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Weight-loss surgery could boost your SEX LIFE

Weight-loss surgery could boost your SEX LIFE: Morbidly-obese patients report more (and better) intercourse years after going under the knife

  • A year after surgery, 56% of women and 49.2% of men reported better sex lives 
  • And up to 73.6% felt less ‘sexually restricted’ because of their size
  • Weight loss may make the obese more energetic and reduce their health issues 

From a reduced risk of early death to feeling more confident in your own skin, maintaining a healthy weight has many benefits.

But new research suggests weight-loss surgery could even give your sex life a boost.

A study of more than 2,000 morbidly-obese patients revealed they were more sexually active, driven and satisfied even five years after going under the knife.

Weight-loss surgery helps to boost an obese person’s sex life, research suggests (stock)

The research was carried out by North Dakota State University and led by Dr Kristine Steffen, from the school of pharmacy. 

Obesity has previously been linked to poor ‘sexual quality-of-life’, the authors wrote in the journal JAMA Surgery. 

Although past studies have shown weight-loss surgery boosts a heavy person’s sex life, these have often been small, with a short follow-up.

In the first research to look at outcomes after five years, the researchers analysed 2,036 adults who took part in The Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2 study at ten hospitals throughout the US.

All the patients – most of whom had a laparoscopic gastric bypass – were morbidly obese, with an average BMI approaching 46. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

They were all around 47 and 78.9 per cent were female.


A laparoscopic gastric bypass, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), is considered the ‘gold standard’ for weight-loss surgery.

It involves creating a small pouch in the stomach that restricts food intake and reduces nutrient absorption.

The pouch also limits food from coming into contact with the upper or lower intestine, further preventing absorption.

The operation involves five-to-six incisions in the abdomen.

Surgeons then staple the top portion of the stomach to separate it from the bottom, creating a pouch. 

A small section of the small intestine is then attached to the pouch, allowing food to bypass to the lower stomach.


  • One year after surgery, people lose on average 77 percent of their body weight
  • After 10 to 14 years, between 50 and 60 percent of this weight loss is maintained
  • Around 96 percent of health complications, including back pain and type 2 diabetes, are resolved


  • People may suffer iron deficiency anemia due to insufficient nutrient absorption
  • The procedure can lose effectiveness if the pouch is stretched
  • ‘Dumping syndrome’ can occur due to the rapid emptying of stomach contents into the small intestine. This can cause weakness and abdominal discomfort

Source: University of California San Francisco, Bariatric Surgery Center 

Before going under the knife, the patients completed a questionnaire that asked about their sexual satisfaction, desire and activity. 

They were also asked the extent to which their size limits them from having intercourse. 

This questionnaire was completed again one and five years on.  

Results revealed that 70 per cent of the women and 74 per cent of the men were not sexually satisfied before their weight-loss surgery.

But a year on, 56 per cent of these females and 49.2 per cent of the males reported improvements.

Some 60 per cent of the women and 67 per cent of the men also complained of ‘sexual restrictions’ due to their size before they went under the knife.

But five years later, 73.6 per cent of the women and 67.7 per cent of the men were still enjoying the benefits. 

The effects were most pronounced among the women, with one-third still reporting improvements in their sexual desire and overall activity.

And more than half continued to have better sexual satisfaction and fewer restrictions half a decade later.

Men also benefited across all points but to a lesser extent. 

Nonetheless, 68 per cent still counted sexual restrictions as less of a problem five years on. 

The operations also helped ease the patients’ depression, which in turn led to improved sexual desire, more intercourse, less intimacy restrictions due to their size and better sexual satisfaction. 

Dr Dana Telem – an associate professor in the division of minimally invasive surgery at the University of Michigan – was not involved but co-wrote an accompanying editorial on the study.

‘It is common after bariatric surgery for patients to feel more energetic and see reductions in weight-related medical conditions that can impact sexual health, even within the first few weeks of surgery,’ she said. 

‘Thus, I am not surprised that for many patients this would also translate into improved sexual function.’

Dr Telem hopes the study will help ‘reduce barriers such as bias and stigma surrounding the operation’. 


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