True Love

Sex – Weight Matters

Being obese doesn’t have to spell the end of your sex life and marriage. Here’s how you can tackle this sensitive topic and still have some fun between the sheets!


At the beginning of this year, beauty entreprene­ur Awelani Sow was on the verge of a divorce. She was overweight, her self-esteem had plummeted, and sex with her husband had become an uncomforta­ble chore.

“Honestly, I hated sex. The thought of it stressed me so much that I couldn’t wait for it to be over before it even began. The fact that my husband had also put on some kilos didn’t matter – it was all about me, and how I was failing him in the bedroom,” recalls the 33-year-old salon owner from Pretoria.

In the comfort of married life, both Awelani and her husband Brian, had let themselves go by indulging in one too many fatty meals and they hardly exercised. Reality finally hit when problems cropped up in the bedroom.

“We’d never had issues in that department before but suddenly, sex became a burden. We could only enjoy sex from one position, and for very short durations. It got to a point where I didn’t enjoy it at all. I would be tired and out of breath after only a short time.

“We started arguing and things got so bad at home that we seriously considered divorce. But then we decided to start exercising and getting our weight down.

It’s been four months since we started and I can tell you, sex has never been better!” confesses an ecstatic Awelani, who has not only shed the kilos, but has become a social media gym and motivation­al darling.

“Weight gain does have a significan­t impact on one’s sexual performanc­e,” says Lerato Letsoso, a broadcaste­r and motivation­al speaker, who counts sexual health as one of her favourite topics. “It can result in a poor self-image, which can affect a woman’s confidence levels and her ability to engage freely in sexual acts. Some medical research suggests that obesity causes poor circulatio­n in the genital area, leading to women experienci­ng sexual problems. On the other hand, overweight men may also suffer from buried penis syndrome – a condition where the penis is buried beneath folds of skin. Men can also suffer from erectile dysfunctio­n, which could translate into anxiety and poor performanc­e.”

Jade Zwane, author and sex and life coach, agrees that extra kilos can put a damper on your sex life. “Aside from the physical limitation­s, self-esteem can be affected, as well as libido, which is influenced by fatigue, diabetes and hormones,” Zwane says.

Author of 283: The Bad Sex Bet, Mofenyi Malepe, adds that this problem can affect men too. “Weight gain has always been synonymous with ill health, and the prospect of intimacy with your better half, and not being able to perform at your best, is crippling. Whoever gained weight, would surely have their mind running amok, and paranoia can creep in.”


With weight being such a sensitive topic for couples, what is the best way to address the disappoint­ment around a lack of performanc­e?

It took letters from Sow’s lawyers and the threat of divorce, to make the couple realise that they still really loved each other, and wanted to work on their marriage. But does it have to come to such drastic measures to force a couple to change their lifestyle and bedroom habits to save their marriage?

Zwane offers a practical solution to the problem. “Ensuring a healthy blood pressure and talking to your doctor about what your hormone levels should be (as testestero­ne affects sexual desire) and reaching that goal, can be beneficial to the relationsh­ip,” Zwane says.

Malepe offers another approach. “Honesty is the best policy, but people must also remember that weight is always a thorny topic, especially where intimacy is involved. The tone of voice you use when you talk about the problem is crucial. A person’s confidence can either be boosted or utterly broken down. So when you address being overweight, as a hindrance (to sexual fulfillmen­t) , you must choose your words carefully.”

Picking the right time to find a solution works best, Letsoso says, adding that thought must go into the kind of words used. “The best way to communicat­e a sensitive matter such as poor sexual performanc­e or weight gain is timing. It is inappropri­ate to discuss this topic just before, during or immediatel­y after intercours­e. An ideal situation would be to wait until you’re both in a relaxed environmen­t where you can jokingly suggest your preferred positions and techniques. It’s also advisable that you focus on what makes you happy rather than what you dislike. Being sensitive to each other’s feelings and desires is a great start,” Letsoso explains.


When the missionary position becomes a mission, there are ways to work around that. According to Letsoso, there are different positions that couples can try out when they want to enjoy a “mkhababump-free” fun in the sack.

“Couples can try different sex positions that don’t require a lot of effort physically. For instance, a more relaxed, yet pleasurabl­e position, would be one with the man laying on his side, while the woman lies down on her side facing away. The man would be slightly lower than the woman, to make room for easy penetratio­n. The couple would both enjoy this by moving gently while touching each other. This way, pleasure is guaranteed for both partners with minimum energy, which would be otherwise used if you were in the missionary position or another acrobatic posture.”

Malepe believes women should “unlearn” what sexy means according to mainstream perception, as well as societal norms.

“Women have a tendency of thinking that their partners want people with a model’s body, even though they were not like that when they first met. However, a man is daring enough to do whatever he puts his mind to. So if that’s what he wants, he will believe that he can rock your world with his pot belly and all, and make you forget about all the other boys who want you. Women should start having the same mentality.”


Teamwork is important when it comes to intimacy. So sit in front of each other with your legs spread open. Use the penis to thrust the clitoris by beating it gently with vertical and horizontal strokes. Beat the “bean” until it releases water. To prolong orgasms, you can every now and again insert the penis inside the vagina to make things intense, and pull out to continue the “bean beating”. Take turns to hold the penis when the man’s hand gets tired.

Remember that sex is a physical and mental activity. You bring your energy when you engage in the sexual act, therefore it’s important that you’re in the right frame of mind, have a healthy self-esteem and be physically fit in order to have an oh-so fulfilling sex life.

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