It is true that overweight men are twice as likely as men of ideal body weight to have erectile dysfunction at some time in their lives. Impotence has many causes and weight gain contributes to several of them.
Psychologically, the negative body image associated with weight gain can decrease desire and increase anxiety about intercourse. A large belly also interferes with the mechanics of intercourse: Every 35 pounds of excess weight around the belly shortens the external length of the penis by about 1 inch.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure–two medical conditions that often come along with weight gain–are among the biggest culprits that may contribute to erectile dysfunction. Over time, both conditions damage the circulatory system and may diminish the blood supply to the penis during an erection.
Obesity can also decrease testosterone levels. Low testosterone decreases sexual desire, increases fatigue, and prevents erections. Weight control with a carefully planned diet and exercise program has many benefits for sexual health, as well as overall health.