Hot and Heavy

By Dr. Dorree Lynn, NABBW’s Boomer Women Sexuality Expert

We all know it’s not healthy to be overweight, but it’s a myth that fat people, even very obese people, don’t make love.

In the real world, sex is more likely to be impeded by anxiety than adiposity. Fear of rejection, fear of not meeting the partner’s expectations, and fear of not being able to perform are among the most common emotional barriers to intercourse. Overweight people suffer all these problems in spades. The body-image and social pressures they endure create numerous obstacles to sexual interaction. The most direct effect on sexuality comes from prolonged semi-starvation dieting, which can seriously dampen the libido.

Fat is never stored in the penis, nor does it choke off access to the ovaries (as Hippocrates taught and generations of physicians believed), so the basic equipment required for intercourse works, even at very high weights. An item in the New York Times, datelined March 28, 1936, tells the world that Mrs. Gertrude Karns gave birth that day to a healthy 9-pound 3-ounce baby girl at a hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana. Mrs. Karns weighed in at 745 pounds and the father, Cliff, weighed 304.

In some cultures, being overweight is considered an asset. Men in Fiji, and other similar cultures, for example, covet obese women as a sign of prosperity. But in the U.S., highly paid and highly visible fashion models tell us thin is in. So when we carry a little extra weight, we often tend to feel we are not quite right and our body image makes us want to hide.

Since putting on pounds happens more easily and taking them off becomes more difficult with age, watch your weight for health reasons, not image. Excess fat can cause serious health problems (breathing problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and more) that can cause you to be less active, have less sex, and be more vulnerable to illness, perhaps even shortening your life. Eating less is not always the answer. Sometimes the choice of food, when you eat it, and how active you are play bigger roles in achieving and maintaining healthy weight.

If you and/or your partner are overweight, you may find that experimenting with some new intercourse positions, described in my recent book, Sex For Grownups: Dr. Dorree Reveals the Truths, Lies and Must-tries for Great Sex after 50;  (Chapter 5) may help you maximize closeness. If you feel self-conscious about your body, try dimming the lights or leaving on a bit of loose-fitting clothing until you feel more comfortable. And remember, sex burns calories!

Dr. Dorree Lynn, NABBW’s Boomer Women Sexuality Expert is the founder and Editor-In Chief of FiftyandFurthermore.com, a lifestyle website that is known for offering sexy, savvy and sage advice for grownups over 50. She is also a practicing psychologist and life coach in Washington, D.C. and Florida with over 4 decades of experience.

Dr. Dorree is the founder and Editor-In Chief of FiftyandFurthermore.com, a lifestyle website that is known for offering sexy, savvy and sage advice for grownups over 50. She is also a practicing psychologist and life coach in Washington, D.C. and Florida with over 4 decades of experience.