THE DISAPPEARING PENISSome years ago a survey of 1,000 British men showed that a third of men aged between 35 and 60 years were unable to see their genitals due to a protruding midriff or, less politely, a beer belly. One of the questions/statements was: “Take off your clothes, stand upright and look down at your penis. If you can’t see it, you are obese.”
Men who are overweight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and other health problems. But what the research did not spell out was that obesity has been linked to erectile problems and difficulties with sexual performance.
From a psychological point of view, overweight men often feel uncomfortable with their bodies and have a lower self-esteem. They may suffer from anxiety, depression, or emotional distress and therefore may acquire performance anxiety. Unfortunately it’s not something they want to talk about, neither to their GPs nor a counsellor.
The social and psychological obstacles these men face are not the only factors causing sexual problems. There is also a direct biological origin. An erection is the result of increased blood flow in the penis, and to maintain a penile erection one must have a healthy circulatory system.
There hasn’t been a similar survey in Australia yet, but you only need to look around to realise how many men are overweight and have a beer belly. They often shrug their shoulders and joke about their weight. I’ve previously heard quips including: “I have the body of a God, and my God is Buddha”, or my personal favourite: “It’s just a veranda over my toy shop”.
Most men care more about maintaining their cars more than their own bodies, and often only see the doctor if told by a partner or relative to do so. However, overweight men should view the prospect of impotence as a compelling motivation to lead a different lifestyle, one that involves regular exercise and a healthy diet. It is not only for their own sake, but that of their partners.
Erectile dysfunction does not just affect overweight men. The world’s largest study to examine links between erectile dysfunction and heart disease found that even minor erection difficulties in healthy fit men can be an indicator of future heart risks.
The researchers concluded that erectile dysfunction does not cause heart disease, but may be an early indicator of the problems that lead to it, such as a build-up of plaque in the arteries. These results tell us that every man who is suffering from any degree of erectile dysfunction should be seeking medical assistance as early as possible, and also insisting on a heart check by their GP at the same time.
I assume most women don’t fancy a man with a beer belly so large that he can’t see his penis anymore. If your man fits into this category, it’s time to have a serious discussion and help him to lose some weight.