Here are two vocabulary words most people in the general population have never heard before: Sthenolagnia and Cratolagnia.
Don’t even ask me how to pronounce either word. Consult an online dictionary instead. Or just take a wild guess. Whichever works for you!
I’ll admit that I never heard of these words before I became an official female muscle fan. So if you consider yourself an admirer of muscular human beings of the feminine persuasion, allow yourself the opportunity to improve your vernacular.
Sthenolagnia is defined as the “sexual arousal from displaying strength or muscles” while cratolagnia is “sexual arousal from strength.” Anyone who thinks muscles are sexy should be able to identify with one of or both of these concepts.
So what’s the difference, exactly? Good question.
People who are attracted to large muscles (regardless of the gender of the person displaying these muscles) aren’t necessarily attracted to the same thing or for the same reasons. Human sexuality is very diverse and difficult to put into neat boxes. This is why we must have honest discussions about what we like and why we like what we like.
Often, sthenolagnia and cratolagnia could be considered interchangeable when discussing muscle fetishism. But that is not the case. Being attracted to muscles and being attracted to displays of strength – while definitely related – are not necessarily the same thing. Here is a brief breakdown of how these kinks are different.
Muscles as an Accessory vs. Strength as an Action
Someone who likes a person with big muscles is attracted to the way they look. The shape of their bodies is very arousing and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
For example, someone can love the way Alina Popa’s body looks without ever having to see her bend steel or pick up a person and carry them around. Her musculature, symmetry, awe-inspiring definition and good-old-fashioned sexiness (she is a very beautiful woman regardless of her physique) are enough to make many men consider her attractive.
The stereotype that men are visual creatures may play a role in this. Sexual attraction develops from what the eye can see. A beautiful woman can make a man turn his head, stare at her as she walks by and subsequently run into a telephone pole.
The same goes for an aesthetically gorgeous muscle woman. Debi Laszewski would make many men turn their heads if they saw her walk by. Especially if she’s wearing a tight dress that generously shows off her muscular curves and high heels and allows her legs to shine! Expect many fender benders if she traversed her way across a busy crosswalk.
On the other hand, someone who is attracted to big muscles may get turned on by seeing how this person uses their big muscles. After all, what’s the point of having superhuman strength if you never use it? You don’t work that hard just to sit around and not utilize your gifts.
Some men fantasize about a strong Amazonian woman picking them up, carrying them around and demonstrating her physical dominance. Whether you get turned on by having your inferiority complex put to the test or because you love feeling helpless in the hands of someone who’s supposedly a member of the “weaker sex,” witnessing (and experiencing) a woman displaying her strength is what it’s all about for you. Power is sexy. Feeling helpless can also be sexy. For men who agree with these premises, watching a female bodybuilder show off her amazing strength could very well be their personal definition of “Heaven.”
You might equally be turned on by a woman displaying strength who doesn’t physically appear to be strong. A slender woman dressed as a dominatrix or a corporate boss comes to mind. Strength doesn’t just mean muscles. It also means mental, emotional and sexual strength. So, one could theoretically experience cratolagnia with a non-bodybuilder. All you need is a female (or male) who isn’t afraid to flaunt his or her dominance and an appreciative audience to enjoy the spectacle.
Social Taboos at Play
There are also certain social taboos that explain why people experience sthenolagnia and cratolagnia.
Let’s consider the concept of women being the “weaker sex.” If we accept the premise that, generally speaking, women are biologically weaker to men, we should also acknowledge that examples contrary to this would be considered out of the ordinary. Also, things that are not ordinary are usually found either revolting or highly intriguing to people.
We are intrigued by what is not usual. Social taboos exist because there are certain social phenomena that elicit strong emotional responses from people. These responses could be disgust, anger, annoyance, confusion and often times, arousal. So, consider the taboos a female bodybuilder presents:
Her body shape doesn’t conform to our traditional standards of femininity.
Her physical strength goes contrary to what we know about basic human biology.
Her large physical stature contradicts our common conceptions about male vs. female gender roles.
Her open willingness to display her muscles and strength is unusual for most women’s behavior.
Her muscular physique places her in a role usually occupied by a man.
Her strength breaks down barriers that customarily separate men and women.
Some of us get turned on by defiance. Defiance gives us power. It’s our way of rebelling against whatever social constructs we oppose. If it’s true that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” then people get turned on by a female bodybuilder’s muscles because they love the power being demonstrated by her in such an open fashion.
Not only is she physically powerful, but she’s mentally and emotionally powerful. Her self-confidence, limitless work ethic, remarkable self-discipline and indifference toward her “haters” are attractive. If she’s willing to rebel against gender stereotypes, human physiology and mass media messages, what isn’t she willing to do?
There are many men who are secretly tired of always being in control. They’re sick of being counted on to be the “strong one.” They’d rather someone else do the proverbial heavy lifting. That’s why many powerful men prefer to be the “sub” in a D/s-BDSM roleplaying scenario. For once they want a woman to be in charge. He wants to relinquish power for the time being. Being weak turns him on. Seeing the woman become powerful also turns him on.
And all of this is still very taboo.
The Brain is the Ultimate Sex Organ
Essentially, this discussion boils down to this truth: female bodybuilders are both physically and intellectually beautiful. Their physical beauty comes in their perfectly sculpted bodies that we see at the gym, on the streets, at bodybuilding contests and on the Internet. A female bodybuilder’s physical beauty, while not universally acknowledged, is a force to be reckoned with.
Also, a female bodybuilder can also be intellectually beautiful. Her willingness to break social taboos, rebel against certain cultural standards and march to the beat of her own drum is very arousing to many of us. The brain is the ultimate sex organ, right?
Strength, therefore, comes in two forms: physical strength and intellectual strength. Physical strength is self-explanatory. Intellectual strength is something else entirely. It takes someone who understands what hurdles someone has to go through and appreciates their accomplishments. A female muscle fan gets it. They understand how insanely difficult it is for a woman to “look like that.”
Anyone who openly defies society and lives a lifestyle that’s so foreign to most people is as tough-minded as they get. And bulking up isn’t easy for women. Not nearly as easy as it is for men (and for many men, it’s still not easy!). So to understand the sacrifices and hard work necessary to transform from a normal-looking woman to Yaxeni Oriquen gives you an intellectual erection.
You have permission to use “intellectual erection” all you want. It’s on the house.
So…Which Best Describes Me?
To answer this question, consider all the reasons why you find female bodybuilders (and athletes) to be so captivating. Is it purely physical? If so, physical in terms of aesthetic or action? Or is there a sociological explanation as well?
Generally speaking, it’s probably safe to say that you might be experiencing sthenolagnia if your attraction to FBBs is purely due to your love for their hard, beautiful muscles. Their socially taboo bodies make you go crazy. Watching them use their muscles in a practical way is a bonus, but not a must. Simply put, YOU LOVE HER MUSCLES.
If your love for female muscle goes beyond that, then you might be in the cratolagnia category. It’s not enough to look at their gorgeous physiques. You want to see their strength in action. You love their hard-earned bodies and defiant attitude toward society’s narrow definition of beauty. You appreciate their accomplishments both from a physical and intellectual standpoint. Simply put, YOU LOVE HOW STRONG SHE IS.
This goes to show that not everyone is attracted to female muscle for the same reason. It’s not just because of muscles, muscles, muscles and more muscles. Yes, muscles on a woman are very sexy, but so is her brute strength, dedication to her craft and eagerness to live her life to the fullest.
Muscles and strength can mean two different things to different people. Anyone who knows even a little bit about the bodybuilding lifestyle knows how difficult and grueling it is. It’s a cutthroat business. The dieting, lifting, supplementation and scientific approach to reorganizing your life’s schedule can be exhausting – especially if one is pursuing bodybuilding as a profession.
Sthenolagnia and Cratolagnia.
Two words you probably can’t pronounce. Two words you certainly did not grow up learning about.
But now you know a little more about this glorious world of female muscle, female muscle fandom and the reasons why we love our buff, strong and powerful ladies. It truly is a mesmerizing world once you jump in head first.
So immerse yourself into it as fully as you can. You never know…you just might find yourself using these two words in everyday conversation!