LONDON - Scientists say being fat can be bad for the bedroom, especially if you're a woman.
In a new study, European researchers found obese women had more trouble finding a sexual partner than their normal-weight counterparts - though the same wasn't true for obese men - and were four times as likely to have an unplanned pregnancy. Overweight men reported a higher rate of erectile dysfunction.
More than 12,000 French men and women aged 18 to 69 were interviewed about their sexual experiences, with results analyzed based on their body mass indexes.
Obese women were 30 percent less likely than those of normal weight to have had a sexual partner in the last year. In comparison, there was little difference among obese and normal-weight men as to whether they found a sexual partner.
The results were published online today in the medical journal BMJ. The study was paid for by several French government agencies.
Previous studies have found similar trends, but researchers were surprised by the discrepancy they found between the genders as to how excess weight affects peoples' sex lives.
"Maybe women are more tolerant of tubby husbands than men are of tubby wives," said Kaye Wellings, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a study author.
Experts said the problems faced by obese people were probably due to a combination of physical problems linked to obesity as well as other issues, such as low self-esteem and social prejudices.