Like A Tiger Stalking Her Prey: Comparing a Muscular Woman to a Wild Beast

Desiree Ellis is a beast, no question about it.

Desiree Ellis is a beast, no question about it.

Imagine a hungry tiger, crouching low in the sagebrush, stalking an unsuspecting prey. An ill-fated rabbit is drinking water out of a river, unaware of his inevitable fate. He prepares to return back to his home until…

The tiger strikes. The prey is caught. The prey bleeds to death. The tiger eats its defeated victim and walks away from the brief encounter satiated and happy.

The rabbit leaves this cruel and unforgiving world so quickly he has no idea what just happened. One moment he’s enjoying a refreshing beverage from the river, the next he’s being savagely devoured by a bloodthirsty beast searching for sustenance.

So it goes.

Mother Nature can be cruel to the weak and unprepared. Those of us fortunate to live in modern times have conveniences, societal structures, and laws that ensure we don’t need to resort to such barbarity. Human beings do from time to time have to engage in such vicious behavior for the sake of survival, but thankfully that’s the exception and not the rule. Despite its flaw, isn’t the 21st Century great?

Yet, even for us city dwellers (or, Heaven forbid, those of us who live in the suburbs!) the “jungle mindset” has not gone completely away. We may shop at grocery stores, eat at fancy restaurants, drive sporty cars, use smartphones to communicate, read books to learn new information, and enjoy indoor plumbing, but deep down inside, buried in our psyches, we still secretly yearn to live in the wild.

Mankind may have become domesticated, but nature doesn’t go away that easily. We aren’t as far off from our caveman and cavewoman days as we might think (and no, I am not referring to the pop culture fad that is the Paleo Diet). We still enjoy hunting, hiking, athletic competitions, competing with others for a mate, and “earning” our right to live. We may not build our homes out of sticks and stones like the good old days, but we work at 40-hour-a-week jobs in order to pay for the roof over our heads.

Perhaps there’s still a part of us that yearns for our Paleolithic days. Even as a casual daydream. Or as the backdrop of a fetishistic fantasy. For those of us who love female bodybuilders, this fantasy manifests itself through our constant comparison (and association) of muscular women with wild beasts.

How many of you imagined the tiger described in the opening anecdote as a muscular cavewoman instead? How many of you thought about the helpless prey as a small, emaciated caveman who heralds from a rival clan? Or a badass chick slaying a (wo)man-eating tiger? Don’t worry if you didn’t initially. You’re sure to think about that now!

When fans of female bodybuilders describe the women they love, two different analogical themes usually emerge: Deific and animalistic.

Werk it, Aleesha Young!

Werk it, Aleesha Young!

The deific nature of female bodybuilders comes out when we talk about muscular women as being “goddesses” or “angels.” Describing a beautiful woman as an angel is quite mainstream. You don’t need to be George McFly to know what I’m talking about (if you don’t get this reference, ask your kids because they’re going to love it). Even the term “goddess” is more or less common among non-muscular women. But I cannot count how many times I’ve come across – or have personally used myself – terms like Muscle Goddess or Muscle Angel as nicknames for women like Alina Popa and Lindsay Mulinazzi.

It makes perfect sense. Female bodybuilders seem almost superhuman. Or in this instance, above human. And what types of creatures are above humanity? The gods, of course. Like Zeus and Athena looking down upon humanity from their ethereal clouds in the sky, female bodybuilders are like Hercules, a human/god hybrid who is technically a deity but has flesh-and-blood and chooses to live among us mortals.

The other theme is animalistic. One of my favorite football (for my non-American readers, I’m not talking about soccer) players of all time is Marshawn Lynch, a former running back for the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. His apt nickname is “Beast Mode” because he runs like an unleashed wild beast when he’s plowing through defenders and picking up yardage. Even though Mr. Lynch (who’s being mentioned in this blog post so he doesn’t get fined) is now retired, he still sells merchandise that blatantly uses the Beast Mode brand.

Other athletes who are hardcore and play with reckless abandon are also often compared to beasts. Ronda Rousey, Rob Gronkowski, LeBron James, Manny Pacquiao, and others come to mind. There’s something to be said about an athlete who puts it all on the line, plays with a savage attitude, and doesn’t seem human when he or she is going about their business.

Bodybuilders, both male and female, are a different kind of animal (pun intended). Unlike athletes who compete in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, boxing, or MMA, bodybuilding is a sport that’s based on subjective judgement, not head-to-head competition. Most of the hard work is done behind the scenes, or more specifically, in the gym and kitchen. Top bodybuilders aren’t dunking over each other, tackling each other, throwing punches at each other, or trying to strike each other out with a 95 mph fastball.

That’s not to say that bodybuilding isn’t a true competitive sport. It’s definitely competitive in every single facet imaginable. But it’s different than other sports. Not better or worse, but different.

However, the beastly comparisons come into play when we think about the physiques of bodybuilding athletes. They look animalistic. It’s hard not to look at a bodybuilder’s hypermuscular body and not compare them to an ox (“strong as an ox”), bull, horse, or lion. So bodybuilders don’t necessarily act like beasts when they’re on the stage, but they indisputably look like beasts.

Male bodybuilders are often compared to beasts. So are female bodybuilders. So what’s the big deal? Here are a few takeaways:

  1. Beasts and traditional roles of women

For as long as human civilization has existed, certain gender stereotypes and roles have also existed. Chief among them is the role of men being the hunters and gatherers and women as caretakers of the family and home. The clear-cut domesticated role for women still persists today in most parts of the world. Who usually takes care of the children? Either their mother or nanny (who is usually a woman). In other words, a maternal authority figure.

Men, on the other hand, are the so-called breadwinners. Men today may not actually hunt for their food, but they are encouraged to work at jobs that pay money intended to help put food on the table. Yes, women do make up a significant portion of the modern workforce, but old habits are often hard to break. Going back several centuries, men hunted for food. Women did not.

This social structure then makes the “woman as beast” motif a rather new phenomenon. Only in cartoons, graphic novels, fetish porn, and pulp literature do you see women portrayed as hunters and gatherers in the jungle (both literally and figuratively). Traditional gender roles make this paradigm not only unusual, but contrary to most of human history.

So associating a female bodybuilder with a wild beast is a definitive break from how we’ve traditionally viewed the role of women in our society. The “man as beast” motif makes sense from an anthropological perspective, but not the “woman as beast” theme. The fact we’ve come to view women in this light is fascinating.

  1. Humans vs. non-humans

An animal is not a human, which is stating the obvious. We don’t expect a human being (not even Usain Bolt) to be able to outrun a cheetah or lift more than a grizzly bear. Humans have certain physical limitations. We can’t fly like an eagle, crawl up a tree like a squirrel or swim underwater for long periods of time like a shark. That’s not in our DNA.

When a human being can (sort of) do things that an animal can, the beast comparisons start to roll in. Mr. Bolt is fast like a cheetah. Andy Bolton is as strong as an ox. Ronda Rousey is as lethal as an anaconda. LeBron James can jump like a kangaroo. We know they can’t literally accomplish feats that a beast can, but sports media (and fans) are often prone to employing hyperbole.

Sporting the shades, Roxanne Edwards is not a woman you want to mess with.

Sporting the shades, Roxanne Edwards is not a woman you want to mess with.

For female bodybuilders, this is even more significant. Because women are biologically not as strong as men, when a woman can achieve a level of muscularity and pure raw strength that surpasses many men, the beast comparisons matter even more. Female bodybuilders are human, but seem almost non-human. They totally destroy whatever notions we hold about the limitations of female physiology.

Male bodybuilders are sort of viewed this way, but it’s exponentially amplified when applied to female bodybuilders. Our perceived stereotypes (and scientifically-backed) beliefs about what women can and cannot physically do shatter when we encounter a muscular woman. She tears down walls that we put around the female species. Like Samson pushing apart the pillars at the Temple of Dagon, female bodybuilders defiantly demolish the box put around them with the ferocious strength of a beast.

  1. The fetishization of beasts

You don’t need to be an expert at Furry culture to know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t familiar with the Furry subculture, Google it and be prepared to feel supremely uncomfortable afterward (don’t say I didn’t warn you!). Yikes.

There exists in our culture the element of fetishizing wild beasts. Additionally, there is something fairly normal to this that has nothing to do with bestiality. Sexuality is a raw element to humanity, something that speaks to our base desires and ability to create future generations.

We like to think of humankind as being intelligent, civilized, cooperative, and advanced. Perhaps the smartest and most resourceful creatures who walk this Earth. It may not seem like it at times (just read the news for five minutes) but for the most part, we humans think of ourselves as superior creatures to wildlife in the jungle, fish in the ocean, and birds in the sky.

However, deep down inside there lurks a desire to reconnect to our animal brothers and sisters. It can get boring and tedious being a human, so why not switch it up for a change and live life (even in a pseudo-sexual manner) as an animal? This is less about anthropomorphism and more about believing that people are really no different than animals.

I’m no expert at zoophilia – and yes, such a term actually exists – but that sort of thing indeed does occur among some folks. Not a huge number of us, but there’s definitely something primal when it comes to thinking about human beings as being wild beasts in need of taming and domesticating.

  1. Beasts are a natural adversary for man

Returning to the hunters-and-gatherers motif, another angle to this discussion is the fact that beasts are also a natural adversary to mankind. Wild animals can be a safety hazard. We treat wild animals as food; just like they treat us in similar fashion. Beasts are not just a common opponent to humans, they often can be an existential threat to humans!

The popularity of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park movies speak to this. People are, for whatever reason, naturally worried that someday their global dominance will come to an end. Endless warfare, environmental disasters, economic collapse, destruction of the civil social order, and other unknown threats ominously loom in the distance. We experience all these things now, but it can get worse, right?

Right. Or not. But fiction rarely gives us a rosy picture of the future. History has taught us that those in power are always paranoid about losing it. That goes for kings, queens, presidents, dictators, mob bosses, war lords, and other people in positions of power. Human beings of all shapes and sizes are the same way. Will super intelligent apes or genetically reconstructed dinosaurs eventually replace us as the dominant species on Earth? It’s doubtful, but one never knows how future events will unfold.

Kim Birtch has gorgeous eyes.

Kim Birtch has gorgeous eyes.

This deep-rooted fear might explain why people have a natural inclination to demonstrate who’s boss. People hunt wild game, eat meat, keep pets, and trap animals in zoos for a variety of reasons, but one hidden reason might be our subconscious desire to remind these beasts who’s in charge. Every time we eat a steak we think to ourselves, “This is what you get for being lower on the food chain!”

Therefore, when men who love female bodybuilders start to compare muscular women to beasts, the same phenomena might be happening. Men, on a subconscious level, view a muscular woman as a threat to his social dominance. She’s bigger and stronger than him, which goes contrary to what thousands of years of biological evolution has brought to us. So in order to retrieve his lost masculinity, he imagines muscular women as being a wild beast in need of domesticating. She’s like a hungry tiger who is threatening to unmercifully consume him and his family. How will he manage to survive?

Perhaps this explains why many guys (not me, but I’m not judging anyone) love to wrestle female bodybuilders. I prefer sensual muscle worship, but I do not speak for everybody. They want to “defeat” her in a battle of physical prowess. While this “victory” is more symbolic than anything else (fantasy wrestling is just that: a fantasy come to life), nevertheless it provides him emotional comfort that he’s still a man and she’s still a woman – regardless of how much muscle she’s packed on her body.

Beasts are either defeated or tamed. A defeated beast is forced to either become food or retreat back into their domains and lick their wounds. A tamed beast can become a subordinate or a partner.

Wow. Who knew female muscle fetishism could be so deeply psychological?

  1. Beasts lack inhibitions and manners

The last point speaks to why many of us love female bodybuilders in the first place: Female bodybuilders are rebels. They defy our expectations for what women are supposed to look like. They defy their biological limitations. They defy their socially-constructed subordinate role to men. They defy our standards of beauty, femininity, and masculinity. They do this whether they intend to or not.

What theoretically separates humans from beasts is that we’re civil and rational while beasts are uncivil and primitive. We live in air conditioned homes. They live in caves and makeshift nests. We can do algebra, calculus, perform symphonies, and write poetry. They can’t conceive of such activities. We can cooperate for mutual benefit. Beasts are forced to kill each other for the sake of survival.

But whenever you read about terrorism, war, political corruption, and crime in the news, it’s hard to say with a straight face that humans are civilized. Who are we to talk? We can be just as violent as a pack of wolves attacking a lone deer.

Beasts, however, lack inhibitions and manners. They are not expected to follow such protocols of rational behavior. A hungry tiger can slaughter a group of defenseless rabbits and none of us will blink an eye. A deranged psychopath can shoot up a public place like a school or a shopping mall and we (justifiably) look down upon that person with shame, disgust, and repulsion. People must behave in a certain way. Animals are, for whatever reason, not expected to do the same.

Beautiful legs on Autumn Raby.

Beautiful legs on Autumn Raby.

In vicarious fashion, maybe we envy the beast for not having to follow these rules. We are jealous that female bodybuilders have the self-confidence to pursue their dreams despite what society says – all the while we don’t possess even a fraction of those convictions. We love muscular women because not only are they physically beautiful, but because they’ve given themselves permission to do whatever they want to with their lives regardless of the consequences. That’s pretty cool. How many of us are willing and able to do the same thing?

We love female bodybuilders because they aren’t dainty flowers who feel constricted by social mores. They defiantly break those molds and create their own rules. They feel free to grunt, bust their tail, and sweat buckets at the gym without a second thought to what anybody else thinks. Their lack of “manners” is liberating. We get a sense of vicarious pleasure from watching this unfold.

I apologize if this post took an unexpected dark turn, but discussions about human sexuality isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes it is necessary to travel into the Dark Unknown in order to shine a light on Greater Understanding.

To summarize, there’s something undeniably animalistic about female bodybuilders. From the perspective of straight men who love female muscle, we fantasize about muscular women being wild beasts because it speaks to how we view our place in the global order. Are we at the top? Or at the bottom? Do we have power? Or are we powerless? Is our masculinity celebrated or squashed? Are men the stronger sex or are we secretly afraid that not all of us are able to carry this mantle?

Like the tiger hiding in the sagebrush, these questions are lurking in our minds. And like the tiger’s helpless prey, answering these questions may eventually lead us to an unpleasant confrontation.

Believe It or Not, Muscle Worship May Be a More Intimate Activity than Sex

Shawna Strong's last name is sure appropriate, wouldn't you say?

Shawna Strong’s last name is sure appropriate, wouldn’t you say?

I’ve written at length about muscle worship. If you need a summary of what this is all about, please refer to a previous blog post. I’ve even written detailed accounts of two of my past muscle worship experiences with female bodybuilders.

If you have some unquenched need to live vicariously through me (who doesn’t?), go check them out here and here.

One aspect of muscle worship sessions that I’ve formulated in my mind recently is one that I’m not entirely convinced of, but one I believe deserves to be discussed. Muscle worship is, simply defined, an activity involving a muscular participant (it could be a man or a woman) who allows a client to touch their body, usually for sexual gratification purposes. Other side activities usually occur in addition to this, but the crux of the matter involves intimately exploring a muscular person’s physical body in exchange for payment.

One thought I’ve had about this phenomenon may sound crazy at first, but sort of makes sense the more I think about it. Muscle worship may be a more personally intimate activity than sex.

I don’t want to make any blanket statements and say this is always true 100 percent of the time, but in certain circumstances this can possibly be true. Let me explain further.

Sex between two people is without a doubt a supremely intimate act. Perhaps the most intimate act you could do with another person. We won’t even get into sex between three, four, five or six people! So it seems rather odd that I would say such a thing like muscle worship can be more personal than sex.

Obviously, not all sex is created equal. Context matters a great deal. Sex between a long-time married couple who’s going through the motions definitely isn’t the same as awkward teenage lovers wanting to lose their virginities together during a romantic camping trip. There is a great deal of difference between these two scenarios. The same goes between a prostitute meeting a client versus a couple who has just been reunited after several months away from each other (think of a military veteran returning from an overseas war). Context is everything.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume we’re talking about ordinary run-of-the-mill sex between a couple who knows each other well and has no external drama going on. Got it?

Muscle worship, on the other hand, involves a female bodybuilder – and I’ll be talking exclusively about female bodybuilders, obviously! – providing her client access to her body. The degree of intimacy allowed varies from session provider to session provider, but the basic idea stays the same. Generally speaking, sex is an act where two people share their bodies together for the sake of mutual pleasure. Muscle worship is, by and large, a one-way road where the provider shares her body with her client but the client isn’t expected to share anything back (other than monetary compensation).

A female bodybuilder’s body isn’t just the flesh and blood she carries around on this physical planet. It’s her entire livelihood. From head to toe, even if she isn’t competing in contests, her body is what defines her professional identity. Of course, an FBB is way more than just her physical self. She has her own mind, soul, and divine worth. But her means of making a living depends solely on her body. A tax accountant, for example, offers services that are useful but at the end of the day wouldn’t be described as intimate. A tax accountant doesn’t risk anything personal when they work with a client. They don’t put themselves in nearly the vulnerable position an FBB does when they engage in a session with a complete stranger.

Ebony Goddess Coco Crush.

Ebony Goddess Coco Crush.

If, during a wrestling session, an FBB strains her back and cannot walk properly for a whole month, she loses out on a whole month’s worth of financial earnings. If a tax accountant strains his or her back while raking leaves in the backyard, it would still hurt like hell but he or she could still functionally do their job. Not so with an athlete whose physical body is their entire selling point.

Most female bodybuilders are damn proud of their bodies and have every right to be. And they want their fans to be able to appreciate their hard work with every opportunity they possibly can. But it’s one thing to watch an FBB pose on stage from a distance or watch a video of her on YouTube. It’s quite another thing to be in close proximity to her and feel with your own hands her handiwork. Being a session provider can be a dangerous thing. I’d like to think the vast majority of clients are honest, well-intentioned people, but sadly that isn’t the case for everybody.

You never know these days. There are psychopaths out there who love to do harm to innocent people just to satisfy their sick personal desires. It’s horrific to think about, but unfortunately that’s the reality of our world today. I wonder if FBBs think about this when they exchange e-mails with potential clients. Obviously, they can trust the people they’ve seen before. But what about new people from cities they aren’t familiar with? Can you really trust that the happy-go-lucky person you “talk” to over the Internet is as sweet and harmless as they appear? The truth is, nothing can be safely assumed.

That’s one of the unfortunate realities session providers have to deal with. As mentioned before, the risk factor of facing an accident is also ever present. Injuries happen for a myriad of reasons. You can even hurt yourself at the gym while working out (raise your hand if that’s ever happened to you!). Anything is possible. Session providers who offer wrestling put themselves in harm’s way. It’s not inconceivable for a 250-pound man to inadvertently injure a 180-pound female wrestler during the heat of the moment. Even if the large man got carried away and meant nothing malicious about it, accidents do happen. They’re unavoidable. That’s a fact of life.

An injury can sideline you for days, weeks, months, and perhaps (if it’s serious enough) years. If you are unable to work for several months, how will you make money? How can you continue to lift at the gym and maintain your muscular figure when you’re bedridden for months at a time? Muscle atrophy will eventually kick in. She’ll start to lose her size. After she recovers, she’ll need to build her body back up to where it was before the injury. And that takes time and effort. Think about the lost income that results from that. FBBs who hurt themselves for work-related reasons cannot rely on worker’s compensation insurance to support them during their recovery period. Ouch.

The Asian Muscle Goddess Michelle Jin.

The Asian Muscle Goddess Michelle Jin.

Injury is one valid concern. So is the prospect of a crazy kook wanting to do something harmful to you. Another one is this: The psychological toll of being a female bodybuilder and session provider.

I’ve talked at length about the sexism faced by FBBs. That’s a major issue. But another one is a problem that I’m guessing both male and female bodybuilders face: The pressure to be perfect. In essence, this is what being a bodybuilder – whether you compete professionally or not – is all about. It’s about the continuous journey toward attaining aesthetic perfection. It’s nonstop. There is no end in sight. A bodybuilder can never be satisfied with where they’re at physically. The moment you think you’ve arrived at your “goal,” what is there left to strive toward? Will complacency kick in?

Due to this line of thinking, many FBBs are stuck in a never-ending cycle of insecurity. Women as a whole are definitely stuck in this maddening hamster wheel of self-esteem issues, but FBBs in particular are right in the thick of it. Without a perfectly chiseled body, where would they be? In order for them to be able to do what they love doing, they have to look a certain way. Like professional models, their looks define their livelihood. It’s a brutal world to live in.

I’ve read interviews with Rene Campbell where she talks about being a “bigorexic.” She defines this as being constantly insecure about being small. Anyone who’s ever seen Rene Campbell would know she is the complete opposite of small. She’s huge! She has eye-popping muscles that are as large as you’ll ever see on a woman. She’s a very big lady. But deep down inside, she still thinks of herself as dainty, frail, and weak. Call if “Fat Kid Syndrome.” Kids who grew up overweight still think of themselves like that even when they reach adulthood and are no longer medically overweight. It’s a mental block in your brain that doesn’t ever completely vanish.

Rene’s insecurities about her size is just part of this spiteful equation. Session providers also face other pressures. In addition to maintaining their impressive level of muscle mass, they also have to do whatever they can to look “traditionally” beautiful. Many choose to get breast augmentation surgery in order to look more “feminine.” I’m sure Botox injections and faithful usage of anti-wrinkle cream are also par for the course. There are plenty of clients who do not want to see an FBB who looks “too old.” But age is an inevitability. No amount of medical procedures or cosmetic products will completely turn back the clock.

Rita Sargo werking so hard.

Rita Sargo werking so hard.

The vast majority of FBBs I’ve met for muscle worship sessions have been older women. Most were probably older than 40. The youngest was probably in her mid to late 30s. I know for a fact – though I never asked! – a few I’ve met were older than 50. But that doesn’t matter to me. They were all beautiful women. I mean, stunningly beautiful. Yes, they had wrinkles on their face. Yes, they had crow’s feet around their eyes. But they were still absolutely gorgeous.

I think many of these strong female bodybuilders are way more beautiful than “normally built” women half their age. But that’s just me. I’ll bet if you were to meet them up-close-and-personal too, you’d feel the same way.

However, not all guys are think that way. I’m not suggesting I have an “older woman fetish,” but age doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it does other people. You can cover up your age when doing photoshoots, video shoots, and other multimedia projects. Adobe Photoshop is a hell of a software program. Clever lighting can do wonders. There are tricks of the trade to make a 40-year-old woman look like she’s 30. But when you meet her for an intimate muscle worship session, you see her for who she is. Some guys are turned off by this. Others don’t mind it. But regardless, an FBB can’t please everybody. Nor can she stay young forever.

Once again, it’s a brutally unforgiving world we live in.

The idea that people in certain professions have a “shelf-life” is pretty dehumanizing. But it is what it is. I’m not here to lead any kind of social revolution. It’s unnerving that models, athletes, and entertainers (one could put a female bodybuilder in all three categories) have an “expiration date” set by the powers-that-be in their respective industries. But that’s how the system works. The moment you get too old, too fat, too slow, and not as lucrative as you used to be, you get tossed to the scrap heap. There will always be newer and younger people to replace you.

Can’t hit 40 home runs anymore? Don’t draw the sold-out crowds like you used to? Can’t sell perfume like you did 15 years ago? Here’s the door. See you on the other side. Have a good day. Oof. Brutal.

The revolving door will continue to cycle people in and out. That’s why you have to earn every single penny you possibly can while you can. Cut-throat? You better believe it.

Imagine this scenario: You’re a 50-year-old female bodybuilder who is also a mother of three high school children. All three of your kids are considering going to college. You may or may not be married to the father of your children. Money is tight. College tuition continues to rise year after year. You used to compete professionally, but don’t anymore because the winnings weren’t consistent or large enough. You’re still physically beautiful, but you’re also a 50-year-old woman and there’s no denying that. Your name recognition remains strong, but that is by no means secure forever. You regularly travel the world providing muscle worship sessions. You’re always away from your family. You live out of a suitcase for months at a time. Travelling can be stressful. Setting up appointments with clients is equally stressful. You risk injury and physical harm every single time you meet a client. From the perspective of your children, in today’s social media age word can get out quickly that your mom gives out hand jobs to complete strangers in hotel rooms across the globe. That thought is constantly going through your mind. We also live in the Yelp Age where crowdsourced opinions on the web can make or break your reputation. One bad review or two floating around an Internet message board can harm your ability to earn money (even if those poor reviews are written fairly and objectively and without malice). It’s a savage world we live in. If you put yourself in this particular hypothetical female bodybuilder’s shoes, how would you go about your everyday business? What choices would you make?

You’d probably be a bit stressed out. How would you feel if you knew your body, personality, and reputation was being discussed by strangers on the web? Talk about an invasion of privacy. Talk about breaking down the walls of confidentiality with the hammer of Thor.

While the theoretical woman I’ve outlined above isn’t based on anybody in particular, women like her do exist. That story isn’t unique or completely made up out of thin air. There are women (and men too) out there who could probably identify with some of that. Please, think about this the next time you anonymously berate a session provider on a chat forum just because your $400 session wasn’t quite worth every single nickel and dime you paid her.

Jean Jitomir wearing a sexy black cocktail dress.

Jean Jitomir wearing a sexy black cocktail dress.

So when I say that muscle worship may be a more intimate activity than sex, I may not be too far off. Like I said before, context matters a great deal. I could write for days and days on how intimate sexual intercourse can be. But sex is, for the most part, an intimate act that you share with a limited number of people. You do offer your body to another person, but it’s (usually) kept private, low-key, and doesn’t involve your ability to pay your bills. Muscle worship can be dramatically different. As outlined previously, it’s not just your body you put on the line. You put your reputation, health, wellbeing, livelihood, and family on the line as well. That definitely puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

I’m not trying to make any definitive statements or be dogmatic about anything. I’m just trying to offer some perspective about what it’s like to walk this earth in the shoes of the muscular women we love so much. It’s ain’t easy, that’s for sure.

Intimacy isn’t just defined by what the activity entails. Sex can be intimate. Or it can be casual. Rather, it’s defined by what you put on the line. What do you risk? What is the price of success? Of failure? When your life’s passions are defined by your body, putting your body in a vulnerable position is the riskiest thing you can possibly do. While I wouldn’t go as far as to call this bravery, it does require a level of fearlessness that very few people can match.

Female bodybuilders are strong women. Being able to deadlift 400 pounds or squat 500 pounds requires impressive strength. But being willing to put your body and soul on the line in the name of doing what you love requires a level of strength that is beyond comparison.

Sex Sells! Especially if You’re an Entrepreneurial Female Bodybuilder

Ready to get your beach body back? Timea Majorova would make the perfect poster child!

Ready to get your beach body back? Timea Majorova would make the perfect poster child!

Clichés become clichés because they’re based on, for the most part, a certain degree of observable truth. They may not be true in the purest sense, but conventional wisdom has a funny way of speaking to reality more often than not.

No matter how sick and tired we get of hearing tired adages like “the early bird gets the worm” or “birds of a feather flock together,” we keep seeing them used over and over again because…well, they’re true. Maybe not true 100 percent of the time, but enough times that we don’t retire them to Cliché Heaven.

Here’s another one. “Sex sells.” Does it? Does sex actually sell? You bet your horny ass it does.

Why? Simple explanation: No matter how old we get, how mature we think we become, or how pious we try to act, the erotic will always catch our attention. Always. Especially if it hits right in your wheelhouse. Sex does indeed sell. And in a world that’s dictated by the health and vitality of the free markets, you can bet with both hands that sex will continue to sell as long as it remains a reliable source of profit.

Every Victoria’s Secret magazine spread, shampoo commercial or Abercrombie & Fitch mall banner preys upon this very philosophy. Sex sells anything from TV subscriptions to hair brushes. In fact, it’s so pervasive in our society that we don’t always notice it. I’d go even further and say that it’s so saturated in our culture that sometimes sex doesn’t sell because we’ve become so accustomed to it. If it ceases to titillate us, we might ignore it. So this is why every advertising agency has to keep on pushing the boundaries of good taste as the years go on. When a beautiful girl in a cute dress can be overshadowed by a sexy woman in a g-string bikini, you know it’s only a matter of time when all-out nudity will be considered acceptable in the public sphere.

Female bodybuilders know this reality all too well. As I’ve discussed before, the lifestyle of being a bodybuilder can be quite costly. The monetary rewards that come with competing can be few and far between. Only the elite level athletes are able to make a substantial income from the sport alone. Few others are selected to endorse products that can help generate additional revenue. So many FBBs are stuck having to ride the gravy train of our favorite cliché. Sex sells.

Hop on while you can. All aboard! Next stop, Hornyville, USA!

So how do FBBs sell their sexuality? There are many ways. Sexy workout videos are one way. Sexy photoshoots are another. Also, sexy websites and social media posts can keep fans enthralled. Live webcam shows, specialty content for “members only” and sexy merchandise are par for the course. Then you can go deeper and add sensual sessions to the mix. Whether an FBB offers BDSM services or muscle worship sessions, a slew of appointments from eager fans can add up pretty quickly to a lot of dough. If that doesn’t seem like enough, there’s the good old fashioned “adult entertainment” industry. Don’t tell me you’ve never been curious to explore what that’s all about!

An elegant Jay Fuchs.

An elegant Jay Fuchs.

There are probably other ways that FBBs take advantage of the free market, but what I mentioned above pretty much covers most of it.

However, there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable by all this. They might not necessarily say it out loud, but for many folks the idea of a female bodybuilder using her sexuality for financial gain is disconcerting. There are many reasons for this, so let’s dive right into it.

First, the most prominent argument is that taking advantage of one’s sexuality demeans the sport and one’s peers within the sport, male or female. Female athletes across all sports already are gratuitously sexualized, so this only adds additional fuel to the fire. This makes a lot of sense. In many ways, a female bodybuilder doesn’t just act on her own behalf. She also acts – although not intentionally – on behalf of every single female bodybuilder in existence. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.

Understandably, male and female bodybuilders alike struggle to fit into the mainstream of global competitive sports. Today, bodybuilding seems more like a fringe subculture than a universally recognized sporting industry. How many people can identify Peyton Manning if he were to walk down a crowded street? Since he’s just won his second Super Bowl, I’d imagine quite a lot. On the other hand, how many people could identify by name Phil Heath? He’d definitely stand out for being such a large human being, but we can all agree he doesn’t have nearly the face or name recognition as Mr. Manning, LeBron James, Steph Curry or Serena Williams.

This isn’t meant to insult Mr. Heath or anybody else in the bodybuilding world. This is meant to point out a simple fact that the sport isn’t mainstream. Not by a long shot. So how do you make it more mainstream? Quite simply, it has to resemble other mainstream sports. Unfortunately, when a female bodybuilder is seen using her sexuality to make a living, in the minds of the general public this starts to make the sport look more like a muscle beauty contest than the U.S. Open. It’s understandable why so many male and female bodybuilders are uncomfortable by the marriage of their sport with overt sexual expression.

It’s easy to see why a pro bodybuilder would be offended by women who choose to also work in the session business and adult entertainment industry. No one wants their profession viewed by the public with subtle associations of prostitution and pornography. Please keep in mind that I’m not calling FBBs who do sessions “prostitutes.” I am not making that distinction. What I am saying is that this association is not outside the realm of comprehension. The human brain is a funny thing. If a dog quacks like a duck, we may subconsciously think it’s a duck, even though our eyes tell us a different story. FBBs who choose to do sessions and pornographic films are still athletes, even though our brains may tell us they’re sex workers instead. And whatever negative stereotypes we hold against sex workers will unfairly be thrust upon these women whether we acknowledge it or not.

The future of the sport, Danielle Reardon.

The future of the sport, Danielle Reardon.

Second, using sexuality to make a viable income is seen not just as demeaning to the sport, but also demeaning to the individual. The “sex sells” mantra is so well-known that it’s become an easy way to make a quick buck. What can a Hollywood producer do to make sure his upcoming summer blockbuster makes even more money? Easy! Give the female lead a topless scene. How can a TV producer ensure her pilot sitcom will garner substantial ratings? Simple! Create a promo where one of the female characters comes out wearing a bikini. How can a CEO sell more sticks of deodorant? Ah ha! Shoot a commercial where a slovenly slacker dude buys the product, uses it and within seconds finds himself surrounded by hordes of young beautiful sorority co-eds. That’ll have the deodorant flying off the shelves!

“Sex sells,” therefore, feels like you’re selling out. It appears like you cannot sell your product on its own merits, thus you have to “sex” it up in order to grab people’s attention. I can see why this rubs people the wrong way whenever they see a female bodybuilder using her sexuality for financial gain. Why can’t a female athlete just be an athlete, not a “sexy female athlete?”

This is a valid concern. All too often female athletes of every sport are forced (either directly or indirectly) to sexualize their image in order to substantiate their bank accounts. We all know the vast majority of women athletes aren’t super rich like many of their male counterparts, so any extra income they can legitimately earn must be pursued.

Third, the “sex sells” mantra perhaps also demeans the rest of us. Are we such sex-crazed horny animals that we won’t buy a tube of toothpaste unless a beautiful woman is shown brushing her pearly whites with them? Are we so dimwitted that a girl in a bikini must be the determining factor in helping us decide which car we want to purchase? I mean, cars are pretty expensive. Some have better gas mileage than others. Others last longer. But if I see an ad with a blonde bimbo plastered all over it, by golly I’m going to spend a quarter of my yearly income on that!

Check out the beautiful smile of Roberta Toth!

Check out the beautiful smile of Roberta Toth!

Well, as silly as all this sounds, there might be an element of truth to it. I don’t think we’re incapable of controlling our sexual urges, but maybe I have a more optimistic viewpoint of human behavior than I should. But hopefully you get where I’m coming from. I tend to also get peeved when I see marketing ploys that shamelessly exploit sexuality in a completely unnecessary manner. Did they really have to go there? I guess they must think we’re all idiots. Perhaps we are…

To be fair, I don’t think advertising moguls actually think we’re all horned up bunny rabbits. I think the overuse of the “sex sells” philosophy reflects a lack of creativity and laziness rather than a low opinion of society. But I could be wrong.

So I can see why a lot of us instinctively react negatively when we see female bodybuilders utilizing their sex appeal for personal gain. We can be protective creatures. We want to maintain a righteous sense of dignity toward the institutions we respect, whether we’re talking about the bodybuilding industry, the world of female sports or the human race. I’m not here to criticize anyone’s personal moral or ethical sensibilities. Everyone comes from a different path in life. However, I do believe it is imperative that we look at the world through somebody else’s eyes for once. If you’re a dedicated and passionate female bodybuilder who exists in a male-dominated sport that’s increasingly marginalizing competitors like you, well, I don’t blame you for doing whatever you can to make a living. I’m not a female bodybuilder, so I don’t know what “the struggle” is like.

But I do possess a basic understanding of economics. Sometimes, “sex sells” makes perfect business sense. I don’t have fancy pie charts or Excel spreadsheets to back me up, but if your current business model isn’t producing adequate streams of revenue, keeping on hammering away at the status quo would be financial suicide. A willingness to adapt to new market conditions is vital for survival. We may not like it (at first, or ever), but you can’t argue with bankruptcy.

In many respects, female bodybuilders have to think of themselves less as athletes and more as entrepreneurs. I will explore this topic in future blog posts, so I won’t get too deep into this right now. For now, let’s just say it appears to be the wave of the future. It’s perfectly understandable why the marriage between bodybuilding and sexuality makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Your personal values notwithstanding, it could come across like a desperate last attempt to revive a dying industry.

The “sex sells” business model, however, doesn’t have to appear like a Hail Mary pass to the end zone to save the season. Could we see it instead as an alternative form of the sport? Or not part of the sport at all? There are a lot of female bodybuilders who refuse to market themselves as sex objects. I respect that. They have every right to portray themselves in any light they choose. However, so do the women who willingly (and proudly) showcase their sex appeal for adoring fans. Why all the judgment? Why do we have to fight each other?

One of the undeniable superstars of the sport today, Tina Chandler.

One of the undeniable superstars of the sport today, Tina Chandler.

If we can’t agree to disagree, then perhaps in the interim we can do our best to make a clear distinction between the sport of female bodybuilding and the independent business ventures of individual female bodybuilders – whether these women officially compete or not. Many FBBs compete sparingly. Some not at all. Regardless, they’re allowed to develop their personal brands in any way they choose. I’m a full supporter of self-empowerment.

The entertainment/media industry can be a harsh one. There’s no questioning that. Sports fall under this category, and we know for sure it can be an unforgiving world. Rarely do professional athletes live perfect storybook lives. The industry can chew up the best of us and spit us out at a moment’s notice without pomp or circumstance. Whatever you got to do to survive is sometimes the only path you can choose. If you have to choose between abandoning the profession you love or violating your principles every now and then, do you really wish ill on anyone who chooses the latter?

“Sex sells” is an undeniable truth. However, is it truthful because that’s the way it is, or because we allow it to be true? I cannot answer that fully, but I can see what’s right in front of my eyes. There are plenty of beautiful and intelligent female bodybuilders who happily make a living doing what they do thanks to their irresistible sex appeal. If they receive professional fulfillment and joy showing off their gorgeous bodies to adoring fans, I have absolutely no quarrel with that.

A Discussion on the Sexualization of Female Athletes

Brandi Mae Akers wearing a sexy see-through dress.

Brandi Mae Akers wearing a sexy see-through dress.

It should be no mystery that female athletes face a glaring double standard in our society. They are, both implicitly and explicitly, expected to flaunt their sexuality in ways their male counterparts are not. Outside of Ronda Rousey, how many mainstream female athletes are celebrated purely for being a fantastic athlete – as opposed to being a fantastically good looking athlete?

The topic of the sexualization of female athletes has been discussed ad nauseam. This article will not dissect this idea is great detail. Rather, we will explore this from a slightly different angle.

Those who critique the overly sexual nature of media representation of female athletes usually argue that they shouldn’t be sexualized at all. If male athletes aren’t sexualized, neither should female athletes. That argument sounds fair. It’s better to hold no standards versus double standards. Fair treatment means equal treatment.

But, as an enthusiast of female bodybuilders and female athletes in general, I’m slightly uncomfortable with that. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but there’s a fine line between sexualizing someone and demeaning them. I wholeheartedly agree that you should never belittle or dehumanize someone for any reason whatsoever. That’s not in question. What is in question is whether or not sexualizing someone automatically dehumanizes them. It’s a tough one to wrestle with for sure.

I totally get the argument that people are not just sex objects. We are independent agents of thoughts and emotions with basic needs just like anybody else. Every soul is valuable. Every person has purpose. Everyone is important. Whether you believe in the Divine or not, I hope we can all agree that every human being on planet Earth has value. That includes people we love, hate or are indifferent toward.

That being said, is sexualizing someone an intrinsic act of dehumanizing them? I would say if we treat people purely as a means to an end, then the answer is unequivocally “yes.” If we treat someone solely as a sex object whose only purpose is to give you sexual pleasure, then that makes you a terrible person. Even the relationship between a prostitute and a “john” should come with a certain level of mutual respect. Sex, in this case, may be a business transaction, but that doesn’t excuse you from treating the provider of sex like garbage.

I love female bodybuilders. Many of you who read my blog do as well. The reason why I constantly wrestle with this issue is because I definitely sexualize FBBs. I am very much sexually attracted to muscular women. There’s no ambiguity here. It’s really, when we boil things down to its barest essentials, the primary reason why I love them. It’s not the only reason why I’m a fan of female bodybuilding, but it’s undeniably important. If I told you sexual attraction had nothing to do with my fandom of female bodybuilders, I’d be a liar with my trousers definitely set on fire.

Isn't Lindsey Vonn cold? She's so smoking hot, I highly doubt it.

Isn’t Lindsey Vonn cold? She’s so smoking hot, I highly doubt it.

But, deep down inside, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. I can sexualize someone and still deeply respect them. I’ve met many women in my life whom I found to be very physically attractive. But I try, although not always successfully, to treat them like human beings first. I’m not a perfect person, but I’m trying my best here.

One argument I could make is that sexualizing female athletes is almost inevitable. When a woman trains for a sport, she’s going to sculpt her physical body into a shape that many of us will find attractive. Muscle definition, curves in all the right places, flawless body development, impeccable silhouettes, etc. And as they say, we’re only human, right? Can you blame someone for finding Alina Popa, who is an indisputable world-class athlete in her own right, so very sexy? If finding Ms. Popa sexually attractive is a crime, then put me in handcuffs, lock me in a padded jail cell and throw away the key for eternity. But, to reiterate my point, I don’t believe my opinion of Ms. Popa’s sexiness is somehow disrespectful to her. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her, both as a woman and as a cream-of-the-crop athletic competitor. But her physical attractiveness is without a doubt a main component of my fandom of her.

It’s a confusing dynamic to deal with, indeed!

In other words, how can I possibly separate sports fandom and sexuality when it comes to female athletes? It’s almost impossible to do so. That being said, that’s no excuse to treat a professional woman basketball player like a junior high school cheerleader or unashamedly flirt with a female Olympic athlete minutes after she’s won a gold medal. Speaking of which, if I have to listen to one more clueless TV reporter ask a female Olympian how she balances being an elite athlete with motherhood, I’m going to rip my hair out. But that’s a whole other issue.

I think the best way handle this whole issue is to have the “yes, and” attitude. For example, you can say this:

“Yes, I find female athletes to be sexually attractive, but I also respect their impressive achievements which can only be accomplished through hard work, diligent preparation and heart.”

It may not sound like poetry, but the sentiment should be clear. You can both celebrate the achievements of female athletes and find them beautiful at the same time. You can enjoy watching female sports on TV or in person and not have to compartmentalize your physical attraction to them simultaneously. Life doesn’t have to be an “either, or” proposition. You can hold two different attitudes at the same time without them being contradictory.

Please don’t misinterpret me. I understand the trepidation about accepting female athletes as sex objects. I get it that once you start to go down a dark path, it can lead you to directions you never originally intended to go. If we start to view them in such a way, will we eventually expect them to pose for magazine photos as a condition of playing the sport? Will we require uniforms of basketball or softball players to be more “revealing” or “sexy” in order to attract the male demographic? Will we start to lose respect for them as athletes because we treat them like sex objects first and athletes second?

These are all valid concerns. I wouldn’t want my favorite FBBs to feel pressured to sexualize themselves out of fear of being ostracized from the business. It is a business, after all. If my favorite FBBs chose to never wear makeup in public and forsake any attempts to appear traditionally feminine, then good for them. I would support them every step of the way. One hundred percent. I want my favorite female bodybuilders to be as free as they want to do whatever they want whenever they want.

Do they want to pose naked for a risqué photoshoot? Good for them. If, on the other hand, a particular female bodybuilder chooses to never ever pose naked under any circumstances, as much as we’d all be disappointed with this decision, I strongly believe she has every right to do that. Freedom means having the opportunity to choose what you want and do not want to do. Her body is her most valuable asset. If she wants to show it off for all the world to see, more power to her. If she wants to remain modest and desexualized in the public’s eye, even more power to her.

The badass that is Ronda Rousey, perhaps the most popular female athlete on the planet right now.

The badass that is Ronda Rousey, perhaps the most popular female athlete on the planet right now.

But this is less about how an FBB (or any kind of female athlete) chooses to conduct herself and more about how we as fans choose to view them. How a female bodybuilder lives her life is nobody’s business but her own. But how we fans choose to live out our fandom is our business.

In short, perhaps the Buddhist “middle way” is the best solution. Don’t go to the extremes. You can both find a female athlete or bodybuilder physically attractive while at the same time respecting them as a person and as an athlete. One can hold both attitudes simultaneously without any hint of contradiction or hypocrisy. In other words, don’t take any side as far as it will go. You don’t have to view every female athlete as either a Playboy bunny or a monastic nun. The “Madonna-whore complex” is an old archetype that’s getting worn out.

The main concept to keep in mind is simple. Channel your inner Aretha Franklin and remember to always R-E-S-P-E-C-T people. I understand it’s unfair how female athletes are put into restrictive sexually-centric boxes without their consent. I understand male athletes, by and large, are not held to similar standards. That’s the very definition of unfair. I also get that no female athlete or bodybuilder should ever be forced to flaunt their sexuality unwillingly. Their main concern should be to play/compete in their sport and nothing else. That is all fine with me.

But as fans of these women, our perceptions don’t have to fit into any particular box. To add to this discussion, bodybuilding is a unique sport. Unlike baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, track and field, soccer, and so forth, winners of bodybuilding contests are judged by their appearances. The nature of the sport is conducive to judging excellence based on aesthetic. So, it’s considered “okay” for choosing your favorite bodybuilding athletes (male or female) purely based on their looks. After all, the sport is called “body”-building for a reason.

Nobody cares how attractive or unattractive a quarterback is. If you can throw for 4,000 yards, 25+ touchdowns and lead your team to the playoffs season after season, teams will pay you a lot of money to play for them. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, are judged by how their bodies look. So judging a female (or male) bodybuilder on their looks isn’t a terrible thing. Following that train of thought, it’s perfectly okay to be erotically turned on by a female bodybuilder’s body. It goes with the territory! An FBB is trying to sculpt her body to fit a desired aesthetic. If you find that particular aesthetic to be pleasing to the eye, what’s the harm?

As mentioned before, it’s sort of inevitable for male and female bodybuilders to be sexualized in the eyes of their fans. Maybe not all of their fans, but surely the ones who would normally be attracted to them regardless if they were a bodybuilder or not. The human body is a beautiful thing. Bodybuilders strive to mold theirs to perfection. If we happen to get aroused by the finished product, so be it.

Misty May-Treanor demonstrating why a lot of guys really don't mind watching Olympic beach volleyball.

Misty May-Treanor demonstrating why a lot of guys really don’t mind watching Olympic beach volleyball.

One could argue that sexuality is embedded within the sport of bodybuilding. It’s not the entirety of the sport, but one cannot deny its underlying presence. Men and women are hardwired to find certain genders, body types and people sexually attractive. I realize asexuality is a real thing, but for the sake of argument let’s assume most of us are born this way. Bodybuilding, by its very nature, seeks to elevate the human form to its highest possible peak. If muscular development is considered a proper barometer of beauty, then bodybuilders are closer to the pinnacle than us “mere mortals.” It logically follows that fans of bodybuilding would unavoidably become sexually attracted to these amazing athletes.

There are certainly women and men who love male bodybuilders. There are definitely men and women who love female bodybuilders. And guess what? That’s perfectly okay! I see nothing wrong with any of this.

Like any form of attraction, anything can be taken too far. This should be obvious to anyone. To treat a female athlete as nothing more than eye candy is an awful choice to make. She’s much more than something pretty for you to look at. She’s an accomplished competitor who deserves respect for her accomplishments and sincere admiration from her fans. I love female bodybuilders just as much as anyone else, but I always try to keep at the forefront of my mind that they’ve achieved things I could never dream of doing.

Think about what a typical woman bodybuilder has to go through every single day of her life:

  • Sacrificing her time
  • Sacrificing her energy
  • Maintaining a strict diet
  • Strenuous weightlifting regiments
  • Various non-weightlifting exercises
  • Following a strict schedule
  • Pressure from friends and family to not pursue bodybuilding
  • Stress from training and competing
  • Persistent insecurity
  • An emotionally draining lifestyle
  • Blatant misogyny
  • Sexism within the sport of bodybuilding itself
  • Worrying about unusual changes to the body
  • Unintended side effects from taking drugs and hormones
  • Paying for food, supplements and other sport-related paraphernalia
  • Travel costs
  • Injuries
  • Rude comments from people in public, over social media or elsewhere
  • Other unpleasant experiences that often go unseen

That’s quite a lot! The struggle is real, indeed. If this doesn’t instill in you more respect for women bodybuilders, then I have no idea what will. When you keep things like this in perspective, you start to realize how insanely disrespectful it is to treat female bodybuilders and athletes as mere sex objects who only exists for your own enjoyment.

I have no idea how to pronounce Zsuzsanna Toldi, but I do know that she's extremely attractive.

I have no idea how to pronounce Zsuzsanna Toldi, but I do know that she’s extremely attractive.

But alas, I highly doubt the majority of FBB enthusiasts feel this way. Most of us know FBBs and female athletes are people, not products. But, as said before, everything must come in moderation. Don’t think of strong women as sexual commodities, but don’t be afraid to celebrate their sex appeal at the same time.

In conclusion, how are we to handle the issue of our society’s sexualization of female athletes? The most rational answer might be this: There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging, celebrating and enjoying a female athlete’s sex appeal. However, there is something wrong with making that the sole focus of her identity. Whether we’re talking about Lindsey Vonn, Misty May-Treanor, Cat Zingano or Brandi Mae Akers, always keep in mind that they’re athletes who happen to be physically beautiful, not beautiful people who just happen to be athletes. That distinction might help clear up any possible sexist attitudes toward these remarkable women.

Understandably, there are many female athletes who are uncomfortable being viewed in a sexual nature, regardless of the respectful intent demonstrated by the admiring party. I get that. I’m not going to dismiss that attitude as being “overly sensitive” or “puritanical.” No one should ever be pressured to be comfortable with their sexuality or how other people feel about their sexuality. That’s not the point here. The point is that as fans, we have a responsibility to recognize the humanity in the strong beautiful women we love so dearly.

A very pretty Jennie Finch.

A very pretty Jennie Finch.

This topic can be a touchy one. I will admit that I do not have all the answers. I could be wrong about a point or two or three. The best rule of thumb is to look at this issue from all perspectives and try your best to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if every time you stepped up to the plate, onto a basketball court or in front of a bodybuilding stage, thousands of people started thinking of you not as a hardworking and passionate athlete, but instead a nameless Barbie doll with muscles? That sounds like a pretty condescending way to be treated.

Be kind. Be respectful. Don’t be a jerk. Always remember that regardless of who we are, whether we’re a world class female bodybuilder or an unapologetic fan of female bodybuilders, we’re all people trying to coexist on this beautiful, confusing and interconnected planet. In many regards, recognizing this basic fact could eliminate the vast majority of the problems we face every day.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your opinions. Feel free to share them in the comment section below or send me an e-mail at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. Just so you know, I write out my e-mail address that way to avoid my inbox being inundated with gratuitous spam. But I never consider any of you readers to be spam! I welcome feedback of all kind just as long as it’s productive, informative and respectful. So have at it!

A New Year’s Resolution Every Female Muscle Lover Should Make

MMA fighter Miesha Tate. A local gal from Tacoma, WA!!!

MMA fighter Miesha Tate. A local gal from Tacoma, WA!!!

Can you believe 2014 is finally upon us? I could have sworn the world was supposed to end on Dec. 21, 2012. But that’s old news.

Let’s discuss what happened in 2013 for a moment. I don’t know about the rest of you, but 2013 was a groundbreaking year for me as a female muscle fan.

No, my female muscle fandom didn’t start in 2013 (nor did this blog), but I did experience a whole bunch of “firsts” during the past calendar year that truly solidified my identity as a female musclehead.

The biggest accomplishment was scheduling and experiencing my first ever muscle worship session with a real living, breathing female bodybuilder. You can read all about my exploits in previous blog posts. Since meeting “GFBB” (as I’ve come to call her for privacy reasons), I’ve actually had a couple of other muscle worship sessions with two very attractive and strong women. One was local and the other travelled here from her home in Europe.

Shannon Courtney, before and after. She's cute before bulking up. Afterward...DAMN GIRL!

Shannon Courtney, before and after. She’s cute before bulking up. Afterward…DAMN GIRL!

Let me tell you. All three experiences taught me a lot about life, sexuality and my own personal desires that I never thought I’d ever explore this time last year. If you asked me in December 2012 that I would – in a few short months – be able to kiss, fondle and lick the muscles of three gorgeous, strong women…I’d call you insane.

But insane you would be! I did do these things and would enthusiastically do them again if the opportunity ever came up.

Moving on toward 2014, late December is around the time we all start to contemplate our New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never really been one for making official resolutions, but I suppose it’s better late than never. As female muscle fans from all corners of the world, we should collectively make a joint New Year’s Resolution that could very well benefit us all.

We should all make a concerted effort to support female muscle as much as we possibly can in 2014.

I don’t need to explain in great detail how marginalized the business of female bodybuilding has become in recent years. Everyone here should be at least somewhat familiar with what’s going on right now. Legitimate female bodybuilders are getting pushed further and further away from the mainstream. The sport is going more towards “figure” and “fitness” on the female side and farther away from celebrating the achievements of those who have gained larger muscle mass.

Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, another local lady, posing for ESPN's The Body Issue. I need neighbors like that...

Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, another local lady, posing for ESPN’s The Body Issue. I need neighbors like that…

Too bulky? Sorry, but we don’t want you. Go somewhere else. People don’t want to see that anymore. The Average Joe and Jane don’t want to see gross, protruding veins coming out of a female body. That’s…just plain nasty.

Obviously, not too many of us agree with these sentiments. We like our ladies bulky and beautiful. They’re not gross. They’re strong, confident and hardworking. Some of us guys like that.

This is why I believe we (the first-person plural “we,” which includes myself) need to show stronger support for the sport of female bodybuilding in 2014 and beyond. If industry insiders calculate that female bodybuilding isn’t lucrative anymore, then we need to respond with our wallets, mouse clicks and do whatever we can to demonstrate that male interest in the sport truly exists.

Kris Murrell appeared in the movie "Grown Ups 2." Yeah, I didn't see it either.

Kris Murrell appeared in the movie “Grown Ups 2.” Yeah, I didn’t see it either.

Money talks. Loudly. So does CTR (click-through rate), page views, search engine strength and other analytics that corporate advertisers love.

This means buying tickets to bodybuilding shows and enthusiastically watching the “big girls” compete. This means not flaking out after you set up a muscle worship session with a travelling FBB (this happens so often that many FBBs refuse to travel to certain cities. Unfortunately for me, Seattle is starting to become one of them). This means spreading the love for female muscle across the blogosphere, social media and Internet forums whenever possible. This means buying products endorsed by FBBs. This means watching movies, TV shows and documentaries that features strong women as often as you can.

You get the idea. Prove to society that we care. Prove to the decision-makers (who also carry the power of the purse) that there is a viable market for female muscle out there. We don’t want women who are proud of their hard-earned bulk force themselves to “downsize” because that’s where the money is going. We want female muscle to be profitable. I believe we have a fiduciary responsibility to openly support the very Goddesses we so much adore.

Speaking of Ronda Rousey. Here she is, in all her badass glory.

Speaking of Ronda Rousey. Here she is, in all her badass glory.

This includes me. This includes you. This includes all of us. We share this responsibility. Realistically, female muscle will never become mainstream. Shannon Courtney will never reach the level of popularity of Jennifer Lawrence (despite the fact they are roughly the same age, are both beautiful and have two first names in their names). Every little bit helps.

To be fair, look at how quickly Ronda Rousey and Lolo Jones became household names. They’re not bulky by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re without a doubt more muscularly defined than Kristen Stewart, for example. If they can capture our national attention, why couldn’t Kris Murrell or Angela Segovia?

I hope 2014 is an awesome year for all of you. So far, so good for me! 2014 probably won’t be the Year of Female Muscle, but we can all do our part to ensure 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are even better than the year before it.

Lolo Jones may not be the most decorated Olympian athlete in the world, but she sure captured my heart.

Lolo Jones may not be the most decorated Olympian athlete in the world, but she sure captured my heart.

Here’s to our shared New Year’s Resolution!

(Down an imaginary shot of Scotch whiskey)

To Female Muscle! To Strong Women! To Gorgeous Muscle Goddesses! Hurrah!

(Gulp!)