Female Bodybuilders in Limbo

Monique Hayes is out-of-this-world.

Female bodybuilders seem to exist in a world all by themselves, don’t they?

Mainstream culture certainly doesn’t fully recognize their impressive accomplishments. The IFBB doesn’t seem to care about female competitors nearly as much as their male counterparts. Feminists, for whatever reason, don’t loudly embrace them as examples of “strong independent women” (even though they are undoubtedly exactly that). Sports media will celebrate a few physically gifted female athletes, but usually only go as far as the Williams sisters and a few MMA fighters. And even then, they still need to be traditionally feminine, beautiful, and not be too muscular.

The only group of people in our society who truly embrace female bodybuilders with any sort of passion would be…a very small subculture that consists of folks like me and those of you who read this blog.

Hm.

Female bodybuilders do appear to exist in limbo, don’t they?

They live in a strange, isolated world. We fans also exist in this world, but we are certainly not on the same plane as them. Celebrities and their fans will always exist in the same universe, but no one can deny that there’s always going to be a clear separation between the two cohorts. And in this case, female bodybuilders are celebrities as far as we’re concerned. Maybe not according to our mainstream culture, but in our hearts they’re as revered as any Hollywood icon or pop singer.

If female bodybuilders live on one continent on Planet FBB, fans like you and I live on a different continent on the other side of the hemisphere. Same planet, but different environments. Way different environments.

FBBs are not lonely, but they don’t have too many advocates on their side. Their list of partners, associates, allies, and lobbyists (not necessarily in the political sense) are few and far between. And it appears to be shrinking as the years go on. This might be an exaggeration, or maybe it is not. But what we can say for sure is that FBBs exist in probably one of the most bizarre cultural environments possible.

Female bodybuilders are sort of like Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, or Furries. We’re all aware that these sort of people exist, even though we may never come into contact with one of them. We might have a buddy from high school who may have implied on Facebook that he/she is into that sort of thing, but other than that these folks exist mostly on a theoretical level. I’ve never personally met a practicing Scientologist, but they sure do claim that they’re the “world’s fastest growing religion.” Maybe I need to get out of my apartment more.

Sherry Mayumi is a former U.S, Marine who will kick your ass…if she had reason to, that is.

Most people in the world know that female bodybuilders exist. But only an infinitesimal number of those people could name at least one current (or past, for that matter) athlete. If you were to ask a random person on the street what they thought about female bodybuilders, most of the responses – regardless if they come from a man or a woman – probably won’t be too positive. Or they’ll laugh it off and say they don’t know enough about them to make a comment. Fair enough.

It goes without saying that the vast majority of us don’t personally know a female bodybuilder, never mind being on a first-name basis with one. Even those of us who love female bodybuilders more than anything else probably can’t call one a friend or even an acquaintance. FBBs tend to know (or at least know of) each other very well, which makes sense when you consider how intimate of a community they belong to. But their numbers are small – unfortunately – while the number of their fans is larger…but still remarkably small.

According to Catholic theology, “Limbo” is a speculative place where souls go after their worldly bodies die if they did not receive the Christian baptism. Without getting into further detail, this basically means your soul is stuck in an environment that is neither Heaven, Hell, nor Earth. You exist in “no man’s land.” You don’t have a home because no one wants to claim you. It’s pretty darn depressing when you think about it.

Female bodybuilders, therefore, exist in a similar – albeit without the element of “spiritual damnation” attached to it – situation. No one is willing to openly embrace them. Not sports journalists. Not feminists. Not fellow non-bodybuilding athletes. Not Hollywood producers. Not hot shot talent agents. Not even some powerful people within the bodybuilding industry. And those of us who do love them do so in secret. I don’t tell my friends, family, and co-workers that I love muscular women. And I know for a fact I am not alone in making this decision.

So even the most enthusiastic supporters of female bodybuilding aren’t willing to be vocal about it. I try to be as vocal as I can, but I choose to do so under the guise as an anonymous blogger. I’d like to think of myself as a “friend of FBBs,” but can I really stake this claim when I’m too embarrassed to publicly declare my admiration for them? What kind of an ally is that?

Georgina McConnell is like the girl next door. If you happen to live next to a House of Muscle Goddesses.

This isn’t meant to shame anyone or spur any of you to take a specific action. Although if you feel compelled to take matters into your own hands, be my guest. Rather, this is meant to point out a strange yet fascinating aspect of female bodybuilding: They have no home, but that’s okay because they don’t need one.

Huh?

Female bodybuilders don’t need a massive amount of public adoration in order to justify their existence. Nor do they need that to validate their considerable accomplishments. FBBs have carved out a small yet not insignificant niche market for themselves. Their biggest fans may not feel comfortable expressing their fandom quite like football fans or cosplayers do, but that’s perfectly fine. That’s not entirely necessary. Female bodybuilding fans are able to live out their fandom with complete anonymity if they so choose – and many do.

Likewise, female bodybuilders do not have to conduct all their business in broad daylight. Obviously, activities such as competing, endorsing corporate products, running a business, modeling, personal training, and acting are done publicly. In fact, the more publicized these activities can be, the better. Obviously.

However, there are other entrepreneurial actions that do not need to be so public. Offering muscle worship/wrestling sessions and performing in “adult” entertainment media can fly more under the radar. These activities are not a “secret” in the dictionary definition sense of the word, but they aren’t exactly ones that all FBBs are willing to blast out to the world. Also, every FBB is different. Some are very open about the seedier sides of their lives. Others prefer to keep a more “clean” public image and leave the other stuff behind closed doors. To each her own.

Therefore, FBBs exist in multiple worlds. They exist in the open, but also in the shadows. You can read their biographies on Wikipedia or their own websites, but you’re only seeing a fraction of the truth. You can follow them on Instagram, but you need to go behind a paid subscription firewall to really see what kind of photography they like to participate in. You may see that they offer “sessions” to paying customers, but you actually need to set one up in order to truly know what goes on in those hotel rooms.

Lightness and darkness. Truth and secrets. Openness and guarded candidness. Experienced reality and unsubstantiated rumors. The tip of the iceberg and whatever exists below it.

Female bodybuilders live in all of these worlds, often at the same time. They simultaneously write an email to a personal training client to remind them to eat more kale while sitting in a cheap motel wearing a sexy BDSM outfit. They chat on the phone with one of their protein supplement sponsors minutes after wiping a random guy’s semen off her chest. They send a loving text to their children wishing them “good night” just moments before filming a gang bang porno on an amateur movie set.

Not all FBBs can relate to these hypothetical scenarios, but many can. Or at least some of them. For female bodybuilders who wish to make a living doing what they do, they have to live in both worlds – whether they like it or not. Only the elite of the elite can make enough money doing competitions, working part-time or full-time, and endorsing products. Most FBBs have to add to their income through, ahem, “nontraditional” means.

And that means living in a world that is, as explained earlier, simultaneously in the light and in the shadows. Or, it means living in a world that is neither completely in the light nor completely in the shadows. It’s both at the same time. Or neither.

Essentially, they got to do what they got to do. No matter what form it takes, a paycheck is a paycheck that subsidizes the rent and puts food on the table (and bodybuilders have to eat a lot of food to remain that big). Money earned under the table is still money that you can deposit in the bank. Uncle Sam just isn’t able to tax it.

The elegant Elise Penn.

Also, fans of FBBs – like FBBs themselves – want to keep their fandom as under the radar as possible. You don’t just casually declare on Facebook that you’re about to meet a female bodybuilder for fantasy wrestling, muscle worship, and (hopefully) a hand job at the end. That’s just not what most of us do. Instead, we also live in the darkness, albeit for a temporary amount of time. But that’s not all bad. FBBs with families and public reputations want to keep the more erotic side of their business a secret. Guys (and gals) who engage in these erotic activities also want it to be kept a secret. So confidentiality is desired by both parties. Both sides benefit. Both sides consent to what is happening. Both sides want it kept hush-hush. It’s not only a win-win, it’s a situation in which “losing” is considered unacceptable by both sides.

“Losing” means risking public ridicule. It means embarrassment. It means lost sponsorships. It could mean jail time. It could also mean being ostracized by your own industry. Whatever the case may be, this sordid world existing in limbo is in everyone’s best interests.

One more observation about public adoration. It’s overrated. Big time.

Sure, many FBBs love it when peers, fans, and friends compliment their looks. After all, what’s the point of all that hard work if nobody is around to appreciate it? While more eyeballs on you could mean more lucrative opportunities down the road, FBBs don’t necessarily need hundreds of millions of rabid fans frothing at the mouth, hanging on your every word and action. Rather, all they need are a few dedicated but respectful supporters who will pay them $400 per hour doing perfectly legal activities in complete secrecy. These folks will not just verbally compliment you, they will worship you. They will lay their fingers on your body and admire your handiwork without words. Yet, their silence speaks volumes.

These fans aren’t just casually expressing their fondness for an FBB’s work. They’re treating it like a quasi-spiritual experience. Or maybe it’s a full on spiritual experience in the literal sense. Touching a muscular woman’s body is much different than clicking the “like” button or leaving a nonsensical comment on Instagram using the appropriate hashtags. Look at it from the perspective of the session provider: her clients aren’t casual participants, like someone turning on the TV to the baseball game just for the background noise. They’re giving her a significant portion of their month’s wages for the opportunity to see her for just one single hour.

That’s quite a sacrifice. And showering her with verbal and physical compliments on top of it all proves that this is no joke (what exactly is a “physical compliment?” That’s up to your imagination to decide…). Public adoration is fine. It really is. But it can’t beat the kind of adoration that’s more intimate, quieter, deeper, and meaningful. One cannot easily replicate that outside of the context of an erotic session.

It’s one thing to download Beyoncé’s albums and follow her on Twitter. It’s quite another thing to pay a quarter of your hard-earned paycheck to an FBB, meet her at a hotel somewhere far away, and make yourself vulnerable to each other. These sessions are extremely vulnerable for both parties. Probably more so for the provider, but it is as well for the client. An FBB opens up her body – her most treasured asset – to a complete stranger. A client expresses their inner most desires to someone who might – or might not – be judging them; often times these desires being uncomfortable to talk about.

Erin Tolen is showing us that baby got back.

In my experience, when I first started participating in muscle worship sessions I had to give myself permission to enjoy the experience. I had to repeatedly remind myself that it’s okay to be indulgent every once in a while. It’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to seek what you want and not apologize for it. So there is without question a high degree of vulnerability required to be a participant. As there is to be the one opening her own body to be touched in the most intimate ways imaginable…and the possibility of pain, injury, and violation.

Therefore, FBBs should be living in limbo. They don’t need to live in a black and white world where there are definitive rules that govern what people should and should not be allowed to enjoy. Of course, there are reasonable parameters that should be observed. But when both sides are consenting to everything that is going on, it’s best for all involved to not think about whether what’s transpiring is considered “socially acceptable” or “popular.” Those are superficial labels we attach to behaviors that don’t encompass the full spectrum of what makes people happy.

At the end of the day, that’s what it all boils down to. Whatever makes you happy. Whatever makes female bodybuilders and fans of female bodybuilders happy is alright, regardless of whether they exist in the light or the dark. Lightness and darkness are boundaries we arbitrarily place on things that we are comfortable acknowledging. It has nothing to do with what the actual truth is.

The Truth with a capital “T” is somewhere in between. Or somewhere else. Or both. Whatever.

Sthenolagnia vs. Cratolagnia – Which Best Describes Me?

What about Yaxeni Oriquen turns you on? Gee, where do I start?
What about Yaxeni Oriquen turns you on? Gee, where do I start?

Here are two vocabulary words most people in the general population have never heard before: Sthenolagnia and Cratolagnia.

Don’t even ask me how to pronounce either word. Consult an online dictionary instead. Or just take a wild guess. Whichever works for you!

I’ll admit that I never heard of these words before I became an official female muscle fan. So if you consider yourself an admirer of muscular human beings of the feminine persuasion, allow yourself the opportunity to improve your vernacular.

Sthenolagnia is defined as the “sexual arousal from displaying strength or muscles” while cratolagnia is “sexual arousal from strength.” Anyone who thinks muscles are sexy should be able to identify with one of or both of these concepts.

So what’s the difference, exactly? Good question.

People who are attracted to large muscles (regardless of the gender of the person displaying these muscles) aren’t necessarily attracted to the same thing or for the same reasons. Human sexuality is very diverse and difficult to put into neat boxes. This is why we must have honest discussions about what we like and why we like what we like.

Often, sthenolagnia and cratolagnia could be considered interchangeable when discussing muscle fetishism. But that is not the case. Being attracted to muscles and being attracted to displays of strength – while definitely related – are not necessarily the same thing. Here is a brief breakdown of how these kinks are different.

Muscles as an Accessory vs. Strength as an Action

Someone who likes a person with big muscles is attracted to the way they look. The shape of their bodies is very arousing and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

For example, someone can love the way Alina Popa’s body looks without ever having to see her bend steel or pick up a person and carry them around. Her musculature, symmetry, awe-inspiring definition and good-old-fashioned sexiness (she is a very beautiful woman regardless of her physique) are enough to make many men consider her attractive.

The stereotype that men are visual creatures may play a role in this. Sexual attraction develops from what the eye can see. A beautiful woman can make a man turn his head, stare at her as she walks by and subsequently run into a telephone pole.

The same goes for an aesthetically gorgeous muscle woman. Debi Laszewski would make many men turn their heads if they saw her walk by. Especially if she’s wearing a tight dress that generously shows off her muscular curves and high heels and allows her legs to shine! Expect many fender benders if she traversed her way across a busy crosswalk.

If Brigita Brezovac walked down a busy street, there would be plenty of auto accidents.
If Brigita Brezovac walked down a busy street, there would be plenty of auto accidents.

On the other hand, someone who is attracted to big muscles may get turned on by seeing how this person uses their big muscles. After all, what’s the point of having superhuman strength if you never use it? You don’t work that hard just to sit around and not utilize your gifts.

Some men fantasize about a strong Amazonian woman picking them up, carrying them around and demonstrating her physical dominance. Whether you get turned on by having your inferiority complex put to the test or because you love feeling helpless in the hands of someone who’s supposedly a member of the “weaker sex,” witnessing (and experiencing) a woman displaying her strength is what it’s all about for you. Power is sexy. Feeling helpless can also be sexy. For men who agree with these premises, watching a female bodybuilder show off her amazing strength could very well be their personal definition of “Heaven.”

You might equally be turned on by a woman displaying strength who doesn’t physically appear to be strong. A slender woman dressed as a dominatrix or a corporate boss comes to mind. Strength doesn’t just mean muscles. It also means mental, emotional and sexual strength. So, one could theoretically experience cratolagnia with a non-bodybuilder. All you need is a female (or male) who isn’t afraid to flaunt his or her dominance and an appreciative audience to enjoy the spectacle.

Social Taboos at Play

There are also certain social taboos that explain why people experience sthenolagnia and cratolagnia.

Let’s consider the concept of women being the “weaker sex.” If we accept the premise that, generally speaking, women are biologically weaker to men, we should also acknowledge that examples contrary to this would be considered out of the ordinary. Also, things that are not ordinary are usually found either revolting or highly intriguing to people.

We are intrigued by what is not usual. Social taboos exist because there are certain social phenomena that elicit strong emotional responses from people. These responses could be disgust, anger, annoyance, confusion and often times, arousal. So, consider the taboos a female bodybuilder presents:

Her body shape doesn’t conform to our traditional standards of femininity.

Her physical strength goes contrary to what we know about basic human biology.

Her large physical stature contradicts our common conceptions about male vs. female gender roles.

Her open willingness to display her muscles and strength is unusual for most women’s behavior.

Her muscular physique places her in a role usually occupied by a man.

Her strength breaks down barriers that customarily separate men and women.

Some of us get turned on by defiance. Defiance gives us power. It’s our way of rebelling against whatever social constructs we oppose. If it’s true that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” then people get turned on by a female bodybuilder’s muscles because they love the power being demonstrated by her in such an open fashion.

Not only is she physically powerful, but she’s mentally and emotionally powerful. Her self-confidence, limitless work ethic, remarkable self-discipline and indifference toward her “haters” are attractive. If she’s willing to rebel against gender stereotypes, human physiology and mass media messages, what isn’t she willing to do?

Think muscles on a woman isn't sexy? Take a look at Alicia Alfaro and prepare to have your mind blown.
Think muscles on a woman isn’t sexy? Take a look at Alicia Alfaro and prepare to have your mind blown.

There are many men who are secretly tired of always being in control. They’re sick of being counted on to be the “strong one.” They’d rather someone else do the proverbial heavy lifting. That’s why many powerful men prefer to be the “sub” in a D/s-BDSM roleplaying scenario. For once they want a woman to be in charge. He wants to relinquish power for the time being. Being weak turns him on. Seeing the woman become powerful also turns him on.

And all of this is still very taboo.

The Brain is the Ultimate Sex Organ

Essentially, this discussion boils down to this truth: female bodybuilders are both physically and intellectually beautiful. Their physical beauty comes in their perfectly sculpted bodies that we see at the gym, on the streets, at bodybuilding contests and on the Internet. A female bodybuilder’s physical beauty, while not universally acknowledged, is a force to be reckoned with.

Also, a female bodybuilder can also be intellectually beautiful. Her willingness to break social taboos, rebel against certain cultural standards and march to the beat of her own drum is very arousing to many of us. The brain is the ultimate sex organ, right?

Strength, therefore, comes in two forms: physical strength and intellectual strength. Physical strength is self-explanatory. Intellectual strength is something else entirely. It takes someone who understands what hurdles someone has to go through and appreciates their accomplishments. A female muscle fan gets it. They understand how insanely difficult it is for a woman to “look like that.”

Betty Viana wants you to come to bed.
Betty Viana wants you to come to bed.

Anyone who openly defies society and lives a lifestyle that’s so foreign to most people is as tough-minded as they get. And bulking up isn’t easy for women. Not nearly as easy as it is for men (and for many men, it’s still not easy!). So to understand the sacrifices and hard work necessary to transform from a normal-looking woman to Yaxeni Oriquen gives you an intellectual erection.

You have permission to use “intellectual erection” all you want. It’s on the house.

So…Which Best Describes Me?

To answer this question, consider all the reasons why you find female bodybuilders (and athletes) to be so captivating. Is it purely physical? If so, physical in terms of aesthetic or action? Or is there a sociological explanation as well?

Generally speaking, it’s probably safe to say that you might be experiencing sthenolagnia if your attraction to FBBs is purely due to your love for their hard, beautiful muscles. Their socially taboo bodies make you go crazy. Watching them use their muscles in a practical way is a bonus, but not a must. Simply put, YOU LOVE HER MUSCLES.

If your love for female muscle goes beyond that, then you might be in the cratolagnia category. It’s not enough to look at their gorgeous physiques. You want to see their strength in action. You love their hard-earned bodies and defiant attitude toward society’s narrow definition of beauty. You appreciate their accomplishments both from a physical and intellectual standpoint. Simply put, YOU LOVE HOW STRONG SHE IS.

This goes to show that not everyone is attracted to female muscle for the same reason. It’s not just because of muscles, muscles, muscles and more muscles. Yes, muscles on a woman are very sexy, but so is her brute strength, dedication to her craft and eagerness to live her life to the fullest.

Nuriye Evans, an undisputed Muscle Goddess if there ever was one.
Nuriye Evans, an undisputed Muscle Goddess if there ever was one.

Muscles and strength can mean two different things to different people. Anyone who knows even a little bit about the bodybuilding lifestyle knows how difficult and grueling it is. It’s a cutthroat business. The dieting, lifting, supplementation and scientific approach to reorganizing your life’s schedule can be exhausting – especially if one is pursuing bodybuilding as a profession.

Sthenolagnia and Cratolagnia.

Two words you probably can’t pronounce. Two words you certainly did not grow up learning about.

But now you know a little more about this glorious world of female muscle, female muscle fandom and the reasons why we love our buff, strong and powerful ladies. It truly is a mesmerizing world once you jump in head first.

So immerse yourself into it as fully as you can. You never know…you just might find yourself using these two words in everyday conversation!

Six Words I’ll Never Use When Writing Erotica

I’ll admit. I’m a newbie.

This blog is my first ever venture into writing erotica.

And what an adventure it has been!

I’ve learned a lot from reading other blogs to see their approaches to writing online erotic stories. I’ve also learned quite a bit from flipping through cheap dime store romance novels. But I still do not consider myself to be a “pro” by any stretch of the imagination!

However, I do have my standards when it comes to the style of my writing.

Even though I haven’t been writing erotica for very long, I’ve already created for myself a few basic rules that guide my writing. I earned my B.A. in journalism, so I’m already used to following a written style guide (I use the Associated Press, in case any of you were curious).

My primary story, “The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi,” deals with many things, but chief among them: sex. And, naturally, when you write about sex, inevitably things are going to get a little dirty.

But let’s face it; that’s why we read erotica in the first place, isn’t it?

But I don’t think of erotic fiction as being “porn.” Porn, more often than not, lacks any sort of art and only exists to titillate and excite. Erotic fiction exists to do those things but within the context of characters, plot and ideas. I don’t consider myself an accomplished erotic writer by any means but I would like to think I’m entertaining what few faithful readers I have.

(Thank you, by the way, to ALL of you who have read or stumbled upon my blog so far!)

I strive to write erotic fiction that still contains basic elements of storytelling even when dealing with sexually-charged subject matter. Just because a story deals with S-E-X doesn’t mean it has to be filthy. Filth is for children. Erotica is for adults.

That’s why there are certain words I will never use in my writing. I don’t want to sound like an elitist, but I have a distinct set of immature words that I don’t think belong in fiction intended for adults. These are words best reserved for the playground.

So, here’s a brief rundown of said words I will never use in my writing:

  1. Dick
  2. Cunt
  3. Pussy
  4. Cum
  5. Ass
  6. Cock

I don’t know about you, but these six words just seem a little too crass for me. Using the word “pussy” instead of “vagina” sounds too much like grade school kids talking about what they just overheard their older siblings talk about.

Additionally, “pussy” is often used as a derogatory term for someone who’s perceived as being weak or lacking self-respect. This sexist term doesn’t belong in my writing.

“Dick” also doesn’t sound right to me. I prefer the traditional term “penis.” Maybe it’s because “dick” is a derogatory term for someone who’s a jerk. This is another negative association I don’t want my readers to be subjected to when reading my stories.

“Cock” is another word I don’t like. Maybe because when I think of the word “cock,” I think about a rooster. “Cock” isn’t necessarily a crass word, but there are better alternatives out there.

The word “cunt” is so taboo that we often refer to it as the “c-word.” I don’t know much about the origin of this word, but it doesn’t seem necessary, especially when there’s that perfectly legitimate word, “vagina,” also available.

Is “vagina” such a taboo word that we’d rather use “pussy,” “cunt,” “snatch” and other euphemisms instead? Maybe a lot of writers don’t want to sound like they’re writing an anatomy textbook. I get that.

Two euphemisms I prefer to use are “manhood” when referring to a man’s genitalia and “womanhood” when referring to a woman’s genitalia. I find these terms more empowering and conducive to describing their God-given biology.

Of course, all rules are meant to be broken. There is one exception when I would (and eventually will) use these six words: in the context of dialogue. Dialogue between characters who would use these words is the only place where I’d be comfortably referring to a man’s semen as “cum.” What’s wrong with “semen?” Does it remind you of a group of sailors exploring the high seas?

So there you have it. I think language is important and what words you use can have a tremendous effect on your readers. Good erotica should stimulate the imaginations of your audience. Using middle school language like “pussy” while describing the act of cunnilingus might turn some people off.

Once again, I don’t claim to be a great erotic fiction writer. I’m just laying out my reasons for using medically-correct terms like “penis” and “vagina” when other writers would use “cock” and “cunt.”

If you want mature adults to read your writing, you should treat them like mature adults. There’s nothing wrong with reading smut, just as long as you have respect for the characters you create. Maybe it’s just me, but describing the act of lovemaking as “fucking her pussy so hard she cums like a bitch” doesn’t sound very dignified.

And if I do break these rules and use those six forbidden words outside of the context of dialogue, I give you full permission to punch me in the face the next time you see me on the streets.

Oh, wait. That would never happen. None of you know who I am!

Maybe this is why I prefer to remain anonymous…