Category Archives: Body Mass

Worried About Weight? How to Have Spectacular Sex Anyway

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Spectacular sex – at any size – is really all about putting mind over body mass.

Fat man holding a measurement tape against white background

I was in my 20s the first time I heard the term BBW and learned that it stood for Big Beautiful Women. I had access to magazines, TV, books, movies and a host of other media, all without ever hearing of someone who thought fat bodies (like mine) could be sexy. I’m like a lot of fat people. (And yeah, I’m using the word fat even though some people still cringe when they hear it. Nothing about it is inherently insulting, negative, or worthy of scorn. I promise, getting used to hearing it will take the sting out.)

Anyway, like a lot of fat people, I was raised on a steady diet of disdain for my body, predicated on the idea that I could never be happily partnered with anyone if I “stayed fat.” Many people of size are resigned to the idea that they should settle for boring, intermittent, unsatisfying sex, or worse -that they should forgo sexy times altogether until they lose weight. Given the stats on successful weight loss, roughly 95 percent of those people will be waiting a very long time. I’m sure geriatric sex is awesome, but why wait decades to have the awesome giggity you could be having right now? Let’s take a look at what keeps some Big Beautiful Women (and yes, Big Handsome Men too) from the big, big love they could be enjoying now.

Problem: Logistics

Trying new sex positions can be daunting for anyone. But when you or your partner look nothing like the Kama Sutra pictures, sex becomes a mystery wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a condom. Can you believe there’s no such thing as a fat Kama Sutra? Existing books on sexual positions all focus on a specific body type that excludes not just fat people, but anyone below 5 feet or above 6 feet tall.
Solution: In the 1980s Dr. Ruth Westheimer encouraged the use of pillows for propping and leverage, making sex positions easier to achieve. Since then, people have been talking about sex more openly and more honestly, leading to a flood of products designed to help people of all sizes have great sex. The Liberator ramp is my personal fave. It’s a bit of an investment but honestly, how much is too much to spend if the result is even more incredible sex? (Get more tips on sex positions in 9 Sex Moves to Rock a Woman’s World.)

Problem: Dressing the Part

Finding sexy bras, garters, teddies and other lingerie in plus-sizes has always been a hassle. Even if you find a reasonably priced store that carries large sizes, they almost never have large models. A size 22 shouldn’t have to guess what something will look like from seeing it on a size six model.
Solution: Fat-shion! More (mostly online) stores than ever carry plus-size lingerie of all types from modest to bold. Fat people demanded bustiers, thigh-high fishnets, silk boxer shorts, teddies and naughty nighties of all kinds. Torrid and Hips & Curves are good places to begin. (You can also check out plus-size lingerie at our affiliate, Adam & Eve.)

There are also crafting websites where talented seamstresses line up to create custom clothing for all sizes. Adventurous DIY types can add sparkle to boring bras with fabric paints, or even a bedazzler. Finally, you can network with other fatshionistas online to ask questions, get opinions and advice, and see pics of heavy people looking super cute in fancy duds. You might even see me over there!

Problem: “It Doesn’t Look Right”

The concept of confirmation bias means that our brains tend to favor information of imagery if it conforms to something we already believe. Most of us have been taught that, for example, full breasts above a small waist is very sexy. Anything that deviates from this, like fat, must not be sexy, right? Wrong! Sexy is always in the eye of the beholder. Luckily, the solution here is an easy one, since we always have the option to broaden our idea of what sexy looks like.
Solution: In the real world, preferences are as varied and changeable as the people who have them. Find some of the many wonderful images out there of people of all sizes playing sports, dancing, eating cupcakes, and getting the most out of life, and put them someplace you’ll see them often. Whether it’s on your refrigerator, your desktop wallpaper, or stuck on a bulletin board, surround yourself with images of people who look like you (or are you) doing wonderful things. Get used to looking at them until you remember that beauty can be found in a multitude of sizes -especially yours.

Problem: Negative Body Image

I’m certainly not suggesting that fat people are the only ones with body image issues, but fat people are often told how unacceptable they are by parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, classmates, friends, enemies and even total strangers. Whether it’s done in the course of bullying or out of feigned concern, being told that your body is unhealthy, ugly, or wrong can make anyone feel decidedly unsexy. Because we don’t tend to take good care of things we hate, bad body image can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Solution No.1: Pampering. Stress and negative body image go hand-in-hand. We tend to be less patient and accepting with ourselves when we’re under stress. The first step in feeling better about yourself is to relax. Whether this means deep cleansing breaths, a few minutes of Mozart, or a nice foot massage, less stress leads to better body image. (Sex is also a great stress reliever. Read more in Skip the Gym, Get In Bed: 7 Health Benefits of Sex.)

Solution No.2: Realism. Everybody knows someone who hates to be photographed because they never like how the pictures turn out. But being fat isn’t like having a zit on your nose. You can’t hide it. What’s more, everyone with working eyes can already see what you look like. So who exactly are you hiding from? Whoever they are, they can already see you. And they’re wondering why you’re trying to disguise curvy hips under a giant T-shirt, or hide a double chin behind a carefully placed thumb-and forefinger.

Problem: Nudity

Aside from all the puritanical attitudes people have about nudity in general, fatties have an even bigger problem. They’ve been told that no one wants to see them naked. If you grew up believing that everyone thinks fat is ugly, taking your clothes off in front of another person is not so much sexy as it is heart-stoppingly terrifying.
Solution: Befriend your body. If you don’t already do this, spend some alone time walking around your home naked. Do the things you’d normally do. Make some tea, read, fold laundry or just take a nap. Take a few minutes to really look at yourself in a full-length mirror and marvel at just how amazing your body is. Being naked with yourself will help you be more comfortable being naked with a friend. Befriending your body also means being honest about what it looks like. Fat women in particular are more likely to engage in fat-denying gymnastics during sex. They keep their arms tight at their sides or twist their backs like a pretzel doing yoga, all in the hope that they’ll look a little slimmer, their stomachs a little flatter. Your partner can see you, and he totally wants to have sex with you. Accepting that upfront makes it easier to relax and have fun.

Problem: Shyness

There are different types of shyness. The shyness I refer to here has to do with not speaking up about your needs, fears, likes and dislikes, or generally being too nervous to discuss things openly with your partner. This type of shyness doesn’t just lead to bad sex; it can be crippling to the whole relationship. While shyness can seem daunting, it can also be overcome.
Solution: Talk it out. Many of us have been taught that it’s romantic for our partner to magically understand our needs without being told. Unless you’re dating a wizard, that’s probably not possible. You don’t have to wait until you’re in the throes of passion to discuss sex. In fact, many couples find it less awkward to talk specifics at non-sexy times, while doing the dishes or relaxing in front of the TV, for example. The timing is less important than the openness. If your fear of crushing your partner (not a realistic worry, say the experts) makes you not want to avoid being on top, say so. If you burst into uncontrollable giggles at the sight of a glow-in-the-dark condom, say that too. Levity is great for diffusing awkwardness. (Get some tips on how to communicate better in Talk Dirty to Me: The Why and How of Hot Aural Sex.)

Focusing on fat can leave fatties feeling so ugly that we develop our own confirmation bias. But come one. Plenty of other things that come in all shapes, sizes and colors are called beautiful every day. Is a sunflower less beautiful than a peony because it’s so much bigger? Of course not. Why should it be any different with human beings? It shouldn’t, especially when you consider that the most powerful sex organ in humans is the brain. That means that spectacular sex – at any size – is really all about putting mind over body mass. (For more great info, check out “Big, Big Love: A Sex and Relationship Guide for People of Size.”)

Complete Article HERE!

Does Manspreading Work?

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Participants in a “No Trousers Day” flashmob ride the London Underground in 2012.

A study suggests people find expansive, space-consuming postures more romantically attractive

Manspreading might make you the villain of the morning L train, but a new study suggests it could also make you lucky in love. People who adopted “expansive postures”—widespread limbs and a stretched-out torso—in speed-dating situations garnered more romantic interest than those who folded their arms in “closed postures,” the researchers found.

For her recent paper, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, performed two studies. First, she and her team watched videos of 144 speed-dates and correlated them with the participants’ ratings of each other. People who sat in expanded postures were deemed more attractive, and for both men and women, postural expansiveness nearly doubled their chances of getting a “yes” response to a second date. Even laughing and smiling didn’t work as well as spreading out, Vacharkulksemsuk found.

Examples of expansive postures used in the study

Examples of expansive postures used in the study

Next, Vacharkulksemsuk posted pictures of people in open and closed postures on a dating site. Again, those in the expansive postures were about 25 percent more likely to generate interest from another user. However, this strategy worked much better for men than women. Men, overall, received far fewer bites than women did, but 87 percent of their “yesses” came in response to an open posture. For women, meanwhile, 53 percent of “yes” responses came when they were in an expansive posture.

Examples of contractive postures used in the study

Examples of contractive postures used in the study

In a separate test, Vacharkulksemsuk found that both the male and female “expansive” photos were considered more dominant than the “closed” photos. That dominance might suggest an abundance of resources and a willing to share those resources. When potential romantic partners are evaluating each other for just a few seconds, in other words, money talks—mainly through bodily breadth.

So should you rush to change your Tinder picture to something a little less pouty and a little more Backstreet Boys cira Millennium? Like with almost every study, there are reasons to be skeptical. “Power poses” made a big splash in 2010 when it was found that adopting them could tweak hormone levels—then sparked controversy after a follow-up study failed to replicate the effect.

Several researchers who weren’t involved with the study expressed doubts about its methodology. Agustín Fuentes, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, said the findings might be a sign of general social preference for openness, but not necessarily that open-looking poses are sexier. “The connection to mating/dating assessment they suggest is superficial,” he said in an email.

Irving Biederman, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, said some of the “expansive” women might have looked vulnerable, rather than powerful.

To Vacharkulksemsuk, though, the fact that her study subjects rated both the male and female “expansive” photos as dominant—and found that dominance attractive—might signal the start of something very exciting. For decades, women have been told they’re most attractive when they’re demure, high-pitched, and generally non-threatening. This data “may be signifying a change in what men are looking for in women,” she said. Perhaps commuters should brace themselves for the rise of fem-spreading.

Complete Article HERE!

Body Image Blues

Happy New Year everyone!

Did ya’ll survive the holidays? Dr. Dick just barely made it through this annual ordeal by the skin of his teeth. The holidays are supposed to bring out the best in folks, right? Then, what’s with all the lunatic behavior this time of the year?

Leave it to all the wretched holiday hype to spike our self-critical nature. Just when ya thought it was safe to take a peek in the mirror, along come those age-old bugaboos to scare ya back into the closet of self-doubt. Consider this month’s grab bag of frightened souls.

Hey Dr. Dick –
I’ve always had a low self-image. Then about two years ago I decided to do something about. I began going to the gym regularly and eating better. It paid off…now I have a better image of myself and have been dating more. Imf_nipple.jpg am seeking a LTR but only seem to met and slept with unavailable women. I’m starting to turn this back on myself…sure now I’m good enough to sleep with, but not have a relationship with! Thoughts?
K in NYC

Dear K,
You’re looking for a LTR and you’re sleeping around with unavailable women? Darlin’, what do you suppose is wrong with this picture?
Dr. Dick suspects that you still need to do some serious work on the self-image thing. I applaud your efforts to get in shape and eat right. Good for you! However, heaping recriminations upon yourself for your lack of success in the dating game, particularly while pursuing the unavailable, is downright self-defeating.
Rethink this strategy immediately.
Good luck,
Dr. Dick

Doctor Dick,
I only have one testicle. I was born that way. It has a huge effect on my self-confidence. I consider myself a good-looking guy and I work out at the gym to try and look and feel the best I can. But even so, whenever I meet a guy and we have sex, I am always terrified that when he notices, he’ll freak out or suddenly be turned off. Even though the guys I have been with (not that many) haven’t had a problem with it, I feel it is a problem. And also, I have trouble ejaculating—whether that is physiological or psychological, I don’t know.
I have two questions. 1) Would having only one testicle reduce my sex drive and make it harder for me to ejaculate? 2) I have pondered the idea of having a prosthetic testicle inserted (so at least I wouldn’t LOOK any different to other guys). Do you know much about this procedure and if it is safe?
Thanks very much
David

Dear David,

y1.jpg Whoa, aren’t you all tied up in a BALL of knots? (Big pun intended!)

You’re obsessing about something that apparently is of no consequence to your partners. Hey, if they don’t give a shit that you’re shy a nut, why should you?
Celebrate your uniqueness, instead of living in shame. Your “irregularity” is neither life threatening, nor is it particularly obvious.
Consider the great length some guys go to in an attempt to hide the “shame” of what they perceive as a personal inadequacy. Like the guy who wears a really terrible toupee (or any toupee for that matter) in an effort to mask his hair loss. Is this not completely ridiculous, not to mention counterproductive? I mean, doesn’t his folly call even more attention to the very thing he wishes to conceal?
I propose that it’s your anxiety about “being found out” that’s getting in the way of your sexual performance, not having just one testicle. Nor do I believe that it’s interfering with your sex drive. But I advise you consult your physician if you think you have a hormonal imbalance. A regular injection of testosterone will remedy that.
You ask about surgery; well, it’s a simple enough procedure. But there are always risks, like the possibility of infection for example. Besides, you’ll always know that one of your balls is a fake. And in time, you’ll probably begin to obsess about that, too.
David, this problem of yours can be solved in a less drastic and invasive manner than surgery. Choose self-acceptance over the knife and be happy.
Good Luck,
Dr. Dick

Dr. Dick:
I am writing because I am a very self-conscious person and am afraid to date anyone because of how I look underneath my good-looking clothes. I was born with problems that left scars and veins on my body, making my younger years hell. I am very self-conscious when it comes to wearing shorts, which I never wear, and being naked with someone. I want to be with someone and look normal, like all the other people. I enjoy looking and feeling good about myself, but when it comes to revealing my true identity I lose all confidence. I am afraid of rejection because I am different.
I want a boyfriend who hot and has a body to die for, but I don’t base my dating prospects on looks, but on personality. I know there are others out there with the same philosophy, but it is hard to see. What should I do? I want to meet someone and have fun, but I have this fear of being rejected and not being what they expect.
Jordan

Dear Jordan,
I can’t tell from your comments if you are a man or a woman. That’s actually a good thing, because my advice is the same regardless of your gender. Our society can be an.jpg heartless place for those of us who don’t fit the “ideal” of youth and beauty perpetuated by the popular culture. And it looks to me like you’re guilty of the same bullshit you accuse others of perpetuating. You want a lover who is physically perfect, but you don’t want others to discriminate against you for not being so. Aaaa, hello! If you allow this unhappy double standard to control your sense of wellbeing, you have only yourself to blame.
Throw off the shackles that ensnare you. They’re all self-imposed, not to mention self-defeating. Learn to accept yourself for who you are, with all your assets and liabilities. And you’d do well to be a little less of a snob where others’ looks are concerned.
Good Luck,
Dr. Dick

Dear Dr. Dick,
I’m an attractive, talented and fun loving guy who has never had a lover in the 23 years that I’ve been openly gay. Sure I get a lot of looks and flirtations but rarely from the ones I’m attracted to. It seems that unless you work out 4 to 5 times a week you’re not worth their time or attention. In fact, if you read personal ads you’ll find that the majority of them use that as a prerequisite. Mind you, I’m not flabby or out of shape, I’m just tall and thin (6’3″, 175#). This has made me very self-conscious about myself and in turn has produced performance anxiety. I find myself working so hard to please a man sexually that I can’t “get it up” to save my life. I joined a gym a couple of times. But after a year of religiously working out (both times), I never saw any visible improvement in my body so I stopped going. Another aspect of my frustration is the fact that I have been HIV+ for 12 years and I am developing the “skinny arms and legs syndrome” from my drugs. Sex has become a very complicated issue for me. Half the time I’m self-conscious about my body and the other half afraid of passing on HIV or getting some new sexual disease. Any advice?
Sex Fan

Dear sex fan,
n-1.jpg You bet I have some advice. In fact, if you’ve taken the time to read this far in this column, you already have a good idea of what my take on all of this is.
Some gay men have turned discriminating against other gay men into an art form. If it’s not about muscles, then it’s about age, race, HIV status, where one lives, the clothes one wears, the car one drives—the litany goes on and on. If you buy into this dehumanizing nonsense, as it appears you have, you do it at your own peril, darlin’! You give this ugly thing power over you, and it will erode what little self-confidence you have left.
Let me make a couple of quick comments. First, do you use the same superficial standards to measure potential partners that you say others reject you by? That’s a common enough scenario (check out the letter above). But this cycle of oppression needs to stop somewhere; why not with you?
Second, working to please a partner is a good thing. But taking it to an extreme is not. Obsessing about pleasing a partner, so much so as to let it interfere with your sexual performance, or worse, your mental health, is very dangerous.
Finally, fear, whatever its guise, will always and everywhere diminish your ability to pursue and enjoy your sexuality. I guarantee that being so afraid of getting or passing on a disease or being afraid of rejections because of your body type will cripple your sexual performance.
I suggest you begin 2004 by taking your fears, apprehensions and frustrations to a professional. A sex-positive therapist will help you overcome these stumbling blocks so that you can happily get on with the rest of your life.
Good Luck,
Dr. Dick

It’s my sincere hope that, with the dawn of the New Year, we’ll find the courage to scuttle all this self-defeating crap, and in doing so, make the word a much better place in which to live.