In their study, Binks and his colleagues examined sexual quality of life data from a weight-loss trial. The trial included 161 obese women and 26 obese men. Data was collected every three months over two years. To measure sexual quality of life, the researchers used items from a standard questionnaire called the Impact of Weight on Quality of Life.
Obese participants lost about 13% of their body weight over two years.
"At the beginning of the trial, both male and female participants indicated that they were experiencing significant difficulty in all areas of sexual quality of life," he noted.
However, the sex lives of both men and women improved substantially as the pounds melted away.
"Improvements in the quality of sexual life were directly related to weight loss and seemed to reach their maximum at about 12 percent weight loss," Binks said.
Sixty-seven percent of the women said they felt sexually unattractive at the start of the study. "That prevalence dropped to 26.4 percent at one year and remained stable," Binks said. "Not wanting to be seen undressed went from 62.7 percent to 34.3 percent," he added. There were similar reductions in the other areas, Binks said.
"A 10 percent reduction in weight significantly improves most health issues," Binks concluded. "It appears that sexual quality of life improves in a similar way to (other) weight-related issues."
The researchers said they found similar results in a survey of 26 obese men, but cautioned that the small number of male participants made it difficult to draw conclusions from that data.