The Wow Factor

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.
Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

I’ve finally figured it out. In all my years of my female muscle fandom, I’ve never really been able to put into succinct words why I love muscular women so much.

Sure, long essays can explain the bread and butter of why I find female bodybuilders and athletes so appealing. I can even post a ton of photos of my favorite FBBs for all of you to salivate over. But that still doesn’t even begin to describe why exactly we love them.

But now I’ve got it figured out. Finally.

Simply put:

The Wow Factor.

That’s it. The Wow Factor. “Wow” is a word we use to describe something so amazing, Earth-shattering, incredible and astonishing that no other monosyllabic utterance could do it justice. Wow. You could substitute that for “whoa,” but let’s not confuse our female muscle fandom for the vernacular of California surfer dudes or college stoner kids. I’m talking about something else here.

Wow. Just…wow.

The Wow Factor is my best way of describing it.

Women like Debi Laszewski are so damn beautiful that “wow” is the only way I can properly react when I see a photo of her. Yes, “Damn girl” or “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn” are also sufficient substitutes, but I’m not interested in catcalling Ms. Laszewski like a dirty-minded construction worker on his lunch break.

I’m interested in communicating what’s on my mind. And “wow” is the only thing on my mind. Is there any other way to put it?

How can this image of Victoria Dominguez lifting this heavy weight not turn you on?
How can this image of Victoria Dominguez lifting this heavy weight not turn you on?

But it’s not just about putting your feelings into words. It’s describing your gut reaction the moment your brain processes what your eyes have just seen. The millisecond your mind realizes that it just saw an image of a strong, gorgeous woman showing off her hard work in all its erotic glory – you can’t possibly articulate what that feels like. No way. It’s a feeling that hits you on a level that goes way beyond mere “attraction.”

It’s not just lust. It’s not just turning your head when you see a pretty woman walking past you and thinking to yourself, “That’s one fine looking lady.” That happens all the time (at least, it happens to me all the time!). The Wow Factor goes way further. The Wow Factor isn’t an everyday occurrence. The Wow Factor changes the way you think. It changes the way you look at women (all women, not just those of the muscular variety). It changes the way you behave. It changes your paradigm.

This Wow Factor explains why bloggers like me continue to post pictures and essays about female muscle nonstop. This explains why guys like me are willing to pay $350 for an hour-long muscle worship session with a complete stranger in a hotel room. This explains why we can’t get enough of those glorious FBBs and their immaculate beauty.

The Wow Factor is a visceral gut reaction you can’t control. Here’s an anecdote for you. As strange as it sounds, sometimes I occasionally forget why I love female muscle in the first place. It’s sort of like a professional baseball player who’s played for 10 years in the league but lacks passion because he plays for a terrible team. But the moment his team catches fire and he’s playing in Game 7 of the World Series, suddenly his childhood love for the game returns and he’s playing with rejuvenated energy.

He suddenly remembers why he loves the game. The nervous energy. The thrill of competition. The joy of victory. The heart-wrenching depression of defeat. That child-like love for the game all of a sudden returns in that moment when you’re actually playing for something.

A rising star, Jill Rudison.
A rising star, Jill Rudison.

I sometimes get like that in regards to my female muscle fandom. I know I love strong women, but all it takes is a singular image of Alina Popa flexing her large, beautiful biceps wearing nothing but a microscopic thong bikini, and…I suddenly remember why I think Ms. Popa is a gift from God. I’ve always known that, but The Wow Factor hits me like a semi-truck blindsiding me out of nowhere and I’m instantaneously reminded why I feel the way I feel.

It’s a feeling that causes you to stare at your computer screen with your jaw dropped to the floor and your heart ceasing to beat. It makes me forget that other women exist in this world.

Lisa Cross. Denise Masino. Lindsay Mulinazzi. Angela Salvagno. Victoria Dominguez. Nikki Fuller. Yvette Bova. Amber DeLuca. Autumn Raby. Gayle Moher. Lauren Powers. Annie Rivieccio. Brandi Mae Akers. Jill Rudison. Shannon Courtney. Desiree Ellis. Jana Linke-Sippl. Lora Ottenad. Brenda Raganot. Monica Martin. Gracyanne Barbosa. Juliana Malacarne. Karen Zaremba. Michele Levesque. Sheila Bleck. Monica Brant. Lisa Marie Bickels. Lenda Murray. Iris Kyle. Julie Bourassa. Kris Murrell. Sondra Faas. Vilma Caez. Kris Clark. Melissa Dettwiller.

The list goes on and on and on. This doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Pick anyone on this list and spend five minutes doing a Google Images search on her. I guarantee you’ll be hooked within seconds. You’ll be completely enraptured by her power, beauty and strength. Her feminine prowess and physical stature will make you as hapless as a little puppy dog. You’ll totally forget why you used to ogle at the rail-thin supermodels in the Sears catalog (if you actually at one time did that, I’m really sorry!).

The Wow Factor exemplified in Larissa Reis.
The Wow Factor exemplified in Larissa Reis.

This is what it’s like to experience The Wow Factor. You’re struck by a lightning bolt and feel like there is no definition of “beauty” other than what you’ve just witnessed.

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason why there’s so much animosity against female bodybuilders. Haters (who are, pardon the expression, going to hate) have never experienced The Wow Factor. They’ve instead experienced The Ew Factor. The Gross Factor. The Utterly Disgusting Factor. The Why-the-Hell-Would-Anyone-Want-To-Look-Like-That Factor. It saddens me when people choose to shut themselves out from a certain part of life. True, no one has an obligation to like female muscle, but why say “no!” when instead you can choose “sure, why not?”

It’s clear to me that someone who says they’re repulsed by female bodybuilders say that mostly because deep down inside they’re insecure about themselves. They don’t feel secure in their masculinity. They don’t feel secure in their femininity. They react negatively to what they don’t understand or want to understand. They insult others because the only way for them to feel good about themselves is to bring down everyone else. This is a vicious cycle that especially comes out on the Internet. Anonymity brings out the worst in us. There’s no harm in expressing your true feelings when nobody knows your name. Insecurity and a forum for acting upon that insecurity can be a hurtful combination.

One can never see enough photos of Karen Zaremba.
One can never see enough photos of Karen Zaremba.

It should be obvious to anyone who follows the sport of female bodybuilding that the industry is pushing our favorite ladies off to the side and telling them “we don’t want you as much as we did in the past.” People may have wanted to see you on the cover of magazines thirty years ago, but that’s all changed now. Iris Kyle will never be a sports superstar. No way. We don’t care how many Ms. Olympia titles she’s won. We don’t care how dominating she is in her sport. None of that is relevant. What speaks is dollars. And, quite frankly, she doesn’t bring in the dollars like others can. Sorry. You lose. Better luck next time.

Does this make you angry? To anyone who’s experienced The Wow Factor, it should.

Additionally, The Wow Factor affects you in one other way: It makes you defensive whenever you feel like your passions are being attacked. How many times have you been told that female bodybuilders look “gross?” How often do you read articles about the decline of female bodybuilding and you just want to throw your computer against the wall? Does replacing the sport with pole dancing competitions make you want to face-palm over and over again till your forehead turns beet red?

These reactions are classic examples of wanting to defend what you love. The Wow Factor makes us feel as though any attack on a strong woman is also an attack on us. Insult the sport of female bodybuilding on a public forum? Expect fans from across the world to fight back. Someone wants to deny Alina Popa’s right to climb the mountaintops and finally win the Ms. Olympia? In no time will you see her countless fans defending her on her behalf.

Gracyanne Barbosa. Baby got back.
Gracyanne Barbosa. Baby got back.

Though this negative energy can be seen as a bad thing, anything can be used for something positive. Being angry and defensive all the time will get you nowhere. A more constructive use of these emotions is to become pro-active. There are a lot of things we can do to make sure female bodybuilding doesn’t become extinct. Write letters. Send e-mails. Boycott those who vigorously marginalize the FBBs we idolize. Buy books and magazines promoting female muscle. Open your wallets and hearts to the women we adore. Openly support these athletes as if they truly are our best friends. Don’t let society dictate what you find beautiful. Do what you can to make these amazing athletes more mainstream.

What if one day female muscle becomes more mainstream? Imagine a world where gorgeous women like Larissa Reis are seen in the media as often as we see Kate Upton. Think about how awesome it would be if we can turn on the summer Olympics and instead of being perplexed by the presence of strong women, we can just sit back and enjoy watching her hard work being proudly displayed on the world’s brightest stage.

Instead of thinking to ourselves, “Ew!” we can have a more complimentary reaction:

“Wow.”

A Word of Caution: The Dangers of Crossing the Line in Your Female Muscle Fandom

Gracyanne Barbosa is divine.
Gracyanne Barbosa is divine.

Usually I try to keep the tone of my essays light, informative and humorous.

The purpose of writing articles like Top 10 Misconceptions About Having a Female Muscle Fetish, The Strangeness of Having a Female Muscle Fetish and Female Muscle and Masculine Insecurity was to articulate the inner feelings of many men (and women) out there who adore strong women. I want to inform, provoke thought and inspire discussions among people from all backgrounds who are curious about this topic.

However, I feel obligated to discuss something else that needs to be said. There are, unfortunately, some dangers attached to this special sexual attraction that I’ve come to embrace. So I’ve decided to provide a word of caution to all you female muscle fans out there.

But before I do this, I need to preface this discussion with these thoughts:

Anything in life, when taken to extremes, can be dangerous. Any interest, hobby or activity has the potential to become harmful when taken too far. A prime example is drinking alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of red wine or a beer every once in a while. But if you drink too much and too often, you set yourself up for health issues that we should all be familiar with by now.

Alcoholism. Liver damage. Automobile accidents caused by drunk driving. Strained relationships. Personal injury. Vomiting and other kinds of sicknesses.

You understand. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. And this list is by no means exhaustive.

Drinking is one example of a fairly harmless activity that – when taken too far – can have very negative repercussions that can hurt both you and the people around you (including those you love and hold dear). Nobody wants this to happen. But unfortunately it does all too often.

Believe it or not, a healthy activity like exercise can also be dangerous when taken to extremes. Excessive exercise can actually damage your muscles and joints instead of strengthening them. Exhaustion could cause kidney and heart problems. Injury, soreness, dehydration and increased chances of accidents can all result from excessive exercise. So, even a supposedly healthy activity like working out can be detrimental to your health if you’re not careful.

The lovely Gina Ostarly.
The lovely Gina Ostarly.

The same goes for being a fan of female muscle. I’ve written extensively about why I believe it’s healthy, wonderful and socially beneficial to love and support strong women. Female bodybuilders, athletes, competitors and everyday women looking to improve themselves through weight training should be encouraged for their willingness to advance themselves personally, not discouraged and ridiculed.

That being said, there are some dangers inherent in taking this fandom too far.

Like any hidden obsession, excess can be financially draining. Spending too much money on female muscle-related porn, sessions (wrestling, fantasy, muscle worship, BDSM, role playing, etc.) and entertainment media can cost you a lot of money if you’re not prudent in how you spend. We know all about so-called “shopaholics” who can’t stop using their credit card. They end up buying tons of worthless junk while draining their bank account at the same time. The Internet makes all this unnecessary spending way easier.

You can also violate the trust of a loved one. A man who secretly spends his money on sessions with female bodybuilders might be doing this without his wife or girlfriend’s approval. What happens if she ever finds out? Will she feel like he “cheated” on her? Will she ever look at him the same way? Will she ever be able to trust him with anything again (including raising children, paying the bills on time and/or providing for the family)?

Understandably, these things will come into question if one is not open about their fascination with female muscle and how it affects others. It should also be said that there is a fine line between “fascination” and “obsession.” An obsession is an uncontrollable urge to consume or engage in an activity in a manner that possesses you. It consumes your time, energy and thoughts. An obsession (combined with other psychological problems) leads people like John Hinckley to attempt to assassinate the President of the United States of America for mindboggling reasons.

Of course, this is an extreme example. Most unhealthy obsessions with female muscle won’t direct you to attempt to murder a sitting head of state. Most of the damage, if any, will be done relationally, financially and socially.

A fascination, on the other hand, is when one appreciates something from a safe distance and knows when to back off when a particular line is crossed. You keep your wits about you at all times.

Tanji Johnson, a local gal from Renton, WA and the winner of the Fitness International title at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2013.
Tanji Johnson, a local gal from Renton, WA and the winner of the Fitness International title at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2013.

I do not believe it is unhealthy to be attracted to muscular women. Not at all. I think it’s a perfectly healthy aspect to one’s sexuality that should be expressed, not suppressed. But it can become unhealthy in a heartbeat if certain urges aren’t placed within reasonable parameters.

I’ll use me as an example. I once got very close to having this attraction negatively affect me. Let me explain:

Last year I engaged in three separate muscle worship sessions. Toward the end of October I had an opportunity to engage in a fourth. I exchanged a few e-mails and text messages with this particular female bodybuilder who was planning to travel to Seattle. She told me her rates – which I felt were a little higher than I was able to pay.

I’m not a very rich person, so paying for sessions is a very big deal to me. I don’t have $350-$400 at my disposal for one hour’s worth of entertainment. I’m not a multi-millionaire. So I made a wise decision and decided not to go ahead and schedule anything with her. She understood my position. I knew I didn’t have the financial resources to go through this. So I let my better judgment win out at the end. I felt proud of myself for demonstrating such fiscal discipline.

But don’t misunderstand me. I was very close to going through with it. I seriously contemplated emptying money from my savings account to pay for it. But I knew this would hurt me in the long term. I saw myself nearly go down a path I told myself I would try to avoid at all costs.

Blonde beauty Megan Avalon.
Blonde beauty Megan Avalon.

I say this not because I want to shame anyone who gives in to their temptations and ends up making foolish decisions in the process. No, rather I want to show you that I once went dangerously close to the “dark side” and spent money I couldn’t afford to spend. But I resisted and learned a valuable lesson from it. I’m not preaching some holier-than-thou message to condemn anyone who doesn’t let rationality win out. I want to let you know that I’m not a perfect person. I’m not infallible. I make mistakes.

I was just fortunate to not make a mistake in that specific instance. But unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky.

So whether your obsession hurts you financially, relationally or socially, always keep in mind the important things in life: Friends, family, your health, spirituality (if you’re into that sort of thing) and being a good person. Never let your desires control you. Think before you act. Love other people; don’t lust after them as if they were merely sex objects. Never objectify people. Treat them as that: people.

Female bodybuilders aren’t toys. They’re not sex objects you can treat like dirt just because you pay them money to deliver services for you. Remember the Golden Rule. We all learned that at some point in our childhood, right?

We’re all people trying to make our way through this crazy and confusing universe. No one will ever get it right 100% of the time. We all make mistakes. We all let our worst judgment get the better of us. We all act irrationally at times. This is part of being human.

If you think you need help, seek help. Talk to a professional counselor or someone who’s willing to listen, empathize and support you. Don’t bottle up your anger. Don’t take your insecurities out on other people. When in doubt, at the very least talk to someone. If they love you, they’ll understand and won’t judge you for it. And if they do judge you, are they really someone you want to be close with in the first place?

Love is about trust. When people violate that trust, we get hurt. When we violate that trust in others, they get hurt. It’s a vicious cycle. It tears apart families. It creates holes in people’s lives. This is true of everything, female muscle fandom notwithstanding. Please, communicate with your loved ones if you sense you’re going down a dark path. There is a point of return – just make sure you can identify the problem early and take a proactive approach to stopping it dead in its tracks.

I will say this once again, a million times if I have to. There’s nothing wrong with being physically attracted to muscular ladies. There’s nothing wrong with admiring strong women. There’s nothing wrong with expressing your desires and living out your fantasies if all parties are consenting. Consent and transparency are virtues.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Feel free to e-mail me at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com or write your comments below for everyone to see. I’ll share some of your feedback if I feel it is valuable to our discussion and you want a wider audience to read it.

Thank you!