The Pleasure is All Mine: A Tribute to Xenia Onatopp

Xenia Onatopp. The pleasure was all hers.
Xenia Onatopp. The pleasure was all hers.

Everyone has a seminal moment that defines their youth. Alright, it may not actually “define” their youth per se, but a moment that certainly played an integral role in shaping their transition from childhood to adulthood. It may not have been a specific moment, perhaps a series of moments that culminated into an event. Or, it could’ve been a pivotal “ah ha” epiphany that forever changed how you viewed the world.

For me, it’s pretty obvious. I grew up a James Bond fan. My father introduced me to the old school 1960s Sean Connery Bond films when I was at least 8 years old. Maybe even younger. I don’t remember exactly, but the super suave British spy left an indelible mark on my childhood. Some kids wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Spider-Man or Batman. I wanted to be James Bond. And Indiana Jones, but that’s a whole other discussion.

Can you really blame me? Agent 007 can save the world from the forces of evil while enjoying all the benefits that come from being a charming and sophisticated gentleman. He can defeat agents of SPECTRE while enjoying a vodka martini (a drink I obviously did not know much about as a youngling) and making love to a beautiful woman. Even as a small child I knew that was a special perk, despite being prepubescent and not fully understanding what sex was all about.

However, my eyes opened further when I was introduced to a certain Bond girl (or rather, Bond villain) in Xenia Onatopp. It took me a while to understand the meaning behind her innuendo-laden name. But that didn’t matter. The character is featured in 1995’s GoldenEye, a fantastic Bond film that reinvigorated the franchise after the lukewarm reception to 1989’s Licence to Kill (notice I used the proper British spelling). I personally loved the second installment of Timothy Dalton’s tenure as 007, but that’s just me. Not everyone agrees. That’s fine.

But Xenia Onatopp, played by the gorgeous Dutch actress Famke Janssen, completely altered my reality. I felt my paradigm shift…even though I had no idea what that concept even meant (I still don’t). She wasn’t just a beautiful Bond girl. Nor was she just a typical megalomaniac Bond villain bent on world domination. She was…different. Exceptional. Dynamic. Memorable. Eye-popping. Charismatic.

Sexy.

Oh, yeah. Unbelievably sexy. Without question, Famke Janssen’s magnificent performance as Xenia will forever be remembered as one of the most unforgettable cinematic characters to ever grace the silver screen. Remember, she’s not just a remarkable Bond character. She’s an extraordinary movie character PERIOD. I also spent way too much time playing GoldenEye on Nintendo 64, so perhaps that added to her appeal. But Xenia Onatopp left an impact on my psyche. She definitely had a hand in formulating my love for female bodybuilders. Real life FBBs obviously pushed me over the edge, but Miss Onatopp planted a seed in my adolescent mind that bore beautiful fruit later on.

Xenia could have a classically elegant side, if you let her.
Xenia could have a classically elegant side, if you let her.

My parents didn’t let me watch GoldenEye when it was first released in movie theaters, so I saw it later in 1996 when I was nine years old. Remember the good old days of VHS cassette tapes? Yeah, of course you do! That’s how I first experienced Famke Janssen’s beautiful face and sexy Russian accent. I was quite impressed with Pierce Brosnan as the James Bond of the 90s, but I wanted to watch it over and over again purely because of Miss Janssen. Can you blame me?

No, of course you can’t.

It should be obvious why Xenia Onatopp captured my attention. She’s a beautiful and badass villainess who kills her opponents by seducing them, luring them into a sensual trap, and slaying them by choking them to death with her strong legs. Very lethal! Not only is she effective as an assassin, but she enjoys herself in the process. What’s the point of living if you can’t feel alive?

Whether she’s killing a Canadian naval admiral or attempting to do the same to James Bond in a hotel sauna, Xenia explodes on the screen. Your eyes cannot leave her whenever she’s in the frame. For an impressionable nine year old boy, her captivating presence worked its magic ten-fold. I hadn’t yet hit puberty, but I knew she was special for a reason I couldn’t quite explain. Her power enthralled me. The way she eliminated her enemies erupted an electric feeling inside me that made my heartbeat race a million miles per minute. I was aroused by her in a way only a prepubescent boy still in his latency stage could be.

As a Bond girl/Bond villain, Xenia is one of the few women who could match Bond’s physical prowess. She isn’t as muscular as a bodybuilder, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a movie, which means you have to use your imagination. Trust me, my imagination went into overdrive when it came to her!

As I got older and I started to re-watch the movie several times over, what struck me most was the realization that Xenia isn’t necessarily an evil person. Yes, she did the bidding of General Ourumov and Alec Trevelyan, but I never got the impression that she was super enthusiastic about their goals. Stealing a satellite weapon that fires an electromagnetic pulse toward a hapless target so that it can be used to rob London of a mountain-load currency? That’s fine, but wouldn’t it be better if I could also enjoy orgasmic-loaded murder sprees at the same time? That was Xenia’s self-indulgent outlook on life.

Famke Janssen was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Famke Janssen was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women in the world.

As a character, she was a perfect specimen for young hormone-raging boys like me. Strong, beautiful, sexy, and not afraid to have fun while killing people. How awesome is that? The rebel in me loved that she could play by her own rules (I somehow doubt her superiors specifically sanctioned her sexually-charged assassination techniques) and enjoy the ride while it lasted. It came to an end, of course (“she always did enjoy a good squeeze”). But what a glorious ride it was, huh?

Later Famke Janssen would continue her fame in the X-Men movies. But no matter how many additional film and television appearances she would make, her role in GoldenEye continues to be her signature piece of work. I don’t know what she’s up to today, but Ms. Janssen will always be my top celebrity crush. Right next to Monica Bellucci and Rena Mero, Famke forever claims a special place in my heart. No matter how old I get (and how old she gets), my whole body might start to convulse in uncontrollable tremors if I were to ever see her in person.

Obviously, the character is a chief reason why I love female bodybuilders so much. Like I said before, Xenia is not an exceedingly muscular woman, but for the sake of enjoying the movie, I suspended my disbelief momentarily and subconsciously thought of her as the strongest woman in the world. As a boy, I secretly fantasized about what it would be like to be wrapped around her strong legs and for her to squeeze as hard as she possibly could. My neck would crack for sure. Breathing would become increasingly more difficult. I might pass out or even meet my Maker right then and there. Either way, I’d be one happy camper. I didn’t know it explicitly at the time, but as a young boy I started to develop my exquisite taste for strong women.

Oddly enough, I don’t get too excited about the prospects of being crushed by a muscular woman. I’ve written before that wrestling, beat downs, and other BDSM-related activities don’t appeal to me all that much. I have nothing against these fetishes, but they just aren’t my cup of tea. I don’t judge anyone who is into that sort of thing, of course. But it’s not for me. So it’s a bit strange why my first foray into the world of muscular women would include a fictional character who kills men with her pure brute strength. Rather odd, indeed.

Other than Wai Lin in "Tomorrow Never Dies," Xenia was the only Bond girl who could match Bond in a fist fight.
Other than Wai Lin in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Xenia was the only Bond girl who could match Bond in a fist fight.

Maybe I don’t entirely understand myself. Perhaps I do in fact fetishize being trampled upon by a woman but I just don’t know it yet. Or maybe I’m not actually into that and it’s by happy accident that my universe turned upside down the moment I discovered Miss Onatopp and her sexually wicked ways.

Outside of my own narrow perspective, Xenia Onatopp probably isn’t a character the general public will remember all that much, Bond aficionados notwithstanding. What makes her stand out above most cinematic villains is how hypersexual she is during every waking moment of her life. Violence gives her an erotic thrill. Whether she’s shooting up a room full of Russian computer programmers or asphyxiating unsuspecting male victims with her powerful legs, committing violent acts turns her on. In her own sick mind, violence may be the only thing that truly turns her on.

The world of cinema is definitely not shy from mixing sex with violence, but GoldenEye introduced us to a character who took it to the next level: Murder isn’t just an activity that gives her an orgasm; murder is the only activity that gives her an orgasm.

In books, movies and TV shows, we’re accustomed to seeing villains commit crimes for more or less “traditional” reasons: greed, vengeance, ego, hunger for power, etc. Xenia, and to an extent Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, commits acts of violence because it thrills her. I never got the impression that she ever felt any passion for Alec Trevelyan’s personal vendetta against M-16. She went along with it because it gave her an excuse to assassinate powerful men, attack innocent civilians, cook up mayhem and be a “bad girl.”

Symbolically, Xenia throws up her proverbial middle finger at society and then proceeds to masturbate with it just because she feels like it. She’ll stick it to the human race and climax over and over again while they helplessly watch – just for the hell of it.

Violence is orgasmic, a mantra I don't recommend anyone live by!
Violence is orgasmic, a mantra I don’t recommend anyone live by!

In that respect, it’s rather refreshing to see a villain commit crimes not as a means to an end but as an end unto itself. Xenia ushered in a new class of criminal; one who isn’t after anything tangible like money, power, or fame, but instead steals because she thinks it’s good sport. Alfred Pennyworth may have said something similar to Bruce Wayne, but that’s beside the point. From a storytelling perspective, Xenia exists outside of the plot. She was definitely working with the bad guys, but she really had her own agenda. She wanted to have fun. If collaborating with the Janus crime syndicate could provide her with the enough excuses to have fun, so be it.

Obviously, I do not advocate for anyone to follow Ms. Onatopp’s example and kill people for the heck of it. But her character undeniably left an impression on me. My love for female bodybuilders is the most palpable. But it’s not because of the fantasy of being crushed, squeezed and incapacitated by a strong sexy woman. That doesn’t appeal to me nearly as much as you’d think. Instead, I was drawn to her because she did what she did for reasons that are her own and hers alone. She never had to justify herself. She didn’t squeeze men to death because she wanted to prove that she could do it. She did it because she enjoyed it.

In a perverted kind of way, Xenia is one of the greatest feminist characters modern cinema has churned out in recent decades. She exists purely for her own sake. She doesn’t hate men or hold a grudge against them; she uses them for her own pleasure. Xenia is a hedonist in every sense of the word. Pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Whether she’s conspiring with evil forces to plot an international terrorist attack or she’s screeching in delight from an earth-shattering orgasm seconds after killing a man, everything she did could be summarized in one simple line:

The pleasure was all hers.

A Female Muscle Fetish Might Not Actually Be a Fetish

"Fetish" is a strong word. And Betty Viana is a strong lady.
“Fetish” is a strong word. And Betty Viana is a strong lady.

Readers of this blog will frequently see the words “female muscle fetish” grace across their screen. Heck, it was an article titled “Top 10 Misconceptions About Having a Female Muscle Fetish” that practically put me on the map (albeit, a very small map) in the first place. So I obviously owe a great debt to the SEO gods for this phrase.

But after years of thinking about this tantalizing topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that “fetish” might be a slightly misleading label. Words having their own meaning, but it’s the connotation behind words that often times matters more. For many of us, the word “dentist” might make us cringe because of how much we hated going to the dentist as kids (and adults). Even if our dentist was the nicest person on planet Earth, the experience of having cavities filled in and anesthesia injected into our mouths was too traumatizing to make up for it.

Likewise, the word “fetish” can bring up certain associations that aren’t always true or fair. Simply defined, a fetish is “an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression.”

Whoa. Sounds heavy. Sounds serious. Sounds…confusing.

So when most of us use the word “fetish,” we’re most likely using it wrong. It’s a strong word, just like “hate” and “love.” Generally speaking, when we say the word “fetish,” we really mean “something you’re really sexually into.” Emphasis on the word “really.”

The world of female muscle fetishism runs a wide spectrum. There are guys who think fit women are sexy but don’t spend too much time thinking about them. There are guys who obsess over being physically dominated by a woman. There are some who enjoy this kink every once in a while. There are others who cannot fully enjoy sex without this aspect mixed in with it. And there are most of us who are in the middle.

Eve Stevenson is showing off how she got those big biceps.
Eve Stevenson is showing off how she got those big biceps.

The word “fetish” should probably imply a more extreme version of liking muscular women. But a lot of us aren’t that into it. We lust over Mavi Gioia, but we’re not willing to go to unhealthy extremes to meet her in person. We love being physically dominated by a female (either dominatrix or bodybuilder), but we’re not going to break our bank to satisfy this kink every weekend. We have our limits and we respect those limits. So is that truly a “fetish” or a “keen interest?”

But this discussion has less to do with psychology and more to do with terminology. On a larger cultural level, the concept of “female muscle fetishism” tends to imply a number of characteristics about the person who has this fetish. Some of them include, but are not limited to:

  • He (or she) enjoys being physically beaten or abused by a strong woman
  • He (or she) has low self-esteem and derives pleasure from putting their insecurities on display
  • He (or she) is obsessed with their fetish to the point it will most likely ruin their lives
  • He (or she) is socially deviant in some way
  • He (or she) should seek help
  • He (or she) obviously doesn’t find other body types attractive if they have this type of fetish

Essentially, the stereotype associated with female muscle fetishism is that the people who love strong women have a level of sexual attraction to them that either crosses a line or gets eerily close to it. What is that line exactly? Usually, it has something to do with exhibiting unhealthy or socially inappropriate behavior. They need to be counseled before they take things too far. After all, can someone who’s into muscular women be able to hold a fully functional relationship with a “normal” looking woman?

Are we really that far outside the norm?

But I beg to differ. I don’t speak for all guys (and gals) who adore muscular women, but I can say with great confidence that my tastes are not outside of what society deems to be acceptable. Admittedly, it is unusual for a guy to really dig big, buff women…but it’s not rare. The readership statistics of my humble blog alone proves that there are folks all across the globe who share this interest.

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.
Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

This is why I’ve come to the conclusion that “fetish” may be too strong of a word. I’ve also used the phrase “female muscle fans” or “female muscle lovers.” I’ve written at length that my love for muscular women isn’t just physical or sexual. I admire their dedication, confidence, attention to detail, self-discipline and unwavering belief in themselves. The life of a bodybuilder, especially a female bodybuilder, is an arduous journey. Whoever is tough-minded enough to embark on that journey deserves our praise.

For me, and perhaps for many of you, we love muscular women – but they are not the only types of women we love. For almost 20 years I’ve harbored strong celebrity crushes on Famke Janssen and Rena Mero. As a teenage boy, I cannot tell you how many times I fantasized about Pamela Anderson while, ahem, “taking care” of myself in my bedroom. I don’t care that all three of these women are in their 40s. If the opportunity were to come up, I’d make sweet love to all of them (of course, I’d probably have to be extra careful about Miss Anderson, but that’s a whole other issue!) all night long.

Perhaps it’s not an accident that I discovered Famke Janssen when she played the sexy dangerous Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (1995), a move that’s now 20 years old. In addition to GoldenEye being my favorite James Bond movie (The Living Daylights is a distant second, followed by 2006’s Casino Royale in third place), it obviously struck a chord with me as a prepubescent boy watching a character with raw animalistic sexuality killing her enemies by choking them with her strong legs. Also, Rena Mero was a WWF Diva for the longest time. She also beat her opponents senseless with her ruthlessly brutal strength. I understand both women were playing characters, but their impact has definitely left a mark on me.

Famke Janssen remains just as beautiful today as she was 20 years ago. Maybe more beautiful, if I may say so myself.
Famke Janssen remains just as beautiful today as she was 20 years ago. Maybe more beautiful, if I may say so myself.

I don’t hold too many celebrity crushes today, but certainly there are non-muscular women who excite me just as much as their buffer sisters. The young lady I currently have my eye on (I don’t think she likes me very much, but that’s not important right now) is as skinny as can be. She’s really darn cute and has almost no muscle mass whatsoever. No big deal. I still really like her!

But would any of you consider Famke Janssen or Rena Mero – you may have to rewind your clocks back to the 90s for a moment – a Bond villainess and a WWF wrestler, outside the norm of “sexy?” I wouldn’t. If I had to choose a celebrity crush today, I might lean toward Monica Bellucci (who, once again, is a Bond woman who just turned 51). Once again, is that so bizarre? If I had to choose between spending a night of passion with Ms. Bellucci versus Denise Masino, I’d probably pick Monica. But it would be a close battle.

See? My female muscle fetishism does have boundaries! I can still be reasonable every once in a while.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. For me, muscular women aren’t the only type of women I love. They’re just one particular type I find especially appealing. Just because Thai food is my favorite cuisine in the world doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy a delicious Italian dinner here or there. Baseball and football (not soccer. Sorry, non-American readers) might be my two favorite sports to watch, but if a basketball game were to sneak up on my TV, I might sit down and see what’s going on. Especially if an all-world player like Steph Curry is playing.

Muscular women are just one tool in the toolbox. They have a body type I find quite arousing, but that doesn’t mean non-muscular women don’t also turn me on. It doesn’t have to be “either, or.” Rarely in life do we have to choose between two stark contrasting choices. We can have it both ways!

But alas, odds are I will continue to use the phrase “female muscle fetish.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with this description. It might be a bit inaccurate, but it’s not entirely incorrect.

The self-proclaimed "Bond woman" herself, the Italian Goddess Monica Bellucci.
The self-proclaimed “Bond woman” herself, the Italian Goddess Monica Bellucci.

On the other hand, it is indisputable that many of us feel a level of attraction to strong women that can be indescribable. It pulls us in and refuses to let go. At least once a day (usually after I get back home from work) I need to check out my usual lineup of favorite female muscle-related blogs. I’m not such an addict that I need my “fix” while sitting at work. But when I’m at home, how can I not spend a few minutes and browse new photos of Juliana Malacarne, Lindsay Mulinazzi, Amber DeLuca or Monica Martin? Can you really blame me?

There’s a fine line between “keen interest” and “unhealthy obsession.” I cannot fully describe to you what they are, but I have a pretty good idea. An unhealthy obsession develops when you cannot control your own actions. When you become “addicted” to it, that’s when you know you’ve crossed this sacred line. I am not advocating for anyone to jeopardize their relationships and personal lives over our shared interest. If you feel like any of your sexual fetishes are causing tangible harm to your life, please seek out professional help immediately. I cannot stress this point enough.

Whatever happened to Rena Mero, a.k.a. Sable?
Whatever happened to Rena Mero, a.k.a. Sable?

However, most of us are not in this camp. Thankfully, we love muscular women but our love for them does not have a despotic stranglehold on us. “Fetish” might be too bold of a word, but it definitely serves the purpose of describing our “keen interest” as something that goes beyond a casual diversion. There’s nothing casual about our fandom. It’s made an indelible mark. But is it unhealthy? I would positively say “no” to that.

Words have meaning. But so do emotions. And gut reactions. We know beauty when we see it. We may not be able to put an actual word – or string of words – to it, but we don’t have to. We can appreciate something without slapping an artificial label on it. Fetish or no fetish, that’s somewhat irrelevant. It is what it is. We love muscular women. Period. What this love should be called matters very little to us.

The “Alternate Femininity” of Female Bodybuilders

A striking pose by Karen Garrett.
A striking pose by Karen Garrett.

The unfair stereotypes associated with female bodybuilders are both too numerous to list and cringe-worthy when heard aloud.

“Female bodybuilders are gross because they don’t look like women!”

“Female bodybuilders are disgusting because they secretly want to be men!”

“Female bodybuilders are unappealing because women aren’t supposed to be that muscular!”

“Female bodybuilders aren’t real women because…well, isn’t it obvious?”

How many times have you heard opinions like these? Maybe not word-for-word, but generally speaking does any of this sound familiar? In all likelihood, fans of female bodybuilders and female bodybuilders themselves have probably come across vitriol like this way too often.

In an attempt to shatter some of these negative stereotypes, let’s discuss a concept that a student of gender/sexuality studies should be well versed in: gender as a social construct.

The theory goes that the idea we’ve come to know as “gender” is an arbitrary set of rules, roles and beliefs that is artificially created by culture rather than inherent biology. The differences between men and women are considered “differences” because “we say it’s so.” While certain physiological characteristics separate the male and female sexes (genitalia, hormone levels, reproductive system, etc.), other factors like behavior, intellectual abilities and hierarchal positions in society are nothing more than just a product of the paradigms we’ve created over time.

If we assume this theory to have at least a certain degree of validity, this somewhat debunks the above mentioned stereotypes as, simply put, a bunch of hogwash.

Of course female bodybuilders are real women! They aren’t men. Men are men and women are women. A woman with muscles is still a woman, despite how (admittedly) unusual it is. Who says women aren’t supposed to be that muscular? Just because we don’t see that sort of thing every day doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen.

The idea that female bodybuilders aren’t “feminine” plays into traditional gender roles that most human societies have adapted to a point. Yes, it’s true there are certain cultures out there where women are more of the “hunters” than the “gatherers,” but these types of societies are far and few between. For the sake of debate, let’s just assume that the “men are the stronger sex, women are the weaker sex” dichotomy is universally agreed upon.

Famke Janssen might be the most gorgeous woman on the planet.
Famke Janssen might be the most gorgeous woman on the planet.

It should be mentioned that “femininity” can have a fluid definition. Is “feminine” simply defined as any characteristics that a woman displays, or does there have to be a certain level of “social agreement” on these characteristics? For example, even though weightlifting is traditionally regarded as a male pastime, if more women took up the hobby, over time wouldn’t we start to associate the activity as more “gender neutral?”

Smoking was once seen as strictly a male-dominated activity. Then women started to smoke as well once feminism took off as a major social force. At the time, a woman having the right to smoke in public was a real feminist issue. Our society once upon a time ago looked down upon that suggestion. Then, things changed and both genders were given the “right” to light up a cigarette (now, ironically, smoking is looked down upon not for reasons based on gender, but health).

Perhaps it might be fair to say that female bodybuilders are part of an “alternate femininity.” They’re still feminine, but not in a traditional sense.

One could argue the decision of a woman to take up the sport of bodybuilding is unto itself a feminist act. It’s an act of a woman defying social expectations to achieve results that are both self-empowering and openly defiant of the “weaker sex” label. While many real life FBBs may not actively consider themselves “feminists,” no one can argue that the sport by itself creates problems in how we define traditional femininity.

A lovely pose by Alana Shipp.
A lovely pose by Alana Shipp.

But not “alternate femininity.” The sport of female bodybuilding doesn’t contradict gender roles; it makes it more inclusive of other roles. Men are not the only ones allowed to be physically strong. Women can too. This doesn’t violate the gender divide, rather it challenges us to reconsider whether a divide really exists in the first place (or should exist). Thus, gender roles can’t be contradicted if there is nothing at all to contradict.

The “alternate femininity” theory is based on the idea that if gender is a social construct, everyone is allowed to define gender in their own way. How can you be wrong in your own personal opinion?

So, we can now define “feminine” (and its counterpart “masculine”) in a new way:

Feminine is anything a woman is or does.

This definition completely eliminates the factors of social expectations and cultural rituals. Feminine is not defined as anything a woman is or does as defined by society, but instead anything a woman is or does PERIOD.

For example, if a particular woman likes to drink beer, watch football and play violent videogames, all these activities are “feminine” simply because a woman is doing it. It doesn’t matter that most of us associate these activities with the male species. What matters is what happens on an individual level, nothing more and nothing less.

Who wouldn't go gaga over Sofia Vergara?
Who wouldn’t go gaga over Sofia Vergara?

When we view the world of female bodybuilding through this lens, then theoretically we shouldn’t have any issues here. If a woman wants to bulk herself up, she has every right to. But not only does she have the right to do this, she isn’t betraying her sex, her femininity or her relationship with masculinity. A female bodybuilder isn’t seeking to become masculine. She’s still feminine. Just a different kind of feminine.

It begs to be mentioned that “separate but equal” is not what this is about. “Alternate femininity” is not a separate kind of femininity, but rather a substitute for how we commonly define as conventional femininity.

Alright. So…what’s really the point of all this nonsense?

The main purpose of this conversation is to prove the point that there’s nothing really unusual about straight men being attracted to muscular women. While on the surface this does indeed seem strange, when you logically play out this scenario from beginning to end, this is really much ado about nothing.

Straight men are attracted to women. This simple fact has been accepted for generations upon generations. But if we add the condition of “straight men are attracted to muscular women,” why does everyone suddenly become irrational and think this is some kind of abomination?

I want to be poolside by Simone Sousa!
I want to be poolside by Simone Sousa!

If one of your male buddies told you while you were hanging out over drinks that he thinks “Sofia Vergara is hot,” well, I can’t think of too many guys who would disagree. So why is it considered weird when that same guy also says “Alina Popa is hot”? It’s a matter of personal preference, not some arbitrary set of hard-and-fast rules about what kinds of women men are allowed to be attracted to.

This dispels the rumor that we love female bodybuilders because “they look like men” or that “we’re secretly gay.” This cannot be further from the truth. Our sexuality is not in question. When I fantasize about being with a woman like Amber DeLuca, I’m not thinking about her as one of my guy friends. I don’t daydream about downing cheap lagers with her while we shoot pool or go bowling. Instead, I’m imagining a scenario involving a romantic candlelit dinner, expensive red wine, flowers, an idyllic beach-side resort and hours and hours of very hot and sensual lovemaking.

Oh yeah!

I want to connect with her emotionally and intellectually, not just physically. My romantic fantasies involving an FBB would not seem out of place in a sappy Nicholas Sparks novel. Just the amount of weight the leading lady can bench press might differ a tad!

To summarize, let’s attempt to reduce this discussion to its most basic elements:

Men are attracted to beautiful women.

Sound crazy? Nope. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. As a straight guy myself, I can attest to how accurate this sentence is. Men are attracted to beautiful women. Who can possibly argue with that?

The caveat, of course, is that men define “beautiful” in different ways. And guess what? They have every right to! No man should ever constrict himself over what kinds of beauty he appreciates in the world. Life is too short to limit yourself. Never box yourself in. If there’s something in life that really gets your gears running, don’t shy away from it. Embrace it!

Aaaaaaaand finally, a much-anticipated photo of Adriana Lima.
Aaaaaaaand finally, a much-anticipated photo of Adriana Lima.

I am attracted to women like Lisa Cross and Lindsay Mulinazzi not just because of their muscles. You see, it’s not just about the muscles, or her strength, or her bulk. It’s everything about her. Their personalities. Their intellect. Their drive, dedication, motivation and desires. It’s the total package that makes me go gaga for them.

Simply put, I’m attracted to Miss Cross and Miss Mulinazzi because they’re beautiful women.

Denise Masino is a beautiful woman.

Gayle Moher is a beautiful woman.

Victoria Dominguez is a beautiful woman.

Iris Kyle is a beautiful woman.

Kate Upton is a beautiful woman.

Halle Berry is a beautiful woman.

Katy Perry is a beautiful woman.

They are all beautiful women. The only difference is how universally regarded their beauty is. It’s as simple as that. Most of us can agree that Bar Refaeli is super gorgeous. But not everyone can agree that Monica Martin is equally gorgeous. But the truth is that both opinions are correct. Who is to say that they’re wrong? To each his own, right?

Too often, when we discuss the subject of female bodybuilders and the men who love them, we get way too caught up in talking about an FBB’s muscles. Yes, her muscles are very important, but that misses the mark. To reiterate a previous point, it’s not just about her muscles. Her muscles are just part of why many men are attracted to her. Her muscles are not the “be-all and end-all” of her beauty. They are part of a larger package.

And what package is that? Simple. She’s a woman.

A woman. That’s right. A woman. A very beautiful (and muscular) woman, but a woman nevertheless.

Adriana Lima and Alina Popa are both gorgeous; no if, ands, or buts about it. They just are. No need to explain why. No need to put either of them in a separate category of gorgeousness. No need to justify Miss Popa’s beauty compared to Miss Lima’s. Nope. Both are stunning. End of story.

The “alternate femininity” theory of female bodybuilders really boils down to the simple idea that men are attracted to them because they’re women. We find them beautiful. We love their femininity. Granted, we may define “femininity” differently from the general population, but the essential idea remains the same:

Men are attracted to beautiful women.

This core concept is at the heart of why men like me and countless others love female bodybuilders. We find them beautiful. There’s no way I can reduce this argument any further. It is what it is.

Is there any ambiguity left?