Pin Me, Wrestle Me, Abuse Me, Dominate Me: The Uncomfortable Association of Female Bodybuilders with Violence

Uncomfortable with Mistress Treasure and Yvette Bova? Yeah, neither am I.

The association of female muscle fetishism with violence is an uncomfortable reality that cannot be overlooked. Anyone with even a casual level of knowledge of female bodybuilders and the men who love them can see this relationship underscored everywhere.

Guys who love female bodybuilders often fantasize about being dominated by them, disciplined by them, trampled by them, tied up by them, punched by them, pinned to the ground by them, verbally abused by them, and having other physically demeaning activities done to them. This is not to put all female muscle fantasies in the same boat, however. This is merely an observation of a trend that cannot be denied.

Nothing about this is inherently wrong. Nor is anything about this explicitly scandalous, surprising, or unethical. As far as I can tell, as long as all the parties are consenting, openly communicating, and enjoying these activities, there isn’t anything to complain about. I have no quarrel with a guy who becomes aroused by a female muscle dominatrix teasing him, pouring hot candle wax on his skin, and calling him all sorts of filthy names. I’m not personally into that, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to.

Whatever floats your boat, as the old saying goes.

However, I must be completely honest. I am a bit uncomfortable with the close association of female muscle fetishism with violence. Any decent human being should abhor violence in any form. We live in a particularly violent world filled with shootings, riots, terrorism, war, political repression, rape, abuse, genocide, and a whole host of other unspeakable acts of brutality. I’d like to think we live in a more peaceful world today than our ancestors did hundreds of years ago, but it only takes reading the news for five minutes to have that belief shaken to its core.

This is why the mixing of sex with violence should make any free thinking person squirm a little. You don’t have to be an ardent critic of “50 Shades of Grey” to hop on board this train. While experienced BDSM practitioners are, for the most part, intelligent people who define their sexual play with meticulous rules that ensure safety and mutual consent, accidents do happen. But more than that, it’s the root of BDSM fetishism that can create a cause for concern.

Why does sexuality have a violent component to it that seems, well, unavoidable? Surely, I am not the first person to have ever raised this question. Critics have argued that the proliferation of BDSM into pop culture could have the unintended effect of “justifying” rape and sexual assault in the eyes of people who are already prone to commit such atrocities. I cannot speak to how warranted these concerns are, but they are definitely worth mentioning. How can you not fear such a backlash?

Our pop culture reinforces these messages in other ways as well. I love the James Bond movie franchise just as much as anybody else, but it is clear what 007’s two chief pastimes are: Making love to beautiful women and shooting/punching/blowing up the bad guys. He also happens to participate in both activities in immodest quantities. And worst of all – to put myself in the shoes of a feminist media critic – Bond is “rewarded” with the former after doing the latter.

American football games feature scantily clad cheerleaders right next to big burly men pummeling each other to a pulp. The “Sex and Violence” motif is found everywhere: sports, movies, TV shows, video games, music, literature, advertisements, religious texts, folk tales, and so on. It even infests the evening news. Bombings in Baghdad are shown side-by-side with stories of young female teachers having sex with her teenage male students. It’s everywhere you look. It’s so pervasive it’s sometimes hard to see it because of how saturated it is in our culture. Because it’s everywhere you don’t actually notice it.

Who wants to be put in a headlock by Melody Spetko?

This motif is also deeply embedded within the world of female muscle fetishism. Of course, I’m referring more to the fantasy aspect of the fetish. In no way shape or form are female bodybuilders more inherently aggressive than non-muscular women. But maybe there exists in the imaginations of some of us the belief – or the desire – that this is somehow true. Or that we want it to be true because it titillates a part of our deeply held kinkiness.

One of the reasons why many people in society look down upon guys who love muscular women is because they’re also uncomfortable with how this fetish is played out. Perhaps they’re just as unnerved by the undertones of violence as I am – although I am less troubled by it than others are, for sure. But it is completely understandable why this uncomfortable reality exists…and why we need to talk about it.

I am not of the belief that sadomasochistic sexual activities are explicitly dangerous, oppressive, or dehumanizing. If it’s safe, consensual, and enjoyable by all parties involved, I have no bad words to say about it. But on the other side of the equation, I get why this makes some of us cringe. So I’m not trying to make a point so much as I’m trying to articulate a topic that I think needs to be discussed.

It should be stated that very rarely is any single act, interest, hobby, or creative endeavor inherently evil. Unless we’re talking about terrorism, overt political repression or murder, most activities exist in a gray area. Whether it’s “good” or “evil,” “valuable” or “trash,” all depends on the context in which it exists. A book unto itself isn’t evil. A science textbook, for example, can be a force for good. Books such as “Mein Kampf” or “Mao’s Little Red Book” on the other hand, could be used to spread hateful and dangerous ideas. So it’s not the object of a book that’s up for debate. It’s the intent behind creating a particular book that is. And the results.

If a guy fantasizes about a strong female dominatrix giving him physical pain because he finds it exciting, there’s nothing (on its surface) harmful in that. If this guy goes out of his way and pays a professional dominatrix to perform such acts on him, that also isn’t necessarily a red flag. The presence of violence within female muscle fetishism isn’t a bad thing, nor would I want to change a thing about it. However, what should be talked about is why this is and whether this should concern any of us.

From the beginning of human civilization to the present day, conflict has been a constant theme throughout our history. And not just conflict between groups of people, nations, governments or tribes. There has been conflict between individuals, ideas, cultural norms (both from without and from within), assumptions, and social hierarchies. Without getting too deep into the history of humankind, let’s just settle on this conclusion: Conflict has always been here and will be here to stay.

This is especially evident in the relationship between men and women. Or, to be more politically correct, between masculine and feminine dynamics. Whatever your worldview may be, the Battle of the Sexes is something we’re all familiar with. Hollywood screenwriters have made a fortune capitalizing on this. Lecturers have gone on tour and sold books purely on the basis of telling us how we can alleviate this perpetually awkward relationship. It’s the topic of endless discussions over coffee, beer, cocktails, and happy hour chicken wings. Men and women – and people who are not comfortable identifying as either of these two choices – just can’t seem to get along 100% of the time.

My God…Dayana Cadeau.

For better or for worse, we’ve managed to exist for thousands of years despite these tensions. And we will continue to exist. So will the next generation. And the generation after that one. And so on. Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with how violence has been intertwined in this ongoing conflict. Domestic violence, spousal fights, disagreements that lead to physical altercations, and cultural norms that accept these acts as being normal – or at the very least “acceptable” if it’s not openly talked about – have created a cycle of conflict that isn’t healthy. This won’t go away anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it or turn our heads in the opposite direction whenever it happens.

This is why BDSM culture strikes a nerve in so many people. This is why people who are supportive of this subculture feel inclined to vehemently defend it with their dying breath. This is why so many of us don’t want to understand these things to begin with. After all, how can you argue in favor of violence? How can you possibly win that debate?

BDSM aside, female muscle fandom is different…but not at the same time. I’ve long argued that one can be not into BDSM but still really dig female bodybuilders. They can be mutually exclusive. Yet, the perception exists that they aren’t. For lots of folks, they are definitely interconnected.

Lots of guys love it when a female bodybuilder wrestles them into submission. Or pins them to the ground and holds them there against their will. Or verbally abuses them. Or smacks them with a paddle. Or “forces” them to do things upon command. This dominant/subordinate relationship carries the underlying theme of violence to its literal interpretation. However, because it’s all “fun and games,” it’s not really violence, is it?

Well, no. But yes. Uh, maybe both?

The relationship between a muscular woman and a normal-sized man can be jarring. It’s unusual. It flies in the face of social norms. We don’t expect to ever see such a sight. It challenges our notions of gender roles. It forces us to ask ourselves questions that we’d rather not contemplate.

Are women the weaker sex and men the stronger sex? Well, most of the time. But not all of the time. What does that mean? And how do we proceed going forward? Is an FBB more than just a woman, or is she just a “normal” woman with an abnormal physique? And is this man really a man, or an emasculated man? Wow, this is bonkers!

And yet, these questions don’t really come up with we witness a muscular woman and a normal-sized man quietly enjoying drinks at the pub. Or silently riding the subway together. Or holding hands while strolling down the sidewalk. If they physically appear to be a “normal” couple, we may stop and stare but we don’t necessarily ask these questions.

We only start to wonder about the dynamic of their relationship if we witness any conflict. What if they start to argue? What if they fight about who will pay the bill? What if she slaps him in the face? Will he slap her back? Or does he not dare? If he doesn’t hit her back, is it because he’s scared of her, or is it because he’s not naturally inclined to do such things? If she were “normal-looking” like him, would his reaction be different? How could we know for sure?

Do you want Amanda Dunbar to put you in an armbar?

Whew! All of this is so confusing. But this does bring up a crucial observation: When we see a female bodybuilder, our minds automatically – whether we consciously know this or not – wander off into the realm of violence. We wonder how rough their sex lives must be. How are they like in bed? Is she domineering? Does she prefer weaker men or men who are strong like her? How does she react if she’s angry? Is she naturally aggressive? Are men scared of her? Are other women scared of her? Is she fearful of people and that’s why she became so big and buff in the first place? Was she physically abused as a child, with bodybuilding acting as a “shield” against future abuse?

So it’s pretty clear that whenever we’re presented with a strong muscular woman, our natural inclination is to think about her within the framework of violence, self-defense, and aggression. Yes, we also think about her beauty, impressive strength, and numerous accomplishments; but doesn’t it seem like the first thoughts that pop into our minds consist of whether she can crush me with her thighs or if any of her ex-boyfriends have ever been sent to the emergency room after an argument?

Perhaps this speaks to the cognitive dissonance that muscular women create in our brains. We cannot accept the sight of a strong woman being “normal” or “no big deal.” There must be an explanation why she wants to look that way. And she must be a completely different person now that she does look that way.

But alas, these ideas are not always true. Maybe she always was aggressive, “alpha,” and assertive even before she ever picked up a dumbbell. Maybe for her, bodybuilding is an avenue for channeling her strong personality, not a result of it. Who knows?

The larger point to be made is this: Society, both fans of FBBs and everyone else, cannot seem to separate female bodybuilders and violence from their imaginations. I’ve written this before but will rewrite it again. My ultimate female muscle-related fantasy has nothing to do with violence. It has more to do with a romantic candle-lit dinner, a fine bottle of wine, a nice long walk along the beach, and an entire evening of passionate lovemaking. No one gets tied up. No one gets paddled for being “bad.” No one gets verbally abused. No one feels any pain. Everything is pleasant, sensual, low-key, and most of all, idyllic. In other words, I’d love to spend an entire night with Alina Popa in a setting that looks more like a cheap romance novel than a creepy bondage-themed Dark Web video.

I’d love to spend a peaceful evening with Gina Aliotti.

Yet, not everyone shares my pacifistic fantasy. There are lots of folks – and this is not a negative judgment about them – who want a more “antagonistic” experience. They want Miss Popa to burn them with hot candle wax. They want her to pick them up and toss them to the ground like a rag doll. They want her to punch them in the belly until they surrender. They want her to crush their head between her thighs until they “tap out.” They want all that…and more.

Well, to that I say this: That’s fine.

That’s fine. But that’s not for me. And it probably never will be my cup of tea. I tend to have a “live and let live” attitude toward most things in life. I have nothing against violent fantasies unless things cross a certain line. Yet, there is a significant part of my brain that feels uncomfortable with this. Why must we think about female bodybuilders within this context? Why are we unable to separate FBBs from the violent chambers of our imaginations? Why do our minds automatically go there? Is this unhealthy, or just the cost of doing business? Is it possible to love female bodybuilders in a non-violent way, or is it inevitable that this motif will always seep its way in?

I have no good answers. Only more questions.

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The Pleasure is All Mine: A Tribute to Xenia Onatopp

Xenia Onatopp. The pleasure was all hers.

Xenia Onatopp. The pleasure was all hers.

Everyone has a seminal moment that defines their youth. Alright, it may not actually “define” their youth per se, but a moment that certainly played an integral role in shaping their transition from childhood to adulthood. It may not have been a specific moment, perhaps a series of moments that culminated into an event. Or, it could’ve been a pivotal “ah ha” epiphany that forever changed how you viewed the world.

For me, it’s pretty obvious. I grew up a James Bond fan. My father introduced me to the old school 1960s Sean Connery Bond films when I was at least 8 years old. Maybe even younger. I don’t remember exactly, but the super suave British spy left an indelible mark on my childhood. Some kids wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Spider-Man or Batman. I wanted to be James Bond. And Indiana Jones, but that’s a whole other discussion.

Can you really blame me? Agent 007 can save the world from the forces of evil while enjoying all the benefits that come from being a charming and sophisticated gentleman. He can defeat agents of SPECTRE while enjoying a vodka martini (a drink I obviously did not know much about as a youngling) and making love to a beautiful woman. Even as a small child I knew that was a special perk, despite being prepubescent and not fully understanding what sex was all about.

However, my eyes opened further when I was introduced to a certain Bond girl (or rather, Bond villain) in Xenia Onatopp. It took me a while to understand the meaning behind her innuendo-laden name. But that didn’t matter. The character is featured in 1995’s GoldenEye, a fantastic Bond film that reinvigorated the franchise after the lukewarm reception to 1989’s Licence to Kill (notice I used the proper British spelling). I personally loved the second installment of Timothy Dalton’s tenure as 007, but that’s just me. Not everyone agrees. That’s fine.

But Xenia Onatopp, played by the gorgeous Dutch actress Famke Janssen, completely altered my reality. I felt my paradigm shift…even though I had no idea what that concept even meant (I still don’t). She wasn’t just a beautiful Bond girl. Nor was she just a typical megalomaniac Bond villain bent on world domination. She was…different. Exceptional. Dynamic. Memorable. Eye-popping. Charismatic.

Sexy.

Oh, yeah. Unbelievably sexy. Without question, Famke Janssen’s magnificent performance as Xenia will forever be remembered as one of the most unforgettable cinematic characters to ever grace the silver screen. Remember, she’s not just a remarkable Bond character. She’s an extraordinary movie character PERIOD. I also spent way too much time playing GoldenEye on Nintendo 64, so perhaps that added to her appeal. But Xenia Onatopp left an impact on my psyche. She definitely had a hand in formulating my love for female bodybuilders. Real life FBBs obviously pushed me over the edge, but Miss Onatopp planted a seed in my adolescent mind that bore beautiful fruit later on.

Xenia could have a classically elegant side, if you let her.

Xenia could have a classically elegant side, if you let her.

My parents didn’t let me watch GoldenEye when it was first released in movie theaters, so I saw it later in 1996 when I was nine years old. Remember the good old days of VHS cassette tapes? Yeah, of course you do! That’s how I first experienced Famke Janssen’s beautiful face and sexy Russian accent. I was quite impressed with Pierce Brosnan as the James Bond of the 90s, but I wanted to watch it over and over again purely because of Miss Janssen. Can you blame me?

No, of course you can’t.

It should be obvious why Xenia Onatopp captured my attention. She’s a beautiful and badass villainess who kills her opponents by seducing them, luring them into a sensual trap, and slaying them by choking them to death with her strong legs. Very lethal! Not only is she effective as an assassin, but she enjoys herself in the process. What’s the point of living if you can’t feel alive?

Whether she’s killing a Canadian naval admiral or attempting to do the same to James Bond in a hotel sauna, Xenia explodes on the screen. Your eyes cannot leave her whenever she’s in the frame. For an impressionable nine year old boy, her captivating presence worked its magic ten-fold. I hadn’t yet hit puberty, but I knew she was special for a reason I couldn’t quite explain. Her power enthralled me. The way she eliminated her enemies erupted an electric feeling inside me that made my heartbeat race a million miles per minute. I was aroused by her in a way only a prepubescent boy still in his latency stage could be.

As a Bond girl/Bond villain, Xenia is one of the few women who could match Bond’s physical prowess. She isn’t as muscular as a bodybuilder, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a movie, which means you have to use your imagination. Trust me, my imagination went into overdrive when it came to her!

As I got older and I started to re-watch the movie several times over, what struck me most was the realization that Xenia isn’t necessarily an evil person. Yes, she did the bidding of General Ourumov and Alec Trevelyan, but I never got the impression that she was super enthusiastic about their goals. Stealing a satellite weapon that fires an electromagnetic pulse toward a hapless target so that it can be used to rob London of a mountain-load currency? That’s fine, but wouldn’t it be better if I could also enjoy orgasmic-loaded murder sprees at the same time? That was Xenia’s self-indulgent outlook on life.

Famke Janssen was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women in the world.

Famke Janssen was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women in the world.

As a character, she was a perfect specimen for young hormone-raging boys like me. Strong, beautiful, sexy, and not afraid to have fun while killing people. How awesome is that? The rebel in me loved that she could play by her own rules (I somehow doubt her superiors specifically sanctioned her sexually-charged assassination techniques) and enjoy the ride while it lasted. It came to an end, of course (“she always did enjoy a good squeeze”). But what a glorious ride it was, huh?

Later Famke Janssen would continue her fame in the X-Men movies. But no matter how many additional film and television appearances she would make, her role in GoldenEye continues to be her signature piece of work. I don’t know what she’s up to today, but Ms. Janssen will always be my top celebrity crush. Right next to Monica Bellucci and Rena Mero, Famke forever claims a special place in my heart. No matter how old I get (and how old she gets), my whole body might start to convulse in uncontrollable tremors if I were to ever see her in person.

Obviously, the character is a chief reason why I love female bodybuilders so much. Like I said before, Xenia is not an exceedingly muscular woman, but for the sake of enjoying the movie, I suspended my disbelief momentarily and subconsciously thought of her as the strongest woman in the world. As a boy, I secretly fantasized about what it would be like to be wrapped around her strong legs and for her to squeeze as hard as she possibly could. My neck would crack for sure. Breathing would become increasingly more difficult. I might pass out or even meet my Maker right then and there. Either way, I’d be one happy camper. I didn’t know it explicitly at the time, but as a young boy I started to develop my exquisite taste for strong women.

Oddly enough, I don’t get too excited about the prospects of being crushed by a muscular woman. I’ve written before that wrestling, beat downs, and other BDSM-related activities don’t appeal to me all that much. I have nothing against these fetishes, but they just aren’t my cup of tea. I don’t judge anyone who is into that sort of thing, of course. But it’s not for me. So it’s a bit strange why my first foray into the world of muscular women would include a fictional character who kills men with her pure brute strength. Rather odd, indeed.

Other than Wai Lin in "Tomorrow Never Dies," Xenia was the only Bond girl who could match Bond in a fist fight.

Other than Wai Lin in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Xenia was the only Bond girl who could match Bond in a fist fight.

Maybe I don’t entirely understand myself. Perhaps I do in fact fetishize being trampled upon by a woman but I just don’t know it yet. Or maybe I’m not actually into that and it’s by happy accident that my universe turned upside down the moment I discovered Miss Onatopp and her sexually wicked ways.

Outside of my own narrow perspective, Xenia Onatopp probably isn’t a character the general public will remember all that much, Bond aficionados notwithstanding. What makes her stand out above most cinematic villains is how hypersexual she is during every waking moment of her life. Violence gives her an erotic thrill. Whether she’s shooting up a room full of Russian computer programmers or asphyxiating unsuspecting male victims with her powerful legs, committing violent acts turns her on. In her own sick mind, violence may be the only thing that truly turns her on.

The world of cinema is definitely not shy from mixing sex with violence, but GoldenEye introduced us to a character who took it to the next level: Murder isn’t just an activity that gives her an orgasm; murder is the only activity that gives her an orgasm.

In books, movies and TV shows, we’re accustomed to seeing villains commit crimes for more or less “traditional” reasons: greed, vengeance, ego, hunger for power, etc. Xenia, and to an extent Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, commits acts of violence because it thrills her. I never got the impression that she ever felt any passion for Alec Trevelyan’s personal vendetta against M-16. She went along with it because it gave her an excuse to assassinate powerful men, attack innocent civilians, cook up mayhem and be a “bad girl.”

Symbolically, Xenia throws up her proverbial middle finger at society and then proceeds to masturbate with it just because she feels like it. She’ll stick it to the human race and climax over and over again while they helplessly watch – just for the hell of it.

Violence is orgasmic, a mantra I don't recommend anyone live by!

Violence is orgasmic, a mantra I don’t recommend anyone live by!

In that respect, it’s rather refreshing to see a villain commit crimes not as a means to an end but as an end unto itself. Xenia ushered in a new class of criminal; one who isn’t after anything tangible like money, power, or fame, but instead steals because she thinks it’s good sport. Alfred Pennyworth may have said something similar to Bruce Wayne, but that’s beside the point. From a storytelling perspective, Xenia exists outside of the plot. She was definitely working with the bad guys, but she really had her own agenda. She wanted to have fun. If collaborating with the Janus crime syndicate could provide her with the enough excuses to have fun, so be it.

Obviously, I do not advocate for anyone to follow Ms. Onatopp’s example and kill people for the heck of it. But her character undeniably left an impression on me. My love for female bodybuilders is the most palpable. But it’s not because of the fantasy of being crushed, squeezed and incapacitated by a strong sexy woman. That doesn’t appeal to me nearly as much as you’d think. Instead, I was drawn to her because she did what she did for reasons that are her own and hers alone. She never had to justify herself. She didn’t squeeze men to death because she wanted to prove that she could do it. She did it because she enjoyed it.

In a perverted kind of way, Xenia is one of the greatest feminist characters modern cinema has churned out in recent decades. She exists purely for her own sake. She doesn’t hate men or hold a grudge against them; she uses them for her own pleasure. Xenia is a hedonist in every sense of the word. Pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Whether she’s conspiring with evil forces to plot an international terrorist attack or she’s screeching in delight from an earth-shattering orgasm seconds after killing a man, everything she did could be summarized in one simple line:

The pleasure was all hers.

A Female Muscle Fetish Might Not Actually Be a Fetish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we really that far outside the norm?

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

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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