Oregon and Hawaiian researchers have found that a woman's weight does not seem to affect sexual behaviour.
Led by Dr. Bliss Kaneshiro, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, and Oregon State University professor Marie Harvey, the study was based on data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth that looked at sexual behaviour of more than 7,000 women.
In earlier studies it was Kaneshiro observed that obese and overweight women have a higher risk of unintended pregnancy than do normal weight women.
Thus, Kaneshiro studied the relationship between body mass index and sexual behavior, including sexual orientation, age at first intercourse, number of partners, and frequency of intercourse.
"Our analysis demonstrated that obese and overweight women do not differ significantly in some of the objective measures of sexual behavior compared to women of normal weight. This study indicates that all women deserve diligence in counseling on unintended pregnancy and STD prevention, regardless of body mass index," said Kaneshiro.
The study ruled out the widely held stereotypes that overweight and obese women are not as sexually active as other women, as the researchers concluded that it's the opposite that is true.
I was glad to see that the stereotype that you have to be slender to have sex is just that, a stereotype, said Harvey.
The data revealed that overweight women were more likely to report having sexual intercourse with a man, even when she controlled for age, race and type of residence.
In fact, 92 percent of overweight women reported having a history of sexual intercourse with a man, as compared to 87 percent of women with a normal body mass index.
These results were unexpected and we don't really know why this is the case, said Kaneshiro.
Kaneshiro's study was awarded first prize at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' annual meeting this year.
The study was published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.