?

When people lose weight, they often feel stronger, can move more easily during sexual intimacy and generally feel better about themselves. All this will improve their desire to have sex and also their enjoyment of sexual intimacy.

Losing weight can improve symptoms of depression and put the person in a better mood to have sex.

The reduction in aches and pains that come with weight loss can also make sex easier and more enjoyable.

Losing weight also reduces the amount of SHBG you produce and that frees up more testosterone to improve your libido.

Exercises such as cycling or walking briskly improves blood flow to the pelvic area and this can improve lubrication and sexual arousal.

What can your partner do to help?

  1. it’s not enough to keep telling the obese person to lose weight. They need a lot of emotional support during the process as they often feel discouraged by the slow pace of weight loss even when they are doing all they should do. So praise them all the way.
  2. Join them to do the exercises because even if you are not obese, exercise is still good for you.
  3. Eat healthily around them. It can be very distracting if you keep eating fattening foods around someone who is trying to lose weight.

What can you do if you are obese and this is affecting your sexuality?

  1. First of all, you need to love yourself. If you don’t love you, it will be pretty hard for someone else to. Self-hatred de-motivates and disempowers you. But if you love and appreciate yourself, then you will pick up the courage to do what is right and healthy for you even when it’s difficult.
  2. Eat healthily – Nina will educate you on this so don’t forget to sign up for her weight loss program
  3. Moderation is the key! Small portions of a variety of foods which include lots of vegetables and fruits will keep your skin glowing, your heart pumping nicely and the fat off so you can enjoy sex to the full.
  4. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30mins of exercise two to three times weekly. Remember that even if you don’t lose weight, exercise will improve your general wellbeing and this will definitely improve your enjoyment of sex.
  5. Get counselling if you are suffering from depression associated with your obesity. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. We all need help now and again.

Don’t let obesity rob you of the beauty of sexual intimacy. It’s worth every effort you put in to lose that fat. You will feel healthier and your self-esteem will soar as your sex life and relationships all improve. Here’s to a sexier and healthier you!!

Dr Adaeze Ifezulike is a family physician and author of the Amazon Bestselling Book “Understanding Contraception: A Guide for Black Ladies”. She is an internationally sought-after speaker on women health and motivation, empowering women worldwide to be the best they can be. She is the creator of Sexual Wellbeing Network where sexual health issues are regularly addressed. For further information and to book her to speak please contact info@sexualwellbeingnetwork.com.

Understanding contraception available on Amazon

Understanding contraception