Obesity, overweight, heavy, large : lets have an intimate conversation

Confession time : Im attracted to larger men. As long as he has the large confidence to match his large size. I like  people who are confident in their own skin.  I feel safe, grounded and relaxed when I am with a partner who can stand his man. Whatever “his man” is to him .

What I do feel when with a large partner is worry. Concern about his health.  Right now I deliberately am not going to focus on the health concerns of overweight people. I believe this medicalisation of any one on the spectrum of obesity is addressing  only one side of  a very complex puzzle . It is easy to get swallowed up in the fear, and its real, of the health implications of being over weight.

A quick snap shot of illnesses to which obesity places you at risk : cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. As well as sexual and reproductive health problem. Obesity is definitively liked to low sperm counts and reduced sperm motility in many studies. Obesity is linked to a benign enlargement of prostate common in older men

The impact of obesity on reproductive health over a women’s entire life span (in the family-planning years, reproductive years, and menopause years) is real and dangerous. Contraception, pregnancy, infertility, and menopause are all negatively affected by being overweight.

The causes are heterogeneous and involve an intricate interplay among genetic, individual, environmental, and societal factors. And it is important to understand the causes so you receive better management.

I think  focusing just on the health issues is also a great way to deflect from a difficult conversation , which is the intimate lives of obese/overweight people. I invite you to come there with me.

It is with sadness when I see men and women who are large,  clinically defined as obese, disappear into their skins, and loose their confidence. These are people who are targets of some of the most vicious bullying, rejection and shaming.

No wonder many end up in abusive or unloving relationships believing that no one else would love them . Perhaps they feel they do not deserve better. After all being obese is an indictment of one’s character. It screams : ‘you are fat and lazy.” “You have no self respect”. “You have no control” “You’re a greedy glutton ”

When I’m feeling fat and depressed, I’m not communicating very well, and that breaks down the intimacy, which breaks down the amount of sex and the frequency of sexual intimacy,

He’s touching my belly fat

Fat looks ugly. It means you’re out of control.

Obesity refers to an excess of body fat. It is a body mass  index of over 30.  In the broadest sense, obesity is caused by a long-term imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure resulting in the storage of non-essential lipids in adipose cells.

Some people call it an eating disorder some an addiction and others still call it a psychiatric disorder. It is not classified as a mental illness in the DSM5 2013. There just was not enough evidence to prove it. Many people suffer mental illnesses a a result of being obese/overweight. Mostly depression and anxiety. And poor sexual health. In fact poor sexual health is the result of every one of the multiple diseases one has with obesity.

  1. Have you ever been on diet?
  2. Are you depressed about your weight ? Have you ever been ?
  3. How would you currently describe your body?  Is it the correct weight , under weight, over weight?
  4. Do you wish to loose weight ? if so, why?
  5. How , if at all, does your weight affect your intimate life and sexuality?
  6. Have you experienced intimacy discrimination due to your size?
  7. Are you a “fattist”?
  8. Is it difficult to date because you are overweight?

According to the latest South African Demographic and Health Survey, almost 70% of local women are either overweight or obese. The country has the highest rates for women in Africa.

By the age of 20, over half of all women were already overweight and by 45, this figure had rocketed to 82%, according to the survey conducted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Statistics South Africa and the Department of Health.

White men were much fatter than men of other races, with three-quarters being overweight as opposed to slightly over a quarter of African men. With women, the racial differences were not as pronounced, although the majority of severely obese women were Coloured.

 The Western Cape is home to the fattest people, and this province also led statistics for hypertension – not surprising as obesity is a major cause of high blood pressure.

In the hyper visual  social media saturated society in which we live, how we look is prioritised . And despite  valiant efforts to remove fat shaming by having larger looking models  on covers of magazines , than the sickly anorexia looking young girls we are exposed to here and in porn, fat is not cool. Nor sexy.

Seventy-four percent of men and 60 percent of women report they would be uncomfortable dating someone who is obese, according to a 1998 study

No wonder obese /overweight people avoid mirrors . They have chosen to stop seeing their bodies. And when one disassociates and  ignores one’s body, one cannot take care of this rejected body nor nurture it. Naturally you don’t want  partner to see it nor feel it. It repulses you, it will repulse your partner is your automatic thought. You start to feel like you are not worth loving, not attractive and definitely not sexy. You may question your relationship and wonder why your partner stays with you.

Obesity  has a gender bias:  women suffer a higher rate of sexual dysfunctions  than men  It’s no surprise considering how  women obsess about their bodies. Women cite feeling dissatisfied with her overall sexual life. . Some researchers believe it may be related to poor circulation in the genital area. Difficulty with sex may lead to decreased sexual satisfaction and poor body image.

Men may suffer from erectile dysfunction . These men may suffer from anxiety and poor sexual performance as a result. Obese men may also suffer from buried penis syndrome, a condition where the penis is buried beneath folds of skin.

In one study , 65% of obese people in the treatment group reported significant sexual problems. 50% had difficulties desiring sex, 42% had performance problems, and 41% avoided sex.

Over weight woman in underwear

If I told you that you would have more sexual activity if you lost weight, would you ? (which is true)

If  I told you that you’d have more dates if you were slimmer (there is a horrible fattist culture) , would you?

If I told you that you will feel terror when you loose weight as there is no longer anything to protect you from your own sexuality, attractiveness  and body fears, would you loose weight ? Perhaps.

Be gentle, be compassionate with yourself and acknowledge that you miss intimate connection with yourself and with others that you avoid due to shame you feel , that others make you feel.

Perhaps then you will enter a mindfulness program, a program that gets you to experience your body somatically, mindfully, with gratitude and with sexiness. At the same time, do be sure to visit your health care provider and sex theraspit regularly to make sure you r body is in good working order for when your mind allows you to liberate your sexuality.

Contact me for more work on Obesity and Sexuality .