The Unlovable Female Bodybuilder

Love is a many-splendored thing.

Female muscle fans have quite the collection of tea cups. Since, after all, female bodybuilders aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But they are our cup of tea. So for folks like us, we’re in grave danger of running out of cupboard space.

Time to go to Ikea.

However, as painful as it may be to admit this, even the most ardent FBB fan will admit – especially if this confession must be obtained through torture – that not every muscular woman is deserving of our affection. Or attraction. We may still respect them as human beings, but are we “into” them the same way we’re into Cindy Landolt or Shannon Courtney?

Eh, no.

So yes, even for (as Bane would say) the “initiated” like us there are a small handful of female bodybuilders who aren’t our cup of tea either. This isn’t a reflection of who we are as people, nor is it an indication that we’re “sell outs” or not totally “down with the cause.” It just simply means that even we have certain boundaries that we aren’t always willing to cross. Or, simpler than that, not every FBB appeals to us for whatever reason.

There are a variety of reasons why we may not like a certain female bodybuilder. This isn’t to say that these reasons are justifiable, but they’re reasons nevertheless:

  • She isn’t “feminine” enough
  • She’s too “manly”
  • She’s had way too much cosmetic surgery
  • She’s done the type of porn that’s too disgusting, distasteful, demeaning, or nauseating
  • She has a personality that doesn’t mesh with yours
  • She’s personally done something to you that you find objectionable – such as cancelling out on a muscle worship/wrestling appointment, not returning a deposit, or being abrasive when you met her in the real world
  • She’s done things that have hurt other FBBs or the bodybuilding industry as a whole
  • She isn’t beautiful enough
  • She isn’t muscular enough
  • She “sold out” in some way
  • She isn’t your cup of tea – for whatever reason

Yes, even yours truly has a few FBBs that he can’t entirely get behind. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect them as athletes and human beings. I do. But what can I say? Even I have some limits. Maybe not a lot, but enough to justify an article like this.

Out of respect for female bodybuilders, it will do us no good to list names of specific women who are on our “unlovable” list. That’s disrespectful and counterproductive. But every FBB fan can rattle off a few names of ladies who aren’t quite to their liking. We may not want to admit it out loud, but we can.

It’s hard not to love Cindy Landolt.

So what are we to do?

Well, that’s the rub. On one hand, FBB fans tend to feel defensive toward their beloved ladies and hate seeing hurtful comments made about them. On the other hand, there are a few FBBs that even the most ardent fanatic can’t defend in good faith. This dilemma usually results in us not talking them altogether. After all, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think our parents taught us that.

The inclination to remain quiet makes logical sense. What’s the upside of pointing out FBBs who are a bit “too manly” or “was cute before she got all that plastic surgery?” Not much. It only adds to the already toxic atmosphere that surrounds female athletes. It can also reinforce people’s pre-existing negative beliefs about female bodybuilders. The downside certainly outweighs the upside.

Yet, one cannot ignore one’s personal tastes. Even if we’re not willing to say it out loud, we do have these thoughts.

It goes to show that FBB fandom isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. You can love certain female bodybuilders and not love others. That’s not a sign of hypocrisy or that you’re not pure of faith. It’s a simple indication that we all have different tastes. Or in some cases, different thresholds for what we consider to be “beautiful.”

Or rather, “not ugly.”

Hm. A fascinating concept, that is. There is a difference between “beautiful” and “not ugly.” Here are two examples (alright, so I guess I’m going to break my own rule and name a few specific names). I am a big fan of both Kathy Connors and Yvette Bova. But I am fully aware that not everyone can say the same. In fact, many devoted FBB fans will place both ladies on their “unlovable” list, just like Santa Claus has a list of children who have been naughty or nice. I understand that Kathy and Yvette are not everyone’s cup of tea (back to that expression again!). I will also admit that neither of them are what one would define as “classically beautiful.” But I find them both unbelievably sexy. See the difference?

You may not like Marse Manios, Kathy Connors, and Sheila Seger Benditz, but someone out there does. And that’s all that matters.

Kathy and Yvette aren’t beautiful. But they aren’t ugly either. They’re compelling figures who demand our attention, tantalize our senses, and electrify our fantasies. I can’t stop thinking about them no matter how hard I try. They’re both way more memorable than a roster full of NFL cheerleaders or a stage full of bikini models. Society accepts the latter as being beautiful while shunning Miss Connors and Miss Bova as misfits. These ladies will never grace the covers of fashion magazines or be seen in advertisements at your local Target. But nobody who does will elicit the same giddiness that you get when you watch yet another video of Yvette joyfully giving a blow job to an ordinary looking guy.

FBBs who are “not ugly” are those we acknowledge aren’t attractive in the conventional sense of that word, but are still irresistible nevertheless. Their appeal comes from nontraditional means. They compensate for their lack of natural beauty by beefing up other parts of their selves that people will find attractive. Kathy has perfected the “bad girl” attitude. Yvette has maximized her smutty persona for all it’s worth and more. I – and plenty of others – find Kathy and Yvette attractive because they aren’t afraid to embrace who they are and refuse to conform to anyone’s narrow expectations.

“Unlovable” female bodybuilders are, therefore, less a reflection on who they are and more of an indication of who we are. It demonstrates that we love female bodybuilders for a plethora of reasons…their muscles being one of them. Of course, it’s a significant reason. But it’s not the only reason.

By that same token, if we don’t particular like an FBB, it’s probably for reasons you aren’t expecting. It’s not just because they “look gross” or “have too many veins.” It’s could be because their personality is dull or the kind of porn they choose to do is not to our liking.

But we should be clear on this point: Female bodybuilders are under no obligation to be liked by you or me. They don’t ever have to get breast implants or wear makeup if they don’t want to. They don’t need to conform to anybody’s standards. If looking traditionally feminine isn’t on their to-do list, then so be it. If being glamorous on Instagram – and posting regularly – isn’t a high priority, then that’s the way it is. If they’re fine having a muscular chest and small boobs, well, live with it.

A tea cup.

I’m a strong believer in people – and this includes both men and women – being allowed to live their lives the way they want to as long as they don’t hurt anyone. No one should feel compelled to fit society’s expectations – however one defines that. Therefore, “unlovable” female bodybuilders aren’t unlovable because they choose to be – rather, they’re “unlovable” because that’s how we think of them. Not every FBB will make our hearts flutter or our breathing stop or our jaws drop to the floor. And that’s fine. Someone out there will disagree with you. But even that’s not the point. This isn’t about popularity or the perceptions of others. It’s about something more personal than that.

Female bodybuilders don’t need to be beautiful. They don’t need to be super strong. They don’t need to be glamorous. They don’t need external validation. All they need to be is themselves. All they need is one goal in mind: to become the woman they want to be. Whatever that means. Regardless of what anybody thinks of it. No matter what.

That’s what the game is all about. Self-love. Self-empowerment. Self-confidence.

Anything beyond that is just collecting more useless tea cups.

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The Female Muscle Dark Web

Faceless hooded anonymous computer hacker

You’ve just entered the Matrix…er, the Dark Web!

Deep within the shadowy depths of the Internet, there exists a dark and mysterious space where few dare to tread. You may have heard of it, or perhaps you’re hearing about it for the first time. No matter what, you’re scared to acknowledge it. You’re frightened to visit it. You cannot wrap your mind around why it exists in the first place. Its very existence is a conundrum to you, a macabre riddle that cannot easily be solved.

To attempt to understand this enigmatic space is to dip your toes into a New World that you never knew existed. Even if you’ve already heard of it, there is nothing that can prepare your mind for what is to come. No one is ever “ready,” even those who claim to be. No one.

And once you discover this New World, your mind is changed forever. Your attitude is permanently adjusted. Your worldview flips upside down. Your paradigm doesn’t just shift; it shatters into a billion pieces and is unable to reform itself. You aren’t sure if you would ever want to go back, but that debate is now over. You’re past that threshold, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Resistance is futile. That’s for damn sure.

What type of Internet space am I referring to? Shouldn’t the answer be obvious by now?

Of course, I’m talk about…

…Bronies.

Grown men who adore “My Little Pony,” a Hasbro-developed entertainment franchise aimed at little girls. Apparently, there are adult men – at least, they claim to be adult men – who are into this sort of thing. Very into it.

Wait. That might not be right. Maybe I’m talking about furries? “Twilight” fan fiction? Uh, people who actually liked the Star Wars prequels?

Nah. That’s been done before. Nothing to see here. Move along now. Outside of activities that are clearly criminal, there aren’t a whole lot of fetishes, strange fandoms, and social perspectives that we, as a whole, won’t tolerate. Chalk that up to our “live and let live” attitude that, for the most part, still permeates throughout our society. You don’t need to “approve” or “understand” these subcultures to acknowledge that it’s fine that they exist as long as no one gets hurt.

Arguably, the very concept of “common culture” is starting to go by the wayside. Sure, there will always be things that unite us as a culture – at least temporarily. The Super Bowl, the release of a new Marvel movie, and catchy pop songs are a few examples (this, despite the fact that sports is becoming increasingly more politicized in the wake of high profile protests during the singing of the American national anthem). However, what’s becoming a more significant facet of modern life is the growing acceptance of subcultures as acceptable off-shoots of our main culture.

Dark web - Angela Salvagno

Angela Salvagno chatting with her fans through webcam.

For example, once upon a time ago drag culture was an underground subculture that existed out of sight and out of mind for the majority of us. Today, it’s still not quite a “mainstream” culture (properly understood), but it lives just outside that bubble. Or, it lives tangentially within mainstream culture. Or on the fringes of our main culture. Or, drag performers like RuPaul have one foot inside main culture and the other food inside the drag subculture. RuPaul’s popular TV show certainly contributed to the evolution of drag going from “out of sight, out of mind” to “not quite out of sight, not quite out of mind.”

Female bodybuilding fandom, on the other hand, is still considered an underground subculture. While going to a strip bar or smoking weed are still fairly taboo activities, they’re not as taboo as they once were. You don’t need to “approve” of what goes on inside a strip club, but you can accept it existing right next to your favorite nail salon. You don’t need to like the smell of marijuana at a public park, but that won’t stop you from walking your dog along his or her favorite dirt path. Just try to avoid the odor if you must.

Yet, engaging in a muscle worship session with a female bodybuilder is not like going to a nudie bar or getting high while watching reruns of All in the Family. It’s not a very well-known activity. In our mainstream culture, female bodybuilders are nowhere close to being within an ear shot. Thus, for those of us who love FBBs, the Internet is the only place where we can enjoy our mutual love for them.

Is there such a thing as the “Female Muscle Dark Web?” Eh, sort of. But not really.

There are popular websites like HDphysiques.com, saradas.org, sexymusclegirls.com, wb270.com, areaorion.blogspot.com, and sessiongirls.com. Heck, a small number of you might consider my humble blog to be among them. I’m also a fan of Female Muscle Slave. He’s an incredible blogger who is keenly tuned-in to the competitive side of the industry in addition to the fandom side of the industry. Check him out if you haven’t already.

So are there popular female muscle-themed websites where fans gather to congregate? Sure. Does that qualify as a “Dark Web?” Meh, probably not.

Hold on. Before we proceed any further, let’s try to define what the “Dark Web” actually means.

The terms “Dark Web” and “Deep Web” sometimes get used interchangeably. This shouldn’t be the case. Technically speaking, the “Deep Web” is a portion of the Internet that exists below the Surface Web. The Surface Web are things like Amazon.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com, NFL.com, ESPN.com, StarWars.com, Reddit.com, and any other “normal” website you come across every day. These websites – and countless others that aren’t as popular – are indexed by Google and other search engines for easy access. The idea of the “Surface Web” doesn’t need too much explaining.

However, beneath the Surface Web exists a whole host of websites that aren’t indexed by these search tools. The concept of the Deep Web includes all the websites that are intentionally (or unintentionally) hidden from traditional search applications. Most of them are beta sites or old websites that have gone out of commission. Most of it is useless junk. Most of it is boring.

Dark web - Callie Bundy

Callie Bundy has become sort of a mini Internet “celebrity” due to her Instagram page.

Some of it can be exciting. Or useful. Journalists and human rights activists who live in repressive regimes use channels like Tor that are outside of the Surface Web to network with peers in other countries. How do you think we’re aware of the diabolical starvation methods employed by the Kim regime in North Korea or the anti-theocratic movement in Iran?

That being said, there’s a portion of the Deep Web that is a bit more, uh, scandalous. This includes websites where you can sell and purchase illegal guns, stolen credit cards, drugs (both narcotics and prescription medication), child pornography (and other kinds of illegal pornography), leads to hired assassins, and anything else you can think of that you can’t exactly find at your local Target.

This is what is meant by the Dark Web. Dark, scary, frightening, unethical, illegal, and potentially deadly. Terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda communicate with each other through Dark Web channels. So do Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other extremist groups that are under FBI surveillance.

Not exactly the type of stuff that you want your Grandma to know you’re into.

To be clear, female muscle fandom exists solely on the Surface Web. I highly doubt much of it exists below that. And if any of it does, it’s probably there for a reason. By and large, female muscle fandom can be found through a simple Google search. No need to go further than that. Thanks to Instagram, our access to our favorite FBBs, fitness models, and weightlifting enthusiasts is more open than ever before. Thanks to video curating sites, I can watch endless footage of Denise Masino playing with her clit without having to put on my detective hat. Of course, such videos shouldn’t be viewed during work hours or on your office computer.

Yet, FBB fandom remains an Internet subculture. An Internet subculture that can be found on the Surface Web. So while the so-called “Female Muscle Dark Web” isn’t really a thing, we can use it euphemistically to describe the forums where this subculture is alive and well.

Dark web - Lindsay Mulinazzi

Not following Lindsay Mulinazzi on Instagram? Shame on you!

In many ways, the Internet is the only substantial place where female muscle fandom can happen. Not too many of us get to attend bodybuilding shows. Only a small number of us have the expenses, inclination, and opportunity to meet an FBB for a muscle worship or fantasy wrestling session. So when it comes to experiencing these beautiful women, our computer screen and smartphone are really the only avenues in which we can do that. I can easily go to my local shopping mall and purchase a brand new Star Trek shirt. I cannot easily go to that same mall and find any paraphernalia affiliated with female bodybuilders.

This is why many FBBs utilize social media as much as they can. It’s their best way to connect with their fans. Or to put it another way, it’s the only way they can regularly connect with their fans. Many FBBs offer webcam appointments, AMA chats (“ask me anything”), and members-only content through their personal websites. This is a classic example of meeting your clients where they’re at. Why break your back working a traditional 9-5 job when you can easily make $100 per hour just chatting with a bunch of strangers from the comfort of your living room?

The Female Muscle Industrial Complex – a term that apparently I just coined – is a niche market with a fairly undefined consumer base. In any given city, town, or municipality, you could have 200 female muscle fans, 2,000 female muscle fans, or 20,000 female muscle fans. You don’t know exactly. But it doesn’t matter where they are geographically. It doesn’t even matter what language they speak. The only thing that does matter is whether or not they have Internet access and enough privacy to feel “safe” to experience their love of muscular women. That’s it, practically speaking.

The Female Muscle Dark Web isn’t dark, nor is it just confined to the web. But it is a real space full of real people who share a mutual interest in women with lots of muscle. And this space hasn’t been driven underground by some prudish cabal of anti-FBB misogynists. In fact, it’s always been underground. Or rather, not within the mainstream. Just because something isn’t considered “mainstream” doesn’t mean there’s some massive conspiracy to ensure it remains outside of the mainstream. Some things just don’t pick up steam. Some things are just destined to stay put where they are.

This isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination. Muscular women will always be here, regardless if mainstream bodybuilding organizations want them included or not. As long as there are women who desire to become a better version of their current selves, female bodybuilders will always be with us. As long as there are women who believe being “strong” and “independent” means being something beyond a simple corporatized rallying cry, FBBs will never die out. The demise of female bodybuilding has been greatly exaggerated. I don’t see any evidence of that happening anytime soon.

Dark web - Goddess Severa

The 6’5″ Goddess Severa is a fan favorite of female muscle/dominance enthusiasts.

Long story short, FBBs and fans of FBBs cannot wait for legacy media outlets to give them their due. It just won’t happen. Sports Illustrated or ESPN aren’t going to cover female bodybuilders (or male bodybuilders, for that matter) like they do basketball or football stars. Those athletes enjoy a powerful perch that doesn’t appear to be eroding. To expect FBBs to ever be mentioned in the same breath as Kevin Durant, Serena Williams, or Julio Jones is folly.

So the obscure and not-so-sinister parts of the web are where FBBs are allowed to shine. And fans don’t seem to mind all that much. Some of us may hope and pray for a day when FBBs can enjoy mainstream status as any normal celebrity would, but most of us aren’t holding our breaths. And the good new is that we don’t need to.

Our access to our favorite athletes is as open and easy as it’s ever been. Just because you don’t feel comfortable talking about Alina Popa’s glutes or Theresa Ivancik’s pecs openly at Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean you have a reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed that you are secretly into that sort of thing. On the contrary, you have nothing to worry about. You can be into muscular women without having to tell a single soul about it. That should feel liberating. But if you do want to tell somebody about it, you know where to look. And that can also feel liberating.

Your female muscle community is just a few clicks away. Like it or love it, you can choose to engage in this community, or you can choose to ignore them and keep your interests to yourself.

Either way, it’s your choice. And that’s truly liberating.

Alpha Females, Beta Males, and Everybody in Between

Debbie Bramwell-Washington is without question an Alpha Female.

Generally speaking, don’t generalize. This isn’t a rule so much as a modest recommendation. Sometimes, our generalizations can be fairly accurate (i.e. the weather tends to be hot during the summer months and cold during the winter months), but other times our generalizations are not even close to being fair or accurate (i.e. Chinese food is icky because all they eat are dogs).

Within the female muscle fan community – and believe it or not, such a community actually exists, albeit in the online world – the theme of “Alpha Female/Beta Male” consistently comes up. It’s become a cliché by now. Of course, just because it’s a cliché doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right or wrong. The truth is probably closer to it being an overgeneralization. We’ll get to that in a moment.

The existence of the idea of the muscular Alpha Female shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, leading the life of a professional (or dedicated amateur) bodybuilder isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires both mental and physical strength. It takes persistence, passion, guts, and unwavering self-confidence. It takes the ability to persevere despite inevitable setbacks. It takes the will to make tough decisions when the easiest choice is to say “I give up.” It requires you to take the path least traveled when no one will blink an eye if you were to instead take the road most traveled.

The type of person who would be willing to subject themselves to such a grueling lifestyle is most likely the most alpha among us. Professional bodybuilding isn’t for the weak or feeble minded. Even amateur bodybuilders, who don’t formally compete but still maintain an impressive amount of musculature year-round, cannot look the way they look without making sacrifices most of us wouldn’t even dream of doing.

Even though the very concept of “alpha” is subjective (and therefore, not an actual thing that can be quantified or narrowly defined), we’ll just assume its existence is – for the most part – real. Alpha Females are women who take control of their lives, pursue their dreams with absolutely no apology, and more often than not get what they want. Female bodybuilders should wholeheartedly belong in this category.

Alright, the other side of the equation is the concept of the Beta Male. Unlike Alpha Females, Beta Males are weak-minded, lack the will to get what they really want, and allow others to trample all over them. They are quiet, don’t assert themselves when faced with adversity, are perfectly willing to settle for less than they deserve, and aren’t prone to engaging in (as they see it, unnecessary) confrontation. Blah, blah, blah. Just take a few minutes doing a Google search of “beta male” and you’ll come across bloggers that range from idiotic “PUAs” to bizarre conspiracy theorists claiming the Illuminati is plotting to culturally emasculate men worldwide for the sake of implementing the New World Order. Rest assured yours truly doesn’t fall into either of these groups.

How would you react if you saw Isabelle Turell walk by you dressed like this?

Like the Alpha Female, the Beta Male is a socially-constructed stereotype that exists mostly from a pop culture point-of-view, as opposed to objective scientific standards. We can probably name a few Beta Males off the top of our heads, whether it’s from our high school days or the people we interact with at work (or maybe you can look in the mirror and point to yourself). No matter your perspective, it’s not difficult to surmise why this type of person would be attracted to women with lots of muscle.

As this line of thinking goes, Beta Males are too weak to take care of themselves. They have low self-esteem and would prefer if others could make big decisions instead of them. Alpha Females, especially of the highly muscular variety, perfectly encapsulate that missing puzzle piece. They are the complementary element that Beta Males find so darn alluring. They are strong – both emotionally and physically – and don’t hesitate to make bold decisions that they find to be empowering. Female bodybuilders are who Beta Males wish they could be, to put it in horrifically simplistic terms. This may or may not be true, but this sure represents the “logic” of plenty of people who are keen on following FBBs.

The Alpha Female/Beta Male motif looks solidly reasonable on the surface. Of course the type of guys who love FBBs are weak, feeble-minded man-children who sexualize an ideal they can never actually achieve in real life. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not.

No doubt this concept describes a portion of the FBB fandom community, but certainly it doesn’t represent everyone’s personal story. Many men who love female bodybuilders are normal guys who have wives or girlfriends, high paying jobs, families, and stellar reputations. Others are of more modest financial means…but they are still confident in who they are. Not everyone can be clumped into the same surface-level demographic, but we already knew that.

Kim Buck will buck the trend that women with muscles can’t be sexy.

When you boil everything down to its barest essentials, guys love female bodybuilders not just because of who they are, but because of who these ladies are. They’re strong, beautiful women who possess gorgeous bodies, captivating personalities, and inspiring biographies. We can scroll through Minna Pajulahti’s Instagram feed and say to ourselves “hot damn!” without that response being an indication of who we are. We see photos of a beautiful woman and we react accordingly. It’s as simple as that.

Or is it? Understandably, matters get murky when we’re dealing with nontraditional-looking women like female bodybuilders. If you like something that’s so far outside the mainstream, isn’t that an indication that there must be something a little “off” with you? Not at all, but it’s understandable why outside observers would think this way.

The truth is that female bodybuilding fans run the gamut of personality types. Some are meek, others are more assertive. Female bodybuilders themselves are also a diverse bunch; as they come from a wide range of countries, cultures, and backgrounds. Of course, the truth isn’t nearly as exciting as what dwells in our imaginations. We believe all FBBs are forceful Alpha Females not because we actually believe that, but because we want to believe that. We love imagining a strong gorgeous muscular woman dominating in the bedroom. We fantasize about what she’d do to us if we’re naughty…or if we’re completely obedient. We want her to ravage us, use us for her own selfish pleasure, and discard us the moment we become obsolete. We want to be denigrated like that because it makes her seem that much more powerful and us that much more irrelevant.

Is this a Beta Male way of thinking about sexual relationships? Maybe, or perhaps this is just a fun bit of “role reversal” where the FBB takes control of the situation while we’re the ones who are more passive and “just along for the ride.” Nobody wants to have to be in control 24/7/365. Every so often, we want to let go and allow somebody else to shoulder this burden. If a beautiful female bodybuilder is the one to do that, so be it. You won’t hear us complain.

Alright, so not every FBB is an Alpha Female and not every FBB fan is a Beta Male (or Beta Female, if that’s the case). So what? What’s the significance here?

Well, not much outside of the fact that these stereotypes exist and will probably continue to exist for time immemorial. But consider this:

The prevailing perception of the “Alpha Female/Beta Male” theme isn’t harmful, but it isn’t entirely productive either. One might presume that guys who love female bodybuilders would take offense to the notion that they’re weak and socially emasculated. That assumption is correct. But that’s not the only harm that this causes. The other is that it continues to make female bodybuilders appear “weird” and “fetishistic” instead of who they actually are: world-class athletes.

Monique Jones gets what she wants.

Often times, we tend to treat certain people or groups of people with suspicion not because of who they are, but because of who their fans are. It’s perfectly reasonable to like a certain TV show or singer but be completely annoyed by their fawning fans. It’s also perfectly reasonable to not like a certain TV show or singer for reasons that have nothing to do with the temperament of their loyal supporters. What isn’t reasonable (but isn’t a crime against humanity, of course) is disliking something purely because you can’t stand how the screaming fanboys and fangirls behave on the Internet. Yet, it’s difficult for many of us to make this distinction.

Along the same train of thought, some people might be turned off by female bodybuilders and the world of female bodybuilding because they find their fans a bit distasteful. They leave creepy comments all over their Instagram posts. They publicly announce all sorts of gross sexual activities they’d love to do to them. They appear to have no filter and don’t think all too much about who is actually reading these comments. These behaviors have a way of turning people off to whatever you love.

Female bodybuilders are already considered outside the mainstream. Their fans are also perceived to be outside the mainstream, despite the fact a vocal minority doesn’t speak for the entire group. Although to be fair, there really isn’t such a thing as a “vocal” delegation of the female bodybuilding fandom community. We don’t have lobbyists playing golf with members of Congress, to my knowledge.

One way to help FBBs enter into mainstream culture – assuming this is even a unified goal of ours – is to portray them as being perfectly normal women who happen to look abnormal. In many respects, that’s exactly who they are. But not everyone in our culture is buying that argument. They see videos of guys wearing leather masks with an FBB’s massive thighs wrapped around their heads and they think to themselves, “Um, that’s weird!”

To be fair, that sort of behavior isn’t something you witness every day. Yet, it does exist. But so do the countless number of people who love FBBs simply because they appreciate their unique beauty. FBBs are in fact uniquely beautiful, with the experience of “getting” their beauty indescribable. The experience of seeing a gorgeous confident woman with big muscles is so euphoric it can seem like a drug. It’s hard to articulate into words what this is like. Female bodybuilders are so damn beautiful it’s maddening to many of us why more people don’t feel the same way we feel. Shouldn’t FBBs be front and center on every magazine cover across the country? We think so, but the vast majority of our culture does not.

Stereotyping all female bodybuilders as Alpha Females and all fans of female bodybuilders of Beta Males is not only factually inaccurate, it contributes toward limiting our society’s understanding of this world. It makes us think that the two groups are somehow inextricably linked, that FBBs need weak men just as much as weak men need FBBs. This association cheapens FBBs as being a mere product of what certain guys want. Or that men who are perceived as being weak are that way because of women who are perceived as being strong.

Rita Sargo proving that muscles and femininity can go hand-in-hand.

These oversimplifications just perpetuate our dualist culture that puts people into two distinct categories (e.g. alpha/beta male, oppressed/liberated female, liberal/conservative, patriotic/unpatriotic, smart/dumb, educated/uneducated, poor/rich, abled/disabled, etc.) without recognizing nuance, individualized circumstances, and context. This harms the way we treat people whom we believe are “different” from us, even though they’re probably more similar to us than we realize. Imagine that.

When faced with something that’s totally out of the ordinary, the natural reaction is to try to put it into “proper context.” The logic follows like this:

  1. Female bodybuilders are unusual-looking women
  2. Guys who like female bodybuilders like women who are unusual-looking
  3. Therefore, guys who like female bodybuilders must be unusual themselves

Unfamiliarity breeds cognitive dissonance. We don’t like not being able to understand something, so we try to explain it away in terms that make sense to us. If we see weird Internet videos of guys enjoying being trampled on by a “chick with muscles,” then we must therefore assume every guy who loves female bodybuilders are into the same thing. And only “losers” enjoy being in a subordinate position. It makes perfect sense!

Except it doesn’t. The truth is much more complicated. The truth is that men and women from all walks of life comprise the world of female bodybuilding fandom. Some might in fact fit the stereotypes that we’re all familiar with. Others do not. This is not to play the “percentages game” and argue that a majority of us are not “like that.” Not at all. The only point to be made is that the Alpha Female/Beta Male concept is not inaccurate, but it’s also not comprehensive enough.

Perceptions take a long time to change. Many perceptions will never change. But there’s no use screaming at a brick wall that will not budge no matter what. That’s an exercise in futility. And if there’s one thing we can definitively say about female bodybuilders, it’s that when they exercise, they expect to see results.

Nothing Beats a Female Bodybuilder Who “Gets” It

Brandi Mae Akers is not just your girl-next-door. She's your big-and-buff-girl-next-door!

Brandi Mae Akers is not just your girl-next-door. She’s your big-and-buff-girl-next-door!

Do you know what’s awesome? A female bodybuilder who “gets” it.

And by “gets” it, I mean a female bodybuilder who understands why people love her and is willing to provide her fans what they want.

You’d think the vast majority of female bodybuilders, athletes, and amateur muscular women would be taking advantage of this, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many FBBs are either uncomfortable or against (for a wide variety of reasons) “giving the fans what they want,” which of course is their prerogative. Nobody is claiming that FBBs must please their fans at every opportunity they get or that appealing to the fanbase is somehow essential to staying relevant to the scene (at least, I’m not claiming these things). Obviously, female bodybuilders are under no obligation to do anything other than what they want to do – or not want to do.

But occasionally, you’ll encounter an FBB who truly understands what guys and gals love in a muscular woman and will enthusiastically utilize that knowledge for maximum gain. She benefits and we benefit. That’s a win-win scenario, right?

Right. Off the top of my head, eight women in particular who “get” it the best are Denise Masino, Angela Salvagno, Amber DeLuca, Lisa Cross, Victoria Dominguez, Lindsay Mulinazzi, Emery Miller, and Brandi Mae Akers. There are others, but these women in particular stand out to me.

These ladies are some of the most well-known female bodybuilders in the world not just because of their competitive accomplishments – although we should not downplay their achievements on the stage – but because of their willingness to put their personalities and bodies out there so publicly and prominently. If I’m in the mood to watch some erotic female muscle videos, odds are I’m going to do a Bing search (my search engine of choice for finding videos for whatever reason) of any of these eight women. Or all of them, if I have the time and the inclination.

In the world of branding, advertising, marketing, and public relations (terms that could be used interchangeably), one of the key rules is that people don’t purchase products just because they need the product for practical reasons. They purchase it because it makes them feel a certain way: cool, culturally relevant, in-the-know, a part of a larger community, socially-conscious, better than people who aren’t using the same product, et cetera. For example, there isn’t any practical reason why someone would spend $200 on a brand new pair of Beats By Dre headphones when a less expensive generic pair would work just as well. But, the point of paying more has nothing to do with practicality. You don’t purchase a more expensive product because the music you listen to will necessarily sound better. You purchase it because it makes you appear socially hip with the “young people these days” (get off my lawn!).

Lindsay Mulinazzi makes me feel all of the emotions. All of them.

Lindsay Mulinazzi makes me feel all of the emotions. All of them.

It’s not about what the product has to offer. It has to do with the elevation of your social status as a result of publicly using the product. It’s marketing genius to associate a mundane product with enhanced social status – no matter how superficial that status may be. That’s why some of us are billionaires and others of us aren’t.

Likewise, astute female bodybuilders understand that their muscular bodies – while a fine, fine product unto itself – aren’t the only reason why guys and gals like us love them. We love them because of how they make us feel: giddy, sexually aroused, titillated, curious, imaginative, fascinated, awe-inspired, weak-kneed, excited, nervous (in a good way), frightened (also in a good way), emasculated (definitely in a good way), and so on. It’s not just looking at their beautiful bodies that make us return back to them time and time again. Female bodybuilders – whether they realize it or not – conjure up inside ourselves a whole host of visceral emotions that are ready to burst at the seams.

Whenever you see a tantalizing photo of a nude female bodybuilder provocatively posing for the camera or a gorgeous muscular porn star showing off all her assets for leering eyes, it’s nearly impossible to not react in a primal sort of manner. Your imagination goes wild. Your heartbeat starts to race. Intense feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or admiration bubble to the surface. Every female muscle fan knows what I’m referring to. You wouldn’t be reading this blog post if you didn’t!

Entrepreneurial female bodybuilders who both recognize this phenomena and know how to exploit it for maximum gain are in rare company. Actually, that might be a bit unfair. It’s not just understanding what the customer wants; it’s also about being willing to give them what they want. Lots of female bodybuilders, competitors, athletes, and fitness models have little interest in overtly sexualizing their identities. There’s without question a sexual aspect to any form of sport/modeling in which sculpting the human body toward fitting a certain desired aesthetic is involved, but there are lines that many women choose not to cross.

Denise Masino is my favorite. Need I explain why?

Denise Masino is my favorite. Need I explain why?

I personally know a fitness competitor (she’s a former co-worker) who is also a mother of two young daughters. I don’t think she’s the type of person who would, in the style of Brandi Mae Akers, get naked, masturbate with a big black dildo, drop f-bombs like a drunken sailor, and post the video onto the Internet for anyone to see. She has every right to do such a thing, but knowing her personality and religious convictions, I highly doubt she’d ever do something like that!

So it’s not just about “getting” it. It’s also about wanting to “go there.” Not everyone wants to do things that appeal to their fanbase’s fetishistic interests. And that’s perfectly okay. They are under no obligation to do so under any circumstances.

But for those who are eager to “go there,” hats off to you! We fans deeply and sincerely appreciate your enthusiasm toward branding yourself in a way that can be awkward, uncomfortable, and troubling to others. I cannot imagine what friends, family members, and spouses of porn stars – both muscular and non-muscular – must think about them. Do they approve of their chosen profession? Do the mothers and fathers of porn performers actually sit down and watch their sons/daughters suck the genitals of a random stranger as a form of entertainment? How awkward is that Thanksgiving dinner conversation?

Probably pretty darn awkward. While it is perfectly possible to excite, titillate, and thrill without being too explicit, what keeps customers coming back for more and more is when they encounter someone who stands out from the rest and consistently delivers on their promises.

But, it’s not just about being overtly sexual. The vast majority of sexually explicit porn out there is complete and utter garbage. It’s boring, crude, disgusting, and worse of all, unexciting. I don’t get excited watching two fake plastic surgery-enhanced nobodies having awful staged sex topped off with obnoxious screaming, moaning, and “orgasms” that are so phony even a pious Catholic nun could tell it’s not real. Even if it involves female bodybuilders. So what I’m talking about here isn’t necessarily explicit FBB porn, but the manner in which FBBs present themselves to their fans.

Devil in a Red Dress, that is Emery Miller.

Devil in a Red Dress, that is Emery Miller.

A female bodybuilder who “gets” it – as I’ve mentioned before – makes us feel things that we rarely feel. We’ve all seen attractive people before. I encounter physically beautiful women every single day of my life: at work, at the grocery store, on the street, at the gym, at a restaurant, at a bar, on the commuter train, etc. But none of them elicit the same response as whenever I am privileged to meet a female bodybuilder for a muscle worship session. In that moment, I’m not just meeting a beautiful woman. I’m meeting the most beautiful woman on the planet. Her strength makes me weak. Her confidence puts me in my place. I’m both scared and at ease. I’m turned on but still in awe. I’m completely focused on her but cannot make a rational thought. Time seems to stand still. That hour I spend with her seems like 20 minutes. She does things to my heart and mind that cannot be justifiably explained. But it doesn’t have to be. I know it and that’s all that matters.

Fans of FBBs gravitate toward women who make us feel these things. And this has very little to do with how sexy she acts, how “hardcore” she performs for the camera, or even what she physically looks like. For example, this is why I get completely aroused watching an FBB squat 400 pounds in sweat pants and a hoodie while I get totally bored watching two skinny topless college girls making out at a Mardi Gras party. Some people genuinely enjoy watching the latter. I prefer the former. I’d wager a guess that readers of this blog would agree with me.

Thankfully for us, there are lots of FBBs in this world who understand why we react this way. They understand why their muscles turn us on and why they personally turn us on. There are FBBs who understand the fetish of being an “older” woman and how turning 40 isn’t a curse, but instead an open door to captivating a whole new audience. She can add bonus points if she’s a mother. More bonus points if she’s a mother of multiple children. Hell, she can probably start rolling in the dough if she’s a grandmother as well!

In fact, many of us prefer our female bodybuilders to be on the “older” or “mature” side. We are enraptured by her experience, wisdom, and maternal acumen. An astute FBB won’t shy away from being older, but instead will milk it for all it’s worth. A business-savvy FBB won’t be embarrassed by her larger-than-normal penis-like clit; rather she points a camera directly in front of it and zooms in closely for everyone to see. A shrewd muscular woman doesn’t remain silent so that her unnaturally deep voice can’t be heard; she instead narrates for us exactly what she plans to do for us so that her rumbling voice is allowed to make the walls shake.

In many ways, an entrepreneurial female bodybuilder has to “think” like a customer. What do they like? What turns them on? Why do they love muscular women in the first place? Why do they keep coming back? Why do they like certain FBBs more than others? What can I learn from my competitors? What can I learn from my customers? How can I maximize my appeal while staying true to who I am? Where can I go from here? What is my potential?

FBBs who “get it” already know the answers to these questions. Denise Masino understands perfectly well there are millions of guys out there who drool over her large clitoris. Brandi Mae Akers doesn’t need to be told her pretty school-girl looks combined with impressively sexy muscularity make her irresistible. Angela Salvagno is very aware her dark olive complexion and meaty labia are her moneymakers. Amber DeLuca’s business card (assuming she even has business cards) only needs to say “Bad Muscle Girl” and nothing else. Need it say more?

What should Angela Salvagno's business card say?

What should Angela Salvagno’s business card say?

For these ladies and countless others, they’ve reached their levels of success because of two things: drive and smarts. The personal drive and determination to become a world-class bodybuilder need no explanation. You don’t become as big and buff as Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia by being a couch potato. Slackers need not apply. Large muscularity doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because you put in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to build the body you want.

But the other aspect to this is smarts. And not just being strategic about lifting, eating, resting, and supplementation. That’s important too, but what I’m talking about is being smart in the business side of being a female bodybuilder in the 21st century. FBBs who are able to earn a living doing what they do must adapt to the economic realities they face. This means being willing to offer up your product (which, as unusual as it sounds, is your very own body) to your customers (people like us who blog and read blogs about female muscle) in an intelligent and strategic manner. Thankfully for everyone involved, there are plenty of FBBs who do this every single day.

So how do they do this? Do they procure customer surveys to learn what people like? A muscle worship session is very different than getting your oil changed or your roof reshingled, but the basic concept of offering a client value for a service remains the same. Do they ask a focus group of teenagers, millennials, the elderly, and stay-at-home mothers what kind of female muscle-themed porn they prefer to masturbate to? I wouldn’t want to sit in on that meeting or sift through those surveys.

Well, they just know. They have a keen awareness of human sexuality and what makes people tick. They are able to see their own bodies through the eyes of an adoring fan. They can empathize with others. They don’t judge harshly or unfairly the fetishes of others. They may not always understand what people like, but they respect their preferences nevertheless as long as no one is harmed.

There’s a reason why you’re attracted to certain female bodybuilders and have only a passing interest in others. You may not comprehend why or how that happens, but rest assured there are many bright and intelligent FBBs out there who do.

Fetishism, Fandom and Fortunes: The Awkward Nature of Being a Female Bodybuilder

Chellss gives me the "feels."

Chellss gives me the “feels.”

It’s hard out there for a female bodybuilder.

There are, of course, the obvious reasons why. Her profession is being squeezed out of existence by The Powers That Be. Receiving weird looks from strangers. The pressures of working in a highly competitive field. The lifestyle. The dieting. The workouts. Financial troubles. How time consuming everything can be. There are more reasons, but one in particular stands out above the rest.

Being fetishized.

I’ve discussed at length the concept of female muscle fetishism from the perspective of a guy who has it. I’ve discussed what it feels like, misconceptions about it, why it’s not a bad thing and what lessons we can learn from it. But I am about to attempt to discuss this topic from a different perspective: That of a female bodybuilder.

Obviously I am not a female bodybuilder. I am not close friends with one nor do I regularly hang out with one. But, I’ve had enough conversations with real life female bodybuilders – through muscle worship sessions during the past three years – to be able to formulate at least a few half-way decent arguments on their behalf. I don’t claim to speak for any or all female bodybuilders, but perhaps I can attempt to step out of my own shoes and look at the world from their perspective momentarily.

I might fail miserably, but it’s worth a shot. So here we go.

Female muscle fetishism unfortunately opens the doors to a number of negative consequences. Female bodybuilders are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they can make quite a lot of money on the side by utilizing their assets for financial gain. On the other hand, having adoring fans always comes with backlash. Let’s look at the first point in further detail.

Laurie Steele has buns of steel. See what I did there?

Laurie Steele has buns of steel. See what I did there?

The lifestyle of being a female bodybuilder is difficult from a financial point of view. The costs of being a professional bodybuilder far outweigh whatever monetary rewards one gets in return. Competitions don’t usually garner enough money to live comfortably. Only the elite competitors are afforded the luxuries that come with being at the top. The rest, unfortunately, usually have to resort to working a second job (usually in personal training, modeling, consulting, and so on) just to make ends meet. It’s agonizing to not know where your next paycheck will come from.

So, a lot of female bodybuilders will turn to offering “sessions” as a way to supplement their income. Muscle worship, wrestling, BDSM and other erotically-charged services are what we’re talking about. One cannot deny that these sessions are erotic in nature. Even if no actual sex is involved – which is usually the case – eroticism is an integral part of what these sessions are all about.

Consequently, a lot of female bodybuilders are uncomfortable with this reality. Not everyone likes doing sessions, but they feel like they must in order to put food in the table. Sexuality is a very personal aspect to one’s life. So they have every reason to feel uneasy toward being an erotic provider. While it’s true that, technically speaking, nobody forces you to offer sessions to clients, it’s perfectly understandable why one wouldn’t be 100 percent comfortable with being involved in this underground business.

That being said, a session provider – whether you’re a bodybuilder, wrestler, athlete or someone whose physical attributes are in high demand – can make a significant amount of dough if she markets herself the right way. Let’s say you charge $350 per hour. If you see 10 clients over a period of two days, you can make around $3,500 for two days’ worth of work. If you subtract the cost of the airplane ticket you purchased to get to that city (around $600), booking the hotel room (an extra $200) and food expenses ($50, assuming you don’t bring your own food), you’re still making approximately $2,650 in a 48 hour period. Even if it’s less, let’s say $2,500 or as low as $1,700, that’s an average of $850-1,250 per day, or $106-156 per hour, from the basis of a traditional eight hour working day. And these are conservative estimates. Not every city stay will be that lucrative, but you can also expect certain visits to be more profitable than others.

Her name is "DD," but I cannot find out what her real name is. Can anybody help?

Her name is “DD,” but I cannot find out what her real name is. Can anybody help?

My math can be totally off, but you can clearly see why so many FBBs provide sessions on the side. Travelling across the country (and the world, if you’re in that much demand) and seeing clients for an hour or two at a time can be a real boost to your bank account.

The financial rewards she can gain increase if she develops a loyal clientele in certain cities. Especially if she has one or two clients who are really loyal and are not against spending upwards of $500 to $600 for an extravagant session. I personally don’t have that kind of expendable income, but there are people out there who do. And they can make an FBB a small fortune if they love seeing her that much.

There is another way FBBs exploit their bodies for financial gain: Porn. Whether we’re talking about erotic photography, webcam shows or good old fashioned snuff films, we all know what we’re dealing with here. Further detail isn’t really necessary, but suffice to say, pornography is another viable way female bodybuilders can earn a steady income.

When a female bodybuilder chooses (and I cannot emphasize the word choose enough!) to do sessions, porn, or both, there’s no doubt that taking advantage of her erotic appeal is an undeniably important part of the business. There’s absolutely no obligation to do so of course, but the allure certainly is there for the taking. These financial opportunities are rooted in basic capitalistic principles, but this whole “off-the-books” business boils down to this essential ingredient: fetishism.

To review our terms for a moment, 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.” To put it in proper context, it’s when guys and gals receive a strong sexual response to a female bodybuilder’s muscles. It’s no different than any other type of erotic fixation. But this discussion boils down to one very difficult question to answer:

Can you separate female muscle fandom from sexual fetishism?

Or, in other words, is it possible for female muscle fandom to be completely asexual? Certainly sports unto itself isn’t sexual. The ancient Greeks may have conducted their games in the nude, but that mostly was done because clothing can be a hindrance to an athlete’s performance. Today, we have top-of-the-line sports gear that makes that problem irrelevant. Wearing an Under Armor workout shirt almost feels like a second skin. But…we’re getting slightly off topic. Is it possible for our fascination with female muscle to be purely nonsexual? That’s a thought-provoking issue to chew on.

A statuesque Marina Lopez looking triumphant.

A statuesque Marina Lopez looking triumphant.

As discussed before, the sport of female bodybuilding has been sexualized to the point that the erotic aspect of it is probably more financially lucrative than the competitive side of it. To be fair, almost all female sports are sexualized, but that’s a whole other story. What makes bodybuilding (not just female bodybuilding, but male as well) special is the very fact that aesthetic appeal is so foundational to the sport itself. Nobody cares if you have a finely chiseled body if you can hit 40 home runs, rush for 1,500 yards or consistently hit clutch 3-pointers when it matters. Most of these athletes have fantastic looking bodies as it is, but their looks aren’t why they’re valuable. Their value is determined by their on-the-field production. For bodybuilders, their looks are all that matters.

It’s hard out there for a female bodybuilder, indeed. If it truly is impossible – or at the very least, highly difficult – to separate the sport from its erotic undertones, what do you do if you’re uncomfortable with expressing your sexuality so openly? If I were a female bodybuilder, I would have to be very comfortable with my sexuality, or else I would have to be forced to find a new day job. There’s no debate that eroticism, fetishism and the like are deeply embedded within the sport. But is that the way it has to be? Are there alternatives? Can female bodybuilding be genuinely asexual in nature?

To be honest, it can. But it won’t be easy. But that begs a further question: Why does it matter?

Or better yet: Is sexuality inherently a bad thing?

The fetish of female muscle is obviously a taboo subject. Heck, generally speaking the subject of sexuality as a whole is taboo. But from the perspective of a guy who’s attracted to strong women, it’s an especially weird topic of discussion. That’s why this often goes unspoken. From the perspective of a female bodybuilder, things are also probably pretty weird. But “weirdness” is not necessarily an indication of something being wrong. It could be an indication of something that we need to talk about more often.

But, stepping back into an FBB’s shoes for a moment, it’s perfectly understandable why the sport will always be in a tumultuous state. Incorporating sexuality into the industry keeps the ship afloat, but it can also degrade the sport into exploitative territory. Once you start to go down that path, how can you maintain a consistent level of respectability? There’s nothing wrong with sexuality, but must FBBs be reduced down to mere sex objects who exist solely to satisfy our base desires? The answer is an emphatic “no!”

Perhaps we can have it both ways. We can embrace the erotic nature of the sport without degrading the humanity of the participants. That sounds awesome in theory, but theory has a funny way of not always becoming standard practice.

This is an issue that FBBs and fans of FBBs will always wrestle with. I do not believe that sexualizing someone automatically degrades them. But I also believe it can if we allow it to happen. A female bodybuilder is caught in a perpetual cycle of disorder. Their sex appeal can make them superstars in the eyes of their adoring fans, but it also comes with negative consequences that are almost unavoidable.

So, is it fair to say that this is a “problem” every female muscle fan should be aware of? Well, yes and no. One should always be aware of the potential consequences of one’s actions. However, is it really fair to say that this is a problem to begin with? Is it inherently ruinous for sexuality to be so deeply engrained in the sport of female bodybuilding? Does the almost inseparable eroticism associated with the sport do a disservice to its competitors?

Don't get naughty around Wendy McMaster. She might spank you!

Don’t get naughty around Wendy McMaster. She might spank you!

A positive first step is to think of these issues as not being “problems,” but rather things to consider. There is probably no perfect answer. It truly is hard for female bodybuilders and athletes to exist in a business that nearly works against them if they try to downplay their sexuality. As fans, we can hold both sports-related and erotic interests in these women without being degrading to them or to ourselves. But that fine line between appreciation and objectification can be hard to distinguish.

Being fetishized can be a strange thing. Having a fetish can also be strange. If we both admit what we know to be true in our hearts, do we really need to exist with all this pent-up tension? Sometimes the best solution to our problems isn’t to come to a mutual answer, but to a level of mutual understanding. Let’s seek to understand where we all stand and carry on from there, okay?

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!

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

Gracyanne Barbosa is divine.

Gracyanne Barbosa is divine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lovely Gina Ostarly.

The lovely Gina Ostarly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blonde beauty Megan Avalon.

Blonde beauty Megan Avalon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you!