TUESDAY, May 3, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity may lower levels of sexual satisfaction, especially for women, a new study shows.
Duke University researchers studied 91 obese men and 134 obese women who completed a sexual functioning questionnaire before enrolling in a weight loss study. The questionnaire covered nine areas: interest, desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, behavior, relationship, masturbation and sexual problems.
"We found that there was lower sexual satisfaction and lower sexual quality of life among women than men, and overall sexual quality of life was low among both groups," Dr. Truls Ostbye, a professor in the department of community and family medicine, said in a Duke news release.
The researchers also compared the obese patients' scores to the results from a group of cancer survivors and a general population group. Obese women's scores were lower than both those groups' scores, while obese men's scores were between the scores of the cancer survivors and the general population group.
"Our findings contribute to a growing body of research that indicates obesity is associated with reduced sexual functioning and sexual quality of life among both men and women," Ostbye said.
Doctors should be aware of this issue and invite obese patients to talk about it, the researchers said.
"Obese patients welcome the opportunity to discuss the effects of their weight on quality of life, including sexual quality of life," said study co-author and clinical psychologist Ronette L. Kolotkin. "Because so many obese individuals experience discrimination and prejudice, they appreciate providers who create a warm, supportive environment in which to discuss these sensitive issues."
The study appears in the May/June issue of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resources about sexual health.