Fat Girls, Sex and Visiting the Doctor

A new study has been published in the British Medical Journal called Sexuality and Obesity, A Gender Perspective, the results of which suggest that “obese” women are four times as likely to report an unplanned pregnancy than their normal weight sisters, despite having less sex. Obese men were more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction and more likely to have had an STD, but

Sexual dysfunction was not linked to BMI in women, but obese women under 30 years old were less likely than women of normal weight to seek contraceptive advice or use oral contraceptives and were also more likely to report an unplanned pregnancy.

from The Age

No, really? “Obese” women reluctant to visit a doctor? Perhaps the reason that “obese” women are reluctant to seek advice about contraception is because every time they go to the doctor they are harassed about their weight, regardless of what they are visiting the doctor for. Nothing, it seems, is more important to many medical professionals than making an obese person not obese anymore. Add to that the common idea (held by many within and without the medical profession) that sex is just for young, beautiful, skinny people and you’ve got a lethal cocktail of dangerous prejudices and assumptions.

A fat lady who feels kind of bad about herself is not going to walk into a doctor’s office and ask for the mini-pill if she thinks the doctor is going to give her a hard time for being fat, or look down his nose at her, wondering who’d on earth would want to have sex with her.

The study also found that obese women were five times as likely to have met their partner on the internet, more likely to have an obese partner, and less likely to view sex as important for personal life balance.

[Study Leader Nathalia] Bajos said social pressure, low self-esteem and concerns about body image may help explain these findings.

from The Age

This just makes me hopping mad. Here we go again with the notion that all fat women hate themselves and the way they look, and that the problem is theirs and couldn’t possibly be with the men out there who wouldn’t even consider going near a woman because she doesn’t fit into the convention of hot, skinny and submissive. As long as men hold the attitudes that fat women aren’t good enough, no amount of “I am perfect just as I am” mantra-ism by us fat girls will change their minds. So we often don’t view sex as high on our life balance sheet because we know that starving ourselves in order to be “attractive” enough to make a man want to sleep with us is a waste of time.

The British Medical Journal abstract ends thus:

There is a link between BMI and sexual behaviourand adverse sexual health outcomes, with obese women less likelyto access contraceptive healthcare services and having moreunplanned pregnancies. Prevention of unintended pregnanciesamong these women is a major reproductive health challenge.Healthcare professionals need to be aware of sensitivities relatedto weight and gender in the provision of sexual health services.

from British Medical Journal

When healthcare professionals finally figure out that their fat patients don’t want to constantly hounded about their weight or looked at like freaks for wanting to have sex, maybe then we will have more fat women visiting the doctor to talk contraception. A little bit of sensitivity would go a heck of a long way.

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