The first time anyone besides my mom saw me naked, I felt the very specific type of panic that is being certain you're going to hurl all over another human being (one you happen to find very attractive, at that). I was 15, or maybe 16, and this was to be the night of my virginity loss. When it came time for the clothes-removing part, however, I became hyper-aware of every "flaw" on my body. My wobbly stomach felt like it was on fire. The cellulite on my backside somehow magnified. The "extra" weight I carried was all at once affixing me onto the cold tile of that bathroom floor, yet making me want to flee for dear life. No one had ever spoken to me honestly about what it's like to have sex as a fat person — and in that moment, I wondered whether that was because I wasn't supposed be having any sex until I lost some dress sizes.
Prior to that experience, I'd never actively thought about the intersection of fatness and sex, but that didn't mean I wasn't inundated with misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding it. If I wasn't hearing that "fat people don't f*ck," then I was definitely being told that fat people are desperate and will f*ck anyone. If some high school bro wasn't bullying another dude for going out with a fat chick, then another bro was most certainly telling that same fat chick that her boyfriend was using her — or that their whole relationship was one big, fat joke. Even if it wasn't.
Fat women, in particular, are consistently desexualized on one hand and over-sexualized on the other. We are told that sexuality is not for us, so we should be grateful for any attention that does come our way. We are encouraged to feel satisfied with horrible partners, because who else would want us? We are told that anyone who does want us must be a freak. Even in otherwise progressive circles, fat fetishes or preferences are often disregarded as problematic: limited to the likes of abusive men who will only ever want fat women for their bodies and nothing more.
By 15 or 16, I'd already been exposed to all of this messaging. So when it came time to express my own sexuality, I couldn't. My instinct was to cry, to run, and to cover up. I'd keep covering up for a long time, convinced that no one would want to see me in any other way.
Looking back, there's so much I wish I'd known about fat sex. For starters, it would've been pretty reassuring to know that fat people of all gender identities and expressions, of all sizes on the plus size spectrum, and all around the world, are having beautiful, hot, kinky, consensual sex all the time. Like, all the time. I'd grown up in a small town, and attended a relatively small high school where I was, by far, one of the biggest students. I wasn't exposed to many other fat people — let alone ones who openly shared their sexual escapades. In a pre-Twitter, pre-Instagram, pre-blogger era, it was easy to assume that no one like me was getting it on.
Much like thin sex, however, fat sex is plentiful. Fat people f*ck partners of all sizes. Fat people have loving spouses. Fat people don't have to settle, nor do their partners have to settle by choosing them. And yeah, some fat people — many, I'm sure — will have sh*tty, turbulent relationships, or sh*tty, turbulent hook-ups. Such is life, unfortunately, even when you're living it in a slender body.
As for the sex itself, I wish I'd known that it's OK to ask for what I want or need in the bedroom. Although fat sex and thin sex work very much the same, our bodies all crave different experiences — and there's nothing wrong with that.
For example, if I'm going to be having sex in the missionary position, I now know that it's more effective to put a pillow underneath my butt. This elevates the lower half of my body, providing easier access to partners (or vibrators). Some reading might think, "Well, you wouldn't have to do that if you weren't fat." But to this I ask simply, so what? If the end result is a deeper, more penetrative experience for all parties involved, then everyone will ultimately be happier.
In conversation with fat fetish model Plump Princess with Bustle, she confessed that the doggy style position is the trickiest one for her to navigate with male partners. Unless she's with someone who's "very well-endowed," she just can't feel much. So, she tends to ask her paramours to avoid that position. If you're getting hot and heavy with someone who's just as interested in your pleasure as they are in theirs, then being straightforward won't "kill the moment." And if anyone does make you feel sh*tty for your size, or your preferences, then they probably don't deserve to see your glorious birthday suit anyway.
The thing is, sex can be messy, awkward, confusing, and a total learning curve for anyone — no matter their size. These days, I struggle to believe that anyone is a born natural at getting-in-on. It takes practice, and sex can be so incredibly different person-to-person.
All that said, what I wish I'd known above all else when it comes to fat sex (or any sex) is pretty simple: If you've found yourself in a room with someone (or several someone's) and sex is on the table, chances are that person has already spent some time looking at your body. There is no A-line skirt or tarp dress in this world that can totally hide one's figure. Our fatness does not cease to exist, or be noticeable, simply because we stick to black-on-black ensembles. And chances are, that person doesn't give a damn about your weight. Maybe they've never even thought about it; maybe they've actively thought about it and decided they love it. Regardless, they clearly want to be in a room with you, getting naked and sweaty.
It's true that the trajectory of your stretch marks or the amount of cellulite on your rump are more easily concealable features. Guess what, though? People of all sizes have both, and neither make you less gorgeous, sexy, or f*ckable. Your "blemishes" don't spoil your appearance. They add intrigue and uniqueness. They add little bits and pieces for a lover to explore: And trust me, they'll want to explore. If they know what's what, they'll feel blessed that you've allowed them to in the first place.