Friday, June 18, 2010

Armchair Sociology: New Study Reports that Fat Women Are Sex Starved

If so hungry she can always come over to my spot and get fed, for in the spirit of Christian charity I would never deny a beautiful woman a meal.

Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. When I am hungry for a petite filet mignon wrapped in bacon I relish it. If I want for a Big Mac with fries and a Coke I do not deny myself. I have been known to eat a Chipotle fajita burrito with double meat--chicken and pork if you are curious. And sometimes I just want a few delicate nibbles of sushi. To break the metaphor, I love women of all sizes and have taken both the waifishly thin as well as plus sized models on a journey to space mountain.

As a social scientist, the recent research finding that larger women are not getting any play strikes me as a bit problematic. In the aggregate it would seem to make sense. However, even then, there are some notable variables of both culture and subculture that are seemingly excluded.

For example, what of the narrative that Hispanic and Latino men prefer gorditas over flacas? What of the seeming fascination in "urban culture" with "thick" nouveau Venus Hottentots like Buffie the Body? To mention the obvious and intuitively true: How do we factor in the taken for granted mutual attraction between (some) black men and obese/thick/BBW white women?

Adding a further complication to the link between body size and sexual activity (conceding that the study used BMI as a measure) are the changing parameters of what constitutes being "fat" or "obese."

For example, in the United States women (and people more generally) are getting bigger and bigger. Apparently, size 14 is the new 8. Across the pond--damn lucky Brits--D cup breasts are now the "average" size. Thinking even more globally, there are certain cultures such as the Bedouins in Mauritania where the forced feeding of young girls is considered a necessary step on the road to a full figure, mandatory if a young woman is to secure a husband

Reversing the gaze, we know that big men can always get play. Always have been. Always will be. Selfishly I may add...Thank god.

Random story: In another life I once watched the late great Big Pun have sex with a beautiful woman on a tour bus. Yes, she was indeed riding the curve. Fame it seems does indeed trump weight.

My thoughts on this issue of body size and love almost always circle back to health. Are young women, young black women in particular, killing themselves to look like the video vixen ideal? On the other end of the spectrum, are young men doing harm by valorizing being "thick"--what to many is a euphemism for "fat"--as an ideal body type for women of color?

The story follows:

Being Obese Raises the Risk of Sexual Problems

Scientists say being fat can be bad for the bedroom, especially if you're a woman.

In a new study, European researchers found obese women had more trouble finding a sexual partner than their normal-weight counterparts, though the same wasn't true for obese men, and were four times as likely to have an unplanned pregnancy. Fat men also reported a higher rate of erectile dysfunction.

Experts interviewed more than 12,000 French men and women aged 18 to 69 about their sexual experiences and analyzed the results based on their Body Mass Index.

Obese women were 30 percent less likely than normal-weight women to have had a sexual partner in the last year. In comparison, there was little difference among obese men and normal-weight men as to whether they found a sexual partner.

The results were published online Wednesday in the medical journal BMJ. The study was paid for by several French government agencies.

People with a BMI of 18-24 are considered to have a healthy weight. Those with a BMI of 25 or above are considered overweight and people with a BMI of 30 or more are classified as obese.

Previous studies have found similar trends, but researchers were surprised by the discrepancy they found between the genders as to how excess weight affects peoples' sex lives.

"Maybe women are more tolerant of tubby husbands than men are of tubby wives," said Kaye Wellings, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the BMJ study authors.

Experts said the problems faced by obese people were probably due to a combination of physical problems linked to obesity as well as other issues, like low self-esteem and social prejudices.

Obese people are at higher risk anyway for diabetes, depression and urinary stress incontinence, all of which can hinder sex. If people are extremely heavy, they might also have muscular or skeletal problems that make sex challenging.

The researchers found that obese women were less likely to ask for birth control services, and thus, four times more likely to accidentally get pregnant. Pregnant fat women and their babies also faced a higher risk of complications and death than normal-weight women.

Dr. Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, a specialist in psychosexual medicine at a London sexual health clinic, said physicians must talk to obese women about birth control.

"Doctors need to get over their own embarrassment and ask the difficult questions," she said. Goldbeck-Wood was not linked to the study but wrote an accompanying editorial in the BMJ.

Wellings and colleagues found obese men and women with a partner were no different from normal-weight people in terms of how often they had sex.

They also found that women tended to have partners with a similar body shape. Nearly 70 percent of fat women reported having a partner who was also heavy, while only about 40 percent of fat men had a similarly proportioned partner.

Some experts said the growing obesity epidemic in the West would worsen sexual dysfunction problems.

"This is not a heart attack or a stroke...but it's an important quality of life factor and a public health problem," said Dr. Andrew McCullough, an associate professor of clinical urology at New York University School of Medicine and director of male sexual health at NYU's Langone Medical Center.

He said the study's findings should provide another reason for people to trim their waistlines.

"It seems like a no-brainer," he said. "If you lose weight, you will feel more attractive and that could improve your sex life."


John Kurman said...

First off, I love that phrase "big fat ass". It's one of the jolliest phrases in the English language. Got the nice friendly open vowels at the end, and a nonthreatening arrangement of consonants. In fact, I'm going to say it REALLY LOUDLY and I'll bet I get a laugh.... Okay, not. Anwyay...

It is a fact of biology that excess body fat is a sign of a ready breeder. I mean, she's not even phased by those intestinal parasites. That's pretty respectable. And that ass fat is reserved for the baby. Oh, you might think it's yours, but that ass fat is there to build a healthy baby brain. So, I would assume that these obese women shold be popping out Brainiacs.

Okay, I have to go drink some more now.

gordon gartrelle said...

Popular video chicks aren't fat; they just have fat asses. Big difference.

Also, "obese," "fat," and "thick" mean 3 different things: they are defined by 3 rough stages of decreasing heaviness.

Here's how you can tell: obese women call themselves "thick" (or "curvy," or "full figured"), but thick women almost never call themselves "fat," and fat women almost never call themselves "obese." Women self-identify down the scale, but not up it.

Joanna said...

Damn, if I lived in France and participated in this study, I would have thrown the statistics WAYYYYY off.... I am FAT... yeah FAT... not thick, not plump or chunky... FAT... and I can get laid ANYTIME I want to!! I find that the problem for me is NOT getting sex (dick comes a dime a dozen) but finding a relationship. And I don't think THAT has ANYTHING to do with my weight!

Joanna said...

Wait... sorry, I didn't really you were using different categories for fat and obese... so I have to correct my statement... I am OBESE, and I have NO PROBLEM getting busy when I want, with who I want, for however long I want! LOL