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Lose weight for better sex

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Some months ago I had a telephone session with a man in his early thirties. He’s been married for five years and he and his wife have been trying to conceive a baby for about three years, with no success.

He told me he always had a low libido but with the added pressure, he is now suffering from erectile dysfunction. His wife is very disappointed and unhappy because with hardly any sex there is even less chance of falling pregnant. While taking his sexual history, I found out that he has been very overweight since he was a teenager.

With obesity rates on the rise, the effects of being overweight have attracted increasing attention, but one aspect of this problem is too often overlooked - the impact on male sexual dysfunction.

Being overweight can directly affect erectile dysfunction by lowering testosterone levels. Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men, and it plays an important role in both libido and sexual function. It’s one of the reasons my client has low desire.

Indirectly, obesity contributes to diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, which all contribute to erectile dysfunction by damaging and constricting blood vessels and affecting the way blood flows in and out of the penis. The penis needs a sufficient supply of blood to become erect and once engorged; the vessels need to close to maintain the erection.

In men, obesity is directly linked to infertility because of the way it affects sperm. This research, done by Dr Sebastien Czernichow and his colleagues in Paris, and reported online two years ago, gathered data from 14 previous studies of nearly 10,000 men. The researchers found that among the overweight men, 25.6 per cent had a low sperm count and 2.6 per cent had no viable sperm. Of the men who were obese, 32.4 per cent had a low sperm count and 4.7 percent had no viable sperm.

The authors noted that more research needed to be done, the analysis was limited and that sperm count was an imperfect measurement of fertility, but they believed that obese or overweight men were more likely to suffer from infertility.

The answer for my client may be that he should make an effort to lose some of his weight, change his eating habits and live a healthier lifestyle. Exercising regularly not only helps to shed kilos, it also increases endorphin levels, which can do wonders to improve self-image and increase energy for sex.

Let’s face it, we live in a society that puts great value on physical appearance and it’s not easy for men struggling with obesity. Men who are overweight often report that sex with a partner sometimes is just too much of a chore; they run out of steam before they are able to complete the act. They often feel self-conscious about the way they look and are reluctant to have sex. Also fat in the abdominal area can make the penis look smaller than it really is, which doesn’t help self-esteem.

The University of Adelaide is conducting a research study on whether diet combined with testosterone can prevent type-2 diabetes. They are looking for men aged 50-74 years, with a waist measurement of 95 cm or more, who live in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to join the study. If eligible they will receive free access to Weight Watchers and treatment with either testosterone or a placebo. They will be monitored for two to four years to check if the treatment helps prevent developing diabetes.

With the growing percentage of Australian men becoming obese, it may be time for doctors to explain to their patients how important it is to lose weight and therefore avoid having problems in the bedroom.

Knowing about the negative consequences of an unhealthy life to one’s sexual functioning may help men quit smoking, consume less alcohol, exercise more and lose weight!

For a man to have good sexual health, he has to be physically and psychologically in charge of his penis.

Having to take Viagra for the rest of your life is not something to look forward to.

20 comments so far

  • Great article - have to show it to my partner - these facts may scare him to do something about his weight!

    Commenter
    Claude
    Date and time
    July 22, 2014, 10:47AM
    • Good on you! You sound like the perfect "other half". Wish I was perfectly healthy like you.

      Commenter
      Money For Nothing
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 6:27AM
    • I did, he was not pleased, he felt very offended. It made an impact though!

      Commenter
      Els
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 9:48AM
    • Are you trying to conceive, Claude?

      Commenter
      blackswan
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 10:18AM
  • Silly sexist article. What about the effect of FEMALE obesity on sex? Or do all females just lie back and think of England? How archaic, tenuous and sexist is your reasoning, seriously?

    Commenter
    Money For Nothing
    Date and time
    July 23, 2014, 6:31AM
    • “What about the effect of FEMALE obesity on sex?”

      Money, the article wasn’t about the effects of obesity on sex. The article was addressing “one aspect of this problem [that] is too often overlooked - the impact [of obesity] on male sexual dysfunction”

      I think it’s outstanding that the author has written an article specific to men’s health, particularly given the concerns that men’s health issues get far less funding/recognition/ media coverage than women’s health issues.

      Commenter
      Donna Joy
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 11:53AM
    • It's not a silly sexist article, a woman doesn't need to get an erection, a man does. A woman can easily fake it (IF she wants to) but a man can't - what is your point?

      Commenter
      Mal
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 2:45PM
    • Why is an article SEXIST because the author talks about how to improve men's sexual health? First of all there are men who have male partners and I assume many women would be very happy when their partners "improve" in the bedroom. I don't get it.

      Commenter
      Claudia
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 3:21PM
  • Have you ever considered the proposition that erectile-dysfunction may well be caused by the female's inability to excite her partner? Or that it is the female's role (in the bedroom) to promote an erection? Or does the female simply lie back and finish eating her bucket of ice-cream, while her man 'gets himself ready' for the task? Women need to step-up and accept responsibility for their inability to sexually excite their men.I know this is not what you want to hear, but it's the truth. Often a change in sexual-partner and the quality of sexual-activity emanating therefrom proves my proposition.

    Commenter
    Money For Nothing
    Date and time
    July 23, 2014, 6:39AM
    • Yes of course. The woman needs to accept that fact that she needs to look like a Victoria Secret's model with 24/7 365 days a year shaved body with the same 9-5 job as the man, most of the housework and babysitting (if with kids) to sexually excite her obese, hairy and sexually unattractive by all standards man - even if she doesn't mind him being obese.
      That too and Vic secret standard may not be enough, she has to allow other women to sexually excite him as its like Pringles, you can't stop at one.
      Oh by the way, leaving aside the many men are reasonable and decent blokes, when do men like you step up and take any sort of responsibility for their own bodies after frothing at the mouth at any woman not smaller than a size 6, totally clean shaven and done a VR stint at their local brothel (can't physically do it as she wouldn't be partner material wouldn't she.)? Or are you secretly hoping those men can be the ones who lie back and think of Australia?

      Commenter
      Green Tea
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 23, 2014, 11:24AM

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