Body mass index and sexual behavior

Bliss Kaneshiro, Jeffrey T. Jensen, Nichole E. Carlson, S. Marie Harvey, Mark Nichols, Alison B. Edelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To characterize the relationship between body mass index and sexual behavior, including sexual orientation, age at first intercourse, ever having had sex with a male partner, number of partners, and frequency of intercourse. METHODS: This study employed the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, a cross-sectional, nationally representative database in which women between the ages of 15 years and 44 years were surveyed regarding reproductive health outcomes. Sexual behavior was compared between body mass index groups-normal (less than 25 m/kg), overweight (25-30 m/kg), and obese (greater than 30 m/kg)-using self-reported height and weight. Multiple logistic regression with adjustment for the sampling design was used to measure associations of interest. RESULTS: Body mass index was not significantly associated with sexual orientation, age at first intercourse, frequency of heterosexual intercourse, and the number of lifetime or current male partners. Overweight women and obese women were more likely to report ever having male sexual intercourse (P<.001). This difference persisted when we adjusted for age as well as type of residence. CONCLUSION: With the exception of ever engaging in sexual intercourse with a man, sexual behavior differs little between women of different body mass indices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-592
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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