For most people, how you feel about your body is a major part of how you feel about having sex. If you feel confident, you're ready to get it on. If you feel insecure, you just want to hide every part of yourself. But whether you think you're too fat, too thin, or just right, there are hangups everyone has that contribute to what goes on in the bedroom. Extra weight (or not weighing enough) can also create a host of problems like hormonal imbalance and even erectile dysfunction. Now, we're not about to say being overweight means your sex life suffers—but read on as we break down how the number on the scale is impacting your sex life in ways you never even realized it could.
And for your next grocery store trip, stock up on these 20 Foods That Turn on Your Sex Drive!
It Can Take Down Your Mojo
Let's be clear: If you're overweight, it doesn't have to affect your performance in the bedroom. If you feel confident, sexy, and desirable, then you're guaranteed to translate that between the sheets. But for some, being overweight does correlate to lower levels of energy and motivation. "There can be a self-consciousness or limiting beliefs about ability or desire [when you're overweight]," says Kelley Kitley, LCSW, and owner of Serendipitous Psychotherapy, LLC.
It Can Make You Focus on the Negative
When you're at a weight that you're not comfortable at, it can take over your mind—and blind you from focusing on the parts of your body you are confident about. No one hates everything about their body, so put the spotlight on the parts you do like. "Wear an outfit you feel good in, listen to your favorite song, move your body, make sure that you smell good—all of these components can make you feel sexier," suggests Kitley.
Psst! Steer clear of these 15 Foods That Make Your Depression or Anxiety Worse.
It Can Make It Harder to "Get It Up"
Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common chronic conditions that men face and being overweight dramatically increases the chances of an uncooperative, lazy penis. "Believe it or not, men who are just thirty pounds overweight are likely to experience ED by two and a half times more!" says sex coach Tara Radcliffe. "Also, obesity lowers testosterone in men, which is crucial for sexual function. So with that being said, keeping a healthy weight is almost mandatory in order for a man to stay erected." There's a common fan-favorite fruit that can help be a natural cure for ED—and is so healthy that eating right and shedding the weight will be a little bit easier.
It Can Create Intimacy Out of the Bedroom
If your partner is at an unhealthy weight, the best thing that you can do is to encourage them to be active, eat healthy, and show your support in a positive way. "If your partner is overweight, he or she is most likely already beating themselves up," says Dawn Michael, Ph.D., ACS, CSC. "[Making them feel bad about themselves] can cause them to eat more or choose high-fat foods as a comfort." Getting healthy together can actually create a bond that will likely improve your connection in and out of the bedroom.
It Can Make You Use Your Mind
If focusing on your body is causing stress, then switch mix things up by talking dirty and stimulating the mind. "Our biggest sex organ in the body is the brain so making the brain feel sexy can spice up the sex. We all have very sexy minds no matter what size our body is," says Michael. "Use fantasy role play or dress up. Focus on what is exciting rather than what is not."
It Can Limit Your Positions
There's no getting around this one. If you're obese, your physicality can be directly impacted in a variety of ways. "Sexuality is a physical pursuit, so the more limber and physically fit one is, the more likely they are able to pursue its pleasures," says Antonia Hall author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. "This does not preclude one from having a satisfying sex life. However, if one or both partners is obese, many sexual positions can become challenging."
It Can Make Your Hormones Out of Whack
For men and women, higher levels of body fat mean you'll have higher levels of a chemical called "Sex Hormone Binding Globulin" or SHBG. It literally binds to the sex hormone testosterone. And when there's too much testosterone bound to SHBG, there's not enough available to stimulate desire. Combine that with eating any of these 27 Foods That Kill Your Sex Drive and you're severely limited your urges to get frisky.
It Can Take Away the Big "O"
"Being overweight for both men and women will cause decreased blood flow in their genitals because the extra weight causes their blood vessels to narrow—and proper blood flow is crucial in order to reach an orgasm," says Radcliffe. But being too thin can also have adverse effects on your ability to climax. "[Too little body fat] can affect testosterone and libido levels," Radcliffe continues. "Those sex hormones need to be in balance in order to have any kind of sexual drive and are necessary in order to achieve an orgasm."
It Can Make You a Pleaser
No matter your size, you need to feel sexy on the inside. That's where sex appeal comes from, whether your weight is an issue or not. A way to help yourself feel sexier when you're not where you want to be on the scale? "Learn what pleases your partner and focuses on that," suggests Michaels. "Being a confident lover is a state of mind, not a pant size." Amen to that!
And Just 10 Pounds Can Make a Huge Impact
You don't have to feel daunted or overwhelmed if you have a significant amount of weight to lose. Just losing 10 pounds can improve your sex life because it will free up testosterone that you need to climax and get aroused. But even if you don't lose weight, just making changes to your diet and adding more fruits and veggies can create more satisfying sexual experiences for yourself. "I've noted that very often when patients start to take better care of themselves, they also report a substantial increase in their interest in sex," says Dr. Martin Binks, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and director of behavioral health at Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. "I think participation in a healthy lifestyle really helps, even if you don't lose the extra pounds." Don't you think it's quite the coincidence that this list of 20 Foods to Supercharge Your Sex Drive are all healthy?!