Yes, yes, I’ve heard it before. Sex is active, it’s physical. So if you’re in good shape, the sex will be better. There are a couple of things, though, that we should clear up. First of all, fitness and fatness are not mutually exclusive. Secondly, sex is not only for those whose “good shape” isn’t fat. Sex is for everybody. Every. Body.
Since I’m broaching this topic, perhaps I should get personal about my own flesh. Whether or not I personally qualify as a fat person is debatable. My body waxes and wanes. I’ve talked about that in Feeling (about) My Body, where you can see a picture of me in the buff. And I also talked about it on the Bodysex video, where you can not only see me in the buff but also watch me masturbate. Sometimes I’m biggish, sometimes I’m smallish. Some call me overweight. Plump. Full-figured. Chubby. Womanly. Butterball. Rubenesque. BBW. Others roll their eyes at such assessments and say I’m not “that” big. At this point in my life, I’m trying not to attach too much importance to the bigness or smallness of my body. It’s easier said than done, not attaching importance, but I’m still trying.
After coming home from the Bodysex filming, my body and I entered a waning phase (see wax and wane, above). When people see me and tell me that I “look great!” and ask if I’ve lost weight, I generally smile and shrug. “It comes and it goes,” I tell them vaguely. If I get too hung up on feeling “great!” that other people like my body, then my self-worth is externalized and it becomes too easy to feel shitty about myself if/when I enter a waxing phase, or encounter someone who judges my body as less-than-great.
With that caveat, that I may or may not qualify as a fat person, I want to open up the discussion about fat sex.
Last fall, right after the Bodysex filming, I came across this NPR story about obese people who don’t feel good about their bodies and whose sex lives and sexual health suffer. At the time, I thought about linking to it and addressing the topic, but was left discomforted. What I took away from the story was that fat people who hated their bodies weren’t having good sex. But surely that isn’t the whole story. There are fat people who don’t hate their bodies. There are fat people who are having great sex.
Today I saw a friend’s Facebook link to an article in Persephone Magazine, Fat Sex: What Everyone Wants to Know But Is Afraid to Ask. I was riveted. And excited. And very very happy because now I knew that I could and would bring up this topic of fat sex. That piece is full of gems. Full of them. “You’ll need to overcome the idea that your partner doesn’t know how fat you are. Your partner knows, and guess what? He or she wants to have sex with you.”
Right from the start, I found myself bobbing my head, nodding along. I found the topic, tone, information, and suggestions to be top-notch. Reading it took me back to the NPR piece about obese people’s sex lives often suffering, in part because they hated their bodies. Yes, sex lives also suffer due to health or mobility issues. But it seems like the biggest issue (puns aside) is the self-love aspect.
Bodyshame is fucking insidious, and I know this with every fiber of my waxing-and-waning being. Bodyshame is not the exclusive territory of people who are objectively or subjectively fat. It’s not the exclusive territory of women, or people above a certain age.
I’m also coming to find that bodyshame is also not a given. It is possible to let go of bodyshame, if even for a moment. And in that moment, in that crack in the armor of self-hatred, exquisite beauty and love and wonder can flow in.
Let’s make more cracks. Let bodylove flow, even for a moment. Then see where that moment can take you. That’s my own mantra these days, so I’m reinforcing it to myself by sharing it with you.