Changes in Sexual Activity After Bariatric Surgery
A decrease in sexual functionality, hormonal changes, and diminished satisfaction in the bedroom are just a few of the downsides of obesity. Throw in psychological trauma – such as body image issues – and you’ll be lucky to experience sexual desire at all.
Weight plays a significant role in our ability to perform in the bedroom. Studies show that a man’s fertility declines by 10% for every 20 pounds he is overweight. Obese women have their own problems to deal with; studies show that desire for sex, enjoyment, and performance all take a downturn due to excess body fat.
Further studies show that people who are morbidly obese are 25 times more likely to report a decline in their sex lives versus people who maintain healthy levels of body fat.
Although the outlook may look bleak, bariatric surgery can help people who deal with obesity regain their libido and rekindle their sex lives. Read further to discover how losing weight might be able to increase confidence and mitigate sexual issues.
The Connection Between Weight and Libido
Obesity can have a major impact on your body’s ability to experience sexual desire. Consider the fact that excess body fat restricts blood flow to certain areas of the body. As many of us likely know, restricted blood flow can lead to malfunctions in the bedroom.
Susan Kellogg, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, reveals that sexual desire decreases in women when there’s less blood flow to the clitoris (which can occur due to high levels of body fat).
Obese men suffer from a similar issue. A study shows that 79% of men who have a BMI of 25 or greater struggle with erectile dysfunction. Men who have a BMI of 30 are three times as likely to experience a sexual mishap in the bedroom.
The physical correlations between weight and libido are just one piece of a larger puzzle. Psychological hurdles also exist before AND after surgery. Fat shaming and societal stigma make it difficult for obese people to feel sexy when they take off their clothes.
Many people who struggle with their weight develop body image issues, and often can’t stand seeing themselves without clothing. If the psychological trauma is too great, they may experience a significant dip in sexual desire.
Weight Loss Surgery Can Improve Your Sex Life
Hormones contribute to our ability to experience sexual desire. As we gain weight, our hormones will undergo changes. This includes sex hormones, which could lead to a diminished sex drive.
Thankfully, this process can be reversed by losing weight. As bariatric patients lose weight post-surgery, they often experience a boost to their sex drive as their hormones go back to their normal levels.
A recent study published in the journal JAMA Surgery revealed that half of the study participants experienced a significant boost to libido and increased sexual activity for at least five years post-surgery.
Another study conducted in 2005 followed 106 female weight loss patients for two years. The results revealed that nearly all of the participants experienced an improvement in their ability to function sexually. They also experienced boosts in lubrication, arousal, satisfaction, and desire. Further results revealed improvements in body image and reduced feelings of depression.
How Soon Should You Have Sex after Weight Loss Surgery?
There’s no direct answer as to when exactly you can have sex following weight loss surgery. Just as the period of post-surgery recovery varies from person to person, so does the waiting period for when you can engage in sexual activity again.
Some patients will be able to have sex one week after surgery. Others may have to wait up to three weeks before their bodies have recovered enough to engage in intercourse.
During recovery, learn to listen to your body. If a specific position makes you feel uncomfortable, either stop altogether and try again later or switch to another position that’s easier on your body. If you feel too uncomfortable during sex, it’s okay to take a step back to give your body time to heal. You can always try again later when you feel your body is ready.
Pregnancy, Birth Control, and Fertility
Bariatric surgery can have a positive influence on fertility, but may alter the impact of some of the more common forms of hormonal birth control.
Most doctors urge women to avoid having children for at least two years post bariatric surgery. This is important to note because pregnancy will place an added strain on the body too soon after surgery, and may even cause damage to the fetus.
A woman’s fertility will often recover faster than their ability to lose weight. Therefore, you must plan accordingly to handle your birth control needs before surgery.
Speak with us about your desires for pregnancy. Because clinical trials for birth control rarely include overweight women, little is known about how these drugs are affected by weight.
Topics to bring up should include:
- Side effects of hormonal birth control
- Recommended drugs based on your surgery
- Your desire to become pregnant sometime in the future
- Your preferences when it comes to birth control
Hormonal drugs aren’t the only method of birth control available. Barrier methods, such as condoms, are also an excellent choice to prevent pregnancy.
Rekindle Your Sex Life
Obesity can have devastating effects on your sex life both physically and psychologically. By losing weight you can improve your sex drive, increase desire, boost performance and decrease mishaps in the bedroom.
If you feel bariatric surgery is right for you, turn to the supportive and caring team at Olde Del Mar Surgical. We are committed to helping you lose weight and regain control over your life.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Bhoyrul to learn more about how we can help you improve your quality of life today!