Life is harder when you’re an overweight woman: heart problems, diabetes, depression, low self-esteem and social prejudice — just to name a few of the challenges. But it turns out those are the least of our problems, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. In a survey of 10,000 French people, a slew of interesting numbers were revealed about the sexual habits of heavy men and women, and it turns out women get the shaft — or don’t, in this case.
Obese women were 30 percent less likely than “normal” women to have had sex in the last year, but obese men were just as likely to have had one sexual partner in the last 12 months as average guys. Professor Kaye Wellings, one of the authors of the study, summed it up pretty effectively by saying, “Maybe women are more tolerant of tubby husbands than men are of tubby wives.” The study also found that big girls are less likely to take birth control or talk to their doctors about contraception, so they experience four times the number of unplanned pregnancies. It’s possible, according to the researchers, that obese women are skittish about asking for the pill because its health risks to overweight women are greater than for average women, or it might be the fact that oral contraceptives can make women gain weight.
There’s another explanation for the disparity between big boys and big girls and how likely they are to get any tail, of course. In order to even remove a sock in the bedroom, most of us have to feel like we’re attractive, desired and wanted by our partner. This can be nigh-on-impossible if you believe even a tiny fraction of the media hype surrounding the thin and beautiful. So maybe it’s not that men don’t want to sleep with overweight women, but that overweight women have so internalized mainstream beauty standards they can’t bring themselves to fool around.
As a size 16 since I was, uh, about 16, I can tell you that being assaulted by media images like the one of Paris Hilton eating a Carl’s Jr. burger in a size zero bikini or of Urban Outfitters’ lovely “Eat Less” T-shirt is enough to make a girl want to just go to Good Vibrations and sit at home with a copy of “Velvet Goldmine.”