I am 60 years old, obese and my cholesterol levels are high. I have no interest in sex, which is a concern for me. Could obesity and high cholesterol be affecting my sex drive?
A healthy sex life is crucial to many women and their partners. This can become more complicated with age and weight. While there is still much research to be done on women’s sexuality, some sources say that as women age, their sex drive might begin to decrease around their late 40s and early 50s. This could be caused by natural decreases in testosterone as we age as well as menopause causing falling estrogen levels.
Studies have shown that obese women are less likely to report having a sexual partner in the past 12 months and more likely to report difficulties with sexual desire and/or performance. Health conditions such as high cholesterol often correlate with a high body weight. High cholesterol can create blockages in blood vessels leading to sexual organs, causing the person’s body to be less responsive to sexual activity, which leads to a drop in desire. High body fat also leads to an increase of a chemical in the body called SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which binds testosterone, leaving less available to stimulate desire.
It’s also important to note that while physical health can affect sexual desire, so can societal expectations. With sexuality often being showcased as something to only be enjoyed by the young and thin, women who are obese and/or older may experience insecurity and shame when it comes to sexual intimacy. While one should address any issues affecting their health, all women should feel free to explore their sexuality with their chosen partners, unhindered by beauty standards and norms.
For more information on how obesity and age affect sexual desire in women, see these sources:
Sex and health issues associated with obesity http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/sex-and-weight
Sexuality and obesity – http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2573
Obesity and female sexuality in perimenopause – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4498028/
Testosterone and low libido in women – http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/sexual-dysfunction/testosterone-and-low-libido.aspx
Obesity and Intimacy – http://www.npr.org/2011/09/21/140665644/for-obese-intimate-lives-often-suffer
Sexual desire in older women – https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/sexual-problems-at-midlife/decreased-desire
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only.