Men: How is obesity negatively affecting your sexual performance?

When obesity is discussed, most people focus on well known illnesses that are brought about by excessive weight gain. Typically you will hear that a man who is obese is suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. A main side effect of obesity that is rarely talked about or is only discussed in hush tones is sexual dysfunction. If you are obese, sexual dysfunction can result from hormonal disturbances or emotional distress.

Risk factors

According to Ira Sharlip MD who is the current spokesperson for the American Urological Association most men who suffer from obesity are also afflicted with ED (Erectile Dysfunction). Dr Sharlip goes on to say that approximately 54% of men who are between the ages of forty and seventy suffer from some degree of ED (Erectile Dysfunction). Aside from excessive weight there are other risk factors for ED including:

  • Low testosterone
  • Age
  • High Blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor diet

With so many conflicting studies, it is still largely unclear whether obesity can cause erectile dysfunction or it appears so because the risk factors are tied up (associated). Researchers are still trying to ascertain whether obesity is a contributing factor for ED. What is clear is that with significant lifestyle and health changes, ED symptoms can be tremendously improved and sometimes even completely eradicated.

How can obesity cause Erectile Dysfunction?

What most knowledgeable experts in this field theorize is that obesity is a contributing factor to ED because it causes damage to blood vessels, reduces testosterone production and also causes generalized inflammation in the body. Obesity causes damage to blood vessels because of the associated hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension hypercholesterolemia inflammation and diabetes mellitus.

Researchers also theorise that when obese, the body is in an increased state of general inflammation and this typically cause free radicals in the body which lead to oxidative damage of essential body tissues. The detrimental effects of hypertension are well documented and have extensively been published and accepted. Men who are obese have an 80% risk of becoming hypertensive and this puts a huge strain on the blood vessels limiting massive blood flow required to supply our penile chamber with blood needed to attain and maintain an erection.


According to Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, who is a leading epidemiologist at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, men who are obese are 2 or 3 times more likely to develop Diabetes than men who are diabetes-free. DR Selvin goes on to say that 50% of men with diabetes also grapple with Erectile Dysfunction meaning obesity is a contributing factor to ED.

The Good News

Obesity unlike Diabetes is not a chronic ailment. It is a condition that you can prevent and if already afflicted can eradicate by making key lifestyle changes. You will need to adapt a regular exercise regimen and also start eating healthy. No more junk or processed foods, these must be substituted with healthy choices such as fruits and vegetables. The journey to a normal body weight if are obese will be extremely challenging, it will take patience, mental strength, determination and consistency. While it seems impossible, it is not- It begins with making a decision to be healthy.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with an unreasonable diet plan and a workout regimen that will take a toll on your body. The key to success is to start slow and build up gradually. After sometime you will realise that you can do more even without struggling or pushing yourself too hard. A healthy body weight is the best way to tackle obesity related erectile dysfunction. Start small and never give up, you will get there!