Besides eating and sleeping, sex is a natural human craving and need. However, America’s obesity epidemic not only creates numerous health issues but also stifles one of the most simple and fun activities at your disposal: sex.
According to medinet.com, a recent study conducted by Martin Binks, PhD, a clinical psychologist and director of behavioral health at Duke University’s Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C., up to 30% of obese people that seek assistance with their weight also identify problems with sex drive, desire, performance, or all three. The research traces these problems to the physical conditions due to obesity.
The article states, “ ‘Medical conditions such as high cholesterol and insulin resistance [an early indicator of type 2 diabetes] do have the ability to impact sexual performance, which in turn impacts desire, particularly in men,’ says Andrew McCollough, MD, director of sexual health and male infertility at NYU Medical Center in New York. Because both conditions can cause the tiny arteries in the penis to shut down, particularly when vessel-clogging fatty deposits begin to form, McCollough says impotence or erectile dysfunction is often the result. ‘A man who has problems having an erection is going to lose his desire for sex in not too long a time,’ says McCollough.”
Poor blood flow affects women as well as men. The article continues, “‘We are beginning to see that the width of the blood vessels leading to the clitoris [the area of the vagina most closely related to sexual response] in women are affected by the same kind of blockages that impact blood flow to the penis,’ says Susan Kellogg, PhD, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. When this happens, says Kellogg, a woman’s body is far less responsive, and a drop in desire is not far behind.”
To make matters worse for both sexes, more body fat creates higher levels of a natural chemical known as SHBG (short for sex hormone binding globulin) ― named as such because it binds to the sex hormone testosterone. Doctors believe that the higher fat creates more testosterone bound to SHBG, minimizing the amount available to stimulate desire.
What can you do to better your body and sex drive? According to medinet.com, “Experts say losing as few as 10 pounds can often free up testosterone and almost immediately give a boost to your love life.”
According to medinet.com, Susan Kellogg, PhD, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, says “‘exercises designed not for weight loss but to increase circulation to the genitals can make a big difference, particularly for women. Any activity that increases blood flow to the large muscle groups in the thighs, buttocks, and pelvis ― such as yoga, brisk walking, or cycling for 20 minutes three times a week ― is also going to bathe the genitals with better circulation,’ says Kellogg. The result, she says, is more lubrication, better arousal, and better orgasmic function. And ultimately a return of sexual desire.”
Finding an activity that gives your body the exercise it needs while providing you an enjoyable experience is paramount. My husband and I found dancing as the most enjoyable way to lose weight, plus many added spicy benefits. The bottom line: find your fitness passion whether it be dance, yoga, biking or swimming. What is the activity that makes you feel great? Experiment on the pursuit of your fitness passion as the first step to stomp out the sexual fizzle and get back your sexual sizzle!
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