Are Sexual Dissatisfaction and Sexual Abuse Associated with Obesity? A Population-Based Study


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Objective: To investigate whether there is any association between obesity and sexual satisfaction and sexual abuse in a normal population.

Research Methods and Procedures: A representative sample of 2810 subjects from a population study was interviewed about sexual satisfaction, sexual abuse, and life satisfaction. The answers from normal weight, overweight, and obese participants were compared. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

Results: Data were presented separately for two age groups, 18 to 49 and 50 to 74 years, and gender. The older group of obese men reported a greater decrease of sexual desire compared with 5 years prior than normal weight men [odds ratios (OR), 2.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4 to 4.3]. The older group of overweight men reported involuntary participation in sexual activities more often than normal weight men (OR, 2.06; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.8). Although older overweight and obese women were diagnosed with a lingering disease (defined as >1 month) more often than normal weight women (overweight: OR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.3 to 4.4; obese: OR, 4.45; 95% CI, 1.7 to 11.5), there was no difference between BMI groups in satisfaction with physical health.

Discussion: Overweight and obese groups seem to be heterogeneous with respect to sexual satisfaction and experiences of sexual abuse. No significant differences were detected between BMI groups, which does not exclude the possibility of significant differences between BMI groups among patients seeking medical attention.