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World's fattest man consummates marriage plus other thoughts on obesity and sex

Sunday, November 23, 2008 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

As you may have read in my profile, my PhD project is looking at the effects of lifestyle changes on sexual dysfunction in obese men. Thus, over the past year I have been reading a significant amount of literature that generally falls beyond what exercise physiologists normally concern themselves with.

Although the topic of sex research makes some colleagues a bit uncomfortable, I have found that for the first time since starting grad school, I now have a research project which stimulates much interest at dinner parties. Even my own parents are more willing to listen to my 80% Polish/20% English ramblings about my work. While I hope to post more on the area of lifestyle, obesity, sexual function, etc. in the future, I had to discuss the following story which Travis forwarded to me this weekend.

In 2006, Guiness declared Manuel Uribe of Mexico, the fattest man on earth, when he weighed in at 1230 lbs. Just last month, Uribe married his long-time sweetheart Claudia Solis, after having lost just under 600 lbs following the Zone Diet. Despite his tremendous weight drop, which gave Manuel his second Guinness title – for greatest weight-loss, he still had to be transported to his wedding ceremony on a specially-made bed on the back of a truck.

According to the Daily Star, while the ceremony (which drew over 400 guests) went off without a hitch, Uribe was not able to consummate his marriage on the big night due to the fact that he is immobilized by his still excessive weight.

Fortunately for Uribe and his new bride, loyal friends constructed a concrete-reinforced ramp, allowing Uribe to raise the lower half of his body, thus permitting intercourse.

Thanks to his friends’ ingenuity, Uribe confesses “We have finally had sex and we are a true couple in the eyes of God. We feel like we are in heaven here on Earth.”

This isolated story highlights one of the difficulties (mechanical) of engaging in sexual intercourse, particularly among morbidly obese individuals. This of course is secondary to the also common physiological sexual dysfunction among both obese men (i.e. erectile dysfunction) and obese women (i.e. difficulty with vaginal lubrication).

Some have also documented a high prevalence of reduced sexual enjoyment and avoidance of sexual encounters among obese individuals. In fact, one Freudian theory suggests that obese people gain weight in order to avoid sexual contact – substituting an alimentary orgasm for a sexual one.

In stark contrast to the above, a recent study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggests that not only do obese women not differ from normal-weight women on age at first intercourse, frequency of heterosexual intercourse, and the number of lifetime or current male partners, but obese women are more likely to have ever had sex. Derived from a total sample of over 7000 women, the study results document that 92% of overweight or obese women reported having a history of sexual intercourse with a man, as opposed to 87% of normal weight women.

Thus, as illustrated by the results of this recent study, complemented by the story of Manuel Uribe, the commonly held belief that most obese people are sexually inactive is largely false. Some have suggested that due to such biases many physicians may not discuss issues such as sexually transmitted diseases or birth control with their obese subjects. However, as Bliss Kaneshiro, the lead author of the recent study suggests, all patients “deserve diligence in counseling on unintended pregnancy and STD prevention, regardless of body mass index."

For those who are obese or who are in a relationship with an obese partner or who are simply interested to learn more, please check out the book "Big, Big Love: A Sourcebook on Sex for People of Size and Those Who Love Them" by Hanna Blank (2000) which was often recommended on the sites that I perused while writing this post. According to an online description, this book contains “detailed and realistic information on improving self-image, partner-finding, sexual positions and activities, resources for toys and clothing and much more.”

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About Us

We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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