Everyone knows that, for overweight people, losing weight leads to feeling better in general. But a new study indicates that substantial weight loss can make you seriously feel better. That's because weight loss in men seems to be linked to both more sex and increased satisfaction from sex, even as it raises testosterone. Hat trick!
The study, published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism and conducted by Ahmad Hammoud of the University of Utah, has an unusual perspective on the relationship between weight and sexual behavior. That's because it used as subjects very obese men who had gastric bypass surgery. This allowed the researchers to test the same individual at two phases—obese, and post-weight loss. Average weight at the start of the study was 333 pounds, with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 46 (anything over 30 is considered obese). Then, some of the 64 subjects had bariatric surgery—and some did not. Over the course of the next two years, as the researchers tracked these subjects, the surgery recipients lost between 40 and 100 pounds. And the others...did not. Over time, the researchers asked the subjects to track their quality of life, including sex life, even as physical tests measured levels of reproductive hormones at the start and end of the two-year period.
Here's the science that came out of that research: the post-bariatric guys had increases in total and free testosterone levels, and declines in estradiol levels. Huh? Ok. They had increased male sex hormones. In fact, obesity has been associated with low sperm counts; here it is linked to hormonal changes, and low testosterone. But that means decreased sex drive and, according to the study's survey results, decreased satisfaction from sex. As Dr. Hammoud said in a press release, "Previous studies have found that obesity is correlated to lower sperm count and can be associated with infertility, but we wanted to know if obesity was biologically associated with an unsatisfying sex life, and if so, could it be reversible?"
Looks like that's a big yes. As the men lost weight, they reported greater desire for sex and more pleasure from it. As lead author Hammoud puts it, "We know that weight loss, no matter how it is achieved, improves overall health. Now we see a direct relationship between weight loss, testosterone levels, and sexual performance." For anyone looking to slim down, this study offers a serious incentive—and an awesome form of exercise!