Sexual Functioning and Obesity: A Review
Exclusive author commentary
Kolotkin RL et al. – Given the high prevalence of obesity and the inverse association between body mass and sexual functioning, the authors also recommend that sexual functioning should be more fully addressed by clinicians, both in general practice and in weight loss programs.
Ronette L. Kolotkin (05/21/2012) comments:
Obesity is associated with reduced sexual functioning. In most population-based studies, erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common among obese men than among men of recommended weight. Studies of patients in clinical settings often include individuals with higher degrees of obesity; most of these also show a relationship between obesity and lower levels of sexual functioning, especially ED. The few studies that include both genders generally report more problems among women. Most weight loss studies, including bariatric surgery studies, demonstrate improvement in sexual functioning concurrent with weight reduction. It is of interest to learn more about how men and women may differ in the impact of obesity on sexual functioning—e.g. are women more bothered by the effects of their weight on sexual functioning and intimate relations? Does reduced sexual functioning affect overall perceived quality of life, and does this differ for men and women? Given the high and rising prevalence of obesity and the inverse association between body mass and sexual functioning, we believe that sexual functioning should be more fully addressed by healthcare providers by posing open-ended, non-threatening questions.