Trusted for 23+ Years
Plus-Size Sex Education, Resources & Products
Dr. Lisa Lawless, CEO of Holistic Wisdom
Clinical Psychotherapist: Relationship & Sexual Health Expert
Plus-Size Sexuality Matters
The following article reviews aspects of sexual play and intercourse for those who are plus-sized, have plus-sized partners, or are in a partnership where both partners are plus-sized. In addition, weight bias and sexual health issues will also be reviewed.
With two-thirds of Americans having a body mass index of 25 or greater, many people qualify as plus-sized. With so many plus-sized people, there is a need for more education, resources, and products, which is why we are proud to be an advocate for overweight people and a proactive plus-sized sexual health resource.
Self Esteem Aspects
Many plus-size people have a wonderful sense of self-esteem and enjoy a fruitful, creative, and pleasurable sex life, while others struggle with being plus-sized both physically and emotionally. There are many reasons why people put on extra weight, such as genetics, engineered junk foods, food addiction, medical conditions, medication side effects, and more. Everyone is unique, and how comfortable one is with their body varies. There is no one size fits all approach to self-esteem when it comes to being plus-sized.
Plus-Sized Stereotypes & Prejudice
Most of the stereotypes of plus-sized people are ignorant and bigoted. Those with extra weight are not lazy, less intelligent, unmotivated, or have less worth. People have worth and are deserving of respect, empathy, and consideration regardless of their weight. Yet weight bias impacts plus-sized people in numerous ways, including added risks to their health, from the biased medical care they can receive to the lack of sexual resources and products designed for them.
Weight bias can be dehumanizing and contribute to psychological damage and poor health outcomes. We must work to change our society that often marginalizes people who are plus-sized.
Women Experience More Bias
Women experience higher levels of weight stigmatization than men, even when they have less fat. Studies show that women experience weight bias starting at a lower BMI of 27, while men report weight bias beginning at a much higher BMI of 35 or more. The higher expectations around women' s appearance play a substantial role in this added discrimination. it occurs various settings including dating social environments workplaces and within medical care.
Medical professionals often believe that patients with extra weight lack self-control, are less likely to adhere to treatment, and are more unpleasant than thinner patients. It is not uncommon for people with excess weight to have serious medical conditions disregarded and told that it is just a matter of being overweight and to go on a diet by medical health care professionals.
Physicians may see a person who is overweight as a waste of their time, thinking that they will not follow through with treatment recommendations or show interest in their health. In one study, physicians indicated spending 28% less time with an overweight patient than with a patient of average weight.
This form of weight bias is unacceptable and needs to change. Don't be afraid to advocate on your behalf and use this guide to talk to your doctor about sex as well as your overall health: How to Talk To Your Doctor About Sex.
Well-Meaning People & Bullies
Regardless of intention, any weight shaming is a form of bullying. There is a vast difference between expressing concern for someone in an empowering manner versus shaming or guilting someone around their weight. Studies show that weight bias and shaming do nothing to help someone lose weight. Over 46% of people who have experienced weight bias have said it made it even more challenging.
People Who Really Care
With 72% of family members showing weight bias to a plus-sized family member, discrimination from those closest can be a serious problem. So that leads us to the question of how can someone close to you proactively and positively express concerns for you?
Having an open discussion about weight in a respectful and non-judgmental way is perfectly fine from someone who is genuinely concerned. However, they should wait for the overweight person to bring it up first and focus on health and self-care, not on weight.
The Fat Phobic Media
Media is the number one area where weight bias occurs. Body positivity has never been more popular, yet we still have a fat-shaming problem with the media. When the media addresses weight, it is often under the premise that the only thing making people fat is their lack of willpower when over half a century of medical research has shown that diets almost never work. Furthermore, social media's algorithms promote extreme dieting behavior and eating-disordered approaches to weight loss. And, even when plus-sized people are shown in the media, they are often average body types.
How Can We Stop Weight Bias
- The goal of fat activists and fat liberationists is to make the word fat a neutral physical descriptor rather than a word with judgment and moral undertones. Watching how we use the word fat is important.
- Reduce and stop weight bias by asking ourselves if we hold negative opinions of those with extra weight.
- Become educated and understand that being overweight is a complex issue with multiple causes, including some that are challenging to control or, in some cases are not controllable.
- Challenge people who express negative opinions about people with excess weight.
- Be a health advocate and ensure that health concerns are taken seriously and that the accommodations needed are made available.
- Beyond trying to convince ourselves that our bodies are beautiful, we should see ourselves as more than just a body to look at, so much more.
Sex Can Be Amazing For Plus-Sized People
No matter your weight, sex can be beautiful, sensual, and even healing. What the numbers say on the scale is not a measurement of self-worth and whether you want to lose weight or stay the way you are; great sex always comes down to embracing the beauty in ourselves and with our partner(s). Loving ourselves for who we are, as we are in each moment.
No matter what we struggle with, our perception of ourselves creates our reality, and when we perceive ourselves as unworthy of love or inadequate, we create a life where we never fully live. We must first begin respecting ourselves regardless of shape, size, or appearance. We are all beautiful human beings; we all deserve love and a healthy sex life.
Indeed, being plus-size can increase one's risk of disease, and being extremely overweight can further increase the risks. Whether one wishes to stay plus size, lose weight, or gain weight, providing your body with the nutrients it needs through a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is essential. See our Nutrition Guide for more helpful information.
In addition, getting adequate physical activity, stress reduction activities (such as meditation), and sleep are ways to maintain health no matter your weight and keep your sex life robust and pleasurable. Everything is interconnected, and we care about every part of you.
Sexual Anxiety & Weight
No matter your weight, sex is often accompanied by anxiety. Even if it only occurs infrequently, everyone at one time or another has experienced fear of rejection, fear of not meeting their partner's expectations, and fear of not being able to perform as these are among the most common emotional issues blocking great sex. Anxiety can impede or disable sexual performance. Many plus-size people suffer from these challenges, which may be amplified by their excess weight.
Sexual Health Challenges
Because weight impacts our sex hormones, women may find that they will skip periods during their menstrual cycle and be at increased risk for various cancers, including breast cancer. Extra weight can increase estrogen levels, which may cause symptoms such as fatigue, and fibroids.
Men may find difficulty maintaining an erection and have difficulty getting full penetration. There is also a risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) by 30–90% in overweight men. Because saturated fat levels in the diet directly impact sperm production, there can also be fertility issues. Testosterone levels can be compromised, which can lower libido.
Mobility & Disabilities
Some people who have extra weight also have mobility issues and disabilities. Please see our related guides for more helpful information:
Physical Challenges With Intimacy
Obstacles from size issues such as a large belly or lack of flexibility and cardiovascular endurance can be aided by finding comfortable sexual positions and creative and proactive approaches to sex.
If two plus-sized people are coupled, intercourse may prove challenging, but it is not only possible; it can be wonderfully satisfying. Obesity is rarely something that will prevent people from having sex. Furthermore, the body keeps most of one's fat away from the reproductive organs allowing couples to still be intimate.
People who have extra weight sometimes struggle with enjoying sexual activity, maintaining their sexual desire and sexual performance, and may avoid sexual encounters. Below are some suggestions to help make sex easier, more relaxed, and fun.
Whether you have always been plus-sized or have put on extra weight, you do not owe anyone an explanation or an apology for how much you weigh. If you have developed a habit of apologizing for it, stop. You are worthy of positive representation and self-talk, and you should expect to be respected and admired by others. If that is not what someone is offering you, walk away. You deserve better. However, if your lover is with you and wants to have sex with you, remember, they are there because they want to be, and you owe them no apology.
Sex Pillows & Plus-Sized Partners
Using pillows during sex, especially if you are plus-sized, can be quite helpful. They can assist with raising the hips behind, provide back support, and cushion the knees. They can lift you higher and ease back and joint strain.
Pillows may be especially beneficial if you're having sex on a memory foam bed. They tend to have less resistance and bounce than a traditional spring mattress, making it more difficult to move.
Using sex pillows can be ideal as they are very firm and specifically designed to aid in sexual positions. We carry plus-sized sex toy pillows that are wider and offer additional support. Our sex pillows provide better angles without sagging and sliding during sex.
Laying on the back can make it hard to breathe during sex, so having pillows propping your head and chest up with a sex pillow wedge can also be helpful. Learn more about sex pillows through our Sex Pillow Guide.
Sexual Positions For Plus-sized Couples
The missionary position can be challenging but certainly not impossible. This position can work for various couples. Have the overweight partner lie on their back. Use pillows to lift both their head and pelvis to make it easier to penetrate them. A pillow to help raise their pelvis upward will make accessing the vagina or anus easier. As they lie on their back, they can bring their legs up with knees bent, having the knees come up to the hips allowing the vulva, vagina, and anus to be fully exposed. If they have a larger stomach, they can pull it upward with their arms and elbows while using their hands to open their vagina.
Female Or Male On Top Of Male
This position is highly recommended for plus-sized men or where both partners are plus-sized. Among its many benefits is the ease with which it permits touching, stroking, and caressing almost the entire body. The man lies on his back, with his legs straight or knees slightly bent. If he has a large abdominal area, he can lift it with both hands as his partner straddling over him with their knees bent, facing him. They can thus easily slide his erect penis into the vagina or anus and start her pelvic thrusts either alone or in conjunction with his. It may be preferable to put pillows on each side of him and have his partner straddle him. You can also place pillows under his behind to raise his hips for a better angle.
When both partners have huge tummies, the dominant woman or man can face her partner's feet. The man lies on his back, and the woman or man straddles him with his partner's back facing his front. They then insert his penis into the vagina or anus from the rear. With patience, this can be a satisfying angle. When penetration has occurred, he can push his belly up before his partner sits entirely and rests on their behind.
Kneeling in a doggie position can keep a large tummy out of the way. If the man's penis is particularly short or the woman's vulva is positioned at an unusual angle, it may be impossible for a couple to copulate from the rear. It can also be hard on a plus-sized partner's knees if not on a bed. Nevertheless, many couples swear by it, and the size of a partner's buttocks and thighs doesn't seem to be an issue often.
The bottom partner kneels on the bed with their legs slightly apart and lowers their chest to elevate their behind. Pillows underneath the pelvis can lift the anus and vagina for easier access. Furthermore, the kneeling partner can hold up his stomach with his hand simultaneously; and insert his penis from the rear. He can also rest his abdomen on their partner's buttocks to make it easier to continue his sexual thrusts throughout intercourse.
To make this position even more accessible, the partner on all fours can draw their upper leg upward so that the knee of the upper portion is opposite the hip of their lower leg. This position makes their vagina or anus more readily accessible from slightly above and behind.
The kneeling partner from behind them puts one knee on each side of his partner's straight leg and makes entry from the rear at a slight side angle. He can raise his body slightly, utilizing a pillow below each knee if necessary.
Upside Down & Slide
Lying down on your side, turn yourself around so that your partner's head is at your feet, and vice versa. Then shift slowly until your genitals are aligned. This way, you can altogether avoid belly-to-belly contact.
Another effective position is the T-square technique, where a woman is on her back with her legs spread wide apart. Her partner lies with his hips under the arch formed by her raised legs. With both abdomens safely out of the way, the penis and vagina have a clear field for fun.
A modified T-square, the X position, is when a woman lies on her back with her legs bent at the hips and her thighs spread as wide as possible. After the penis is inserted into the vagina, the woman brings both legs together while the man swings his body in either direction 45 degrees, thus forming a large X. The woman should contract the muscles of her vagina during this maneuver to avoid the possibility of the penis slipping out.
Stand & Deliver
Sometimes a plus-sized couple needs to have intercourse at a greater-than ninety-degree angle to keep their abdomens out of the way. The woman is semi-reclining across the edge of a low bed or a padded table, two chairs supporting the feet, and the man kneeling or standing in front of her. She can also lie face up over the edge of the bed, and he can stand or kneel.
When the man is plus-sized, and the woman isn't, the man can lie face up over the edge of the bed with his legs and feet touching the floor. He can also place a pillow under the small of his back for support. The woman then stands astride him close to the edge of the bed and thus can make contact with his erect penis.
Either way, with one partner standing and the other lying over the edge of the bed, the standing partner has a lot of options for adjusting the angle of approach: the more furniture, the more opportunities.
Rear entry is often facilitated when both partners are standing (the woman can rest her arms and/or torso on the bed).
Whether both partners are plus-sized or the female is pregnant, this is an excellent way to have sex. Place two chairs with the seats facing the side of the bed. The woman can then lay on her back with a pillow under her head for support. She then places one foot on each chair, allowing her partner to penetrate her by standing up. It may help to place a pillow under her behind if the partner is tall or for a better angle.
Sexual Play Beyond Intercourse
One can do amazing things with a well-trained set of fingers and mouth. In addition, using ample breasts and butt cheeks can feel amazing to penetrate. See our related guides:
- How To Give Great Fellatio
- Amazing Cunnilingus Techniques
- Nipple Toys & Nipple Stimulation
- Fingering Tips For The Vagina
Plus Size Sex Toys
Sex toys are great for plus-size people as they can provide easy stimulation during intercourse or other sexual activity. Using sex toys with long handles or that are hands-free usually allows for more comfortable handling and less fatigue. We have put together a unique guide that covers all the best sex toys for plus-sized lovers, whether you are playing solo or with a partner.