What is Your Female Muscle Holy Grail?

Gold Chalice In Altar With A Ray Of Divine Light
The Holy Grail: You have chosen wisely!

From King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to Indiana Jones, everyone seems to want to get their hands on the Holy Grail. The journey to acquire such a coveted treasure is full of peril, challenging our heroes to face such dangers like bloodthirsty armies, treacherous terrain, nefarious double-crossers, and the dreaded Knights Who Say Ni.

The Holy Grail is famous for allegedly being the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. Joseph of Arimathea then used it to collect Christ’s blood at the Crucifixion. You don’t need to be very religious to know that this object – whether it actually existed or not – is an immeasurably valuable treasure. There’s no need to get into the etymological history of the term “Holy Grail” because it’s complicated, hotly debated, and ultimately boring.

In today’s parlance, we use the expression “Holy Grail” to describe any object or achievement that we consider to be most important to us. Examples include winning the Super Bowl, getting accepted into an Ivy League university, scoring a date with the hottest cheerleader in school, climbing to the top of Mount Everest, or meeting your favorite celebrity. Sometimes we achieve these goals. Most of the time we never even sniff the possibility of accidentally achieving these goals. Life goes on.

For female muscle fans, we have our own version of the Holy Grail. Hidden deep within our imaginations, we fantasize about certain things that we can only picture in our minds. Occasionally, we are fortunate enough to actually be able to live out these fantasies. But more often than not, they remain just that: fantasies. Situations we conjure up inside our brains that never come to pass.

But let’s not go down this dour path. Instead, let’s celebrate our female muscle fandom by sharing what our personal “Female Muscle Holy Grail” is. I shall start with a few suggestions from my own personal playbook:

Holy Grail - Denise Masino
Denise clearly isn’t shy about showing off her greatest physical asset.
  1. Giving Denise Masino cunnilingus

My love for Denise Masino should not be a surprise to anyone. She’s currently my favorite female bodybuilder of all time, mostly for reasons that have little to do with her actual record as a competitive bodybuilder. I wrote a blog post in which I expressed my love for Ms. Masino. I recommend you check it out when you have a spare moment.

Denise is famous (or is it infamous?) not just for her beauty, strength, charm, sexiness, confidence, muscularity, femininity, compassion, and spiritedness. She’s also renowned for what exists between her legs. Between her thick tree trunk legs, Denise boasts the most beautiful genitalia in the world. Think that’s a really bizarre thing to say? It is, but if you have an appreciation for the finer things in life, you’d understand.

For the record, Denise isn’t shy about showing off her most prized asset. In fact, she proudly displays it in most of the videos she produces for her website. She isn’t reticent about the fact she has a larger-than-normal clitoris, thick meaty labia, and a bright pink vagina that seemingly glistens at all times. She understands full well that there are plenty of guys and gals out there who adore her genitalia and can’t get enough of it. We crave it like it’s an addictive drug.

So this isn’t a weird thing to fantasize about. Nor do I think she’d be embarrassed to accidentally stumble upon this post and read about some random guy’s thoughts about it. Denise has made a steady income exploiting (or treating us to) her most famous physical trait. And I don’t judge her at all for it. If you got it, flaunt it. If you have a talent or asset that makes you money, by all means ride that donkey as far as you can. Thankfully for us, she does exactly that with a bright smile on her pretty face.

Being able to perform cunnilingus on Miss Masino would be a dream come true. Her clit is heavenly, one of the best in the world. It’s certainly one of the most famous in the world. Female muscle fans can dispute who possesses the “best” meat between her legs, but Denise should be on the top of everyone’s list – if such a list were to exist. If there ever comes a time when I can attain this Holy Grail of Female Muscle Fandom, I could die right then and there a happy man. I probably speak for many of you too.

Can you imagine spending hours feasting on Denise’s beautiful bits while listening to her passionate moans of orgasm? Music to our ears!

Holy Grail - Alina Popa
Queen Alina in prime form.
  1. Touching Alina Popa’s entire body

Queen Alina is the Undisputed Goddess of Female Bodybuilding. She may not necessarily be my personal favorite, but she doesn’t have to be. Alina is a special breed of woman. Her charm, beauty, impressive muscularity, femininity, and accomplishments (both on stage and off stage) are second to none. She’s incredible.

What makes her noteworthy, however, is her remarkable muscle control. She can bounce her pecs, biceps, quads, and glutes like no one else. Her ability to completely isolate her individual muscles and flex them for the leering camera is unprecedented. If there’s someone else who can match her in this arena, please let me know!

Therefore, I’d love to touch every single inch of Alina’s gorgeous body. I want to feel her bicep peaks. I want to cup her glutes and squeeze them. I want to rub her quads, hamstrings, and calves with baby oil and see them shine brightly. I’d love to lay down in bed with the Queen and spend all evening worshiping her muscles. I’d take my time. No need to rush things. No need to hurry. This worship session should take as long as it needs to.

Which, ideally, would be a very, very long time.

Her pretty face. Her massive chest. Her broad back. Her meaty thighs. I’d ask her to flex each individual muscle and marvel at her keen ability to make them dance. “Alina’s Dancing Glutes” may not sound like a punk band you’d like to see in concert, but they’re definitely a sacred piece of flesh that deserves to be appreciated with divine reverence.

Witnessing her muscle control in person would alone be worth the price of admission. To be able to place my fingers onto her flawless physique would make that a once-in-a-lifetime bargain deal. Oh boy.

Holy Grail - Karen Zaremba
You can wash your entire wardrobe on Karen Zaremba’s abs.
  1. Feeling Karen Zaremba’s abs

This Holy Grail fantasy is probably 10-15 years too late, but oh well. When my female muscle awakening began in 2005 (it actually started a few years before that, but this was when my interest in female bodybuilders skyrocketed), Karen Zaremba was one of the first women I discovered. I clearly remember the countless hours I spent sitting at my computer in my dorm room watching videos of Miss Zaremba strutting around in a bikini over and over again.

I made sure my roommate didn’t see what I was watching, of course. But I still managed to ensure my Karen Zaremba fandom remained prolific.

Other than her gorgeous face and heavenly bronzed physique, Karen is best known for her abdominal muscles. Wow! She didn’t have a six-pack. She had an eight-pack. Or a ten-pack. Or something like that. Yowza!

Karen was my first favorite FBB. Was it strange that she’s more than twenty years my senior? Probably, but that didn’t matter one iota. It is unusual for a teenage boy to be enamored with a woman in her 40s, but in the privacy of my own imagination, nothing is taboo. It was perfectly normal. As it should have been!

Miss Zaremba had abs that were the dictionary definition of “washboard.” You could clearly see the grooves between each individual muscle. You could pour a glass of water onto her stomach and the deep grooves of her abs would catch every drop of it.

I fantasized about being able to put my tongue in between those grooves and lick her abs to my heart’s delight. I still think about such things today, even though Karen has retired from bodybuilding and probably isn’t nearly as muscular anymore. Like I said earlier, this fantasy is a couple of decades too late, but never mind that. Karen will always remain a sentimental favorite of mine, no matter what she chooses to do with her life moving forward. I really like her and still do.

Holy Grail - Cindy Landolt
Cindy Landolt looking divine.
  1. Making love to Cindy Landolt all night long

Oh Cindy. Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. The Muscle Goddess of Zurich is probably the most Beautiful Female Bodybuilder of All Time. She’s the total package. She’s not as large as Alina or as outwardly erotic as Denise, but she’s impeccably sculpted and as gorgeous as a supermodel.

Cindy speaks fluent English with an accent, which is something that lots of American guys find irresistibly hot. I don’t care which corner of the world she’s from or what language she speaks. Cindy is a flawless woman who redefines beauty. She’s a perfect “gateway” FBB who combines traditional femininity with nontraditional muscle mass. She can have crossover appeal for both guys (and gals) who love female bodybuilders and those who are still “FBB-skeptics.”

She doesn’t “look like a man” or a “manly woman.” She looks as feminine as that cute cheerleader you had a crush on in high school. She could be on the cover of fashion magazines and you wouldn’t blink – if not for her large muscles, that is. I think she has universal appeal. I’m guessing there are plenty of folks out there who would agree with me on that.

I fantasize about spending an entire evening with Miss Landolt in a secluded cabin somewhere deep in the mountains. After a tasty meal and drinking an entire bottle of champagne, we light up the fireplace and watch the amber glow fill the room. We kiss. We whisper. We eventually undress. We walk to the bedroom hand-in-hand. We turn off all the lights, silence our phones, and ignore the outside world for the next twelve hours. Nothing matters except for the two of us.

Moonlight romantically streams through the window. Perhaps it’s snowing lightly. The sky is peaceful. It is quiet everywhere. We crack open the window and let the dual sensations of cold air and heat from the fireplace greet out naked bodies. We then make love all night long. We consummate our love in every way imaginable. Maybe we make love for an hour, maybe three hours, maybe literally all night long.

We make love in bed, in the shower, downstairs next to the fireplace, on the staircase, perhaps even outside. It may be chilly, but the heat from our joining bodies cancels out any discomfort that would cause. She showcases for me her stamina, sexual appetite, and sensual imagination. I indulge in everything she desires to do together. It’s a night to remember, one neither of us will ever forget.

It’s pure bliss.

Holy Grail - Deidre Pagnanelli
Deidre slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaying!
  1. Stroking Deidre Pagnanelli’s gorgeous face

This is a fantasy that might also be a few years too late, but that’s totally irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that Deidre is still one of the most beautiful women on the planet. I’ve probably said that about at least a half dozen other women, but this time I mean it.

Maybe.

Deidre is a 40-something mother of four children – yes, you read that right – who was one of the hottest fitness models of the 90s. Oh wait, she’s still one of the hottest fitness models out there. My mistake. Deidre looks like a supermodel and carries herself like one too. Even if she weren’t muscular, she’d still be world famous. And deservedly so.

She possesses an absolutely gorgeous face. Stunning. Jaw-dropping. Mesmerizing. Captivating. Enthralling. Intoxicating. Her natural beauty is incomprehensible. It’s difficult to imagine how someone could actually be that beautiful. But she is. She’s so beautiful you cannot help but stop dead in your tracks when you see her. To see her is to reject everything you previously thought about female beauty. It’s not too often that you observe a woman who is so gorgeous your brain struggles to process it.

“Did I just see that? Is Deidre Pagnanelli a real person? Or is she an animated avatar that existed in some guy’s imagination?”

Nope. She’s real. She’s damn real. And we’re all better off for it.

If I were to be blessed with having an intimate moment with Deidre, I would definitely want to do all the activities that have been described previously. That goes without saying. But if I had to choose a unique “holy grail” activity to do with her, it would be to stroke her face.

Her cheek. Her jawline. Her mouth. Her lips. Her nose. Her eyelashes. Her forehead. I’d touch it all, in an effort to appreciate her aesthetic beauty in the most tactile way possible. It’s one thing to see it, it’s quite another thing to experience it.

Her divine beauty deserves to be tangibly acknowledged. To feel her flawless face is to be one step closer to Heaven. I’m still on earth (technically), but I might as well be in the Afterlife. Even in her 40s (she may be approaching her 50s!), Deidre has not lost any of her beauty. She isn’t “fading.” In fact, she’s getting more beautiful as time goes on. She’s aging better than most people – male and female alike – are realistically able to. Even if her face contains a few wrinkles and crow’s feet, they just add depth to her beauty. They tell us that no matter how old she gets, Deidre deserves a special place in our hearts.

To see her is to stare into the face of God. At this point, I don’t know if there’s much of a difference.

***

Alright, what’s your Female Muscle Holy Grail? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. I’d love to hear from you and get this conversation going!

Karen Zaremba: My Sentimental Favorite

Hand bras are the worst!
Hand bras are the worst!

Every female muscle fan has “the one” who truly made them see the light. It’s not necessarily the first muscular woman they ever saw or the one they would consider to be their favorite. Personally, the first FBB I ever noticed was Lisa Marie Bickels, a former U.S. Marine who caught my attention more than ten years ago during my college years.

My current favorite is Denise Masino, a devilishly sexy siren with an endowment between her legs that can only be described as scrumptious. Miss Bickels isn’t close to being a favorite of mine and Miss Masino is someone I discovered later on. Thus, the subject of the woman who played a crucial role in my “female muscle awakening” is none other than Karen Zaremba.

Karen Zaremba was born on January 27, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan. Back then, Detroit was deserving of its nickname of The Motor City and the breeding ground of some of the most recognizable names in American pop music (Motown, anyone?). Today, Detroit resembles a Third World country, but that’s another story for another day. On that fateful day in the heartland of America, the world was introduced to a gorgeous young lass who would one day grow up to become one of the sexiest female bodybuilders the Universe has ever known.

Today, Karen resides in Clinton Township, which is less than 30 miles north of her birth town. So Karen didn’t scurry too far from the crib, as it were. I suppose there’s no reason why one should move far away from home unless there were extenuating circumstances. If you like where you live, why not stay there? Karen and her family obviously feel this way.

Like many beautiful female bodybuilders, Karen is the mother of two children and is happily married. Evidently, she never had any problem balancing her work/home life with her chosen profession of being a competitive bodybuilder and fitness model. Standing at a modest 5”2” and weighing 124 pounds (give or take), she describes herself as a “stay-at-home Mom” when she isn’t working in the fitness industry. Of course, many of the interviews that I’ve used to curate this information are several years old, so take this with a grain of salt.

Love those abs!
Love those abs!

From what I can gather, Karen no longer competes and probably doesn’t participate in bodybuilding anymore. Like many FBBs, details about their personal lives are scant, making it a challenge to paint a complete picture of what she’s like. I am confident that whatever she’s doing now, she’s probably happy with her life and wouldn’t want things to be any other way.

Her contest history is as follows:

2007 – Europa Super Show: 8th place, Lightweight

2006 – IFBB Motor City Pro Figure: 16th place

2006 – IFBB Pittsburgh Pro Figure: 16th place

2005 – NPC National Figure Championships: 2nd place, Class A (earned her IFBB pro card)

2005 – Junior Nationals: 3rd place, Class A

2005 – Junior USA: 3rd place, Class A

2004 – Central States Figure championships: Short Class, Masters and Overall Winner

2003 – Michigan Novice Bodybuilding championships: Lightweight, Masters and Overall Winner

Of course, this might not reflect her full contest history, but my quick bit of Internet research reveals that this is pretty comprehensive. If you know of any further contests that Karen has participated in, please do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below.

As one can clearly see, her contest history isn’t remarkable or noteworthy. Pretty standard for someone who loves to compete but isn’t too committed to becoming an elite competitor. This is not meant to be a slight against her. This is just to say that when she was a competitive bodybuilder, she wasn’t someone you would have associated as being the best of the best.

Poetry in motion.
Poetry in motion.

She came, she saw, she…participated. Her accomplishments are as modest as her objectives. She didn’t aim to be better than everybody else; she just wanted to see what she could do. Many competitors (both male and female) are not necessarily “in it to win it.” Many are in it for no other reason than to have fun, challenge one’s self, and meet new people while trying new things.

That’s an attitude we need to see more in our world.

But that’s not why she’s a sentimental favorite of mine. I discovered Karen in 2005 or 2006, so in other words a solid decade ago. Back then, I would have been 18 or 19 and Karen would’ve been 41 or 42. Think it’s unusual for a boy in his late teens to completely fall in love with a woman who’s more than twice his age? A woman who is nearly old enough to be his own mother? I certainly thought so at the time, but I didn’t think there was anything wrong or abnormal about it.

Why was there nothing unusual about this? Well, have you taken a good look at her?

Yowza!

Karen is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She has an authentic look to her that’s difficult to explain but easy to see. Her dark hair is beautifully complemented by her olive complexion, a skin tone that perfectly accentuates her muscles. She’s legendary for her six-pack abdomen, which she is not shy about showing off to the camera. I briefly went through a stage of having a six-pack fetish. Can you possibly guess why?

Facially, she doesn’t look like a cookie-cutter Playboy Playmate or a nameless fashion model you see plastered across shopping mall corridors. It’s too clichéd to say she looks like the “girl next door” or the “hot mom next door,” but it’s sort of true!

What initially struck me about Karen, and it still strikes me today, is how effortlessly sexy she is. When she walks, her hips poetically bounce in a way that can make your heart stop. She’s very feminine, so much so you forget that all those negative stereotypes about female bodybuilders even exist. Of course, she’s a mother – which allows her to be called a certain idiotic acronym that I refuse to mention on this blog. Personally, I find muscle moms appealing, but there are certain misogynistic levels I refuse to lower myself to.

Baby got back!
Baby got back!

Perhaps that’s at the root of my attraction to Karen Zaremba. She’s a muscular woman who transcends the “muscle chick” fetish. She isn’t just “beautiful for a female bodybuilder,” she’s “beautiful…period, end of story.” Karen forced me to view muscular women through a different lens. No longer were all FBBs big, oversized masculinized “women” who’ve vehemently rejected traditional femininity and womanhood. I may not have felt exactly that way toward FBBs at the time, but my worldview was limited during those years. Karen encouraged me to expand my horizons.

Then, the floodgates opened. I discovered Annie Rivieccio. Then Lisa Cross. Then Alina Popa, followed by Yvette Bova and Denise Masino and Deidre Pagnanelli. I found out about Michelle Maroldo and Denise Hoshor. And Brandi Mae Akers. Of course, Victoria Dominguez. And other women like Nikki Fuller, Debi Laszewski, Sondra Faas, Marina Lopez, Catherine Holland, Emery Miller, Gayle Moher, Lauren Powers, Shawn Tan, Julie Germaine, and newcomers like Shannon Courtney, Minna Pajulahti, Dani Reardon, and Sheronica Sade Henton. There are many more to name. We could go on for hours. I’m still discovering new beautiful ladies seemingly every single day.

But I never forgot my roots, as the saying goes. Karen Zaremba remains on the front of my mind and tucked away snuggly in my heart. She isn’t just one of my first discoveries…she remains one of the best and brightest. I have the feeling I’m going to feel the same way regardless of how many additional tens of thousands of muscular women I’m introduced to in the future.

But let’s return to Karen’s effortless sexiness. It cannot be understated. Karen doesn’t walk; she glides. She doesn’t smile; she glows. She doesn’t pose; she radiates. She doesn’t flex; she blossoms. She doesn’t impress; she transcends. She doesn’t compete as a bodybuilder; she elevates the ceiling of human potential. She isn’t just beautiful; she’s ethereal and magnanimous. Karen Zaremba exceeds your expectations yet doesn’t seem to be trying to do anything other than being herself.

That takes more than talent. That takes a flawless combination of natural gifts, determination, hard work, and instincts. No one can teach you how to be as angelic as Karen. Nor could she necessarily teach others the ropes. Some of us are more radiant and charismatic than others for reasons that cannot be rationally explained or easily transferrable.

Karen's skin tone is the best.
Karen’s skin tone is the best.

Perhaps part of her appeal is her laidback Midwestern demeanor. Karen doesn’t boast the flashiness of an entitled California-bred pseudo-celebrity. Nor is she a snooty East Coaster who treats bodybuilding as her ticket to Broadway-style stardom. I am, of course, exaggerating and wildly stereotyping millions of people in the United States (which is trendy in the year 2016), but what cannot be denied is the refreshing authenticity that Karen brings to the table.

She doesn’t post selfies every single day on Instagram. In fact, I don’t think Miss Zaremba even has an Instagram account. When you research her, you don’t actually find a whole lot. This adds to her mystique. Because thousands of photos and hundreds of hours of video footage of Karen don’t exist, we can only witness a small slice of who she is. This allows us to fill in the blanks wherever we see fit.

So I can speculate that she’s modest, down-to-earth, and full of “small town charm” because…well, I feel like it. Is this based on extensive knowledge of her personality, lifestyle, and background? Nope! Our idealized version of people is what fuels our love for celebrities.

Karen Zaremba may not be a traditional celebrity, but in my heart she’s a glamorous superstar.

She comes across as a super chill lady who will just as likely bake you a batch of gingerbread cookies as she is to rapidly do 25 pullups as if it were no big deal. She’s a mom and she loves being a mom. She once was a muscular woman who also doesn’t mind being a loving wife and someone who would enthusiastically serve on her local PTA board. Once again, this is based on nothing but what exists in my imagination. But doesn’t this seem plausible?

For her, bodybuilding isn’t her life’s calling or integral to her business model. Doesn’t it seem like for Karen being a bodybuilder was a “neat” thing to do? She wasn’t in it for the money, the glitz, or the fame. She didn’t “brand” herself as a bad girl or a sexy muscle siren or feminist superhero. She just let herself be herself. She’s a mom, a wife, and a friendly neighbor who thinks having big muscles would be nifty. You rarely see that level of unpretentiousness in today’s narcissistic culture.

In other words, Karen never wanted to be a celebrity – even among the small subculture of female muscle fans. Having big muscles wasn’t her way of feeding her ego. It was her way of experiencing self-empowerment. All she wanted to be was the best version of herself. For me, that’s all I need.

Karen left just enough to the imagination...yet revealed enough to let us know what she got. Such a tease!
Karen left just enough to the imagination…yet revealed enough to let us know what she got. Such a tease!

Just as any baseball or football player must eventually call it a career and “hang up the cleats,” Karen has now decided to forgo her muscles and become “normal-looking” again. I have no doubt that Karen still exercises to keep herself fit and trim, but from what I can gather (and she prefers to keep her personal life private, which is her right) she’s allowed her muscles to shrink. She’s now a former bodybuilder. She’s now a regular lady you see shopping for groceries at the supermarket on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. This isn’t disappointing or regrettable. She can do whatever she wants with her life.

But there is undeniably a small element of sadness at play here. It is a bit melancholy when a gorgeous FBB retires and relinquishes her muscularity. As a sports fan, you never want to see your favorite players withdraw from playing the game they love and ride off into the sunset back to civilian life. But time marches on and not everything lasts forever. There will be plenty of young up-and-coming Karen Zarembas who will take up her mantle. Heck, I’ve referenced many of them on this very blog.

So this is a celebration of a woman who leaves a legacy of making the world a more beautiful place, whether she has big muscles or not. Because of her, we now have stronger faith in the goodness of people and the potential of human achievement. Karen Zaremba never has to “prove” that she is gorgeous. She just is. She never hogs the spotlight and demands that people look at her. We look at her because we cannot help but look at her. That takes something special.

As an 18-year-old kid Karen made my heart leap out of my chest. She was more than twice my age and rarely ever did any nude modeling. She never did anything pornographic or overly sexual. She kept it classy. She kept things modest. You’ll never find a video of her sucking a porn star’s penis or masturbating with an oversized dildo. She never had to do any of those things to capture my attention, even all these years later.

She just had to be herself. And that was enough. And it still is.

A Female Muscle Fan Never Forgets the Moment When He or She Finally “Got It”

A legend of the world of female bodybuilding: Cory Everson.
A legend of the world of female bodybuilding: Cory Everson.

You never forget your first time.

The first time you ever had sex? Nah, I’m talking about the first time you “got it.”

And by “got it,” I mean the exact moment when you truly understood why muscular women are so unbelievably awesome.

This “ah ha” moment is not just an epiphany, but a wholesale perspective shift of how you view men, women, beauty, sexuality, relationships, biology, and your own hidden desires. Typically known as a “paradigm shift” in academic circles, it’s more than just the moment you realized it was Professor Plum in the Library with the Revolver while playing a lackluster game of Clue with your grandparents. It’s the moment you decided to question every assumption you used to hold about human sexuality and start to ask better and more informed ones.

What exactly do I mean? Let me explain in further detail.

The first time you see a photo or a video clip of a muscular woman is not necessarily the first time you “get it.” I can speak for myself when I say the lightbulb did not turn on instantaneously. It took time. I will admit the first time I remember seeing a picture of a female bodybuilder I was sort of disgusted. It took me aback and forced me to do a double-take. I didn’t say anything out loud, but in my head I knew what I was seeing was both jarring and strangely intriguing.

Did I love the experience or hate the experience? Well, it’s hard to say. Neither, really.

I didn’t realize the exact power and allure of muscular women until much later (adulthood, to be exact), but the seeds were sown. But alas, I still had not experienced my Great Female Muscle Awakening. That happened in college. I’ve summarized my own personal history of female muscle fetishism before, but I’ll briefly recap it again. In short, during my freshman year in college I wanted to avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15” where new college kids who’ve just moved away from home tend to gain upwards to 15 pounds due to poor dieting, excessive drinking, and other shenanigans. Being away from Mom and Dad’s bird nest has consequences, after all.

So, I went out of my way and researched how to best exercise at the gym and avoid gaining extra weight. My school had a modest yet effective fitness center (of course, they completely renovate it the moment after I graduate!) that I would visit a few times a week. I took a weightlifting class in high school two years earlier but figured I should brush up on exercise techniques so I don’t accidentally injure myself.

YouTube and Google Videos were still in their infancy (yes, I’m getting old), but online workout videos did exist nevertheless. Initially, I only watched exercise instructional videos posted by guys. Then, after searching more and more, I started to stumble upon videos posted by women (or videos featuring women). One video in particular struck me.

It’s grainy, embarrassingly pixilated and looks like it was shot with a camcorder from the 1980s. Perhaps it was. But it featured Lisa Marie Bickels, a low-level competitive female bodybuilder, former U.S. Marine, and personal trainer. The video unto itself was not remarkable, well produced, or intended to be well produced. However, it left an indelible impact on me. I had seen photos and a limited number of videos of muscular women before, but this one produced my “ah ha” moment.

No skimpy dress will get in the way of showing off Lisa Marie Bickels' incredible body.
No skimpy dress will get in the way of showing off Lisa Marie Bickels’ incredible body.

In it, Lisa is doing a set of triceps pull-downs at the gym. After finishing, she poses for the camera and flexes her pumped arm. You can clearly see her ripped triceps running down her beautiful arm. I did some further research on Miss Bickels on her website and it then hit me.

She’s beautiful. And powerful. And independent. She’s willing to show off her hard-earned body and I cannot do anything but sit here and stare helplessly.

Whoa. Now I get it.

Lisa was the first FBB I ever saw who was young, undeniably feminine, muscular, and fiercely powerful (both as a person and as an object of beauty). Of course, in the decade that would follow I would view countless more videos of other FBBs doing similar things, but you never forget your first time. Ever.

Like losing your virginity, the first time you ever had sex wasn’t necessarily the best sex you ever had. It was probably awkward. Or painful. You may not have known what you were doing. Maybe you were sweating profusely. Maybe you were drunk, stoned, or nervous as hell. Regardless, it’s still noteworthy because…well, it was your first time. That’s important!

Likewise, Lisa Marie Bickels isn’t necessarily the best or most accomplished female bodybuilder in the world. Nor is she the most famous or best shining example of the beauty of strong women. But she opened my eyes to a whole new world. For that, this hardcore U.S. Marine deserves my respect.

The second part of my “awakening” would happen once I became acquainted with Karen Zaremba. Oh boy, Karen is a thing of beauty! Shortly after discovering Miss Bickels, I inevitably also stumbled upon videos of Karen Zaremba, a 40-something female bodybuilder and mother of two children. Karen is the flip side of the coin to Lisa. Karen is equally gorgeous, feminine, muscular (though not hypermuscular), and enthralling. But she is an older woman. At the time, Lisa looked to be in her mid-20s, which was not far off from where I was as an 18-year-old freshman. But Karen was a game-changer.

How can your perspective not change after discovering Karen Zaremba?
How can your perspective not change after discovering Karen Zaremba?

There is, of course, a certain acronym used to describe beautiful women who are also mothers. Out of respect for these wonderful and accomplished women, I refuse to use it. I hope the rest of you do the same. It’s crude, misogynist, and incredibly disrespectful. Don’t use it. Please.

That being said, Karen is without question a gorgeous older woman who instantly cast a spell upon this teenage boy. For the first time, I realized that muscles are the ultimate anti-aging remedy. Normally, middle aged women do not pique the interest of impressionable teenage boys with raging hormones. But Karen did. At the time, I considered her the Most Beautiful Woman I’ve Ever Seen in My Life. Other women would later replace Karen for that title, but a decade ago she was #1.

My discovery of Lisa Marie Bickels and Karen Zaremba set off a firestorm that would result in me starting this blog a few years after graduating from college. I would learn about hundreds of more competitive bodybuilders, fitness models, and “normal” women for whom lifting is more than just a casual hobby. But none of that would have happened without my fateful “awakening” as an 18-year-old kid.

As I mentioned before, that wasn’t the exact moment I first discovered muscular women. There was the cover of Red Sonja (1985) at a video rental store that made me stop dead in my tracks and stare. I’ve never seen this cheesy 1980s action flick starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger, nor do I ever have the inclination to. But regardless, the cover of the VHS tape caught my attention as a little boy.

Then there was the photo spread of Cory Everson in the 1999 issue of The Guinness Book of World Records. That definitely caught my attention. I reacted to this photo of Miss Everson with a mind-blowing mixture of disgust and arousal. Yes, I will admit that initially I looked upon Cory with repulsion. I’m not proud to admit this, but honesty is the best policy, is it not? However, I cannot deny that a small part of me was captivated by her. I may not have totally liked what I saw, but I could not look away. I spent many hours secretly gazing at this photo in private and wondering all sorts of things about her.

I also grew up watching WWF (now the WWE) and seeing women like Chyna (may she rest in peace), Sable, Jacqueline,  Trish Stratus, Debra, and other prance around, beat each other to a pulp, and occasionally show their male counterparts who’s boss. I also grew up watching GoldenEye (1995) on VHS and getting an electric thrill up my spine whenever Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onnatop flashed onto the screen. If episodes of “Xena: Warrior Princess” came on TV, yeah…I’d watch it in the basement without my family finding out!

May I squeeze Charmaine Patterson's bicep?
May I squeeze Charmaine Patterson’s bicep?

So my experience with strong/powerful/muscular women did not start as a college freshman. It began much earlier. But I didn’t “get it” until Miss Bickels and Miss Zaremba entered my life.

So, what exactly did I finally “get?” I have two major observations:

One, I finally saw a superb example of muscularity and traditional femininity working in tandem together like never before.

I didn’t find the photo of Cory Everson arousing, even though I intuitively knew there was something exceptional about it. I did find Famke Janssen and Trish Stratus immensely sexy, but neither of them were very muscular. I knew muscular women existed and I definitely knew beautiful non-muscular women existed, but I never saw the two combined until I encountered Lisa, Karen, and others.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes. It’s not that you’re blind to reality, but rather you just need to see all the elements come together in order for you to believe that it’s possible. As a young teenager I probably knew that a muscular woman could be sexy. I just never thought much about it. It’s not that I doubted this; it just rarely crossed my mind in the first place.

It never occurred to me that a gorgeous woman with muscles can become even more gorgeous. Her muscles can become a complementary asset that accentuates the natural beauty she already has. Her muscles enhance her good looks. I’ve obviously seen beautiful women before. I’ve also seen muscular women before. But it wasn’t until I saw the perfect mixture of the two that my perspective started to change.

Two, I finally realized that muscles can transform a normal-looking woman into an Irresistible Sex Goddess.

I too fell into the trap once upon a time ago that female bodybuilders were sort of freaks of nature who should be admired for their accomplishments but not necessarily seen as objects of desire. Yes, I was also once young and dumb! But I know better now thanks to finally seeing the light.

In addition to realizing that a woman with muscles can be both beautiful and feminine at the same time, I also came to the epiphany that a woman who isn’t considered naturally attractive can transform herself into an epic muscle goddess just by putting on bulk at the gym. I won’t name specific names, but we can probably all think of “homely” women who are hot as hell because their thick legs, bulging biceps, and wide shoulders make them completely irresistible.

Without muscles, these women aren’t much to look at. This sounds like an insult, but it’s not. It’s just a simple observation and a testament to the power of muscularity.

As women who have “earned” their beauty, we applaud them for maximizing who they are as people (not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually) thanks to hard work, sacrifice, and the will to improve day-by-day. Nobody handed them their muscles on a silver platter. They had to expend buckets of sweat for years on end in order to achieve their remarkable physiques.

I now appreciate the beauty of the tall blonde goddess Shawn Tan.
I now appreciate the beauty of the tall blonde goddess Shawn Tan.

Once you have your “ah ha” moment, you feel silly for not realizing this sooner. You feel foolish for intentionally shutting yourself off from a whole category of human beauty. It’s like a poor person living underneath an ocean of oil or a gold mine. They move to a new city, disgruntled and searching for new economic opportunities. A year or two later, the new property owner randomly stumbles upon a suspicious leak of smelly black fluid seeping from the ground.

And voilà! He or she is now rich and you’re still adjusting to your new surroundings as poor as you were when you left. Shucks!

That’s sort of how I felt when I first discovered my love for muscular women. I felt like I was limiting my scope of the world. I felt like I had a narrow definition of “beauty” that did not include a fraction of what humanity had to offer. But now that my eyes have been opened, I now appreciate women like Annie Rivieccio and Shawn Tan as I did not before. People who do not share my love for these gorgeous ladies are truly missing out!

The reason why you never forget your “first time” is because of how beautiful the experience is of enjoying female bodybuilders. Unlike the virginity comparison, even before you ever start having sex you know that sex is (supposed) to be a pleasurable and amazing experience. But before getting into female bodybuilders, I had no idea about the potential these women had to offer. I could never imagine the world of female muscle could be so incredible and stupefying because it never occurred to me it could be so incredible and stupefying. This is another key aspect of our “awakening.” I knew even as a little boy that sex is a big deal. I had no clue FBBs were also a big deal. See what I mean?

Additionally, not only do you finally “get it,” but you now have the opportunity to indulge in this love over and over again. Those of us who love FBBs and fit women understand what it’s like to enjoy them. The tingling that goes down your spine as you watch a sexy woman deadlift or squat 400 pounds cannot be accurately described. I don’t know if I can do it any justice.

But it doesn’t matter. You know a beautiful experience when you are privileged to participate in one. The Female Bodybuilder High we get is difficult to put into words, but it is indeed a tangible thing. It’s very real, and its power has not diminished in the past 12 or so years of my life.

You never forget the moment you got it. Not because you regret your previous ambivalence toward female bodybuilders, but because you can now celebrate your newfound love for them. Our worlds are now brighter because of this awareness.

Female bodybuilders are beautiful beyond words. The fact we cannot put it into words is telling.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Female Bodybuilding and Steroids

Don't inject yourself with anything the shady guy on Facebook gives you. The sketchy guy on Twitter, on the other hand, is probably more reputable.
Don’t inject yourself with anything the shady guy on Facebook gives you. The sketchy guy on Twitter, on the other hand, is probably more reputable.

There’s a large elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.

No, it’s not Dumbo. Or Babar. Or any of the ones that carried historical figures like Hannibal or Alexander the Great into battle. We’re addressing a different kind of elephant, one that’s taking up entirely too much space but none of us are willing to acknowledge.

Sigh. As a female muscle fan, I’m not against talking about this subject, but it’s unavoidable. So here it goes.

Steroids.

There. I said it. Steroids. Steroids. Steroids. Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeroooooooooooooooids.

Steroids.

According to the world-famous online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia, steroids – or, in this case, anabolic steroids – are defined as:

“Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), are drugs that are structurally related to the cyclic steroid rings system and have similar effects to testosterone in the body. They increase protein within cells, especially in skeletal muscles. Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal cords, testicles (primary sexual characteristics) and body hair (secondary sexual characteristics).”

Got all that? I am not a scientist, so I don’t entirely understand the biological properties of anabolic steroids and what exactly they do to the human body. However, we basically all know what they do. They are drugs that help you develop muscle mass. They aren’t a magic pill that transforms you into Ronnie Coleman overnight, but they sure can help you get “big” if maximizing your size is your primary goal.

I will also admit that I am not an expert on the issue of drug use in the sport of professional bodybuilding. If you ask me questions about what policies the IFBB should change, how many pro bodybuilders (both male and female) use steroids, how to technically define “steroids,” or anything like that, I will shrug my shoulders and honestly tell you “I have no f***ing clue.”

I may not be that rude, but you get the point. I don’t have the time, patience, or inclination to diligently research this topic before writing this article. So I am no expert. Alright. Let’s move on.

None of us are naïve. We know many of our favorite bodybuilders and athletes “dope” in order to become and remain top elite competitors. When I look back upon the baseball legends I grew up watching during the 1990s and early 2000s, I now know many of them were “juicing” their way to 50+ home runs, 120+ RBIs and other statistics that earned them Hall of Fame consideration. Some of them are enshrined in Cooperstown, many of them are not – and may never will.

Does juicing still go on in pro sports? Of course. Without a doubt. Methods of testing have definitely improved, but no system is perfect. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. A few people are going to slip through the cracks here and there. Whatever. Just as long as we enjoy watching them play, does it really matter what substances they choose to put into their bodies?

Poor Barry Bonds. The poster child for steroid use in professional sports. He was one heck of a ballplayer regardless.
Poor Barry Bonds. The poster child for steroid use in professional sports. He was one heck of a ballplayer regardless.

Before I get too off track, let’s break down the topic of female bodybuilding and steroids in the most logical and honest way possible. Please, feel free to comment down below or send me an e-mail at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com to provide your thoughts. Perhaps your perspective will differ from mine.

Whew. Okay, let’s dive into this deep swimming pool of mixed emotions head-first. Onward!

1. A lot of female bodybuilders take steroids, and that’s perfectly okay

It is a fact that many of our favorite FBBs take steroids to help them get big. It’s an undeniable fact. The reaction many people glean from this most likely sounds something like this:

See? She’s not that strong at all! The only reason why she’s bigger than most guys is because she juices, just like Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds. I told you so! She’s not really that strong!!!

Fair point. Without the help of synthetic drugs, many FBBs would not be able to become bigger than a lot of men. But I think this criticism misses the larger point about why a lot of guys love female bodybuilders.

We love their beautiful bodies. We love looking at their hard work put on display. Steroids may enhance the fruits of your labor, but they do not replace your labor. No matter what drugs they take or how strategic they are in taking them, no FBB got to be that big without commitment, arduous hard work, dedication, smart planning and making enormous personal sacrifices. As mentioned before, steroids are not a magic pill that can transform Taylor Swift into Debi Laszewski with the flip of a switch.

Granted, lots of us who love FBBs admire them because they’ve achieved a level of muscle mass unmatched by guys who take the “natural” route. So I guess in that respect, we have to burst their bubble. Sorry. It’s not what you think it is.

But nevertheless, that’s not the point here. At the end of the day, we love muscular women because we think they’re tremendously beautiful. Regardless of how they got there, we appreciate the finished product with a degree of awe that’s unmatchable. In my opinion, it’s perfectly okay for a woman to take steroids if they will help her achieve her desired physique. Just as long as she’s safe and always takes her long-term health into consideration, I have no issue here. The elite bodybuilders have professional trainers and doctors advising them on which drugs to take, how many to take, when to take them, and how to determine when enough is enough. It becomes supremely dangerous when someone goes rogue and recklessly pops pills or injects themselves with God-knows-what without consulting an expert.

Don’t do that. It won’t end well.

I perfectly understand that a lot of huge muscular women take drugs. In fact, a few of the FBBs I’ve met in real life admit to taking drugs. But that doesn’t change my opinion of them one iota. They’re still strong gorgeous women who deserve immense praise for their hard work, steadfast belief in themselves and willingness to break social taboos in pursuit of their personal definition of “beautiful.”

As female bodybuilding fans, we’re not arbiters of truth and justice. We’re admirers of beauty. We love these women because they’re so incredibly beautiful. We know they would not be able to achieve that kind of muscularity without “help,” but what difference does that make? Just as we’re aware that many of our favorite celebrities undergo plastic surgery to look younger, slimmer or more beautiful, we love FBBs despite knowing their look may not be 100 percent “natural.”

2. Drugs is only an issue of ethics when we’re dealing with athletic competition

Overall, if a woman decides to use drugs to help her achieve an abnormal level of muscle mass, do we care if that helps her land photo gigs, video shoots and erotic session clients? No, we don’t. So at the end of the day, what difference does it make if our favorite female muscle celebrities (in our world, they’re totally celebrities!) are taking drugs to help them look a certain way? None whatsoever.

However, admittedly things change when we’re dealing with athletic competition. And not just bodybuilding – this includes basketball, tennis, MMA, softball, volleyball, sprinting, etc. No one wants a cheater to win the Gold Medal at the Olympics. But if that same person wants to earn a living becoming a muscle dominatrix to consenting adult clients, that doesn’t nearly matter as much.

So in reality, we only care about the ethics of doping when it comes to high stakes athletic competition. We all want a fair playing field. Whether we’re talking about HGH, spitting on baseballs or deflating footballs, no one wants to see a cheater win. It sucks. It makes you angry and lose faith in the integrity of the sport. Therefore, any professional league that wants to see itself exist in 20 years should vehemently crack down on illegal drug use to weed out the cheaters. It makes business sense.

If such a button existed where you could transform Taylor Swift into Debi Laszewski instantaneously, I would do it before you could finish your sentence.
If such a button existed where you could transform Taylor Swift into Debi Laszewski instantaneously, I would do it before you could finish your sentence.

But a female bodybuilder who uses her body to sell muscle worship appointments, video views and website memberships? She can do whatever the hell she wants with her body. It’s her body and her business. Let her take whatever she wants if she feels like it will help her earn a living. As female muscle fans, we don’t care. We love these women and their beautiful physiques. We shell out our hard earned dollars because we feel they’re worth it.

Know why? Because they totally are.

But when it comes to the business of professional (and high profile amateur) sports, where winners and losers are determined solely by head-to-head competition, we want fairness to be guaranteed in every conceivable way. It isn’t unethical to take drugs, unless you do so to earn an unfair advantage over someone who chooses not to. It’s as simple as that.

3. Repeated use of steroids do have side effects, but we’re totally fine with that

It’s no mystery the effects steroids can have on a woman’s body. Increased muscle mass and levels of testosterone can lead to a deepened voice, more body hair, shrunken breasts, more “masculine” facial features, balding, an enlarged clitoris (which, for the record, is not a penis), aggressive behavior, and other physical/emotional changes.

In fact, these side effects are what turn people off the most from female bodybuilders. Arguably, if female bodybuilders could maintain large muscle mass without having to sacrifice a single degree of traditional “femininity,” one could foresee a reality where FBBs would be way more popular in mainstream culture than they currently are. However, this is not the reality. So, society is stuck in this weird grey area of treating female bodybuilders as women who aren’t fully “women.” We know they are by definition, but there’s enough ambiguity going on to give us major pause.

It sucks for these women, but it is what it is. People have their prejudices. Changing them can be an almost unconquerable challenge.

But, alas, most female bodybuilding fans would argue the side effects inherent in steroid use are not that big of a deal. Or, more precisely, they’re not a deal breaker. Side effects are fine, just as long as they don’t cross certain boundaries.

This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about female muscle fetishism. Those of us who love muscular women don’t like all muscular women. Just because you love Italian food doesn’t mean you love every single Italian restaurant in existence. Truth be told, you probably despise more Italian restaurants than you love because of the fact that you’re such a snob. I can tell you from personal experience that there are a few prominent female bodybuilders whom I do not feel attracted to. While I can find a certain degree of beauty in almost all muscular women, overly masculine facial features and other “freaky” side effects totally turn me off. But that is usually the exception and not the rule.

Some people are disgusted by the masculinization effects of steroid use in muscular women. I get that. But the larger point is that female muscle fans are not unaware of that. We know that, accept it, and still find them beautiful despite their unconventional appearances.

4. Fantasy is almost always more appealing than reality

The truth is, the vast majority of guys who love female bodybuilders understand that many of them didn’t achieve high levels of muscularity “naturally.” We’re not naïve about how the world operates. We understand biological restrictions are almost impossible to break through. But this somewhat miss the point about a female bodybuilder’s appeal.

For a lot of us, we love female bodybuilders mostly because we love to fantasize about them. Who they are in real life is not as important as what exists in our imaginations. Of course, once we get to actually meet a few FBBs, we almost always end up liking them as people. But from a distance, fantasy is a powerful driving force in female muscle fandom.

Everyone’s fantasy is different. Worshipping her muscles. Treating her like a Goddess. Being her slave. Being punished for our naughty behavior. Finding out who the real “weaker sex” truly is. And so on. The fantasies may be different, but the general takeaway stays the same: reality isn’t that important.

Reality has its place, but not always. The vast majority of female muscle fans rarely get to personally meet (either in a public or private setting) their idols. Therefore, our fandom mostly consists of what’s in our imaginations. We love strong women for a variety of reasons. Whether there are elements of fantasy, BDSM, curiosity, sexual fetishism or something else entirely at play, who they really are, and how they got to be that big and strong, are secondary to us.

Some people are into Female Muscle Growth (FMG) stories and art. I am not really one of them. But if you are into that sort of thing, go for it.
Some people are into Female Muscle Growth (FMG) stories and art. I am not really one of them. But if you are into that sort of thing, go for it. Illustration by Grissse.

That isn’t to say that we disrespect who they are as people. On the contrary, most FBB fans have a tremendous amount of genuine respect for the women they idolize. I’d go as far as to say that we treat these women just the way modern day feminists want all women to be treated. So we aren’t indifferent toward who FBBs are as human beings. Rather, their drawing power is derived from the deep recesses of our imaginations.

So if we find out an FBB takes steroids, growth hormones and other supplements to achieve their superhuman muscularity, that isn’t an issue with us. We love the finished product. We love what their beautiful bodies do for our creative minds. The “spark” they provide us cannot be put into words, but rather images, thoughts and feelings that are almost impossible to articulate.

For many of us, the steroid issue isn’t an issue at all. We’re not ignorant about it. We’re not neglecting it. We just don’t care. People love to fantasize even though they know the foundation of their fantasies is built on a house of cards. It doesn’t matter. Reality has its place. So does fantasy. The lines shouldn’t always have to cross.

5. There will always be a little bit of denial going on

Admittedly, denial will always happen. Some people embrace the “ignorance is bliss” mantra. They know it’s happening but choose to either downplay or ignore it. I’m probably a bit in this category. I know many of my favorite FBBs take drugs. I know they might regret it in the future if (or when) the negative side effects come back to haunt them. I know it’s practically impossible for a woman to develop muscle mass that would make a male bodybuilder jealous without some “assistance.”

I get it. But I don’t always want to think about that. I love fantasizing about these strong beautiful women dominating the bullies who taunt them with sexist remarks. I love imagining what it would be like to make love to a gorgeous muscular woman without having to think about excess body hair or stinky odor that comes with taking steroids. I love thinking about all these things…knowing full well reality doesn’t always match up with fantasy.

When we live life through rose tinted glasses, we tend to idealize those we love. We hold them in higher regards than they deserve. We put them on a pedestal and worship the very ground they walk on. This leads, inevitably, to us overlooking their flaws. We justify their bad behavior. We pick-and-choose which parts of them to celebrate and which parts to ignore. In terms of muscular women, we revel in their strength without fully thinking about what it took for them to achieve that strength. We’re not stupid. We just don’t want to let facts get in the way of our fun.

Facts. Such an inconvenient cog in the engine, am I right? But alas, we know the deal. We know a woman cannot achieve that elite level of muscular development without “help.” We know freaky genetics, maniacal hard work, hardcore dieting and sheer willpower is not enough. We know natural biology cannot be altered overnight. Perhaps thousands of years from now women will evolve to become physically superior to men, but today is not that day. Whatever. Why spoil the fun?

6. What is the actual harm of using steroids?

This point is not meant to be scientific. I am perfectly aware that unwise steroid use can lead to cardiac problems, high blood pressure, liver issues and other negative health consequences. What I’m really trying to say is this:

What’s the big deal if woman uses steroids responsibly?

The answer is simple. It feels like cheating. In point #2, I discuss that steroids only really matter within the context of athletic competitions. That still rings true. But from a cultural perspective, using steroids to get big still feels like you’re “cheating the system.” Or, at the very least, cheating your natural biology.

Bodybuilding, whether you do it professionally or not, is the ultimate personalized sport. Victory or loss, however you define it, is purely determined by your own merit. Unlike team sports, a bad fumble or blown save by a teammate won’t cost you the game. You’re not even competing directly against anyone, such as in tennis or racquetball. The best comparison is golf, a sport in which you compete against others, but you’re mostly competing against yourself. But golf has elements such as weather and course conditions affecting the outcomes of games. Bodybuilding is a sport more based on preparation than game-day performance.

But more than that, a lot of us are amateur bodybuilders, whether we think of ourselves in those terms or not. Let’s face it. We don’t just go to the gym because we want to “stay healthy” or “shed a few pounds.” Some of us may think that way, but most of us workout because…well, we want to look good. We want to look good naked, as Kevin Spacey’s character in American Beauty states. He’s telling the truth. That’s 99 percent of the reason why we exert so much of our time and energy in the gym. We may not have any genuine aspirations to compete, but in our own little world, we’re all trying to develop biceps like Phil Heath.

I cannot confirm that Karen Zaremba was a "natural" bodybuilder, but I suspect she was.
I cannot confirm that Karen Zaremba was a “natural” bodybuilder, but I suspect she was.

This explains the backlash against steroid use in general, not just in the context of female bodybuilding. When we see someone walking around with bigger guns than us, we feel jealous. When we find out they had “help” building those huge arms, we feel a little better about ourselves knowing our inadequate gains can be explained by the fact we don’t “cheat.”

This simply explains why we get such a visceral gut reaction when we find out an FBB takes steroids. It feels like they’ve broken our trust. We feel betrayed that their impressive strength wasn’t achieved fairly. It makes us feel more secure about our own bodies knowing their superiority has an alternative explanation.

In conclusion, what is the actual harm of an FBB taking steroids responsibly? Well, not much. If it helps her advance her career, so be it. That’s none of our business. Is she betraying our trust? No, unless she explicitly lied about not taking drugs. Does that make her any less of a strong woman? Of course not. Steroids are not a magic pill that transforms you into a ripped comic book character with the snap of your fingers. Hard work still matters.

The “Steroid Issue” will always haunt bodybuilders, athletes and gym rats, both male and female. It’s unavoidable. In today’s world, it’s understandable why we’d all be suspicious. The proliferation of the underground drug market has expanded well beyond dark alleys and dimly lit parking lots. Online marketplaces, both on the so-called “surface web” and the nefarious-sounding “deep web,” make acquiring drugs as easy as it’s ever been.

But the flip side of the issue is this: As long as no one is getting hurt or gaining an unfair competitive advantage, what harm do steroids actually cause? Scientific issues aside, it’s mostly a blow to one’s personal sense of integrity.

Integrity. There we are. There’s the core of the problem. Integrity.

At the end of the day, we feel a bodybuilder’s integrity should be called into question if we discover they take steroids to help them get big. Personally, this knowledge does not make me change my opinion about any particular male or female bodybuilder. After all, building muscle is their primary goal. If they receive biomedical “assistance” along the way, so be it. I won’t judge them too harshly, especially when we live in an age where much worse crimes are being committed on a daily basis.

So there you have it. Undoubtedly, we will never settle this issue. Some will always feel uncomfortable by the presence of steroids in bodybuilding. Others will have no problem with it whatsoever. And there will be those who are either indifferent or undecided. Whatever. You can feel however you feel about it. Just know this: Everyone makes choices in their lives. These choices are made to help maximize how much they can get out of life. What jobs we work at, where we live, what foods we eat, who we choose to love, who we hang out with, what entertainment we partake in, etc. If a bodybuilder, male or female, believes taking drugs will help him or her maximize their own personal definition of “happiness” or “fulfillment,” I say we should let them. Of course, every choice has pros and cons. Taking steroids has drawbacks. It’s not a decision that comes risk-free. On the contrary, human growth hormones and the like can be very dangerous if they’re taken without proper medical consultation. This is why you should never trust the shady guy standing on a street corner or the anonymous vendor who sends you a cryptic message on Facebook.

Steroids are here to stay. Judge the people who take them however you want to. But keep this in mind: They take them for a reason. Do you fully understand that reason?

My Top 10 Favorite Female Bodybuilders

The future of the sport of bodybuilding: Shannon Courtney.
The future of the sport of bodybuilding: Shannon Courtney.

Since the subject of female bodybuilders is of keen interest of this blog, I figure it’s about time I created a list of my favorite FBBs and why I like them.

After all, isn’t it conventional wisdom that “top 10 lists” are prime ways to score high clicks and search engine optimization strength?

Of course, these rankings are purely unscientific and bear no resemblance to actual truth. It’s not like I’ve seen photos of every single female bodybuilder on the planet and can rank them with the knowledge of a seasoned connoisseur. Even if I did, I still couldn’t give you specific quantifiable criteria as to why I chose to rank a certain lady over another.

When coming up with my list, I sincerely struggled. I wanted to mention at least 20 or 30 of these women, but I had to only narrow it down to my top 10 because…well, because I said so. I make the rules, so I should follow them, am I right?

I’ve also discovered that my top 10 list of favorite female bodybuilders changes as I discover new ones. One woman in particular, who’s listed as number five, is one I’ve discovered fairly recently, perhaps in the past six or seven months. Naturally, she had to boot someone off, which is no slight to that unfortunate soul. It’s not about you. It’s about her. Yes, I’ll stick to that excuse for now.

Enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff. So, without further ado, here is a list of my top ten favorite female bodybuilders, starting with the bottom and going up.

Love those abs on Karen Zaremba!
Love those abs on Karen Zaremba!

10. Karen Zaremba

Karen Zaremba holds a special place in my heart. She was one of the first muscle women who caught my eye when I first discovered my attraction to female bodybuilders.

Though more of a figure competitor than a hardcore bodybuilder, Karen is the full package: Beautiful, toned muscles and alluringly sexy. What more could you ask for?

Ms. Zaremba is the kind of woman who can steal your breath away in a heartbeat. She could also stop your heart from beating as well. If she’s wearing baggy clothes, she might not appear to be that big, but when she’s wearing something skimpier there’s no doubt she can turn heads left and right.

I think I first stumbled across Karen sometime early in my college years. I could not believe my eyes when I first saw photos of this amazing woman. How could a 40-something mother of multiple children look THAT AMAZING? What makes her even more incredible is that she doesn’t depend on extensive cosmetic surgeries or caking on layers of makeup to look beautiful.

She’s a natural beauty, no doubt about it.

My guess is she’s either fully or partially retired from bodybuilding. Nevertheless Ms. Zaremba will always be one of my favorites. She deserves a “Favorite Female Bodybuilder Emeritus” trophy. She’s the elder stateswoman you know isn’t “active” any more but deserves an honorable mention. You never forget (one of) your first(s), am I right?

May I touch Debi Laszewski's arms?
May I touch Debi Laszewski’s arms?

9. Debi Laszewski

As a bona fide bodybuilding superstar, Debi Laszewski is one of the most well-known stars in the sport today. Ms. Laszewski’s incredible muscularity is only matched by her physical beauty and charming personality. She’s incredibly motivated to be the best in the business and you can certainly see her drive and determination come out in her interviews. If you want somebody to be the ambassador of the sport to the general public, Debi is more than fit for the job.

Of course, I’ve never met her (or any of these women, for that matter), but she seems to be very genuine, down-to-earth, and more interested in lifting other people up rather than tearing them down. In a cutthroat business like competitive athletics, I’d guess that sort of attitude isn’t as common as it should. For me, personality matters.

So does her body. Her body is incredible. Her blonde locks of hair combined with her bulky frame make her seem superhuman. How can one person be that beautiful? How can one person be that perfect? This almost makes me question why Debi is number nine of my rankings and not down further. I may have to adjust this list somewhere down the road.

Who can resist the rich Italian looks of Deidre Pagnanelli?
Who can resist the rich Italian looks of Deidre Pagnanelli?

8. Deidre Pagnanelli

If you don’t know who Deidre Pagnanelli is, stop whatever you’re doing immediately and do a Google search of her as soon as possible. Deidre’s greatest asset – and she has a long list of them – is without a doubt her beauty. Ms. Pagnanelli is a classic beauty of the vintage Hollywood variety.

Part Sophia Loren and part Monica Bellucci, she’s comparable with those legendary Italian beauties on every level: femininity, pure beauty, gracefulness, mysteriousness, sensuality, and on and on and on.

And know what? She’s in her 40s and is a mother of four kids. Yes, you heard that right. This is no joke. She is a middle aged woman with four children who have emerged from her body. Now, there’s a certain popular acronym that’s used to describe women like this, but I refuse to use it. That would be disrespectful to her. It’s vulgar, partially sexist and cheapens who she is. Deidre Pagnanelli is more than just a woman who looks incredible at this stage of her life. She’s a personal trainer, motivator and athlete who should be treated like a Goddess.

She is someone who stops you dead in your tracks. She’s the type who can redefine how you feel about muscular women. To be fair, she’s not as muscular as a pro-level bodybuilder, but her physique should not disappoint anyone. She shatters all stereotypes about muscular women being gross. She commands the room. Once you learn who she is, there’s no way you can get her out of your mind.

I remember when I first came across Ms. Pagnanelli on the Internet. My pulse raced. My eyes were as big as dinner plates. My jaw probably fell to the floor. I could not believe she was real. Is she an actual person or a comic book hero created by a female muscle-loving illustrator?

Nope. She’s real. Very real. And we should all be thankful for that.

How did I not realize Emery Miller's beauty right off the bat?
How did I not realize Emery Miller’s beauty right off the bat?

7. Emery Miller

There are some women in this world whose beauty doesn’t hit you right away. You need to let them grow on you. Emery Miller is one of those women.

I didn’t fall in love with her right off the bat. It took me a while to warm up to her. But once I did, I never looked back. When I first came across her, I figured she was just another cute blonde FBB. But after watching interviews of her and some of her more “adult entertainment” oriented videos, my thinking about her changed. She became a joyfully sexy woman with a level of sexual intelligence that is so extraordinarily appealing.

Emery’s beauty is more on par with the “girl next door” category. She’s pretty, but not too pretty. She’s that really cute girl you knew in high school whom you ignored but years later you regretted it once you realized how awesome she is. That’s Emery Miller. You kick yourself for not realizing how amazing of a woman she is until it finally hits you over the head like a frying pan.

She’s also a very intelligent woman. Underneath her sexy smile lies someone with an equally sexy brain. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I do. There are certain people you meet you who know are special even though you can’t exactly describe why. Emery Miller wouldn’t have made this list a year ago, but she certain does now. I sure am glad I finally saw the light.

The unbelievably sexy Angela Salvagno.
The unbelievably sexy Angela Salvagno.

6. Angela Salvagno

Out of every pore of her body, Angela Salvagno drips with sexiness. She’s a little rough around the edges but possesses a level of sensual intrigue that leaves you wanting more. And without a doubt, I want more!

Other than her rich Mediterranean looks, Ms. Salvagno is striking for one other reason: her beautiful genitalia. Large clitoris, luscious labia and a pretty pink vagina that seems oh so ready for loving, Ms. Salvagno is a wonder of Mother Nature between her strong legs. Many of you may think it’s rather strange for me to remember her for her genitalia, but that’s just the kind of guy I am.

I discovered Angie through her work in porn. She’s not afraid to masturbate for the camera, that’s for damn sure. She’s proud of her body, isn’t ashamed of a single inch of it, and doesn’t need permission to please herself to her heart’s delight. There’s a lot to like about that kind of attitude. She doesn’t have the salient beauty of Deidre Pagnanelli or the insane muscular development of Debi Laszewski, but she doesn’t have to in order for me to notice her. She oozes with sex. It radiates out of every square centimeter of her being. You can practically feel the heat rising from her body when she performs for the camera. It’s tangible. It’s palpable. It’s very, very erotic.

In addition, Ms. Salvagno also has a little bite to her. She isn’t a “Miss Nice Girl” by any stretch of the imagination. Whether she’s wearing an eye-popping BDSM outfit or wrestling a hapless opponent into total submission, Angie can kick your ass if you’re not careful. There’s something undeniably sexy about that. To be truthful, every single woman on this list could probably manhandle you if you push them to their limits, but Angie is someone you genuinely don’t want to mess with. She’s not dangerous, but she can be if you want her to be.

God help us all if you ever make her angry!

It must be the eyes of Lindsay Mulinazzi that's so hypnotic.
It must be the eyes of Lindsay Mulinazzi that’s so hypnotic.

5. Lindsay Mulinazzi

It must be her green eyes. That has to be it. They’re so captivating. I swear her eyes could hypnotize me and force me to jump off a bridge. I’d be in a trance so powerful I’d empty my bank account in an instant if called upon to do so by her. And you know what? I probably wouldn’t complain too much. I’d accept it as the cost of admiring Lindsay Mulinazzi’s immaculate body.

But not just her body, but her entire self. Everything about Ms. Mulinazzi intrigues me.

Lindsay Mulinazzi has an air of mystery about her. She has so much going in below the surface that none of us will ever know about. Is she sweet or sexy? Is she naughty or nice? Is she a Good Girl or a Bad Girl? She’s probably all of those things. All at once. Yeah…she’s that multifaceted.

Ms. Mulinazzi’s looks are exotic. She’s the type of woman a sophisticated gentleman would appreciate. She’s like a glass of Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France served with filet mignon, grilled asparagus, pâté de foie gras and rich buttery mashed potatoes (that bottle of wine, apparently, is one of the most expensive in the world). She’s a treasure. She’s for sophisticated tastes only. I realize it’s rather odd to think of a female bodybuilder as being “high class,” but Lindsay fits the description perfectly. Savor her like she deserves to be savored. I can guarantee you would not be disappointed.

Denise Masino = SEX
Denise Masino = SEX

4. Denise Masino

For a woman with a gorgeous face, mouthwatering figure and fun, sexy personality, Denise Masino is most famous for another one of her assets.

Her world famous clitoris.

It looks like a pastrami sandwich. Maybe not the most refined analogy, but anyone who’s seen it would have to admit it’s not a terrible comparison. Think it’s strange for us to be so fixated on someone’s genitalia? It is, but rest assured what’s situated between her legs isn’t the only thing I love about her.

Like other women on this list, Denise Masino is an exceptionally intelligent woman whose business savvy is second to none in the industry. She understands her appeal and isn’t afraid to take advantage of it for her own benefit (and ours!). Her large clitoris isn’t a point of embarrassment. It empowers her to make her irresistible to adoring fans worldwide. She’s sexy and she knows how to market herself. She may not be a mainstream Hollywood celebrity, but among female muscle fans across the universe, Ms. Masino is as big as Marilyn Monroe ever was.

She embraces her sexuality in ways many of her peers do not. True, many FBBs will star in sexy videos from time to time, but Denise seems to thoroughly enjoy it. Many female athletes struggle with balancing being an athlete and a (often times reluctant) sex symbol. Denise, however, appears to have embraced her role as a sexually-charged woman who has no problem being both physically powerful and erotic at the same time.

I could go on for days praising Ms. Masino, but I will leave you with one thought: When you first think of Denise, her muscles aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. You think about her beautiful clit, her gorgeous face, smarts, sexiness and shrewdness first. Her muscles, while undoubtedly attractive in their own right, seem to be almost an afterthought. This demonstrates the depth of her appeal. Denise is a one-of-a-kind. There may never be another one like her. For that, we must treasure her while we can.

Lisa Cross, a.k.a. "The British Bombshell."
Lisa Cross, a.k.a. “The British Bombshell.”

3. Lisa Cross

World class female bodybuilder. Author. Part-time dominatrix. International superstar. Perhaps one of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Who could I possibly be describing? Lisa Cross, of course.

Ms. Cross, a.k.a. “The British Bombshell,” captivates your attention. That’s what really sticks with you when you first come across her. Your attention immediately goes to her and no one else. She looks dangerous. She looks intriguing. She’s unique from other female bodybuilders. There’s something about her that sets her apart from her fellow muscle sisters. Once you’re introduced to Lisa, you keep wanting more and more.

Lisa has almost the perfect combination of size, beauty, intelligence, femininity and mysteriousness. She’s exactly what you’d expect a female bodybuilder to be like, yet she’s always surprising you in one way or another.

For example, have you ever read her book Devil and Disciple: The Temptation? I have. While it has a few flaws you often see in new authors, overall it’s a strong book with a compelling story, well-crafted characters and intelligent poetic prose. As far as I can tell, she wrote the book all by herself. Her editor, of course, obviously had his or her input during the creative process, but fitting in writing a book (without a ghost writer) with an already jammed pack schedule of being a professional bodybuilder is nothing short of impressive. How many athletes could say they’ve written such a piece of art?

Lisa Cross is one of my favorites because you keep wanting more from her. She makes you pay attention to her. Not because she forces herself upon you, but because you can’t help but keep on coming back. She’s enthralling because she’s so multifaceted. She’s a beautiful and intelligent woman who’s overcome a lot of obstacles to get to be where she’s at right now. Her success wasn’t handed to her. She earned it with her hard work, dedication and relentless spirit. And she finds time to be creative, personable, confidently sexy and a much-needed ambassador of the sport to the general public.

Hats off to you, Ms. Cross!

Don't cross Victoria Dominguez. You'll regret it!
Don’t cross Victoria Dominguez. You’ll regret it!

2. Victoria Dominguez

Haters gonna hate. She might not be on everyone’s top 10 list (or even top 50 list), but I don’t care. I genuinely don’t care what anybody else says. Victoria Dominguez is one of the sexiest women in the known universe.

She might not have a traditionally beautiful face, but that doesn’t matter to me. Vicky has plenty of attitude, erotic appeal, confidence, intrigue and curves in places most women don’t have curves to make up for it. Know what? I actually think her face is quite beautiful. Don’t agree with me? I really don’t care.

Vicky’s strength as a female bodybuilder is her raw sexual power. Her alter ego, Mistress Treasure, is a true dominatrix in every sense of the word. She’s a scary lady to be around when she’s in her full “Mistress” mode. Don’t ever cross her. EVER.

More than any other FBB out there, Vicky has a level of confidence in herself that borders on cocky. But the truth is, when you’re as ripped and gorgeous as her, you have every right to be as arrogant as you want. She expects cleanliness, respect and adherence to her rules when she’s meeting with her session clients. And do you know what? She deserves every ounce of respect and reverence possible from them. They are the weaker sex, after all.

Ms. Dominguez doesn’t appeal to everyone. But that’s perfectly okay. I love Vicky because she is a powerful, authoritative woman who isn’t afraid to kick your ass if you get out of line. Her intimidating presence, combined with muscular definition that I could explore for days, makes her peerless. She has curves on top of curves embedded within more curves. She’s a beautiful black woman who’s exotic, unapologetically rough and flaunts her sexual prowess whether you like it or not.

Whew. What’s not to like about that? But sadly, not everyone is willing to jump on the Victoria Dominguez bandwagon. For those of you who think her facial features are off-putting or that her persona is too abrasive for your tastes, all I got to say is that haters gonna hate!

Alina Popa is number one! She's number one! She's number one! Whoooooo!!!!
Alina Popa is number one! She’s number one! She’s number one! Whoooooo!!!!

1. Alina Popa

Oh, Alina. You know how to charm a man like me.

Some guys really love a woman with an accent. If you do, then Alina Popa is the lady for you.

Ranking at number one, Alina Popa boasts the impeccable combination of brawn and beauty. Born and raised in Romania, Ms. Popa currently lives in the United States. Those of us in America who love muscular women couldn’t be happier. Welcome to the U.S. of A, Alina!

Alina’s charms come in many forms. First, she seems like a very sweet and kind-hearted person. It’s hard to argue with that, right? Second, she had to overcome her family’s disapproval of her dreams of pursuing bodybuilding. Apparently her mother wanted a “normal” looking daughter instead of what Alina chose to become. Fortunately, she’s warmed up to Alina’s bodybuilding career and right now is her most passionate cheerleader.

Perhaps more than any other female bodybuilder on the planet, Alina strikes the perfect balance between superhuman muscularity and undeniable femininity. If you’ve ever seen her interviewed, she’s very fun, outgoing, irresistibly sexy and unquestionably feminine. She’s unintimidating. She isn’t the type who will try to emasculate you or show off her impressive strength out of sheer narcissism.

Alina Popa may not be my hands-down favorite FBB, but after careful thought, I really have no reason not to put her as number one on my list. If I created a checklist of every quality I value in an FBB, she would score high marks on every single one of them. That counts for something. Alina is like that world class athlete who may not be your personal favorite, but you cannot deny their greatness. They’re the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) while the rest are mere mortals.

I’m also glad Alina hasn’t gotten breast implants yet (as far as I know). Her natural look makes her all the more incredible. She’s like a comic book hero…except she’s real. I don’t know her personally, but she seems to be as authentic of a person as you’ll ever meet. Celebrity status has a way of destroying that facet of your personality. From what I can tell, being an internationally renowned state-of-the-art female bodybuilder has not diminished that part of her one bit.

***

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

I can’t list everybody, but here are five more FBBs who deserve Honorable Mentions.

Shannon Courtney – A newcomer on the world stage, Shannon is a rising star in the bodybuilding industry. She’s young, gorgeous, unbelievably muscular (especially for someone her age) and belongs to the millennial generation – who, for better or for worse, is the future of our world. How lucky we are if Miss Courtney is the future of the sport.

Lynn McCrossin – a.k.a “PecPanther,” Ms. McCrossin’s pecs are not her only noteworthy asset. She’s a bona fide muscular porn star who definitely isn’t afraid to strut her stuff in front of the camera. Lynn may call herself a panther instead of a cougar, but after watching enough of her videos you should get the idea about what she’s into.

Dena Westerfield – Perhaps the poster child for the “natural” look, Dr. Dena Westerfield is legendary for, among other things, her flat chest. She’s as beautiful as she is smart, but her choice to flaunt her body – despite her nonexistent breasts – turns me on like nothing else. Dena is a gem.

Krissy Chin – Finally, an Asian lady! Miss Chin’s petite Asian figure makes her tight muscular body all the more alluring. How can you not want to cuddle up with her on a cold winter evening and stroke her six pack abs over a mug of hot chocolate? She has the figure of a fitness competitor more than a bodybuilder, but that doesn’t matter. Krissy is as cute as a button but feisty if she has to be.

Yvette Bova – If there’s anyone who deserves the “Porn Star” label in all capital letters, Yvette would get that distinct honor. Probably the most sexually dynamic woman on this list, Yvette isn’t for all tastes. But if you really love her, you know why. She brings “sexual liberation” to a whole new level. Yvette doesn’t lack confidence or sexual experience. That combination is dangerous to guys like me!

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.”

The Strangeness of Having a Female Muscle Fetish

Lauren Powers is lovely.

I often wonder how many straight men, if they were forced to give an honest answer, would admit to being attracted to muscular women.

Mainstream society tends to frown upon women who’ve gained too much muscle. For example, we like our female athletes to remain feminine, beautiful and graceful even when they’re in the middle of hitting a tennis ball, shooting a free throw, skiing, sprinting at full speed or smacking a softball. Gymnasts, naturally, are supposed to be graceful, so this is an obvious exception.

Female athletes like Venus and Serena Williams, Hope Solo and Lolo Jones are right at the cusp of being “too muscular” while remaining “easy on the eyes.” As long as they keep winning Olympic medals and championship trophies, we’ll endure seeing their non-conformist figures on ESPN for now.

But this is not supposed to be a rant against sexism in mainstream American sports. This is about something else entirely.

In a previous post, I talked about the allure of female bodybuilders. This post is by far the most popular individual post I’ve written on this blog. I think its popularity can be credited to two aspects: 1. Search engines like Google and Bing, and 2. Curiosity.

Straight men (I can’t speak for lesbian women) are not often given a forum to discuss weird sexual fetishes in places other than the Internet. You don’t often hear two dudes talk about their love for feet at a crowded Starbucks on a lazy Sunday morning. Nor do you hear a bunch of football lovin’ good ol’ boys talk about their “thing” for overweight MILFs while watching the game at a bar. These are not topics we discuss in public.

So, I will attempt to dissect and explain to the best of my abilities my personal reasons for being sexually attracted to muscular women. Let’s see where this goes…

The Beginning of My Awakening

This is how it all started. Embarrassing, I know.

I understand “The Beginning of My Awakening” sounds ridiculously overdramatic, but bear with me.

I can’t pinpoint an exact time when I began to be attracted to muscled ladies, but I think it can be traced to this one time when I was a little boy (I was probably no more than 8-years-old), I was at a video store (for you young kids out there, once upon a time ago when we wanted to watch a movie we had to go to a video store like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video and rent a VHS cassette. This is practically ancient history) with my mom and I saw the cover for the movie “Red Sonja,” a cheesy 1985 B-action movie starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I will admit, I’ve never seen this movie nor do I ever plan on seeing it. The 4.7 rating it received on IMDb is not exactly convincing me to go out and rent it.

Alina Popa is divine.

But I distinctly remember, as an impressionable prepubescent little boy, being taken aback by the movie’s cover: It showed two warriors, one male and one female. The male is obviously strong and tough, which any male action hero should be. But seeing a female warrior also look intimidating and ready to kick butt opened my eyes to a whole other world.

Women can be tough, too.

As an 8-year-old boy raised on hyper-violent Saturday morning cartoons and action figures, this was without a doubt a paradigm-shifting realization.

Of course, as I got older I started to “notice” girls once puberty hit. At the tender age of 12, I encountered my second experience with a tough, nontraditional woman. My parents bought a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records for the year 1999 and inside were tons of colorful photos of people doing all sorts of weird and hardcore things.

One page stood out in particular, though: a full color photo of Cory Everson. In it, she looked startling. It was the first time I’d ever seen a woman with bulging muscles all over her body.

She looked freakish; as if she weren’t human. I didn’t want to say she looked gross, but my hormone-driven mind couldn’t process what I was seeing: a woman with muscles. In the years afterward, I would continuously turn back to this particular page to gaze upon this indescribably sight.

Later, when my family first got the Internet (we had dial-up. Remember that?), I discovered the joys of online porn. Like any teenage boy discovering the opposite sex (and the concept of “sex”), viewing pictures of naked women on a computer screen occupied many hours of my life and led me to also discover masturbation, an activity I still enjoy today.

However, it wasn’t until college that I truly became enamored with muscled women.

The Female Muscle Fetish Begins

As a freshman in college, I began to work out regularly. During high school I casually lifted weights at home, but the first time I ever stepped foot into a gym was visiting my university’s recreational center on campus. It was small and, looking back upon it, unremarkable; but it was a gym nevertheless.

I lifted weights probably around three times a week. As a beginning weightlifter, I used poor form and technique like any novice would. It even came to a point when people working out next to me would stop me during my work out and tell me how to do certain lifts the right way. Those were embarrassing moments.

Lisa Marie Bickels changed my life. Will she change yours?

This video changed my life, just like that cover of “Red Sonja” and that photo of Cory Everson. Though the video was amateurish and grainy, it showed a beautiful woman working out and showing off her gorgeous muscled arms. Sculpted and divine, Ms. Bickels opened my eyes to an Earth-shattering fact: muscular women can also be feminine and beautiful.

That hyper-muscular photo of Ms. Everson isn’t the only way to view female bodybuilders. They don’t all look “man-like.” They’re just typical women. The only difference is that they’re women who strive to be as strong as possible.

Who wouldn’t want Czech muscle goddess Katka Kyptova as a workout buddy?

As expected, over time I visited YouTube and watched videos of countless other female bodybuilders such as Karen Zaremba, Maryse Manios, Deidre Pagnanelli, Lynn McCrossin, Monica Brant, Krissy Chin and others. I must have seen literally hundreds of videos during my freshman year of these well-defined ladies posing for photos, doing incredible lifts or being interviewed.

It wasn’t until after graduation when I moved back home that I discovered a whole other world: Hardcore porn.

The World of Smut

I feel like this is a progression. First, it was a cover of a b-movie. Next, it was a sports photo in a record book. Then it was a short online video of a woman exercising. Then it was a whole slew of YouTube videos of muscle ladies doing their thing.

Finally, we get to the next step in my personal muscle fetish evolution: porn.

The first hardcore porn video I ever saw was Lynn McCrossin and Yvette Bova, two gorgeous FBBs, pleasuring each other in a steam room. Before then, I’d never seen a woman’s genitalia up close and personal on a computer screen before. And not just any type of genitalia: These two women have very large feminine endowments, something you don’t see every day.

Yvette Bova is not afraid to flaunt her sexuality.

This epic discovery opened the doors to watching other kinds of videos: Female bodybuilders having sex with men, FBBs having sex with each other, FBBs masturbating, FBBs playing with sex toys, FBBs posing nude, etc. This was the first time I ever saw female bodybuilders as sexual beings. I definitely fantasized about them before, but I’d never actually seen them in action before until now.

Smut can be a funny thing. Once you see what people choose to do in their bedrooms, you can never look at the world the same way.

Watching porn (both hardcore and softcore) introduced me to other female bodybuilders like Francesca Petitjean, Denise Masino, Melissa Dettwiller, Lauren Powers, Gayle Moher, Yvette Bova, Victoria Dominguez, Amber DeLuca, Autumn Raby, Roxie Rain and plenty others. While I don’t want to categorize any of them as “pornographic actresses,” I discovered these women thanks to videos of them either being nude and/or engaging in sex acts.

Another photo of Lisa Cross. There is nothing wrong with this at all.

Along the way, I also discovered other FBBs like Alina Popa, Katka Kyptova, Lisa Cross, Angela Salvagno, Karla Nelsen, Colette Nelson and others via Dailymotion, Google Images and Facebook pages.

Regarding FBBs and porn, I could write a whole post discussing this topic. But for now, I’ll just say this: If a woman (or man) makes an independent decision to pose for photos or shoot videos that are sexually explicit, who are we to judge? It’s their bodies. They can do whatever they want with it.

Fantasy vs. Reality

Unlike a lot of guys who are into muscle women, the sub-genre of erotica called “Female Muscle Growth” stories isn’t really my thing. These stories usually involve a guy meeting a dainty, weak girl who, either by magic or through some scientific potion, grows a freakish amount of muscle to become superhuman. For whatever reason, I’m only attracted to watching and looking at strong, muscled women doing real things; like pumping iron, posing for pictures or doing whatever they do in porn.

Personally, I’ve never met a professional (or amateur) female bodybuilder, so my only exposure to FBBs is through the glorious wonders of the Internet.

The closest I’ve ever been to a real FBB was back in college when, for some reason I could never quite figure out, I walked past a woman (she was older and clearly not a student) in our student union building with huge arms busting out of her short sleeve shirt. I didn’t get a clear look at her, but I could tell she didn’t just casually lift at the gym. I could tell she puts extra effort into her exercising.

Speaking of the gym, most of the women who go to my gym either do only cardio exercises or attend classes like Zumba, Pilates and yoga. Only a small handful of women lift with us guys. Of them, only two of these ladies have any discernible muscle definition. Too bad.

So…in other words, I’m attracted to the real thing, not a fantasy. I’m not turned on by the idea of a strong, muscular woman. I’m turned on by actual strong, muscular women. Nor do I have any alternative fantasies involving role playing or BDSM.

The idea of wrestling an FBB doesn’t appeal to me. Neither is being tied up and spanked by one. Nor do I want an FBB to wrap her legs around me in a headlock. Instead, I’d prefer to make love to a beautiful, strong athletic woman just as though she were any other kind of woman.

Karen Zaremba is living proof that muscles doesn’t in any way shape or form compromise a woman’s femininity.

I guess this means I don’t necessarily fetishize female bodybuilders; I’m just attracted to them in a special way. They’re women who take great care of their bodies. They’re women who spend countless hours pumping iron at the gym and making lots of dietary and lifestyle sacrifices in order to get their bodies to look the way they want it to look. There’s a lot to admire about that.

Some women starve themselves to look “beautiful.” Others go under the knife to remove any perceived “blemishes.” Some hate themselves because when they look in the mirror all they can see are “imperfections.” My previous post about FBBs best summarizes why I’m personally attracted to a woman with muscle. The purpose of this post is to give you some context and perhaps a deeper explanation.

So…What’s the Big Deal Anyway?

Simply put, I’m attracted to female bodybuilders because they are, quite simply, beautiful. I hope others who share my attraction feel the same way. I hope you now understand that being attracted to a lovely muscled lady isn’t weird, strange or disgusting. There’s nothing incomprehensible about it.

A woman with muscles is still a woman. She’s not a woman trying to be a man. She’s a woman trying to become the best woman she can possibly be. That’s another great reason to be physically and emotionally attracted to her.

Perhaps, little by little, society can start accepting muscular woman as a normal thing instead of a freak of nature. I strongly believe when people are disgusted by a muscled woman, it’s because there’s some deep rooted sexism at play. Plenty of people in our society still expect women to be dainty, weak and ultra-feminine. Anyone who rebels against this is either a “gender traitor” or a monster.

Look at the photos of the FBBs I’ve put in this post. Are any of them disgusting to you? Do you find any of them “masculine,” “repulsive,” or “monstrous?” If you do, I think that reflects more on you than it does on me.

But please don’t misinterpret me. I’m not claiming to be some quasi-feminist activist. I’m not claiming to be “sexually progressive” in my attraction to FBBs. I’m not trying to destroy the foundations of gender roles or sexual politics by this post or through my blog. All I want to do is express my opinion that being attracted to a muscular woman isn’t all that strange.

In fact, it makes a lot of sense. Muscular women are healthy, curvy, dedicated, passionate and strong-willed. Who could possibly be turned off by that?

So the next time you encounter or see an image of a female bodybuilder, female athlete or a woman who takes her fitness hobbies very seriously, keep an open mind and try to appreciate a different side of life.

Who knows? You might just enjoy it.

You also might enjoy this shot of the lovely Victoria Dominguez.