I’m Fat & People Still Want to Fuck Me

Hey! This post deals with weight and body image stuff. If that’s tough or triggering for you, I encourage you to skip this post. I won’t be offended at all. You take care of you. ♥

chubby belly

In early 2014, I “embarked on a weight loss journey.” That’s how I phrased it. Because I was trying to be positive about it. I didn’t want it to be poisoned with all the self-hatred and patriarchal beauty standards I’d come to associate with weight loss.

But let’s face it: it was definitely about self-hatred and beauty. That became immediately clear when I noticed how much counting calories was sapping my emotional energy, and yet decided to keep doing it.

15139783471_798aa0785e_oI got down to the lowest weight I’d been in years, 150 pounds. On my 5’5″ frame, that put me into the BMI range called “normal,” rather than “overweight” – not that BMI is a terribly useful measure, but still, I was proud. Through hard work and focus and perseverance, I’d whipped my body into shape.

And I liked the way I looked. But no one wanted to fuck me.

Oh, maybe they did. I have no way of knowing. But certainly, my weight loss didn’t translate into any tangible sexual success for me, the way I had envisioned it might. My 3.5-year relationship came to an end right at the time that I hit my lowest weight, and we hadn’t had sex in months – and then, after we broke up, I was too shy and anxious to pursue sex with anyone else. So my vagina remained a no-fly zone.

12189697_10204235816849774_3570291086761898945_nOver the following year-and-a-bit, I lost motivation. It became too difficult to focus obsessively on calories on top of school, work, writing, and having a social life. I gained back all the weight and more. I’m now the fattest I’ve ever been, at 190 pounds. That’s frustrating, and makes me feel like a failure, and many a time I’ve looked into the mirror at my naked body and completely hated what I saw. But, weirdly: I’ve never received more sexual attention than I have in the past few months.

Please understand that I’m reporting this to you not with a braggy tone but with an incredulous one. There was a time when I deeply, honestly, truly believed that my weight was the barrier between me and romantic success. I saw some women in my communities who were fat and still socially successful, but I believed they had something fundamental that I did not: a pretty face, a fun personality, an “it factor” I just hadn’t been born with.

So, it was definitely surprising to me that I hit 190 pounds and now can’t even keep track of all the sexual and romantic propositions I receive. In fact, it kind of makes me angry that our culture told me this was impossible.

The notion of the “unfuckable fat woman” is a rampant one in our media and culture. A fat woman who has sexual desires – especially if she dares to act on those desires! – is often a punchline. As if it’s hilarious, shocking and ridiculous that someone so undesirable would view herself any other way. As if fat people can’t be gorgeous, hot, loveable and fuckable.

While weight gain was positively correlated with sexual attention for me, I’m definitely not trying to argue that correlation implies causation in this case. I don’t think people are more into me now because I’m fatter; I just think I’ve grown up a little, I’m more confident, less anxious. Paradoxically, while I don’t like my body these days, I’ve also learned that my body doesn’t define me as a person, so I like myself more overall. You’ve probably heard it thousands of times, but it really is true: confidence makes a person hotter. It’s an almost universal fact.

I’m also “putting myself out there” more than I ever was before. Anxiety kept me from attending events for a long time, and also made it difficult for me to stick with services like OkCupid and Tinder. Part of that anxiety was about my body: even though I wasn’t as fat then as I am now, I still worried that I’d look thinner/cuter in my photos online and that my matches would be disappointed when we met up in person. Now I know better – I post photos that show what my body really looks like and let the chips fall where they may. And you know what? A lot of people love my body!

There is something freeing, too, about the word “fat” itself. I avoided it for a long time, choosing words like “chubby” instead. I did this partly because I wasn’t technically “plus-size” (usually the cut-off is size 12-14, and I’ve only recently crossed that threshold) and didn’t want to claim that word without having actual experience being read as fat, and partly because the word scared me. I had internalized the message that “fat” is one of the worst things someone can call you.

As with many hurtful labels, though, if you claim one for yourself, it stings less when someone else slaps it on you. Recently some dickhead on the internet called me “fat and ugly” and it didn’t bother me at all – because I knew it was kinda true and I knew that was okay. Beauty is subjective, fat is fine, and just because that guy isn’t attracted to me doesn’t mean no one is. That seems like an obvious insight, maybe, but it helps me each and every time I remind myself of it.

I still have body anxiety sometimes. I think we all do. And I still deeply value the affirming comments I receive from sexual partners: “I love your body,” “You’re so beautiful,” “Your hips/stomach/thighs/butt is so sexy.” You can like your body and still need affirmation sometimes; that’s perfectly fine and normal. I have so much gratitude for partners who understand that – who know that my fat body is inherently valuable and desirable and valid but that I still appreciate being told that.

There may come a time in my future when I have the energy and the drive to work on weight loss again. I know I’d be healthier and happier at a lower weight, but I also know that right now, I just don’t have the time and emotional bandwidth to put myself through that process. But no matter how my body might change over the course of my lifetime, at least I know now that weight doesn’t affect my desirability as much as I feared it did. That’ll give me the confidence I need to live my life as a fat, openly sexual woman.

Permission to Be Gross: 7 Deeply Unsexy Confessions

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Possibly the worst selfie I have ever taken.

I imagine it’s exhausting to be a flight attendant, or a car show model, or any other type of person who has to smile and be pleasant for hours at a time. Being that personable takes tons of energy, and I admire the work that goes into it.

In much the same way, working in the sex-positive field often comes with expectations that you will be “sexy” all the time. I feel a lot of pressure, in both my personal and my professional interactions, to put on a foxy façade even when I don’t feel so foxy.

While I love and admire women who are unafraid to be gross and strange – like Amy Poehler, who famously responded to a criticism of her “unladylike” comedy by snarling, “I don’t fucking care if you like it” – that’s just not me. I don’t have that kind of confidence, I guess. Feeling gross and unattractive makes me feel… well, gross and unattractive.

But I’d like to get more comfortable with that feeling, so that maybe it doesn’t bother me so much when it comes up in the future. So here are 7 very unsexy things about me, posted here with intense vulnerability and blushing and nail-biting but for good reasons. I encourage you to make your own list!

 

1. While I mostly like the way my vag smells and tastes, certain foods affect it in kind of gross ways. Eating sushi – one of my favorite foods! – gives it that strong “fishy” flavor that 1990s hack stand-up comedians so often joked about. I avoid sushi before dates for this reason…

2. I have psoriasis, a hereditary skin condition. Lucky for me, mine is fairly mild. I have it on my scalp, ears, underarms, and a random spot in between my eyebrows (why?!). I use a couple of prescription creams and a tar-based shampoo to keep it under control, but sometimes I’m still flaky/itchy. It ain’t cute.

3. I have a tendency to obsess over people I get romantically and/or sexually involved with. I’m able to keep it under wraps for the most part, so these people typically don’t know I’m thinking about them a lot or looking at their social media pages on the daily, but internally it is a problem and I wish I could fixate less. I think it’s linked to my anxiety.

4. I used to be really sexually selfish and sometimes I still am. I like giving pleasure, but I often don’t unless specifically told/asked to, either because I’m too anxious to initiate it or it just doesn’t occur to me because I’m distracted by my own pleasure. I’m working on it! I want to give more BJs, y’all!

5. I strongly dislike my body most of the time, despite being an advocate of self-love and self-acceptance.

6. I don’t eat well enough or get enough exercise, and I make excuses about both of those things constantly.

7. Sometimes I worry that a lot of my submissive sexual identity actually just stems from sexual uncertainty and insecurity. When you’re paralyzed in fear and worried about what your bedfellow thinks of you, it can be easier to just give up control and let them boss you around; at least then you can feel like you’re “doing something right” instead of fucking up spectacularly.

 

Are there any “gross” or “unattractive” things about you that you’re too embarrassed to talk about? Want to share? It’s kinda cathartic, I promise…

5 Journal Prompts for Better Body Image

Journaling saves my life on a regular basis. It’s my solace, my safety net. It’s the primary way I manage my anxiety, track my moods, and process my experiences. Any time someone compliments me for “having my shit together,” being “productive” or “organized,” or just being “such a positive person,” I want to tell them that it’s mostly due to my journaling habit. My daily scrawls and scribbles in ruled Moleskine notebooks are the psychological glue that holds me together.

One of the cool things about journaling is that you can use it to explore any facet of your psyche. Suck at relationships? Write until you discover the root of the problem. Hate your job? Rant about it til you feel better, and then brainstorm solutions. Listless and depressed? Make gratitude lists until the corners of your mouth turn up.

By that token, I recently assigned myself some journaling “homework” because my body image needed a serious tune-up. I figured I’d share the prompts with you so you can do ’em yourself – and I’m also sharing my responses, to get your mental gears turning.

 

1. What parts of your body have people told you they love?

My most recent ex often told me he loved my hips, squishy and wide though they may be. He also thought I had a beautiful vulva. He liked my face with no makeup on, but could also appreciate the artistry of my beloved winged liner and bright lipsticks.

My FWB in high school used to rave about my inner labia: how pretty and pink they are, and how soft and smooth they felt on her tongue. She loved my long, curly hair, my hazel eyes, and my full pink lips. And she, too, complimented my hips any chance she got.

I used to fret a lot about my nose, because it’s HUGE – Jew genes ahoy! – but friends have often told me that it suits my face and lends “character” to my appearance. Okay then.

When Penny shot semi-nudes of me in Oregon, she told me she liked my smouldering facial expressions. Some of the commenters on that post had nice things to say about my curves, which felt like such a relief after all the internalized fat-hatred I’ve been cruelly inflicting on myself lately. I am chubby and that’s okay!

 

2. What parts of your body do you love?

My princess hair. My long eyelashes and soft full lips. My distinctive nose. My neck and collarbone. My boobs, especially now that I’ve gained weight and they’re bigger! The little dip where my belly meets my mons. My labia and clit hood. The backs of my knees (they’re cute, and ticklish!).

 

3. What can your body do really well?

It can stay in yoga poses for long minutes at a time, and stretch out deliciously. It’s well-versed in masturbation, orgasms and handjobs! I am a world-class snuggler. I can roll my stomach muscles like a belly dancer. I’ve been told I’m a good kisser. And what my dancing lacks in technical skill, it makes up for in sheer enthusiasm!

 

4. What cool things has your body accomplished in the past?

I’ve played tennis and badminton until my arms ached and a euphoric grin rose on my face. I’ve contorted into weird poses, strutted across stages, and done countless trust falls in the course of my work as a competitive improvisor and improv coach. I once canoed from downtown to Toronto Island and back again (all while singing “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”!). I’ve had up to 5 orgasms in a day, and given some stellar HJs and BJs in my time. I’ve exhausted my fingers and vocal cords performing music for hours on end. I’ve hauled IKEA furniture home, dragged a 50-pound suitcase all around Portland, and carried a lazy cat up our three flights of stairs a million times. Once, I punched a boy in the stomach when he was physically blocking my path and being a creepy dipshit.

 

5. What cool things will your body accomplish in the future?

I hope to do dozens of sun salutations in the park, surrounded by other yogis. I want to swim in Lake Bernard and tread water with pals while laughing so hard I cry.

I want to fuck on top of a grand piano, have anal sex with someone I love and trust, squirt in someone’s face, and experience subspace – not necessarily all in one session (although that would be impressive).

One day I want to get so deep into meditation that I have an out-of-body experience – not because I want to leave my body, but because I think it would make me appreciate it even more.

Ask These 3 Questions & You Might Fall In Love

Earlier this year, the New York Times wrote about 36 questions that strangers can supposedly ask each other, which will make them fall in love real quick. You alternate asking each other the questions until you’ve gone through all 36, and then you stare into each other’s eyes silently for four whole minutes. By the end of this process, you’re sure to feel more connected to the other person, if not full-on in love.

I was reminded of this article when I last went to Body Pride, because, in the midst of sharing all these intimate emotional details with one another, I started to feel like I was… kinda falling in love.

Those feelings haven’t particularly persevered, but then again, those aren’t people that I see very regularly. I think that if you developed a crush because of the deep and sudden intimacy fostered in environments like Body Pride, and then you kept spending time with the person on a semi-regular basis, those initial crush-y feelings would inevitably develop into something deeper.

My questions are different from the ones suggested in the NYT article, but they have the same aim. I think if you asked someone these questions, and really listened to their answers, some kind of magic would happen.

1. What are you passionate about?

I can’t imagine a sexier quality than enthusiasm. Everyone reaches their peak cuteness when they’re talking about something they find fascinating and exciting. It doesn’t matter if it’s fashion, photography, blogging, bowling, triathlons, trigonometry, web design or witchcraft: if it turns their crank, then watching them talk about it will be a delight.

True, a relationship might not have long-term legs if the other person’s passion bores you. But if you can’t get excited about the topic of their tirade, you can at least get excited about the way their eyes light up and a smile blooms across their face while they ramble at you about fancy stationery or rock operas or whatever.

2. What are you insecure about?

As a culture, we’re obsessed with the notion that confidence is attractive. And it’s true, it is. But that doesn’t mean insecurity is always a turn-off.

In fact, talking frankly about your insecurities requires confidence, or at least bravery. Whining about your least favorite body parts isn’t hot; projecting your own shit onto other people isn’t hot; refusing to take any risks in life because you hate yourself isn’t hot – but owning up to your issues? That’s hot. Especially if owning up to them makes you decide to actually do something about them.

In my life, I’ve only had maybe two or three really open, honest conversations with people about our mutual insecurities. And far from whiny or boring, it was revelatory. There is something incredibly powerful, for your own self-image and for your relationship, about discovering that other people have the same bullshit negative self-talk that you do. Like the NYT article says: “mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.”

3. What was the last thing that made you laugh really, really hard?

Occasionally someone will try to tell you a story or a joke, but they’ll start laughing so hard that they can’t even finish a sentence. Their face goes red, their voice gets hoarse, maybe some tears stream down their cheeks. They keep going back to the beginning of the sentence to try and get through it, but they just can’t, and it’s hilarious.

It’s also fucking adorable.

We all spend most of our time fairly stoic, moving through the world in a calm and orderly way, even if we’re total freaks and weirdos underneath. When you meet a new beau, it might take several dates – or even several months – before you really break through that crust of composure and get to the kooky good stuff underneath.

But if you ask them about the last time they laughed so hard they couldn’t breathe, and then they tell you that story… you’ll get a little preview of their zaniness. A glimpse of how it looks when they let loose, lose control, lose their shit. And that’s cute as fuck.

Bonus reading: Alexandra Franzen has some good lists of 100 questions to spark conversation and connection + 10 of the best first date questions ever.

You Do Not Have to Be “Fuckable” to Be Valuable

(Quick note: this post deals with body image, weight, food, exercise, and insecurity. If those topics are triggering or troublesome for you, I encourage you to skip this post. Take care of yourself!)

I’ve been struggling with body stuff a lot lately, and it’s not fun. Counting my calories alternately seems to keep me sane or make me want to tear all my hair out. Looking at my naked body in the mirror feels unbearable some days and totally neutral on other days. My feelings toward food oscillate from toxic resentment to pure sensual love. It’s… confusing.

When I have feelings that trouble me, on any subject, I always do my best to get to the root of them – to figure out where they’re coming from and what can be done about them. Like most people (especially most women), my relationship to food and exercise is about so much more than just food and exercise: it’s about gender, and self-worth, and past emotional traumas, and bone-deep insecurities. So there’s a lot of excavating to do if I want to work it all out. But I think I came up with an important insight recently, and I’d like to share it with you.

Women are socialized to understand our beauty as our most important feature. More important than our intelligence, humor, interests, professional pursuits, or even our sexual talents, our beauty is supposed to be our ongoing project and most crucial prize. Our total value as human beings is ascribed to our appearance, and that does a lot of damage.

I have internalized the idea that not only am I required to be beautiful (meaning: conventionally pretty and thin), but I am required to be beautiful all the time. Just look at the beginning of practically any fictional hetero romance: whether it takes place in a cheesy rom-com, a staid period drama, or a twisted YA novel, the “meet-cute” typically hinges on the woman looking pretty and the man noticing.

I’m an avid consumer of romantic storylines, so it’s no surprise that this trope got so deep into my head, I guess. But it sucks, because now I go through life with the sinking feeling that any moment spent looking less than beautiful is a moment wasted, an opportunity squandered. As much as my higher intellectual self tries to squash this irrational feeling, some part of me is still constantly wondering if the lover of my dreams is somewhere in my vicinity, and if, were they to see me right now, they’d be interested or just walk right by me.

It instills a scary desperation, a constant uncertainty. The last thing I ate becomes a statement on my entire morality. The time elapsed since my last workout defines what kind of love I deserve. My ability to attract the attention of some handsome suitor becomes the single most important measurement of my value as a human being.

Of course, I know this isn’t really true. I know there is more to me than my face and my body. I even know that I’m capable of love no matter what size I am, because I’ve dated at my fattest and at my thinnest and no one has ever run screaming out of the room at the sight of my naked body. Far from it: I’ve had my curves praised, lusted after, worshiped.

But I’m single now, and shy, and anxious, so the worries creep in. And the result has become all too clear in recent months: food has lost its joy for me, because it mostly makes me feel guilty; I exercise out of obligation instead of genuine desire; and my guard is always up when I’m out. What do these people think of me? Do I look good enough to be in public right now? Am I performing “beautiful femininity” well enough?

Well, fuck that shit. I am valuable whether or not I’m “fuckable” and so are you. No matter how much your silly brain might try to trip you up, the fact is that different people are attracted to different things and so if your hygiene is acceptable and you’re a basically pleasant person to be around, someone out there will be into you. Promise.

But, beyond that, it also has to be said that being loved romantically is not the most important thing in the universe. Sometimes I get so caught up in desperate romantic wishes that I forget about the love I already have in my life: family, friends, passions, excitements, even my love for myself (which does exist, somewhere under all the layers of self-criticism).

Sometimes I watch the way men interact, and the kinds of things they talk about, and I realize that men are valued – and value themselves – for who they are and what they do, not what kind of mate they can or cannot attract. I need to reject the patriarchal paradigm which says I am only as valuable as the number of dudes who want to get in my pants. I do so much cool shit and I am so smart, funny, kind, clever and delightful. That should be enough. That is enough.

It’s still a daily struggle to figure out how to live comfortably in my body without upsetting my mind (or vice versa), but these revelations have been helpful to me. I breathe a little easier knowing my fears are unfounded and silly.

Have you battled similar thoughts and concerns around body image or romantic/sexual desirability? How did/do you deal?