Dating!

I’d been married for years when I started this blog.  That may be why I don’t post about dating much.  But I ran across this blog post and it said a lot of things I agree with.

[It’s] perfectly cool if you don’t find fat people attractive. Anyone who tells you that you are obliged to find any particular set of features attractive is an insecure git who needs the weight of numbers before they can relax.

You may be attractive to a small number of people. That’s cool.

The question is, are those people attractive to you?

If so, then awesome!  […]

If not, then you have that icktacular quandary of deciding how much you feel like changing for them.

Because here’s the ugly truth and the truth of ugly: you’re not going to have a 100% success rate at attracting the people you want. You just won’t, not over the course of a lifetime.
[….]
“Normal” society, yes, rewards skinny people disproportionately. But it also rewards white people disproportionately. And straight people disproportionately. And men disproportionately. And if I’m not fucking careful, I can internalize those irrational hatreds and come to believe that there’s something wrong with me instead of society.

I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine. I’m somebody’s cup of tea, and they’re mine, and that’s the important thing.

Last weekend I saw a fat woman with short gray hair wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m someone’s fetish”.

Now, “fetish” is a loaded term. It’s applied to characteristics or actions that society doesn’t think should be arousing. I’ve known people who identify as fetishists and those who reject the term. In this case, it seemed the woman with the tshirt was acknowledging that she was older and fat…and affirming that she’s a sexual person anyway. That’s pretty cool.

The blog post refers to a similar shirt too, so I went hunting. I found the one above in men’s and women’s sizes and another one in men’s sizes. Just in case anyone else wants one.

Quote of The Day: On Sex

[Warning: rape]

I had a conversation with a therapy patient of mine recently that spoke volumes to the problems of living in a rape culture that no longer wants to use the dirty word rape. She told me that she and her best friend (both 19-years-old) frequently endured sex with their boyfriends that involved heavy drug use, painful and coerced anal sex, utter boredom for the women, regular transmission of STIs, no orgasms for the women, and “sex on demand” whenever their boyfriends wanted to have sex. When I asked her if she ever felt pleasure during sex, or ever wanted to feel pleasure, she said, point blank, “I thought sex was only supposed to be pleasurable for the guys, right?” Right. 

The Politics of Turning Rape into “Nonconsensual Sex” by Breanne Fahs

Y’know, romance novels are often seen as pure pulp, but they do ground readers in the idea of mutual pleasure.  It’s not the worse way to set some expectations for sex.  (OK, the “never needing lube” thing can be problem….)

I’m glad that patient is in therapy.

Oh, and anal shouldn’t hurt.

 

QOTD: Avoiding Pregnancy

[M]ost American women spend the majority of their lives trying not to get pregnant. According to the Guttmacher Institute, by the time a woman with two children is in her mid-40s, she will have spent only five years trying to become pregnant, being pregnant or in a postpartum period. So to avoid getting pregnant, she would have have to refrain from sex or use contraception for 25 years. That’s a long part of life and a lot of effort to avoid parenthood. – Washington Post

I’ve never been pregnant. I realize many miscarriages happen in the first few weeks, so I might have been pregnant without realizing it.  Perhaps “To my knowledge I’ve never been pregnant” would be more factual.  But.  I have used condoms, taken the pill, used spemicide.  More recently the man of the house decided to be sterilized, and I’m fine with that.

I chose to avoid pregnancy and I succeeded.  It’s possible that I’m not very fertile – I don’t know my fertility status, really, because I never tried to conceive. It helped that I had money for contraceptives, especially before my state required insurers to cover birth control; it helped that I waited to have sex until I was legally of age. I chose contraception and it worked for me.

If my life had gone differently I might have chosen to conceive. If contraception had been less effective or affordable for me, I might have had an abortion. The thing I’m glad of was that it was a choice. Having children does not have to be a given.

Fat Women Shouldn’t Exist

From a Jezebel piece (originally on First, Do No Harm) on troubles getting an abortion because the anesthesiologist doesn’t do patients with a BMI over 40:

So not only are fat women not meant to be attractive to men and not meant to have sex, and not be able to get pregnant, when we do get pregnant we are apparently putting our baby at risk because we are fat and if we don’t want to continue with the pregnancy, we can’t get abortions either because we are fat.

…and really?  Fat women DO have sex.  With men, even. Fat women DO have children.  But that’s reality, and reality is “messy”.  So much better to have a world where fat women just go away.

On Being Fuckable

Spilt Milk recently tweetedlink to the quote:

I will not accept that my worth on this earth is based on whether or not you think my fat body is fuckable.

I agree with the sentiment.  One of the things I’ve appreciated, as I’ve gotten middle-aged, is that random men seem to feel less of a need to tell me whether or not they find me sexually attractive. It’s a bit more, “Oh, you’re an adult.” (Of course, I’ve been spending a lot of time in nursing homes and hospitals as my father’s next-of-kin, where “middle-aged” really is the defining factor.)

I’d like to think my looks don’t matter.  But if I really believed that, would I smile when I approach a barista or bank teller or coworker?   I smile as a form of communication.   I smile to look more appealing, to ingratiate myself.  I’m white, I’m tall, I’m fat, I’m busty. Some of that improves how people view me, some of it doesn’t, but it’s all part of the package.  My looks matter a great deal at times.

Since I started this blog I have had a few trolls take the time to tell me I’m not worth fucking.  I don’t care.  I don’t know them.  Why should I care?

At the same time, I usually dress in ways that I find attractive.  I flirt.  I am pleased down to my toes to have the man of the house whisper that he loves me and lusts me.  Being appreciated is nice … but it is not all that I am, and it is not my measure of worth.

Sex or Thinness?

Obviously it takes a certain kind of mind to ask 2,400 women if they would sacrifice a full year of sex to be skinny.  In this case, the mind works at  Fitness magazine.

51% of the 2,400 women said “Yes”.

Now, I’m sure that some of those women interpreted “sex” to mean “sex with a partner”, are single, and figure they aren’t getting any anyway, so why not?  However, I submit that if you’re having orgasms then some kind of sex is happening … and I don’t see a reason why orgasms require the presence of another person. (Yes, the right partner absolutely adds a lot to the experience. The wrong one —and I’ve had a few — reminds me of why I was thrilled to discover Babeland (NSFW).)

Even so, I’m sure there were some women for whom this question caused some soul-searching.   Sexual pleasure, with its attendant health and emotional benefits?  Or societal approval, making life easier in hundreds of ways (even if it doesn’t measure up to your dreams)?

But I’m wondering, really, what this question being asked and it getting 51% says about our society.

Of course, other thoughts are welcome in the comments.

Ah, Teh Sex ;)

(Misspelling intentional!)

Marianne posted about sex yesterday, and Red No. 3 followed up with a post today.  So, it’s kind of a blogaround!   :)

I did a general post on sex a few years ago.  A few things I’d add now:

All of which is to illustrate:  It is okay to be different.  It is okay to do what you feel is best for you.

One friend describes why she didn’t have sex in high school as: “Small town, kids I’ve known for over a decade who were mostly less mature than I.   I didn’t see anyone I wanted to have sex with.”

Yeah, me too.  Granted I may have had more self-[body]-hate and fantasy of being thin going on, but I also didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable with.

I don’t think every relationship has to be The Love Of Your Life.  I have had “friends with benefits” that worked out rather well.  But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be with someone you don’t like or respect.

I will also note: It can be certainly enjoyable to have sex with yourself. Betty Dodson’s Sex for One or The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex may help with getting in the mood. As mentioned on The Rotund,   http://www.babeland.com/and  http://www.goodvibes.com have plenty of nifty toys that may help as well.

Fat Birth Control

A friend pointed me to this op-ed on making (at least some) birth control pills available without a prescription.   Generally I think that making birth control easier to get is a good thing.  I’d also welcome more research on the efficacy of hormonal birth control in fat women.  Plus something tells me I’m not the only fat woman who found she had trouble inserting/removing things like the sponge — I tried a sponge once and I ended up having to go to the doctor’s office so it could be removed with forceps.

This also got me wondering how other fats manage birth control.  Hey, we haven’t had a poll in a while!

(I did update the poll to add a few more methods)

Question: On Dating While Fat

This was originally from Formspring.me (yes, I signed up there too) but I thought worth putting out here too, since much of it applies to anyone.

You have said that you’re bisexual. Do you have any sex or dating advice for a young gay fat woman?

One thing I got from a friend many years ago: dating is stressful. Exciting, fun, but also scary. It’s best approached when you have supportive friends, a sane living situation, and otherwise have a life that works. Why? Your brain will do a much better job of figuring out if a new relationship is working for you if the rest of your life works. So yes, be out to your close friends. Have a home you are comfortable in. Those help.

Another good thing is to get to know other gay women in your area. Is there a gay or lesbian community center? Does meetup.com list a lesbian group in your area? If you work at a big company, is there a GLBT employee group? Is there a gay or gay-accepting church around? A gay pride festival? A scifi convention? Getting to know other lesbians may help you to find dates, yes, but it will also start getting you plugged into a social network. Maybe there’s no one at the community center you want to date, but you like the discussion group or stitch & bitch or basketball games or roller derby nights. Friends might introduce you to other friends who you do want to date. Or they might tip you off as to who goes through lovers like popcorn. :)

Finally … hang in there! Look for people who you enjoy spending time with and who seem to have fun being with you. Sometimes a friend will become a lover  ;)

If you want to ask something on Formspring, I’m Living400lbs there too.

A Question for the Ages

An obese child 6 to 9 had a 37 percent chance of being an obese adult if neither parent was obese. But if at least one parent was fat, the child’s change of growing up to be fat nearly doubled, to 71 percent.

The work fits well with current thinking about adult obesity, medical experts say. The condition appears to have a strong genetic component — most fat people are thought to inherit genes that keep them fat, despite their best efforts to reduce.   — NY Times

If fat people are so universally unattractive … how do so many fat people have kids?  They can’t all be adopted/from insemination, can they?    Do fat people reproduce asexually?  What?

;)

Monday Morning Smile?

Cover of Chocolate: The Consuming Passion

Last week at work was much more on the stressful side than I wanted. Usually I pack up the week’s worries when I shut down my computer and neaten my office; this week it was Sunday before I really let go of the stress.

Tomorrow I go back. So I’m going to include a few things that made me smile this weekend.  

How about you?  Is Monday something you look forward to, or a major time/life shift, or just another day? 

Mixed Links

A nice piece on beating stress & angst

Contraceptive pills may reduce or prevent muscle growth.

From an article on being fat and fit

As long as people see physical activity primarily as a way of losing weight, they are unlikely to keep it up, either because it doesn’t achieve that objective quickly or because they think they have to lose weight before they can take up serious exercise […] the benefits of being fit are usually greater than those of weight loss.

Finally, as Kate Harding twittered, Trolls Aren’t New.  But before email they had to, you know, find paper and stamps.  :)

Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession

I’m reading Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession.  I think the book is trying to be shocking.  The first essay is about fat in Nigerian culture (good if you’re female, bad if you’re male).  Another is on the Andean legend of the pishtaco, a bogeyman whose objective is to extract fat from the bodies of his victims.  

But the one that’s boggled my mind is … Don Kulick‘s essay on fat porn.  See:

  • I knew porn with fat people existed.  
  • I’d seen photos of women my size and larger, dressed in lingerie, on various magazine covers.  
  • I’d encountered erotic stories with a “feeder”  theme.  

But what I hadn’t encountered is photos or videos of naked, 300lb+ fat women who are …  eating.  Happily eating.  Breakfast in bed, ice cream, burgers.  Enjoying and taking pleasure in their food.   

I know people who joke about The Food Network being “food porn”.  But this is porn that is, literally, food porn.  

*blink*

Kulick compares this with S&M, which often eroticizes things that aren’t, on their face, erotic.  He also notes this form of porn is focused on the women’s pleasure.  I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.  

The [PG] sample photos in the book are enough to tell me that this sort of thing doesn’t turn me on.  That’s okay, too.  I’m not one to quibble about what other consenting adults choose to do….but I do think it says something about our society that women eating food and enjoying it  is something people find erotic and pay money to see.

Fat Women Have Sex Too!

Researchers looking at women age 15-45 (divided into the BMI categories of normal weight, overweight, and obese) found a shocking result:

The investigators found no significant differences among the weight groups in sexual orientation, frequency of sexual intercourse, the number of current partners, age at first intercourse, the number of lifetime male partners, or the number of male partners in the previous year.

Why, it’s almost as if fat chicks were, you know, human.  A researcher reminded Reuters that, “Obese and overweight women are just as sexually active as normal-weight women and need to be counseled similarly about their risks of unintended pregnancy and infection.”

Unfortunately, as many of us know, doctors don’t always ask.  So speak up.

I do realize that it can be a no-win situation for doctors; one person might be offended at the suggestion that she’s had sex; others may lie about how many partners they’ve had or not had.   Personally I feel that I should be honest with my medical practitioner, and if the practitioner has a problem, I need to find a new one.

The study did find some differences between the weight groups. The first:

A higher proportion of normal-weight women reported never having borne a child and a higher proportion of overweight and obese women reported having three or more children.

The second:

[…] found that obese and overweight women, compared with normal-weight women, were more likely to report a history of intercourse with a male […]

The second one is curious to me because elsewhere they’re not different in sexual orientation. Weird.

I’m also curious how many supersize women were in this study, and if results for those with BMI of 50+ were similar to or different from the others.

(I spotted this in Stef’s health LJ.)