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Losing a substantial amount of weight certainly helps your overall health, but does that include your sex life?
New research says it does for women, and not just in terms of opportunity and an improved body image.
The study, which appeared in the Journal of The American Medical Association, involved 106 women, all of whom had either bariatric surgery or a gastric bypass procedure.
Each had a personal body mass index of at least 40 and all were classified with extreme obesity.
Within a year of having the procedure, at which point the average weight loss was 32 percent, the women reported an improved sense of self-esteem, body image and less depression.
On the physical side, they were also found to enjoy sex more, experience improved lubrication and have greater pleasure.
“Within a year of having the procedure,
women were found to enjoy sex more.”
Testing of the participants’ blood showed an increase in sex hormones, possibly suggesting a woman’s fertility itself can be improved through massive weight loss.
Most of the results were noticed even among the participants who did not reach their targeted body weight.
David Sarwer, who is planning a companion study next year with men, led the research. He’s a professor in the psychiatry and surgery departments of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Are improved hormone levels creating this rapid improvement, or is it that they are feeling better about themselves? Or is it a combination of the two?” he said.
Sarwer said more precise research will continue as more men and women undergo such potentially life-saving procedures. How this will affect their sexuality and reproductive lives is, in many regards, an open question.
“Sexuality truly is one of those phenomena where our behavior lies at the intersection of what’s happening with us physiologically and what we are experiencing psychologically,” he said.