This article was first published in Wear Your Voice Magazine on February 24, 2017.
There are a lot of things that straight-sized people do not know about being fat and in love. For instance ― you may want to sit down for this ― fat people can actually simultaneously be happy and fat.
Simple things like this escape the average person so often that you’d think that “fat and miserable” was an empirical fact rather than a harmful and inaccurate stereotype.
What if I told you that not only can fat people be happy, they can also be loved by an array of folks with different body types? That we, too, can have beautiful whirlwind romances and fairytale weddings?
Understanding that fat doesn’t necessarily mean bad can be a difficult shift to make, especially since we are indoctrinated at such an early age to hate our bodies, judge others and compete in some invisible race for the affections of people whose love is often temporary, shallow and merit-based. If you can consider staying thin through the relationship, obeying a masculine partner and not speaking your mind to be “merits.”
Still, maybe you’re trying. Maybe you want to be an ally to fat people and stop hating your body. Perhaps you want to empathetically lean in to a conversation that needs to be had.
Or maybe, like me, you’re a fat person that’s sick of judgmental thin people’s shit (yes, #notallthinpeople, we get it) and want to listen to me preach to the choir for a little bit.
Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
5 Things You Don’t Know About Being Fat And In Love:
1. We Know You’re Looking.
Walking down a busy street in a trendy part of town can be incredibly taxing for fat people and their partners ― and no, smartass, it’s not the walking part. People shamelessly stare as though fat people, especially fat women and feminine folks, are animals.
“Why is he with her?” “Oh my god, they look like the number ten when they stand next to each other.” “How do they have sex?” “Is that her boyfriend or is he gay?” “She must be his sister.”
These are just a handful of the obnoxious, shitty things that come along with those stares. If you think you are being stealthy, think again.
2. Fat Sex is Great.
Despite the fatphobic nonsense that you may have heard or read, fat sex is great. Whether between two or more fat bodies, a fat body and thin body/ies, or flying solo, fat bodies instinctively move to get what they want just as voraciously as thin bodies do. In fact, many of my plus-sized partners were much more acrobatic lays than their trim counterparts.
If mobility is an issue for you, there are an array of devices to help you get to the perfect orgasm. From body wedges that elevate the ass or pelvis to slings that swing you back and forth to your partner to plus-size harnesses, there are tons of toys out there that people of any size can utilize.
3. No, You Can’t Steal Our Partners.
You would not believe how many times I have seen people try to swoop in on a fat person’s thin partner. It’s as though these vultures think that the fat person, often times a woman or femme, is just a placeholder until something better comes along.
Personally, I have only experienced it a couple of times, which I attribute to my equally large personality and 6’1’’ stature. However, I have watched and listened to so many of my quieter, more petite fat friends get mowed over, and I’ve heard many stories about how they have been treated as invisible, as though they were not there.
The worst is that this doesn’t just happen with strangers. Sometimes it’s people within your social circle whose true motives and fatphobia finally surface. I’ve heard it firsthand from friends and acquaintances. “How is it so easy for you of all people?” “If you can get with these babes, why the hell can’t I?” “But I’m pretty! Why isn’t this happening for me?”
Darling, it isn’t easy for anyone, but it helps if you aren’t a completely judgmental ass to start with. It isn’t happening for you because perhaps you are putting the focus on the wrong things and maybe, just maybe, all of these stories about how dating is really fucking hard are actually universally true ― even for thin, beautiful people.
4. It Isn’t Just A Fetish
Perhaps you find yourself really attracted to people with dark hair or a tall, lithe body really turns you on. Maybe big, strong calves are incredibly attractive to you or soft, pillowy lips make your knees weak. These traits may be bonuses for you, but not deal-breakers if the person does not have them.
Similarly, a voluptuous frame with soft, squeezable curves may drive some folks wild, but maybe it’s not only thing that draws them in. My previous partner was a thin, average-height man who was very attracted to tall, soft-bodied, powerful feminine partners. He also liked muscular bodies of all genders and saw a different kind of power within each one.
Folks often assumed that he was just some kind of “chubby chaser” ― that he couldn’t possibly love or want me as a whole, that he had some “weird fetish” for bigger bodies since he was incredibly good-looking and very thin. Because he had greater social capital at first glance, it was assumed that I was just some weird fling, fetish or social experiment.
5. Fat People Can Be Active, Healthy Partners (And Parents!)
Despite society’s harmful expectations of fat people, we can be strong, active partners and parents, and be in good health while doing it.* Every fat body is different, just as every thin or “average-sized” body is different. In my experience, that big-bodied person you may be making assumptions about is likely to be stronger than the average thin person who doesn’t work out.
There are tons of amazing, active fat parents out there. Many people assume that fat people who get pregnant are guaranteed to have gestational diabetes or other pregnancy difficulties. Don’t you think that if every single fat person were experiencing these difficulties, there would be news coming out of the wazoo about it?
*not that anyone’s health is your business or the mark of one’s worth.
The only things that fat bodies are guaranteed are: 1. having to wear bigger clothing, 2. being heavier than a thin person their size and 3. dealing with a bunch of bullshit from fatphobes.
Big bodies are not just social experiments, nor are we just fetishes. Stop reducing us and trying to explain away our existence. Fat people can be happy and in love ― and not just with each other. The next time you see a fat person smiling and enjoying their partner, be happy for them. It’s not a competition. We can all find happiness. It just helps if you stop being such a jerk first.
(Writers’s note: while many these couples of cis/hetero passing, many of the folks in these images are, indeed, very queer. Please respect that by not making assumptive comments.)