The Slayers of Men

Selma Labat is a true slayer of anyone who gets in her way.

A common way we frame female bodybuilders is through the archetype of “Slayers of Men.” Within this framework, female bodybuilders are strong independent women who are here to smash gender stereotypes, the so-called “patriarchy,” and the notion that women are destined to be the weaker sex.

This explains why FBBs are often described as queens and goddesses. They are conquerors, leaders, rulers, creators, destroyers, punishers, and decision-makers. This, of course, has more to do with our fantasies involving FBBs rather than how we actually view FBBs. There’s some overlap, but the “Female Bodybuilders as Slayers of Men” trope exists more in our imaginations than in our literal fears.

In real life, female bodybuilders aren’t anymore violent than normal women. Sure, they have the capacity to cause more bodily harm than most, but that’s not the same thing. I’d rather take a punch to the face from Sarah Paulson than Sarah Hayes, but either way neither of them mean any harm to me unless I pose a direct threat first. Which is unlikely.

It is true that the mere existence of female bodybuilders challenges what we’ve previously thought about gender roles and biology – and this fact cannot be underestimated. But there is a big difference between admitting that “women can become stronger than men if they work hard enough” versus “a man ceases to be a man once a woman is able to lift more than him at the gym.” The former is a statement of fact. The latter is a subtle (or not so subtle) admission of insecurity.

There are many reasons why certain guys fear female bodybuilders. They fear them because they’re jealous. They fear them because they remind them that their title of “the stronger sex” isn’t guaranteed. They fear them because FBBs destroy any excuse they have about not getting bigger or stronger. They fear them because FBBs give permission to other women to get stronger – both physically and emotionally – and not take unnecessary bullshit from ungrateful jerks like them.

Oof.

But it should be obvious that these fears say more about (certain) guys than they do about FBBs in general. Guys who aren’t sexist jerks love strong women because they have no reason to be fearful or disgusted by them. If anything, we have every incentive to lift them up, celebrate them, and appreciate their impressive achievements. Female bodybuilders do not challenge our masculinity because real masculinity and strong femininity can peacefully co-exist together. They are not enemies, but rather two sides of the same coin.

Raquel Arranz looking as though she could defeat an entire army by herself.

Men who feel belittled by muscular women are actually expressing deep-rooted anxiety about themselves. FBBs remind them of their own weaknesses – both literal and figurative. That isn’t to say that guys who love FBBs are inherently stronger or possess rare emotional fortitude. Instead, guys who love muscular women have learned to move on beyond a cheap, surface-level understanding of gender roles, biology, and relationships. If a rising tide lifts all boats, muscular women also lift up all men.

One other way to look at female bodybuilders is to think of them as surrogate punishers for past sins. They are like movie monsters; larger-than-life creatures who act as destroyers sent to us to teach us all a lesson. Godzilla is Mother Nature’s way of punishing humankind for its sins of environmental degradation. King Kong is an allegorical reminder that pillaging, plundering, and economic exploitation are sins that will one day come back to haunt you. Even in the heart of New York City, a bright shining symbol of Western Civilization’s technological and social progress. Likewise, female bodybuilders are the physical embodiment of mankind’s punishment for sexism, misogyny, domestic violence, and structural gender-based oppression. Maybe not in the literal sense, but certainly in the symbolic sense.

Female bodybuilders aren’t lurking in the shadows ready to bash in the heads of guys who blurt out unsolicited catcalls or grab women’s butts, of course. That’s an avant-garde Frank Miller graphic novel just waiting to be written! However, from a psychological point of view FBBs essentially play that same role; as a constant reminder that if you’re not careful, women can strike back when provoked. And they can surpass you in terms of strength and size if you’re not on top of your game.

Even if the significance is more symbolic than literal, there is something to be said about female bodybuilders acting as proxy “Slayers of Rude, Idiotic Men” and, at the same time, allies of “Kind, Gentlemanly Men.” These battles don’t have to transpire on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram in order for them to have real substance. All they have to do is exist in our minds.

Because this is where the real battles are fought: in our minds. FBBs are often viewed as the Slayers of Men because either we fear that they are or we wish that they could be. It’s sort of like imagining Brandi Mae Akers riding on top of a fire-breathing dragon as it incinerates a town down below, Game of Thrones style. Except in this case it’s Miss Akers who’s slaying the hapless townspeople, not the dragon. Whether Brandi Mae ever ends up ruling her kingdom is a secondary matter. What’s really at stake is whether or not she taught those insubordinate plebeians down below a lesson.

And in this hypothetical scenario, it matters whether you’re rooting for Brandi Mae to succeed or wishing that she’ll fail. Do you love her or fear her? Which is it?

In the real world, this paradigm doesn’t have to exist. Female bodybuilders don’t have to be the actual or figurative Slayers of Men. They can be the Allies of Men. That is, if enough men agree to join in this mutually beneficial partnership. A strong woman does not invalidate the masculine identity of a man – no matter how “wrong” or “contradictory” it may feel. One could argue that there is no such thing as “masculine” and “feminine” qualities in any objective sense. I cannot speak to how valid that perspective is, but I understand where it comes from. For the time being, let’s assume that masculine and feminine characteristics are real – at least from a cultural standpoint.

Do not get Heather Armbrust angry!

Masculinity and femininity aren’t two separate spheres in which there is no overlap. On the contrary, there is plenty of crossover. Or maybe, our definitions of these two words are too broad. “Strength” is neither a masculine nor feminine quality. It’s both. Or neither. Maybe it exists on a list of things that aren’t gendered. I’ve argued before that female bodybuilders don’t redefine femininity so much as they expand it. They transform our thinking in regards to gender by forcing us to not think outside the box, but to shatter the box with a sledgehammer. Men and women are different, but not as different as you might think. Or, those differences are arbitrary. Or, those differences can change depending on who we’re talking about.

Your status as a “man” isn’t defined by how many masculine qualities you exhibit. This is because our definition of “masculinity” is unto itself subjective. Nor does it mean that women can’t also showcase a few “masculine” traits without compromising their feminine status. This all sounds complicated because what we’re really arguing about here is definition of words, not objective ideas. Words are more than what the dictionary says they mean. Words also carry heavy cultural connotations, historic baggage, and emotional context. None of those things can be properly conveyed by a simple one sentence definition.

Long story short, who you are as a man isn’t predicated on who women are as well. The same is true going the opposite direction. Seeing a strong muscular woman deadlift more than you at the gym doesn’t mean you’re “less of a man” or not “measuring up” to who you’re supposed to be. We are all allowed to go at our own pace. That woman, whom we’ll nickname Deadlift Lady, exists on her own plain. She is an island, floating around in an ocean full of deep-rooted cultural expectations. The same goes for every guy at that gym lifting weights near her. They are also islands – one particular colloquial expression notwithstanding. Let’s say Typical Dude is deadlifting next to her. He can only lift 215 pounds for one rep. Not bad, but not terribly impressive. But let’s say Deadlift Lady is lifting 375 pounds for 10 reps. That’s quite a lot. Way more than Typical Dude. What do we make of this situation?

Well, not much.

Typical Dude is going at his own pace. He’s setting his own personal agenda. His goals are his and his alone. As long as he’s happy, that’s all we need to know about him. Deadlift Lady, on the other hand, is also going at her own pace. Her personal agenda is probably much different than her male counterpart. After all, no lady who’s deadlifting 375 pounds does so by accident! There’s intention going on here. She’s worked her whole life to make it to this point. The biggest takeaway from this scenario is that the existence of one does not invalidate the existence of the other.

Would you be intimidated if you saw Shannon Courtney lifting next to you at the gym?

They are two human beings working out. They are trying to improve their strength, health, vitality, confidence, self-esteem, and sense of purpose. He may feel slightly insecure lifting in proximity to her, but that’s perfectly okay. And understandable. But it’s not because he has a real reason to feel insecure. It’s because the culture he lives in tells him that he should feel bad. He has no actual reason to feel that way. Deadlift Lady’s remarkable accomplishments do not denigrate or invalidate the accomplishments of Typical Dude. They are two unique, vulnerable human beings trying to make their way through this hostile universe.

Deadlift Lady isn’t slaying Typical Dude. No matter what people around them are saying or thinking, no one is getting “owned” by these two individuals existing side-by-side. They can co-exist because one does not overrule the other. Strong women do not automatically make men weaker. Guys who feel threatened by strong women feel that way because they’re recognize their own shortcomings. The presence of a strong woman makes those feelings bubble to the surface faster than a malfunctioning submarine. Strong women do not make guys feel inadequate; they only bring out those feelings that already exist.

Female bodybuilders not only directly challenge one’s sense of masculine superiority, they also force us to reevaluate how we draw that line between men and women. Is it a hard line in the sand, or one that can easily be washed away by the rising tide?

Do not fear Kathy Johansson. Instead, lift her up!

Strength and weakness. Confidence and insecurity. Superiority and inferiority. Action and inaction. Accomplished and unproven. Happiness and fear. Self-love and self-loathing. Assuredness and doubt. Self-satisfaction and the endless need to prove one’s self.

These feelings are real, even if the reasons they exist are subjective.

The sooner we realize men and strong women are not in conflict with each other, the better off we’ll all be. Better yet, future generations will thank us. Alas, we are not there yet, but I pray one day we will be. Perhaps we can all make an impact, one grueling deadlift repetition at a time.

Strong women are not the Slayers of Men. Men who hate themselves and other women are the actual Slayers of Men. And how do we defeat this mortal enemy?

Easy. In addition to lifting those weights, lift up the people around you.

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The Vulnerable Female Bodybuilder

The seemingly invincible Ginger Martin.

Female bodybuilders are strong. They seem invincible. Unstoppable. Powerful. Authoritative. A force of nature. One who shall not be reckoned with.

If you mess with her, she’ll mess with you. And you don’t want that to happen to you. Trust us.

Fans of female bodybuilders have put these ladies onto a pedestal, one in which they don’t seem to be human. FBBs are often described in quasi-spiritual terms; using words such as “goddess,” “angel,” or “queen.” These words evoke ethereal images of immortals walking amongst men. FBBs are somehow not human because a “normal” human can never actually look that breathtakingly beautiful. Regular human beings are not able to make your heart skip a beat, your jaw drop to the floor, and a chill run down your spine just by simply posting an untouched photo of themselves on Instagram.

But alas, many FBBs are able to do just that. Many times over, in fact.

Yet, in the back of our minds we know that FBBs are not actually goddesses. They are flesh and blood human beings with feelings, thoughts, fears, insecurities, families, hobbies, and faults. We know that intellectually, on a theoretical level. But emotionally, we cannot help but view these ladies as invulnerable angels whose unique beauty somehow endow them with some sort of shield against typical human imperfections.

In our fantasies, our favorite FBBs are warriors who can slay thousands of enemies at a time. They’re powerful deities who can make the most formidable kingdoms tremble to their knees. They’re sirens who can enslave men to do their will. They’re so breathtakingly beautiful you cannot imagine a moment when they’d ever be sad, intimidated, or not in control.

Yet…

…yet we know the reality of things is much more mundane. But we don’t want to think about that. We’d rather focus on an FBB’s perfections instead of her basic humanity. However, it is worthwhile to keep this important point in mind: Female bodybuilders are much more vulnerable than you’d think.

Here’s why:

First, female bodybuilders exist in a world that doesn’t always accept them for who they are.

The aesthetic of a woman with big muscles certainly excites some of us, but not all of us. As incomprehensible as this sounds, not everyone appreciates the beauty of female bodybuilders. Some are disgusted by a nontraditional feminine figure that doesn’t fit into the narrow box society has come to define. This could be caused by people not liking what they’re not familiar with, but it goes deeper than that.

They’re disgusted because the sight of veins popping out of a muscular arm isn’t terribly appealing – regardless of the gender of the person it belongs to. But especially if it’s a female arm. We’re taught to believe that a beautiful woman should be smooth, angular, and soft. Female bodybuilders are not smooth, angular, and soft. They’re rough, bulky, and coarse. Their bodies do not fit within the acceptable parameters society (properly understood, that is) has arbitrarily established. And because of that, female bodybuilders are always at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking into the entertainment and modeling industries. Even the fitness industry seems to prefer the “fit” look instead of the hypermuscular look.

This lack of acceptance has pushed the female bodybuilding community underground, away from mainstream attention. Is there any need to bring up the unfortunate demise of the Ms. Olympia contest?

Of course, there will always be the token role in a sitcom for a “muscle chick” who shows up, looks menacing, and does something comedic to the male star like kick his ass or wallop him at arm wrestling. They’re not there as a character, but as comedic foil. It’s a bit dehumanizing, but when it’s slim pickings in the entertainment industry, beggars can’t be choosers. You have to accept whatever paying job you can get. Jayne Trcka’s role in Scary Movie (2000) exploits every single negative stereotype about female bodybuilders you can possibly imagine. But from her perspective, it’s a paying job in a major Hollywood production. Can you really blame her?

Kathy Johansson enjoying fun in the sun.

Second, and this point is directly related to the first one, female bodybuilding isn’t a very lucrative profession.

There’s almost no money to be made through competitions. Traditional modeling jobs don’t pay a whole lot no matter what your body type happens to be. You can work as a personal trainer or fitness coach, but being a bodybuilder isn’t necessarily an advantage. It’s not a disadvantage (as far as one can tell), but there are no “bonus points” to be had from being a bodybuilder except for it gives you an extra sense of validity. But not everyone thinks that’s a deal breaker.

And living the life of a bodybuilder isn’t cheap either. The food and supplementation alone costs quite a bit of money if you’re trying to eat clean, often, and strategically. It takes time to go to the gym, lift, do cardio, stretch, shower, and go home to eat and devour a protein shake. It’s challenging to balance working full time, training as a bodybuilder (even if you’re not competing professionally), and enjoying personal time with friends and family. It boggles the mind to ponder how male and female bodybuilders are able to do it.

In other words, female bodybuilders are essentially normal people like us with much different kinds of living expenses. Unlike pro baseball or basketball players, pro bodybuilders aren’t making $20 million per year. They need to hold down a regular 9-5 job just like the rest of us, except squeeze in several hours of training on top of that. You don’t need to be a life coach to understand the difficulties of balancing all of these priorities.

But where exactly is the money at? Well, one can make plenty of dough if they’re willing to offer muscle worship or wrestling sessions. Which conveniently transitions us to our next point:

Being a session provider can be a risky business.

If you need a primer on what “muscle worship” means, you can read all about it in a prior post. While most of us think (and fantasize) about muscle worship and wrestling sessions from the perspective of the client, we mustn’t ignore the provider’s side of the story. Even if rules are set and established beforehand, participating in a fantasy wrestling session can be quite risky.

You never know when you’ll accidentally get injured. Or intentionally get injured by someone with less-than-honorable intentions (there are a lot of strangely insecure guys who feel like they have something to “prove” to a well-meaning FBB who is just trying to earn a living). Or meet a creepy person who stalks you afterward – both online and perhaps even in-person. Stalkers affect all sorts of people, but female bodybuilders are a special breed. They’re as rare as a solar eclipse, which can drive a person whose mental state is already “shaky” at best to do things that definitely cross the line of sane behavior.

For these reasons, FBBs often lay down ground rules before the session even begins. They want to know how much you weigh if you’re interested in “lift and carry” activities. They want to make clear that the wrestling is for fantasy purposes only, as opposed to being a recreation of the Olympic trials. They want to be clear that “tap out” rules will be honored by both sides. In other words, they want to know that they – and the participant – will be safe at all times.

Honest accidents without any malice will inevitably happen from time to time. That is unfortunate, but a reasonable risk one faces when engaging in such strenuous activities. If you want a job without any physical hazards, get a desk job where you sit at a computer and type all day long. But that is not what an FBB who offers muscle worship/fantasy wrestling appointments chooses to do.

A coy looking Tina Nguyen.

Injuries stink for obvious reasons. They hurt, can lead to future health problems, and can be demoralizing. Injuries also inhibit your ability to train, work, travel, and live comfortably. And when your body and health are central to your income stream, being hurt is a double whammy. It’s difficult to earn a living when you’re preoccupied with healing up from a recent torn ligament or fractured bone.

Any lifestyle that is that physically demanding with carry with it inherent risks. And when you throw in clients who may or may not be familiar with you (not every session provider asks for a reference or makes background checks), you never know what sort of person you’ll be spending the next hour or two with. That can be a scary proposition, no matter how emotionally and physically strong you are.

On top of all that, travelling from city to city takes you away from your friends and family for long stretches of time. It’s hard to imagine what that type of life is like unless you’ve lived it. If you have young children – or even older children – being away from them for long periods of time can be stressful. Think of it from the mother’s perspective. Then the children’s. See why this can be a volatile profession?

The next point goes along with that concept: Being a female bodybuilder can be really awkward at times – both for you and your loved ones.

Can you imagine being a little kid and having a mom who “doesn’t look like the other moms?” She’s a lot bigger, stronger, and physically imposing than Billy and Jimmy’s moms. She even has a deeper voice, smaller boobs, and more veins popping out of her arms than is typically considered, uh, typical. And she can bench press more than all the dads out there.

Talk about awkward.

This idea is directly connected to the first point about FBBs living in a world that doesn’t always accept them for who they are. This explores that very concept from everyone else’s perspective.

The older kids get, the more vicious the rumors will become. It doesn’t take a hardboiled private detective to find out what happens at those mysterious muscle worship sessions. It doesn’t take an avid porn aficionado to stumble upon an obscure video of an FBB giving a blow job or hand job to a nameless and faceless beta male client. This sort of information is out there for anyone who is willing to search for it. And not every blog is as respectful as the one you’re currently reading right now. Some blogs and comment sections (ah, yes. The dreaded “comments section” that has single-handedly contributed to the catastrophic dumbing down of our society) can be quite crude in describing what goes on behind closed doors. And come to think of it, it isn’t necessarily crudeness that makes this an issue. Just the basic knowledge that prominent FBBs provide sessions as a side gig is enough to get people to chat, gossip, and speculate on what actually is going on in those remote hotel rooms.

Rumors are rumors, but when rumors are spread widely and loudly enough, they start to become “fact,” even if they are not actually facts. No need to bring up “fake news,” is there?

Can you imagine being a normal kid who does a Google search on your mom and discovers she gives hand jobs to hundreds of guys across the world each year? And she does it for cash that eventually will help fund your college tuition? Talk about an epic discovery that you’d want to erase from your memory “Eternal Sunshine-style.”

Can you imagine being teased for this by the other kids whose parents are more “normal,” if such a thing even exists? Perhaps your FBB mama is remarkably open about her life’s work. Or maybe she tries to shield you from it. In today’s Internet age, it’s nearly impossible to keep something like that under wraps forever. Eventually, the truth will come out if you wait long enough. Nothing can stay hidden for good. Not anymore. We’re far beyond that point. If there’s a grainy video of you – even if this video is more than twenty years old – doing something even slightly embarrassing (never mind performing sexual acts on strangers), you know for a fact it will eventually smack you in the face. Usually when you least expect it. And especially when you don’t ask for it.

Kiana Phi showing off her hard work.

Here’s a true story that I feel compelled to share: Not too long ago a real-life female bodybuilder whom I’ve met for a muscle worship session once before contacted me via e-mail about a recent blog post I had written. She kindly asked that I remove a photo of her that appears in it. The blog article wasn’t about her specifically, but I wanted her picture to be in it because I like her so much.

I dutifully did remove it, carrying out her request as swiftly as I could. She didn’t want her name and reputation to be tarnished. She didn’t want to be associated with an underground subculture that could come back to haunt her, her husband, and her kids.

She didn’t want her daughters to be teased about what their beloved mama does with men in hotel rooms across America. Even if these rumors aren’t based in reality, that doesn’t matter. Harmful gossip is harmful regardless of its truthfulness. I removed her photo because I didn’t want to upset her, but I also did so because I instantly put myself in her shoes. I choose to remain anonymous on this blog because I wouldn’t want my friends and family to know about my unusual fetish. I can grant myself anonymity with very little effort on my part. For an FBB who is considered a “celebrity” in the eyes of many people worldwide, they do not have that luxury.

Public figures cannot control what people say about them. And not everyone can pay a high-quality spin team, PR representative, or “search engine scrubber” who can find creative ways to hide bad stuff said about you. It’s just not possible in today’s interconnected and plugged-in world to totally control your online reputation. I can create a Ryan Takahashi avatar and establish whatever persona I want to. Public figures cannot do that as easily.

Isabelle Turell – what a woman!

This is something I must – and the rest of you, too – keep in mind at all times. When you write about an FBB, wrestler, or session provider on an Internet chat forum, you’re not just communicating to the people with whom you’re directly corresponding. You’re also spreading information – and this includes both accurate and inaccurate information – to the world at large. That’s someone’s reputation. That’s someone’s mom, sister, wife, friend, or lover. That’s another human being, not a brand new air conditioner that deserves a four star rating out of five.

When you call her a whore, you’re saying that about a person with feelings. When you reveal what goes on behind closed doors without honoring her anonymity, you risk harming her reputation. It makes perfect sense why many FBBs are reluctant about allowing people to write reviews about them on chat forums. Who knows what some disgruntled yahoo will say to a captivated audience?

Female bodybuilders are some of the strongest willed people on planet Earth. But they are not invincible. They are flesh and blood human beings who are just as vulnerable as you or I. They may not seem like it in the fever pitch depths of our imaginations, but this is the truth. They are vulnerable, often times in ways you cannot see or understand.

Nude: A Muscular Woman’s Natural State (NSFW)

Emery Miller in her natural state.

Emery Miller in her natural state.

One year ago, I published a post titled “A Muscular Woman is Always Nude in Public, Even When Fully Clothed.” The basic gist of my article is that a woman with muscles cannot easily hide her muscles from the public. Even if she wears baggy clothing and acts as inconspicuous as possible, she can never fully conceal the fact that she is indeed a woman with big muscles.

So no matter what she does, where she goes, or who she associates with, her identity as a “female bodybuilder” is forever branded on her body – that is, until she decides to stop training and lets her muscles atrophy. She can run, but she can’t hide.

However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One does not pursue bodybuilding unless he or she is okay with, ahem, looking like a bodybuilder. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Yes, it is the whole point. No arguments there. I’d like to follow up this post with more thoughts on the concept of female muscle and nudity. Here it goes. Not only is a female bodybuilder always nude even when she’s fully clothed, when she is nude she’s actually in her “natural state.”

By “natural state,” I mean the way in which nature intended for something to be presented. As human beings living in human civilization, it is not encouraged to be naked in public. Nor is it natural for people to live clustered sedentary lives where they spend all their free time glued to a computer screen. In-person human interaction involving people actually looking at and talking to another human being has (nearly) gone by the wayside, thanks to the introduction of social media, texting, and other digital distractions. Life in the 21st Century may resemble a quasi-dystopian (and heavily exaggerated pre-apocalyptic) reality, but that doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally turn back the clock and return back to how we were supposed to behave.

Kathy Johansson showing off her best side.

Kathy Johansson showing off her best side.

As a particular sub-species of humanity, female bodybuilders belong in a unique category. Female bodybuilders are, in many respects, a prototypical 21st Century human being: Strong, independent, rebellious, entrepreneurial, and “feminine” by her own definition. Never mind the fact that female bodybuilders are not celebrated by our culture in quite the same way that pop stars and loudmouth politicians are; FBBs are women who are known to exist but aren’t given the adequate public space that they deserve to exist in.

So in a realistic sense, FBBs will forever be relegated to the backburner of greater society’s consciousness. Or more specifically, they’ll inhabit the backburner of the stove located in the shanty sitting 20 miles away from our culture’s proverbial kitchen. It’s a hard knock life, but a life that our beloved FBBs are willing and able to wade through.

But within the female muscle fan community – and to be sure, God knows how many of us are out there – the accomplishments of FBBs do not go unnoticed. In fact, we spend an inordinate amount of time experiencing these ladies as many ways as we can: Meeting them for muscle worship/wrestling sessions, watching their videos, looking at their photos, reading articles about them, following them on Instagram, etc. And if there is one theme that consistently comes up, it’s that we love seeing our gorgeous strong ladies wearing as little clothing as possible.

Granted, the desire to see a beautiful person without clothing isn’t particularly unusual. Adam didn’t notice Eve while she was wearing a nuclear hazmat suit. He noticed her when she was wearing…uh, nothing at all. I’m pretty sure if any of us were to see a beautiful person walking down the street wearing his or her birthday suit, we’d all stop what we’re doing and stare. If you wouldn’t so such a thing, well, I don’t know what to say to you.

However, in a strangely poetic way, female bodybuilders aren’t just beautiful women whom we would like to see naked. They’re beautiful women who should be naked all the time. A muscular woman should never be covered up. Her body should always be displayed in all its natural glory. A clothed muscular woman is a travesty. It’s an abomination. It’s unnatural, just like eating tropical fruit in the winter or listening to Christmas music in July.

The gorgeous Lindsay Mulinazzi.

The gorgeous Lindsay Mulinazzi.

As bodybuilders, FBBs dedicate their whole lives to developing their physical bodies to fit a certain desired aesthetic. It’s not a hobby. Nor is it just a career choice. It’s a lifestyle. What they eat, how they train, when they sleep, where they find themselves at any given moment, what they spend their money on; it’s all part of the life of being a pro (or exceedingly dedicated amateur) bodybuilder. In short, you don’t become a bodybuilder. Bodybuilding becomes you!

And the human body, when deliberately sculpted to look a certain way, deserves to be seen in its proper context. There’s a reason why bodybuilding contests feature contestants wearing almost nothing. Obviously, the competitors won’t wear anything that isn’t acceptable at any public beach, because “going commando” is still pretty taboo. It’s like going to the movies: Seeing hundreds of people get shot and blown up is okay, but seeing a bare female breast is totally wrong.

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but plenty of things in life don’t make a lick of sense when you think about it.

So forget about this in a practical sense. I’m not suggesting female bodybuilders – and male bodybuilders, I suppose – should go around completely naked all the time. This is more of a philosophical discussion with regards to who female bodybuilders are and what they represent, not a call to action to defy indecent exposure laws!

Simply put, female bodybuilders should be appreciated in the nude whenever possible. Yes, it can be incredibly sexy to see a gorgeous FBB wearing frilly lingerie or a g-string bikini or a French maid’s outfit. But that’s all fun and games. I’m talking about how a female bodybuilder deserves to be seen.

What can you conclude by seeing Michelle Tuggle fully nude?

What can you conclude by seeing Michelle Tuggle fully nude?

You cannot fully appreciate her hard work unless you see every single square inch of her body. Her calves. Her quads. Her hips. Her butt. Her abs. Her arms. Her chest. Her neck. Her back. Her face. Her breasts. And yes, her genitals.

Her genitals may seem inconsequential, but they are not. Seeing a woman with big muscles and female genitalia proves the point once and for all that she’s a real woman. Whether her clitoris is small or abnormally large doesn’t really matter. What matters is the stark reminder that this hypermuscular human body is also a female body. Whether her breasts are small or large also doesn’t matter. They need to be seen. If her breasts are normal-sized, they serve as further reinforcement of her femininity. If they are flat, they could then be used to argue either that one doesn’t need breasts in order to be a woman or that “womanhood” needs to be redefined. Or more specifically, our concept of “womanhood” needs to be tossed out the window altogether.

The size of her muscles, the appearance of her genitalia and breasts, and the confidence in which she carries herself (or perhaps, lack of confidence if she’s self-conscious about anything) all tell us the complete story about her. If she’s embarrassed by her small breasts and large clit, this offers a clue to how she views her own femininity. If she’s damn proud of her big muscles, flat chest, and oversized genitals, we can surmise that she doesn’t give a damn what society says or that she wants society to dramatically change the way we view women.

As I’ve written before in a previous blog article, a large clitoris is beneficial for the perception of women and their sexualities. It proves that women are indeed sexually sovereign beings who deserve to experience pleasure whenever they desire to. The vagina is often (unfairly) mischaracterized as a passive bodily organ that only serves to receive a man’s penis during intercourse and to deliver a child during birth. Add to it a clitoris that is often too small to see (without zooming in very closely!) and you get a set of genitals that can be viewed as being submissive, dependent, and unremarkable.

A very sultry Desiree Ellis.

A very sultry Desiree Ellis.

However, that’s not even close to being true. But as far as perception goes, a big clitoris that resembles a very small penis can go a long way in proving the point that women do in fact possess an organ that exists solely to give her pleasure. We might know that in the back of our minds, but a larger-than-life clitoris that shocks you when you see it accentuates that point a hundred-fold.

Thus, yes, her genitals do matter. Every single inch of her body matters. You cannot truly understand who a female bodybuilder is unless you see her completely nude. But do not mistaken nudity with vulnerability. There’s a difference between being naked and being nude. “Naked” is when someone lacks clothing. “Nude” is a state of being in which one shows off all their skin. In other words, “naked” implies vulnerability, deficiency, and being unprotected. “Nude,” on the other hand, connotes an active choice to be bare.

Being naked is humiliating. Being nude is an empowering choice. See the difference?

A nude female bodybuilder is most likely to be in the “empowered” camp. But I guess that’s not always the case. In addition to being embarrassed by her genitalia or breasts, not everyone is comfortable being naked…regardless of the circumstances. Obviously, bodybuilders (male and female) tend to have fantastic looking bodies, but we all hold differing mores when it comes to showing off skin to the public.

There’s an undeniable difference between seeing a muscular woman clothed and a muscular woman completely nude. When clothed, we are reminded of her ordinariness. She wears shirts, pants, socks, shoes, and jackets just like the rest of us. It’s like she’s covering up who she really is, as if wearing clothes is just like Clark Kent wearing glasses to disguise the fact that he’s actually Superman. A female bodybuilder who’s wearing clothes is shielding her identity, albeit not completely.

Yes, you can still tell that she’s really darn muscular. Her tight jeans may generously show off her sculpted glutes and rock hard thighs, but it’s not even close to seeing the actual thing. I’m sure Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen suspected that Mr. Kent was actually somebody else, but who in their right mind would go all the way and suggest that he’s actually the Man of Steel? Preposterous!

Likewise, it’s not the same to look upon a fully-clothed female bodybuilder with a similar amount of awe and wonder if she were nude. That even goes for her wearing a bikini. She’s mostly nude…however there are still a few crucial parts still left uncovered.

Now, contrast that with a fully nude muscular woman. It’s as though you’re seeing her from a whole new perspective. She transcends her humanity and becomes a goddess. When you see her in her “natural state,” you truly are able to comprehend just how amazing her body is. You witness not just her physical beauty; you also get to experience her entire essence. Her personality, her hard work, her sacrifices, her lifestyle choices, her fears, her doubts, her dreams, her hopes; everything is right there on display. She hides nothing because this is who she really is.

This is how she’s meant to be seen.

You may be asking yourself: Does the same apply to a gorgeous non-bodybuilder woman? Well, not really. Without question, the sight of a beautiful nude woman is always pleasant to regard, whether she has big muscles or not. I’m only human. However, the major dissimilarity is that an FBB’s sculpted body is so crucial to her identity. Her chiseled physique is central to who she is as a person and what she’s dedicated her life toward accomplishing.

The real Jungle Woman: Rita Sargo.

The real Jungle Woman: Rita Sargo.

A beautiful non-muscular woman isn’t quite the same. A supermodel can wear a sultry black dress and make jaws drop to the floor (although I believe “slay” has become the currently accepted nomenclature). If a female bodybuilder were to wear the exact same dress, she could garner the exact same reaction…but it wouldn’t feel the same. Instead, the dress would seem like a burden. The dress becomes a distraction, an unnecessary diversion away from what’s really important.

And what is actually important? You guessed it! Her hard chiseled muscles.

Perhaps that’s the heart of this discussion. That’s my core message. Clothing seems unnatural when placed on a female bodybuilder’s body. And not just unnatural; it seems sacrilegious. A masterpiece by Monet deserves to be viewed by millions of people at a museum, not locked away in a vault somewhere in an undisclosed underground location. A grand piano deserves to be played, as opposed to serving as a glorified piece of furniture. A novel sitting on a shelf and doing nothing is degrading. It must be read and enjoyed, not relegated as common clutter.

In the same manner, a female bodybuilder’s body needs to be seen in its entirety. And that means she must be fully nude. I’m not suggesting every single bodybuilder must be forced to strip naked and pose for pictures. Heavens no! That’s the furthest thing that I would advocate for, trust me. Rather, I’m talking about this in a metaphysical sense.

A female bodybuilder’s body is maximizing its utility (or purpose) when it’s displayed in the nude. More than being athletes, female bodybuilders are also artists. And like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci before them, FBBs warrant having their handiwork displayed in a way that provides the viewer an optimal experience:

Nude. No clothing. At all. Just her beautiful body and nothing else shielding it. That’s the way she is meant to be seen. That’s the way nature intended it.

Anything else would be a disservice to all her years and years of shedding blood, sweat, and tears. Maybe I was wrong in my initial assessment that a muscular woman is always nude in public, even when she’s fully clothed. When she’s wearing clothes, she’s just like the Monet sitting in a dark vault or the masterpiece of a novel collecting dust. We’re in the presence of greatness; we just don’t know it. And this is perhaps the greatest tragedy of them all.

That being said, when she’s completely nude, our eyes aren’t the only things that become wide open. So do our minds, hearts, and souls.

Why We Love Watching a Muscular Woman Masturbate

Look at the biceps of Gillian Ward!

Look at the biceps of Gillian Ward!

There are many activities muscular women do that female muscle enthusiasts love to watch.

Lifting at the gym. Wrestling a hapless opponent into submission. Dominating a weaker man both physically and psychologically. Pumping their clit. Posing for the camera. Talking about her daily routine, best lifts, sex life, etc.

But there is one activity that’s especially compelling, one that deserves special recognition. It’s an activity we all do, although we may not want to necessarily admit it out loud.

We love watching muscular women masturbate.

There’s no denying this. The category of porn known as “solo performance” has much mainstream appeal, whether it features muscular women or “normal” looking women. But it holds special weight among the crowd who loves female bodybuilders. When a female bodybuilder masturbates, we love watching it not just because it turns us on, but because it provides us much needed emotional catharsis.

Think this is a bit of a stretch? Read on.

We all have our masturbation stories. When we first discovered it, when our parents “caught” us doing it, when it came in handy (no pun intended) after a stressful day, ways we’ve improved in doing it after much trial and error, and so on. We were all teenagers at one point, right?

But it doesn’t end after the gloriously awkward days of middle school. No, not by a long shot. Unless we’re a modern day Casanova, most of us do not receive the amount of sexual pleasure from a partner (or multiple partners, depending on who you are) that adequately satisfies our appetites. Many of us need to “release” our built-up tension in other ways. Hence, we do the job ourselves.

Woody Allen is right that we shouldn’t knock on masturbation as a bad thing. After all, it’s sex with someone we love. That’s a win-win in my book.

As a matter of pornography, masturbation is just as titillating an activity to watch as traditional – and non-traditional – sex can be. I don’t have exact statistics in front of me, but I’d be willing to bet that at least 15 percent of porn videos out there on the Internet have at least some elements of “solo performance” attached to it. I’ve seen videos of two people (one man and one woman) masturbating next to each other. They never have actual intercourse together. They just get themselves off with the other person in close proximity. I didn’t find this video particularly appealing, but as they say, different strokes for different folks.

Pun intended? You better believe it.

Returning to our original subject, there’s a huge difference between watching a pretty skinny girl masturbate for the camera and a big, beautiful and powerful female bodybuilder doing the same thing. Both performers will provide their audience the expected dosage of over-the-top fake moans and cheesy convulsing, but the latter carries with her a high degree of interesting context that the former does not.

Lisa Cross is not afraid to show off her assets for the camera.

Lisa Cross is not afraid to show off her assets for the camera.

When a woman masturbates for the camera, the obvious purpose is to sexually excite the viewer. That’s without a doubt reason #1. Yes, she may have exhibitionist motivations behind her, but by and large her performance is for entertainment purposes. Some people may find it more entertaining than others, but that’s beside the point. That being said, when a female bodybuilder gets off in front of the camera, it triggers inside us a whole host of thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

First, we associate masturbation as being the ultimate act of independence. It is, in a literal sense, having sex with yourself. When an FBB masturbates, it reaffirms her devotion to being a strong, independent woman. She’s perfectly able to please herself, thank you very much. It’s not that she doesn’t need a man or woman to please her (let’s face it, many FBBs are also lesbians), rather she knows her body better than anyone else.

Bodybuilders are by their very nature more in-tuned with their bodies than anyone else. It makes perfect sense. They spend years of their lives hyper-focusing on every single square inch of their bodies to ensure it meets their strict definition of “perfection.” This is no small task. So who is best qualified to give their bodies pleasure? That’s right. Themselves.

We love female bodybuilders because they defy so many perceptions we hold about men, women, and male/female relations.  They’re stronger than most men despite women being naturally weaker than men. They’re headstrong, fiercely independent, and refuse to accept the status quo as being adequate. They aren’t women who claim to be strong. They’re women who actually are strong, both physically and emotionally.

Anybody can write a Facebook post claiming to be determined to pursue their dreams. Female bodybuilders, on the other hand, expend blood, sweat, and tears every single day to make their dreams come true. They live out their dreams so that it’s not really a dream, but reality itself.

Can't get enough of Kathy Johansson. Can you?

Can’t get enough of Kathy Johansson. Can you?

This spirit of individual determination mirrors the act of masturbation. Assuming we take a more positive attitude toward masturbation (have you noticed that a man who masturbates is considered a “loser” while a woman who masturbates is considered “liberated?”), watching a female bodybuilder get herself off is just one other example of her taking control of her own life. Her resolve to build up the biggest and brawniest body possible goes hand-in-hand with the desire to take her sexuality into her own hands (literally and figuratively).

When we watch a female bodybuilder pleasure herself with a dildo, vibrator or her own fingers, we’re seeing her display an act of independence that is a natural continuation of the independence she displays in every other facet of her life. Her unique diet, personalized workout regimen, and unorthodox lifestyle separate her from the herd. Her ability to give herself pleasure goes along those same tracks.

Second, we see masturbation as an act of a female bodybuilder rewarding herself for being who she is.

I don’t need to rehash the idea that being a competitive (or a dedicated non-competitive) bodybuilder is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very difficult thing to do. Male or female, the life of a bodybuilder is without debate a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very difficult thing to do.

Uh, did I mention it’s a very difficult thing to do?

A female bodybuilder makes sacrifices that very few of us would also be willing to do. I’m sure there are days (and perhaps weeks on end) when an FBB really doesn’t want to go to the gym and lift. Her joints hurt. Her muscles are sore. Her back is stiff. Her stomach hurts from eating the same food over and over again and in such large quantities. She’s sick and tired of drinking so much damn water. All she wants to do is open a bottle of beer, order a take-out pizza, and sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day.

But that won’t get her one step closer to placing 1st at the upcoming competition. That won’t allow her body to remain in a condition that her fans expect. Doing that will be bad for business, because these days female bodybuilders have to think of themselves as a one-woman business.

Instead, she has to suck it up and do what’s necessary to keep making gains at the gym and keeping her body in top shape. Her body wants to quit, but her mind must refuse to let that happen.

Abby Marie showing off her impressive set of abdominal muscles.

Abby Marie showing off her impressive set of abdominal muscles.

That attitude requires a level of mental fortitude that not too many of us possess. We all know that it’s easier for men to develop muscle mass than women. So when a woman achieves muscle mass that surpasses that of a man, we know that’s a supremely impressive accomplishment. We cannot imagine how much sacrifice it takes to get to that point. This is why as fans of female bodybuilders we feel a psychological need to “reward” them for their sacrifices.

If we cannot actually reward these women – through gifts, paying hundreds of dollars for a muscle worship session, purchasing their merchandise, or buying tickets to one of their contests – we need an alternate route instead. Watching them masturbate for the camera is, in a weird sense, a surrogate means of “rewarding” them. When we see a strong muscular woman experience a satisfying orgasm (assuming she’s not “acting” for the camera), we experience cathartic release.

Female muscle fans enjoy a body type that is both rare and tremendously difficult to achieve. It’s easy for us to feel guilty about loving muscular women when we know they don’t owe us anything. Female bodybuilders don’t owe us a damn thing. They don’t have to share free photos of themselves on the Internet. They don’t have to produce videos that are easily found by a simple Google search. They don’t have to make their Instagram and social media accounts open to the public. They don’t have to offer muscle worship and wrestling sessions to anybody who’s willing to pay. They don’t have to do any of those things. But they choose to do so anyway.

So when female bodybuilders do allow people like us to enjoy the fruits of their labor, we feel like we’re not worthy, just as Wayne and Garth weren’t worthy of meeting Aerosmith in their basement. We feel a small amount of guilt, as if we’re getting away with something. It seems almost criminal that photos and videos of Gorgeous Muscle Goddesses are available for free on the Internet. That seems rude. In the back of our minds, we feel like access to these women’s bodies should be safeguarded like the codes to our nuclear arsenal.

Like ancient tribes who made sacrifices to the benevolent gods for providing a bountiful harvest, female muscle fans feel like we must provide our beloved Muscle Goddesses a ritual sacrifice as well. Most of us aren’t able or willing to provide an actual monetary gift, so we do the next best thing: We enjoy watching them give themselves sexual pleasure.

When a female bodybuilder reaches the climax of a self-induced orgasm, we feel like she’s receiving the reward she deserves for being who she is. As voyeurs watching this exhibition of sexual self-actualization, we receive emotional comfort knowing her hard work is being given its due. Even watching a female bodybuilder have sex with another person (man or woman, it doesn’t matter) carries the same effect. Anytime an FBB experiences an orgasm, it’s a ritual emotional cleansing for us. We can now continue to enjoy her muscles without any feelings of guilt. She’s happy and satisfied. She’s glowing. She’s purring like a kitten. She’s experienced pleasure. She’s been erotically satiated. And we love that she’s able to experience this. Because damn it, she deserves it.

Alas, no good deed goes unrewarded. There is justice in the universe. Huzzah!

Third, we view a female bodybuilder masturbating as an act of defiance. Too often female bodybuilders face jeers, insults, and rude remarks from mean spirited and ignorant people. People will say hurtful and sexist things about them over the web or worse, to their faces. It sucks. It’s disgusting. It makes us angry. As fans of female bodybuilders, we feel defensive toward the strong women we love. It’s almost tribalist, as if an attack on her is an attack on all of us. We know that’s not technically true, but it sure feels that way.

If I ever saw Colette Nelson wearing a dress like that in public, I should not be held legally responsible for my actions!

If I ever saw Colette Nelson wearing a dress like that in public, I should not be held legally responsible for my actions!

One common insult hurled toward female bodybuilders is that they’re not actually women. They’re either men, wish to be men, or are freaks of nature whose gender identity cannot be properly diagnosed. Her sexuality is brutally deconstructed, minimalized, marginalized, and trivialized. Her femininity is brought into question. Our masculinity (assuming you’re a man) is also brought into question.

She’s treated like a freak, in summary. She’s not human. She’s repulsive. She’s a betrayal to womanhood. Heck, she’s a betrayal to manhood as well. People out there think she deserves scorn because she defies our common perceptions of “what a woman is supposed to look like.”

It’s enough to make my blood boil. I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.

However, when a female bodybuilder masturbates, she’s openly defying these insults and is taking control of her sexuality. She’s proving she’s not a freak, but rather an exceptional example of the potential of human achievement. She has a vagina, and is willing to spread her legs out wide to prove it. Her clitoris isn’t a small penis, but a clitoris that’s really damn big. Period. She doesn’t need a man to please her. She doesn’t need to gain anyone’s approval. She is perfectly able to live a fulfilling life regardless of the vitriol thrown her way. For her, masturbation is not just an act of defiance, but a total beat down of all the negative stereotypes thrust upon her.

When we watch a female bodybuilder masturbate, we feel like we’re watching a show of protest. We’re watching a female bodybuilder not just reaffirm her right to enjoy pleasure, but giving permission to other women (whether they’re muscular or not) to do the same. If she can unapologetically give herself an orgasm, you can too. Regardless of what her critics will say, she doesn’t give two shits about them. She’s going to fuck herself with a dildo no matter what. She’s going to moan, groan, scream, and squirm to her heart’s delight.

And there’s nothing you can do to stop her.

Indeed, watching a muscular woman masturbate isn’t just a simple act of erotic voyeurism. It’s almost like a religious experience. Or if you’re not spiritually inclined, it’s cathartic. As she’s experiencing sexual release, we’re experiencing emotional release. We may not know it but that’s exactly what’s going on in our minds.

I realize it’s a cliché to refer to an independent woman as being “liberated,” but that’s not far from the truth. Being free means being able and willing to forge your own path. Perhaps that’s at the heart of the matter. It’s one thing to be able to pursue bodybuilding. It’s quite another to be willing to go through the daily grind year after year after year. A so-called “liberated” woman is free from two things: Obstacles created by society at large and obstacles created in her own mind.

I’m a big believer that the most significant hurdles any of us will ever face in our lives aren’t created by other people, but instead are created by ourselves. We are our own worst enemy. The moment we tell ourselves that we’re going to fail, we’re inevitably going to fail. We can blame outside forces all we want, but at the end of the day our lives are controlled by one person and one person only: Us.

We hold the keys to success. We’re the drivers of our own cars. We lay down the bricks to our own sidewalks. We build the doors that lead to our own success. Once we accept that we can take life by the horns and run with it, there’s no stopping what we can do.

When a muscular woman masturbates, she’s doing that in a literal sense.

She decides how, when, and who can please her. If it’s herself, so be it. If it’s someone else, fantastic. If it’s a combination of both, great. Regardless, she dictates the terms of her own life. Just as she’s sculpting her body to look a certain way, she’s also demonstrating her erotic autonomy. As fans, we cannot get enough of this. As fans, we’re rooting for her to masturbate as often as she wants to. We want her to climax as many times as she desires. Watching this happen isn’t just arousing, it’s a purging of our pent-up frustrations about being a female muscle fan.

Didn’t think watching an FBB give a “solo performance” carried that much weight, did you? That’s the beauty of being a fan of muscular women. No matter how many layers you dig through, you’re always going to find more topics to talk about. The onion goes on forever and ever. Let us keep this conversation going, shall we? For the sake of the muscular women we love, it’s the least we can do.

So keep on masturbating, muscular women everywhere! You know you have a small army of dedicated fans who are in your corner, rooting for you like mad.

A Muscular Woman is Always Nude in Public, Even When Fully Clothed

Kathy Johansson, a strong black woman in the flesh.

Kathy Johansson, a strong black woman in the flesh.

Female bodybuilders are caught in a perpetual problem. One they can temporarily try to remedy, but one that will always face them as long as they choose to be bodybuilders.

Imagine this scenario: A world class female bodybuilder goes to the grocery store. She walks down the produce section and selects her desired fruits and vegetables. She notices out of the corner of her eye two teenage boys staring at her incessantly. They can’t help themselves. She thinks nothing of it. Then she strolls through the breakfast cereal aisle to choose which granola she wants to eat in the mornings. Once again, she sees a little old grandma straining her weary eyes to determine whether or not the figure in front of her is a male or a female. The old woman doesn’t say a single word, but the FBB knows exactly what she’s thinking. A few moments later, she moves on to the meat section and tries to calculate in her head how many pounds of chicken and steak will last her for the rest of the week. Before she can make a definitive determination, our heroic FBB – almost on cue – spots a family of four pointing at her and whispering to each other. For the third time in the past ten minutes, she blocks out this experience and tries her best to maintain a dignified aura of “normalcy.”

For our hypothetical FBB, this is not a unique sequence of events. This is daily life. This happens all day, every day. There’s no stopping it. But over time, she’s come to expect all this unwanted attention. After all, it is unusual to see a woman with so much muscle on her body. She’s not naïve. She knows the typical person minding their own business doesn’t expect to come across a human female with the muscle mass of an NFL defensive end. But that doesn’t make the feeling of being a “circus freak” go away. It doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

This scenario illustrates a simple fact: A muscular woman is always nude in public, even when she’s fully clothed.

As a general rule, public nudity is discouraged in our society. Not just in the Western Euro-American world, but all over the planet. Call it a product of Adam and Eve, the Forbidden Fruit and the Garden of Eden; but whatever the reason is, every single one of us wears clothes for a reason. Besides, we don’t want to freeze to death every winter, do we? And let’s face it. Some of us would prefer not to see certain people naked. Ugh. We’ll leave it at that.

Whether we choose to wear pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, sweaters, socks, shoes, jackets, coats, scarves, slippers, neckties, nylon stockings, boots, robes, or jorts (denim shorts, something we need to legally ban), wearing clothes is both expected and something that’s not debated. Yes, occasionally we’ll read about local municipalities trying to outlaw bikini coffee stands, nude beaches and strip clubs, but overall the expectation that everyone wears clothes goes unspoken. Heck, public nudity is so taboo that something as mundane as a mother breastfeeding her baby will occasionally raise eyebrows from inadvertent onlookers. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way things are these days.

I wouldn't mind seeing Diana Tyuleneva naked in public.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Diana Tyuleneva naked in public.

But there are some people in this world who can’t entirely cover up their bodies. Bodybuilders, both male and female, have silhouettes that stand out from the rest of us. They can wear baggy pants and large winter overcoats all they want, but you can’t do that during the broiling heat of July. So for the vast majority of the year, when a female bodybuilder struts around in public, she can’t help but garner attention to herself – even if she’s not seeking it.

This attention won’t always be unwelcome. Nor will it always be negative. I’d wager a guess that it’s a mixed bag. Positive attention, negative attention…it’s all part of the packaged deal of living life as a professional (or as a dedicated amateur) bodybuilder. Of course, it goes without saying that public harassment is never warranted. Don’t bother people when they don’t want to be bothered. Nobody ever “asks” to be bothered, but FBBs are in the unique position of pulling attention their direction whether they want it or not.

Thus, female bodybuilders can never actually hide who they are. They are always naked. Not in the technical sense, but in the sense that their identity is always on full display to the world. But, if you think about it, isn’t that the point? Bodybuilders – whether they intend to compete or not – are trying to sculpt their bodies to fit a certain preferred aesthetic. Maximizing muscle mass, maintaining perfect symmetry, achieving the “chiseled” look, you name it. It’s all part of a master plan to attain “perfection.”

So it’s not unfathomable why female bodybuilders attract so much unprovoked attention. Not only do their bodies look different, they intentionally seek to look different. A female bodybuilder’s hard work is evident in every square inch of her body. Nothing is hidden from plain sight. So when people can’t help but stare at an FBB’s body when she minding her own business in public, can you really blame them? It might be a tired cliché to say “it is what it is,” but clichés start for a reason.

What we’re discussing here isn’t a major problem, but instead a fascinating insight into what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a female bodybuilder. They are always bare. They are always nude. They are vulnerable to unwanted attention in ways not too many of us can comprehend.

Lauranda Nall, a young up-and-coming blonde muscle bombshell.

Lauranda Nall, a young up-and-coming blonde muscle bombshell.

Additionally, FBBs are nude not just in an aesthetic sense, but in a social sense. People have certain stereotypes attached to female bodybuilders. Many are fair, many are undeniably unfair. Let’s go back to the grocery store anecdote from earlier. What do you think the two teenage boys, elderly grandmother and family of four – not to mention the check-out line clerk, deli employees and the countless shoppers who aren’t in the story but definitely exist in the same environment – are talking about or thinking about when they see our protagonist up close and personal? What assumptions do they have about her? What prejudices do they hold against her? Here is a small sample of some the thoughts that might be going through their heads:

  • “Is that a man or a woman?”
  • “Somebody needs to go to the gym less!”
  • “Gross!”
  • “That’s nasty! Who would want to look like that?”
  • “I wonder if her boyfriend is the ‘woman’ in the relationship…”
  • “Boyfriend? She’s probably a lesbian. And a scary one at that.”
  • “She probably has a penis hiding somewhere!”
  • “Tranny. Without a doubt.”
  • “She’s probably single. Most guys would be too scared to be with her.”
  • “She’s a freak on steroids.”
  • “Boy, if I ever got her mad, she’d probably pummel me to death!”
  • “Seriously. Why the fuck does she want to be that buff? Doesn’t she know that’s disgusting and no guy wants their girlfriend to be like that?”
  • “Steroids. That’s it. That’s the only logical explanation. I wonder who sells to her…”

And blah, blah, blah. It goes on and on and on. So, unfortunately, not only is an FBB bare in the physical sense, she’s also bare in the psychological sense. People start to make assumptions about her lifestyle, relationships, sexual preferences, emotional attitudes, behavior patterns, opinions, and so on. To compare, there are a lot of people in this world who physically stand out from the rest of the general public. Someone who’s really tall or really short can catch your eye. But the difference is that you know they can’t help it. How tall or short you are as a human being is determined by genetics, not lifestyle choices.

But being as insanely muscular as a bodybuilder? That’s totally intentional. That’s not a mistake. That’s all strategic.

Being a remarkably muscular person opens up a whole can of worms of stereotypes, prejudices and cognitive dissonance. The same could also be said for very overweight people and people who make unusual fashion choices. But we’re more accustomed to seeing people with a lot of body fat than we are seeing women with huge amounts of muscle. So our reactions are going to be that much stronger.

Most of us want to blend into the crowd. Even those of us who say we “want to be different” do so within certain socially-acceptable boundaries. Shaved hair, a nose ring, hot pink stockings or tattoos may have been distasteful a generation ago, but it’s not much to blink at today. So how do you genuinely separate yourself from the herd? Simple. Be a woman with a body like Brigita Brezovac. Do all the eating, lifting, supplementation and resting necessary to achieve that look. That’ll turn heads in a hurry!

Brigita Brezovac would definitely turn my head in a hurry.

Brigita Brezovac would definitely turn my head in a hurry.

Let’s shift this conversation toward the subject of public nudity itself. What exactly about the human body is taboo? Besides multigenerational tradition dictating that we all clothe ourselves, in the Western world it’s not taboo to show a little bit of skin. We can show bare arms, legs, faces and shoulders without too much trouble. But a woman showing her bare chest? That would be unacceptable. A man letting his penis hang loose? Same deal. Do that and you spend the night in jail. Do that in front of an elementary school and you get tracked by the government for the rest of your life. These rules, it goes without saying, are quite strict!

The parts of our bodies that we really have to cover up are our genitals, butt and for women, their nipples. She can show most of her breasts without much trouble. But expose her areola? Watch out!

Generally speaking, we use the Beach Rule to decide what is or what is not acceptable. Can you wear it at the beach without getting kicked out? Alright, then it’s fine. I won’t get into too much detail as to how we established these social rules to begin with, but they follow a similar pattern: If it can be used for reproduction and nursing one’s young, it shouldn’t be seen out in the open. The penis and the vagina obviously play an important role in conceiving a child. The vagina also plays a role in giving birth to the child. And her breasts are crucial to feeding her child once he or she is born. So there’s that: Conception, birth and nurturing. The three common elements that tie together the parts of the human body we can’t show in public.

But more than that, the three body parts that we can’t show in public – the penis, vagina and a woman’s breasts – also share another element in common. They distinguish men from women. Men have a penis, women have a vagina. Men have flat breasts, women have larger breasts. The parts of our bodies that identify who we are, strangely enough, are the parts we can’t freely show off. I can’t explain why, I just know that’s the way things are.

Jennifer Abrams is showing us muscles aren't just for men. Women can have them too!

Jennifer Abrams is showing us muscles aren’t just for men. Women can have them too!

So, what about muscles? Muscles are something that men have traditionally had a monopoly on. From the statue of David to the characters in Frank Miller’s “300,” men are the ones who are physically strong and determined. Women, however, are not expected to be as physically dominant as their male counterparts. Thus, in addition to genitalia, muscles are another part of the body that separates masculinity from femininity.

Therefore, when a woman is seen with big muscles, she is clearly breaking that paradigm. She’s shattering her subordinate role and challenging men in an arena where they’ve always had the upper hand. Kathy Johansson shows us that a strong black woman can be a literal strong black woman, not someone whose strength is defined by emotional grit. I have no doubt that Kathy has incredible mental fortitude, but her physical strength is what puts her on a level playing field with men.

Thus, an FBB’s muscles don’t just expose her nakedness. They expose our nakedness too! They challenge a physically weak man’s masculine credibility. They challenge our perceptions about the differences between the genders. They defy our standards of beauty, sexuality, gender roles and power structures. A female bodybuilder’s muscles don’t just expose who she is. They also expose who we are. Our beliefs, assumptions and habits are put on display. We become vulnerable as well. Who am I as a man if a woman can work hard enough to achieve strength that surpasses mine? What kind of a man am I?

I’m not saying these assumptions are good or bad, nor that our reactions are justified or unjustified. What I’m saying is that a muscular woman’s body exposes not just what we think of her…but also what we think of ourselves. Her ability to smash perceptions forces us to reevaluate what we believe. Should we treat people differently? Should we treat ourselves differently?

This is why the subject of female bodybuilding and female bodybuilders will always fascinate me. There are an endless number of topics we can discuss related to this. Muscular women are gems. They work so hard to look the way they look. And their beautiful bodies are specimens we cannot look away from. But there’s more to it than that. When we look upon the body of a female bodybuilder, we’re not just looking at her.

We’re also looking within at ourselves.

Muscle Worship, Female Bodybuilders and the Greatest 75 Minutes of My Life (Part Two)

The lovely Ginger Martin. Once again, none of the ladies featured here is the woman I had a session with.

The lovely Ginger Martin. Once again, none of the ladies featured here is the woman I had a session with.

So there I was. Tuesday, May 21. Sitting at my desk, staring blankly at my computer screen.

I had a hard time concentrating at work. Getting stuff done was nearly impossible. My mind was somewhere else, far away from whatever I was supposed to be doing at my job.

Because in two days, in a little more than 48 hours, I’ll be engaging in my first ever muscle worship session with GFBB (Gorgeous Female Bodybuilder). I just don’t know where yet. This one last detail is the only thing I haven’t solidified yet with her.

Thursday at 7 p.m. Got it. But where? In Seattle? Or somewhere outside of Seattle?

But suddenly, while lounging around and superfluously passing the time, I receive a much anticipated e-mail from my personal account.

It’s from GFBB! Yes!!!

Up to this point, I felt like GFBB and I have developed good e-mail chemistry, if such a thing is possible. We’ve communicated clearly back and forth, there’s been no misunderstandings (wiring the deposit money into her account went smoothly) and she’s even cracked a joke or two toward me. It definitely appears as though this arrangement is starting off on the right foot.

I’m guessing she probably gets a lot of creepy messages from random guys (and ladies) asking her to do some ridiculous things. Fetish activities, threesomes, choking (to the point of near death), posing for photos/videos, role playing and probably even straight up sex. So it was refreshing to hear that she thinks of this as less of a “sexual” arrangement and more of a “business-like” proposition.

Kathy Johansson wearing very sexy red lingerie.

Kathy Johansson wearing very sexy red lingerie.

Her e-mail message lets me know which hotel she’s staying at during her Seattle stop. And guess what? The hotel is less than three miles away from my apartment! Holy cow! She’s staying within a stone’s throw of where I live. This definitely bodes well.

GFBB gives me her phone number and tells me to text her when I arrive at the hotel. Alright, gotcha. I can do that.

The next two days flew by quicker than a Tokyo bullet train running away from Godzilla. I decided to take a “sick day” that Thursday because I don’t want any distractions leading up to this session. I work fairly far away from my apartment and there are times when really bad traffic, combined with terrible weather, can make my commute long and arduous. I didn’t want any emotional or physical disruptions on the day of my first ever session with a gorgeous female bodybuilder. So it seemed clear to me that being “ill” that day was justifiable.

I woke up on Thursday morning feeling fresh and alive. Butterflies weren’t swarming in my stomach yet, but I could definitely tell there was a certain electrical charge flowing through my system. Let’s face it; this doesn’t happen all the time. And a guy is totally allowed to be nervous in anticipation of his first time, right?

Shawn Tan is tall, elegant, beautiful and sexy as hell. Can we all agree?

Shawn Tan is tall, elegant, beautiful and sexy as hell. Can we all agree?

I ate breakfast and headed out to the gym to work out. I understand I could never look as amazing as GFBB, but it never hurts to get a good workout in to get my blood flowing and to calm my nerves. I don’t normally to go the gym on afternoons, so I saw a whole different crowd than I’m used to seeing. Mostly retired folks and stay-at-home-moms.

It was leg day. Yuck.

On the agenda for the day were squats, lunges and other leg machine exercises. During my entire workout all I could think about was me – yours truly – stroking GFBB’s strong legs, caressing her biceps and fondling her breasts. Judging from pictures I’ve seen of her, she definitely has a bountiful pair of breasts. This is without a doubt something I was looking forward to experiencing!

The gorgeous Kathy Connors demonstrating the nerdy/sexy dynamic.

The gorgeous Kathy Connors demonstrating the nerdy/sexy dynamic.

After my grueling workout (leg day is always grueling. Just ask anyone who actually does it!), I then walked over to the grocery store across the street from the gym. At the store I bought a nice bottle of wine to give to her as a gift. I figure it’s the least I can do to demonstrate how thankful I am that she’s willing to let me have a session with her. I then went to the bank in the same complex to withdraw the rest of the money I need to pay her.

Upon returning home, it suddenly hit me. I’m about to participate in my first ever session with a gorgeous female bodybuilder. Don’t get me wrong; I know I’m about to do this (I’ve had this planned for at least a month), but it wasn’t until this moment, with a bottle of wine and an envelope full of cash in my possession, that it really started to sink in.

I lay on my bed and tried to think of nothing. Not think about playing hooky from work. Not think about whether this session will be a disappointment or not. Not think about what she’ll think of me once she meets me. Not even think about what I’ll eat for dinner after the session is over. I tried to think of nada, nothing, zilch.

But I couldn’t. I had butterflies dancing in my stomach (they were probably participating in a drunken rave by now), my blood pressure skyrocketing through the roof and enough nervous energy of fifty chorus girls making their Broadway debut. I had to do something in the next hour to pass the time…

I then thought of what to do: Write a blog post.

So, I did. You can read it here.

After publishing this new post, I looked at my phone and saw it was a little after 6 p.m. My appointment with GFBB is at 7 p.m. The venue is less than three miles away. I could get there in ten minutes. Theoretically, I could leave here at 6:30 and still be early. But darn it, I have to leave now! All this fiddling around is making me go insane.

Besides, what if I get a flat tire? What if my car magically runs out of gas? What if there’s some catastrophic accident on the road that will delay me for forty minutes? Yes, I should leave now just to play it safe.

Damn. Logic has completely left my brain. All that’s left are nothing but an aching libido and flaming nerves. I should definitely leave now or risk suffering a subdural hematoma right here in my apartment.

It never hurts to show a picture of Kim Perez, does it? No, it certainly doesn't.

It never hurts to show a picture of Kim Perez, does it? No, it certainly doesn’t.

Before departing, I check my e-mail one last time to make sure I have her room number. Room 132. Okay…I’ve looked at Google Maps enough times to know where this hotel is like the back of my hand, so I’m golden on that front.

Alright. Time to go!

No more than twelve minutes later, I’m sitting in the parking lot of the hotel where GFBB is staying. Yikes! This shit is getting real! And to think that this Beautiful Muscle Goddess is a within shouting distance of where I live. Hot damn. I feel like a teenage girl about to meet a heartthrob pop star for the first time. If my voice starts to squeak indeterminately and I get the sudden urge to pass out, I’ll know why.

What time is it? Hmmmmmm…6:19.

6:20.

6:21.

6:22.

6:23.

6:24.

Holy hell. Could time move any slower?!!!

Seriously. Time could not move fast enough. As I sat there, in my car, on an overcast day in the Pacific Northwest, I began to think: Is she with a client right now at this moment? If not, could I text her right now and perhaps get a good fifteen or twenty minutes of extra session time with her? Speaking of which, is she a clock-watcher or is she very loose with how long these things last? Am I her last appointment of the day or does she have three or four other horny guys scheduled later this evening? Could some of her other clients be sitting in their cars right now, twiddling their thumbs, just like me? What if–

You know what? Screw it! I’m going to text her. I know it’s early (by the time I make this decision, it’s about 6:45), but what the hell? I’m here, aren’t I? I was told to text her just as soon as I got here, so I might as well follow along with her directions.

Nikki Fuller is one of my all-time favorites. Need I explain why?

Nikki Fuller is one of my all-time favorites. Need I explain why?

So, I texted her to let her know I was here.

A few moments later, she replies, saying “Ok u can come to my room now.”

Well, if the lady says so…

I got out of my car, locked the door and made the “long” trek (it felt long, okay!!!) to the entrance of the hotel. Thankfully, there weren’t a whole lot of people around, except for an older Asian couple who looked as though they just arrived in town. I quickly entered the hotel, intentionally avoided making eye contact with the front desk staff and took a sharp right turn toward her room.

On one hand, I want to look like I belonged here; but on the other hand, if they don’t remember me, would they ask me what business I had being here? Better play it safe and speed walk while keeping my head down. It probably isn’t too often when a random dude comes in to their premises to meet a strange woman for a sexually-charged muscle worship session.

Walking down the long corridor, complete with a dark red carpet and Seattle-themed artwork, I decided to use the bathroom before knocking on her door. Whenever I get really nervous, I get the urge to pee. Better do it now versus wasting time later using the toilet during my session!

This is Sarah Hayes. Baby got back, n'est-ce pas?

This is Sarah Hayes. Baby got back, n’est-ce pas?

Minutes later, I left the bathroom and proceeded forward to meet my Fate. I felt like a death row inmate making his last trip down the prison hallway before being electrocuted. Overdramatic? Of course. But if there’s ever an occasion to be unapologetically theatrical, now is the time.

I stood in front of room #132 and took a deep breath. This is it, Ryan. This is the moment you get to meet up close and personal (and hopefully, get really personal later on) with a famous female bodybuilder who’s strong, gorgeous, accomplished, well-regarded and amicable. This is it, buddy!

Another deep breath.

Exhale.

Extend hand.

Make a fist.

Knock on the door.

Wait.

The door then opens.

It creeks open ominously, almost romantically, as if I were a lost prince exploring a magical castle in a Disney movie.

I peeked my head inside to see who opened the door. Is it her? Is it–

And there she is.

There she is.

There. She. Is.

THERE. SHE. IS.

Holy cow. Holy mother of mercy. Wow!

I only have one word to describe this moment:

Damn.

Continued in Muscle Worship, Female Bodybuilders and the Greatest 75 Minutes of My Life (Part Three)