A Female Muscle Fetish Might Not Actually Be a Fetish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we really that far outside the norm?

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

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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