The following article reviews aspects of sexual play and intercourse for those who are overweight, have partners who are overweight or are in a partnership where both partners are overweight.
First, I will review some of the emotional aspects that may present as challenges and then I will address sexual positions that have been successful for obese couples and pregnant women.
Self Esteem Aspects:
There are many overweight people who have a wonderful sense of self esteem and enjoy a fruitful, creative and pleasureful sex life. There are also those who struggle with being overweight physically as well as emotionally.
There are many reasons why people put on excess weight, from physical to emotional aspects. Regardless, I want to share with you my own experience of having been overweight in my life. I struggled with excess weight (especially after my pregnancy with my son) and during that time, I really struggled with low self esteem.
From feeling self conscious of my weight during sex, feeling afraid to be nude in front of my husband, and even having intense disgust with my body, I have had to deal with all the possible negative feelings one can have when it comes to being overweight. Even with an accepting and loving partner, there is nothing worse sexually than feeling repulsive during sex as your level of vulnerability is so high. I can certainly relate to those that have similar experiences and wanted to let those of you have feel this way... you are not alone.
Again, this is not to say that all people that are overweight feel self conscious about it during sex; but those with self esteem issues that tie into their weight most certainly do and I did not want to neglect this aspect as it can be a terribly painful challenge to work through.
What I have known for a long time and had to work hard to actually embrace as a reality is to know that our worth is not dictated by our appearance. What I mean, is that while I have always felt accepting of other people and have deep empathy and compassion, I have struggled in providing that to myself. I felt that when I was overweight, that I was not as worthy of love and respect from myself or others as when I was thin. I knew this was irrational, yet emotionally it was difficult to escape feeling that way.
Stereotypes of overweight people are often bullshit. Sorry for being so blunt, but it's true! Overweight people are NOT lazy, they are NOT less intelligent, they are NOT always jolly. They ARE the same inside as those who are thin and ARE just as sexual as anyone else. They are beautiful human beings no matter what society tries to dictate.
I feel strongly that no matter your weight, sex can be beautiful, sensual and even healing. What the numbers say on the scale is not measurement of self worth and whether you want to lose weight, or stay the way your are, great sex always comes down to embracing the beauty in ourselves and with our partner(s). Loving ourselves for who we are, as we are in each moment.
Sounds great right? Yes, I think so, but sometimes not so easy to feel inside. For a long time I struggled to get my body back in shape and to lose weight. I tried many diets, learned a great deal about nutrition, exercise and even went to group therapy for people who struggle with eating disorders (as I have struggled with eating as a means to nurture myself through overeating and then starving myself from guilt).
After a few years of struggling with my emotional connection with food I finally figured out the perfect diet, lost weight and was able to feed my need for nurturing without excess food. The diet? Love... self love. I realized that until I was able to accept myself no matter what, whether I was overweight, had a terrible accident was disfigured or had the privilege to grow old and watch my body deteriorate over time... I would never know what it was to be happy.
Since that time, I have have steadily provided myself with more acceptance, and compassion. I have forgiven myself for not being perfect and allowed myself to experience life as the messy, challenging, exhilarating, beautiful roller coaster that it is. True, some days I still stumble over self esteem and even find myself thinking that eating an entire bag of cookies would be nice. We all have those days. It is how we handle things on a long term basis. It is a daily commitment to a lifestyle of loving ourselves to do what will ultimately make us happy, healthy and able to achieve our dreams.
No matter what we struggle with, it is our perception of ourselves that creates our reality, and when we perceive ourselves as unworthy of love, ugly, or even inadequate than we create a life where we never fully live. That is why we must first begin with loving ourselves no matter our shape, size, or appearance. We are all beautiful human beings, we all deserve love.
Taking Care of Yourself Regardless of Weight
Certainly being overweight can increase one's risk of disease and being extremely overweight can make the risks even higher. Whether one wishes to stay overweight, lose weight or even gain weight it is important to provide your body with the nutrients it needs through a diet rich in vitamins, minerals via water consumption, vegetables, fruits, protein and whole grains. In addition, getting adequate physical activity, stress reduction activities (such as meditation) and sleep are not only ways to maintain health no matter your weight, but also keep your sex life robust and pleasureful.
Everything is interconnected and thus you really cannot ignore the importance of taking care of yourself on all levels. That is why I focus on providing information and resources for your body, mind and spirit. For when one aspect of your life is out of whack, it will affect other aspects of your life, and often this includes your sex life.
Sex In The Real World: Anxiety
In the real world, sex is often accompanied by anxiety. Even if it only occurs infrequently everyone at one time or another has experienced fear of rejection, fear of not meeting their partner's expectations, and fear of not being able to perform as these are among the most common emotional barriers to sex. Anxiety can impede or disable sexual performance and many overweight people suffer all these problems amplified by their excess weight.
Again, I am not saying that all overweight people are uncomfortable with their excess pounds, I am merely presenting some of the obstacles for those whom ARE uncomfortable with being overweight may experience.
Weight Gain & Dieting
When one gains weight they may find that due to the chemical changes in the body their sex drive or functioning is reduced. This may occur to lowered self esteem and poor body image due to the weight gain as well which in turn can lower sex drive and performance. However, keep in mind that most overweight people do just fine when it comes to their sex drive and ability.
If there are challenges - Women may find that they will skip periods on their menstrual cycle and find that sex is more stressful than pleasurable the more weight they gain. Men may find that they have difficulty maintaining an erection and have difficulty getting full penetration due to a larger waist line. Weight loss certainly aids these issues, but be warned with fad diets as "yo-yo" dieting (loosing and regaining weight repetitively) may also cause physical problems that affect sexual drive and functioning as well.
Hiding - Many obese persons attempt to hide their bodies under cover of darkness, or keep their clothes on during sexual intimacy. The concept of being sexually undesirable is a strong influence in many cultures and may create a strong feeling of wanting to hide.
Apart from agonizing experiences of rejection, some overweight people experience a lowering of expectations. Women in particular often have strong feelings in this area as if they feel they are risking too much rejection by even contemplating a relationship with the sort of person they want for a partner.
Men may also experience these concerns, however it is often seen more commonly in women as statistically obese men typically have less opportunity for sexual interaction and their excess weight may keep them out of the sexual arena for many years.
These self deprecating situations can be broken by acquiring self-esteem and confidence in life and specifically in sexuality regardless of weight loss.
Obstacles from size issues such as a large belly or lack of flexibility and cardiovascular endurance can be aided by finding comfortable sexual positions as well as creative and proactive approaches to sex.
If two obese people are coupled, intercourse may prove to be challenging, but nonetheless it is not only possible, but can be wonderfully satisfying. Obesity is rarely, if ever, a barrier to intercourse. Fat is never stored in the penis, nor does it choke off access to the ovaries (as Hippocrates taught, and generations of physicians believed).
In fact, the human body is remarkably well-designed for storing fat in large quantities. Mother Nature keeps fat away from the vital and sensory organs, away from the joints, and away from the genitals.
Sexual Positions For Obese Couples
MALE ON TOP/UPRIGHT - The "missionary position" can be challenging but certainly not impossible. To make it easier, I recommend using pillows to help lift an overweight woman to tilt her pelvis upward and make it easier to access. Also, she may find it helpful to lie on her back, her legs bent at the hips, her thighs open as wide as possible, and her knees fully bent, thus completely exposing her vulva and vagina.
If she has a big tummy, she can lift it away from her pubic region with both hands, at least until the man gets himself positioned between her thighs. If penetration is still difficult, it can help to put one or more pillows under her bottom.
If you use a pillow, your vagina becomes elevated and entry is easier. If you use two pillows, entry will not only be easy, it will be different. If you raise your legs to a certain height, the angle of penetration and the points of friction will be different than if you raise your legs to another height, or if you do not raise them at all. You would be amazed at the variations three inches up or down can create.
When a woman is overweight it makes more sense for the man to kneel rather than lay on top during intercourse.
When the man is overweight it may be preferable to raise your body high enough - or lift your abdomen with your hands, if necessary - so that your partner can guide the penis to its destination. This will be a little easier if the woman places a pillow beneath her buttocks. Also, try not to initially drop your full weight on your partner. Rather, prop yourself up with your hands rather than your elbows, and lower yourself gradually.
At the first indication that your weight is uncomfortable for her, raise yourself again. Most women, even the smallest and most fragile-looking, can support a good deal more weight than you would suppose.
Drawbacks to this position are usually pulmonary. An obese woman may find it difficult to breathe while lying flat on her back, and an obese man may find it difficult to catch his breath while doing the work of lovemaking for an extended period of time. In such cases, a couple can follow the same "stop-and-start" method advised for men with premature ejaculation problems.
The "stop-and-start" method is when a man first stimulates the woman to orgasm without intercourse. The couple then has intercourse in the female-dominant position, and finally in the male-dominant position. As this last is usually the most stimulating position for the male, he is likely to finish before either partner runs out of air.
FEMALE DOMINANT POSITION - This position comes highly recommended for obese men, or where both partners are obese. Among its many benefits is the ease with which it permits touching, stroking, and caressing of almost the entire body. The man lies on his back, with his legs straight, or knees slightly bent. If he has a large abdominal area, he can lift it up with both hands, as the woman straddles over him with her knees bent, facing him. She can thus easily slide his erect penis into her vagina and start her pelvic thrusts either alone or in conjunction with his.
FEMALE DOMINANT, BACK TO FRONT - When both partners have particularly large tummies, the dominant woman can face her partner's feet. The man lies on his back and the woman straddles him with her back facing his front. She then inserts his penis into her vagina from the rear.
The problem here is that the woman may have to stay in a crouching posture for quite some time before the man adjusts himself to the angle of penetration. With patience this can be a satisfying angle. When penetration has occurred, he can push his belly up before she sits completely, then he can rest on her behind.
REAR ENTRY POSITION - Also known as doggie style, this position has long been advocated a good position for obese couples. Rear entry is not without its drawbacks, however. If the man's penis is particularly short, or if the woman's internal anatomy is positioned at an unusual angle, it may be literally impossible for a couple to copulate from the rear. It can also be hard on a obese woman's knees if not on a bed. Nevertheless, many couples swear by it, and the size of a woman's buttocks and thighs doesn't seem to affect the matter.
The woman kneels on the bed with her legs slightly apart, and lowers her chest so that her behind is elevated. By kneeling behind her, and holding his stomach up with his hand at the same time, the man can readily insert his penis from the rear. He can also rest his abdomen on the woman's buttocks to make it easier for him to continue his sexual thrusts throughout intercourse.
SIM'S POSITION - This position, named after a famous surgeon-gynecologist, is a modified rear-entry position for instances where the woman is obese and the man is not. The woman begins by lying on one side as she draws her upper leg upward so that the knee of the upper leg is opposite the hip of her lower leg.
This position makes her vagina readily accessible from slightly above and behind. The man kneels behind her, with one knee on each side of her straight leg, and makes entry from the rear at a slight sideward angle. If necessary, he can raise his body slightly by means of a pillow below each knee.
UPSIDE-DOWN POSITION - Lying down on your side, turn yourself around so that your partner's head is at your feet, and vice versa. Then shift slowly until your genitals are aligned. This way, you can completely avoid belly-to-belly contact.
T-SQUARE POSITION - Another effective position is the T-square technique where the woman is on her back with her legs spread wide apart. Her partner lies with his hips under the arch formed by her raised legs. With both abdomens safely out of the way, penis and vagina have a clear field for fun.
X POSITION - A modified T-square, the X position is when the woman lies on her back with her legs bent at the hips and her thighs spread as wide as possible. After the penis is inserted into the vagina, the woman then brings both legs together, while the man swings his body in either direction 45 degrees, thus forming a large X. The woman should contract the muscles of her vagina during this maneuver to avoid the possibility of the penis slipping out.
STAND AND DELIVER - Sometimes an obese couple needs to have intercourse at a greater than ninety degree angle in order to keep their abdomens out of the way. The woman in this position is semi-reclining across the edge of a low bed or a padded table, two chairs supporting the feet, and the man kneeling or standing in front of her. She can also lie face up over the edge of the bed and he can stand or kneel.
When the man is obese and the woman isn't, the man can lie face up over the edge of the bed with his legs together and his feet touching the floor. He can also place a pillow under the small of his back for support. The woman then stands astride him close to the edge of the bed, and thus is able to make contact with his erect penis.
Either way, with one partner standing and the other lying over the edge of the bed, the standing partner has a lot of options for adjusting the angle of approach. The more furniture, the more options.
Rear entry is often facilitated when both partners are standing (the woman can rest her arms and/or torso on the bed).
CHAIR SUPPORT - Whether both partners are obese or the female is pregnant, this is a good way to have sex. Place two chairs with the seats facing the side of the bed. The woman can then lay on her back with a pillow under her head for support. She then places one foot on each chair allowing her partner to penetrate her by standing up. It may help to place a pillow under her behind if the partner is tall or for a better angle.
ORAL SEX - It is important to note that sometimes women or men who who feel bad about their overweight bodies may often put themselves in the position of constantly being the giver. This can be seen in cases where oral sex is performed by the overweight partner with low self esteem while they discourage their partner from performing it on them.
Oral sex, like any other sexual act-including the sharing of food-should be an occasion for mutual pleasure, not a means of gaining worth by simply giving and not receiving.
Positioning is not generally a problem in oral sex, although the 69 position is generally quite challenging if not risking suffocation.
ASSISTED INTERCOURSE - King Edward VII used an adjustable bed (built rather like an examining table) in order to find the best sexual positions to accommodate his own bulk and that of his partners. A certain enormous 17th century Cardinal is famous for having installed a system of slings and pulleys over his bed so that he could enjoy near-weightless sex with a young mistress. The possibilities appear limited only by one's imagination, one's budget, and one's sense of modesty.
SEXUAL PLAY WITHOUT INTERCOURSE - One can do amazing things with a properly trained set of fingers. Some men swear that the sensation of having the penis fondled by a woman's breast cleavage is the closest thing to heaven on earth. One thing to keep in mind is that obese women may have "cleavage" or rolls of fat that may provide creative play.
by Lisa S. Lawless, R.M., C.E.O.
Holistic Wisdom Founder
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