In My Own Words: 28-year-old Male from Los Angeles

Today’s guest writer says Denise Hoshor is one of his favorites. The man has great taste!

Ask, and you shall receive! My last post featuring Zach from San Diego sure inspired a few of you to submit your thoughts to me! Today, I’d like to introduce you all to a 28-year-old guy from the Los Angeles area. He prefers to remain completely anonymous, so not even his first name will be mentioned. I’m fine with that.

Once again, you may contact me at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com to join in on the party. You can contact this author at mufi (at) live (dot) com. He’d love to start a conversation with you!

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When did you first discover your love for female muscle?

I was exposed to muscular women at a really young age (11 or 12). Back then, the sports channels were still airing bodybuilding contests on TV. I happened to be flipping through the channels one night when I stumbled upon this contest (I think it may have been the Arnold Classic because it was around March). Initially they were showing the male competitors, but since there was nothing else on TV at the time I figured I would keep it on that channel for a bit. About 20 minutes later, the announcer said “Let’s take a look at the women’s contest.” The women they were showing were hitting these amazing poses and just looked so strong, proud, majestic, and confident. I was completely mesmerized. I had never seen women look like that before and I thought they were the most beautiful women I had ever seen in my life.

Shortly after watching the contest on TV, I received my first laptop (after talking my way out of getting caught looking at sexy photos of muscular women on the family computer!) and began going online and reading voraciously and learning everything I could about women’s bodybuilding. Pretty soon, I knew a lot about the competitors (by photos), the competitions, and the grueling regimen it takes to compete.

Why are you attracted to female bodybuilders?

I am attracted to female bodybuilders for a multitude of reasons. I always valued people or things that are unique – different from the herd. When I first saw those female competitors on TV, not only did I think about how sexy they were, I also thought about how intense they had to train and how many sacrifices they had to make (family, relationships, time, energy) to be on that stage. Not many women would possess the drive, perseverance, and the genetics to look like a female bodybuilder or physique competitor. That inner strength and the ability to just focus on yourself without worrying about what others say is incredibly sexy to me. And from a physical standpoint, I always preferred women with some curves – be it muscles or otherwise. I’ll take a woman with shapely muscles over a typical skinny (skin-on-bones) type of girl any day. She does not have to be a huge girl (I do have my limits), but a little shape is always appreciated.

Have you ever met a female bodybuilder?

Outside of a session, no. That being said, there are plenty of fit women out here in Southern California. It is not an uncommon sight to see a woman with some degree of muscle.

Have you ever engaged in a muscle worship session with an FBB?

Yes – once – and so far that is the only session I have ever done. I did this session during my grad school years (when I was 22). It was always a dream of mine to be able to meet and experience the presence of a muscular woman. Prior to even thinking about doing a session, I did a lot of due diligence. I knew I wanted to do it with a pretty well-known competitor, someone with session experience, and, preferably, someone who was preparing for an upcoming contest. I lucked out – she was visiting the city I was in at the time about a month before her competition.

She was a very beautiful and accommodating woman to me. Although I chose not to take things too far (out of respect for her and given it was my first time), I still had a memorable evening and I got a chance to learn a little bit about her as well.

He’s also a fan of Yaz Boyum. The guy knows his stuff.

How would you react to someone who says that a guy (or gal) who likes female bodybuilders is strange, weird, kooky, etc.?

I would just tell them that everyone has their preferences. People do have the freedom to choose who or what they like.

Have you ever told anyone that you’re into female muscle?

Yes. I’ve mentioned I like fit, muscular women to some of my friends. They don’t really mind. I feel like with the advent of many new gyms (especially CrossFit which features a plethora of muscular women), it’s less of a stigma nowadays to say you like physically strong women compared to say twenty or even ten years ago.

Matter of fact, one of the nicest compliments you can give a woman is to tell her she’s strong. I remember I was at physiotherapy and my physical therapist was a fairly young woman who, although she was short, was in really good shape. We were doing this tug-of-war exercise with an exercise ball to test my balance and she eventually got it out of my hands (I’m 6’1, 220 lbs. mind you). I told her as I was catching my breath “Wow you’re strong.” She smiled, and kind of did this little half double bicep flex which totally made my day. You’ve just got to make sure you don’t sound condescending or say it in a way like “oh, you’re strong for a girl.” – No bueno.

If you could tell someone who doesn’t understand your attraction to female muscle one thing, what would it be?

Everyone has got their own preferences. You may not see why I like it, but it’s my decision anyway and I’m not hurting anyone else by being attracted to a physically strong woman.

Do you ever foresee a situation in the future when women with muscles and people who admire them will become more accepted by society?

As I mentioned before, I think it is already the case. There is a lot more emphasis nowadays on physical fitness and keeping healthy. I think more people are accepting of a woman with some degree of muscularity. There still may be less of an acceptance of larger muscular women (FBBs), but I think the overall number of people who appreciate a muscular frame on a woman has certainly grown.

Nostalgic for Naughtiness

An old issue of Women’s Physique World featuring Shelley Beattie and Sharon Bruneau.

Every man who was once a teenage boy with raging hormones should be able to identify with this scenario:

You borrow a copy of a dirty magazine from a buddy at school. Or you steal it from a grocery store with the stealth skills of a Special Ops commander. Or you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an old issue of Playboy or Hustler sitting in a garbage can or recycling bin. No matter how you acquire said dirty magazine, it’s a prized possession that you will guard with your life.

Your brothers and sisters cannot know about it. Your parents especially cannot know about it. So it must be kept a secret from prying eyes, forever fated to be stuffed in your sock drawer or underneath your mattress. The only time you can look at it is at night under the cover of darkness. Bring it to school and you risk one of your teachers discovering it, confiscating it, and telling Mom or Dad about it. Talk about bad news. Can’t possibly risk that. No bloody way.

But what’s in that dirty magazine that’s so damn intriguing? It’s simple: Beautiful girls wearing very little (or no) clothing. Just a few short years ago, girls were disgusting creatures who were annoying, bad at sports, and had different hobbies than you. Today, it’s a whole different story. Girls are enigmatic creatures who make you feel wiggly inside. You cannot help but stare at the ones who were the prettiest or had the shapeliest bodies. And you definitely struggle to stop staring at the ones with big boobs. Oh boy…

But your magazine offers a special glimpse that you cannot possibly have while sitting in math class. Your treasured magazine shows you a whole new side of the female species that you’ve only just begun to discover. You finally get to see what a pair of breasts look like. You finally learn why Dad married Mom in the first place. And, you finally find out what girls have between their legs that you don’t.

This scenario should be especially familiar with those of you who are older than 30. However, as the Internet Age rolled around, teenage boys don’t have to sneak dirty magazines into their bedrooms in order to get their “fix.” Pictures of gorgeous naked women are only a simple Google search away (not to mention a furious effort to delete one’s browsing history before Grandma next uses the family computer). So as time goes on, one presumes this familiar scenario will become less familiar.

Will you accept this rose from Raye Hollitt?

Nevertheless, for those of us who love female bodybuilders, there’s an added dimension to our story of how we discovered what turns us on. In addition to conventionally beautiful lingerie and fashion models, we were also introduced to pretty women who sported a bit more muscle mass than usual. So not only were we smuggling copies of Playboy into our coat closets, we were also sneaking in contraband fitness and weightlifting magazines.

Sure, the majority of those publications featured big burly men. But on occasion, we got to feast our eyes on ladies with big burly muscles.

Oh baby.

In today’s modern world in which everything you can possibly think of can now be accessed through the Internet, it’s becoming easier and easier to indulge in your vices in complete privacy. Private web browsing has been a helpful tool in hiding your fetishes from anyone who also happens to use your computer. Granted, you still need to be cautious when you’re at work, but when you’re sitting at home you can be as freaky as you want to be without a single soul knowing about it.

Yet, with all this erotic material readily available at your fingertips, doesn’t it seem like the “old days” were a bit more, how shall we say it, “naughty?”

What is meant by that is the general feeling that back in the days when images of beautiful muscular women were rare, the few opportunities we got to feast our eyes on them seemed much more exciting than they do now. Today, we can easily scroll through hundreds of female bodybuilders, fitness models, and athletes on Instagram, Tumblr blogs, and fan websites without breaking a sweat. No need to sneak in magazines underneath your Mom’s watchful eye. No fear of Dad finding out. Also, no need to research where you can find these photos, which in our youth we treated as precious commodities like gold, diamonds, and crude oil.

With search engines and social media making our beloved ladies more easily available than ever before, why do simple Google searches fail to send that same tingling sensation down our spines that peering through old photos of Rachel McLish late at night in our bedrooms once did? Is it because we’re older and more accustomed to seeing photos of gorgeous muscular women, or is it something deeper?

Let’s explore the latter. It is not beyond comprehension that part of the reason why our adolescent brains were kicking into overdrive was because, well, the clichéd phrase “raging hormones” exists for a reason. So is it fair to say that as we get older our hormones get more under control, thus we become less fanatical in our desire to ogle beautiful women? Maybe, but that doesn’t appear to be the only answer. For the female muscle enthusiasts out there, another explanation must cover the territory of the “forbidden fruit.”

As if peering at photos of beautiful women weren’t scandalous (relatively speaking) enough, being turned on by photos of muscular beautiful women is a whole other story. Now we’re crossing into “weird” ground, not just “scandalous.” It’s not embarrassing to admit you’d like to tap Pamela Anderson (especially if you grew up in the 90s), but it would definitely raise a few eyebrows if you declare proudly that you’d also like to screw Kim Chizevsky. Especially if the people you were with knew who Kim is and what she looks like.

Talk about awkward.

But awkwardness is exactly the point. We’re embarrassed because we don’t want others to find out about our attraction to female bodybuilders, but we’re also somewhat embarrassed for our own sake. We start to wonder if something is wrong with us. We ask questions such as: Am I normal? Am I secretly gay? Why don’t more people feel the same way as I do?

But even those questions are starting to diminish. The Internet has played an integral role in breaking down almost every social taboo you can think of. You can easily locate like-minded individuals who are into the same “unusual” stuff as you. Do you enjoy drawing Game of Thrones fan art? Or writing Harry Potter fan fiction? Or immersing yourself into “Furry” culture (don’t look it up if you aren’t prepared to truly find out what it is)? Well, finding other people who are into the same things as you has never been easier. This is quite a blessing, especially if you are prone to wondering whether if you’re alone in the Universe. Odds are you are not.

The statuesque Bev Francis.

The same goes for female muscle fetishism. For all its flaws, Saradas.com is a popular forum for discussing and sharing content related to female bodybuilding, sessions, fantasy wrestling, and the like. You can easily connect and communicate with people all across the globe who enjoy the same female muscle-related activities as you. This level of connectivity with souls spread around the planet is unprecedented. Yet here we are. What a time to be alive.

However, despite the ease of which we can access photos/videos of muscular women and meet people who share our common interests, why does it seem like (to repeat the question articulated earlier) the old days were much naughtier? Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but it’s not beyond the stretch of the imagination to say that once something becomes mainstream, it starts to lose a little bit of its juice. Granted, female bodybuilding is still (and probably never will be) not considered mainstream, but within the world of Internet subcultures, anything can be mainstream if you look in the right places. What’s the deal here?

The best explanation has to be the fact that before the Internet existed, most of us truly didn’t know if other people felt the same way about female bodybuilders as we did. Before Google allowed us to discover information faster and easier than before, we had no idea how many other people (if any at all) shared our fascination with them. It’s not just loneliness. It’s the fear that nobody else is crazy enough to get turned on by a woman with big muscles. And if that’s the case, isn’t the next logical conclusion that there must be something “off” about us?

Hence, our uncontrollable and unexplainable attraction to female muscle felt supremely naughty. And not just naughty in a moral sense, but also in a psychological sense. We didn’t know if our brains were working properly. That’s taking naughtiness to a whole new level.

The other explanation is the supply of female muscle-related media. Back in the pre-Internet age, our exposure to FBBs was limited to magazines, bodybuilding contests on television, and your old dusty VHS copy of “Pumping Iron II: The Women.” That’s about it. So the few instances in which we could find new photos of female bodybuilders were few and far between.

That made the experience all the more exciting. The rare occurrence when we could get our sweaty hands on a brand new issue of the latest fitness magazine seemed like a quasi-religious experience. It was as if we had found a Golden Ticket in our recently purchased Wonka Bar. We felt as giddy as if it were Christmas morning. But instead of a new bicycle or autographed football, it was a magazine chock full of images of powerful women with bulging biceps and massive quads. Hell, this beats the experience of tearing up presents underneath the decorated tree by a mile!

Who wants to lift with Cory Everson?

Back when the product is scarce, we appreciated it more. Now that the product is available in abundance, you’d think we would appreciate it more, but we don’t. Ironically, an overabundance of the product actually ends up making us appreciate it less. Thirty years ago, we had to risk life and limb to sneak a copy of a bodybuilding magazine into our rooms without our parents detecting it. Today, we can skim through endless Instagram feeds of scantily clad female bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness models with our only concern being whether we’ll run out of battery power.

This is a good thing, right? Of course it is. But human nature being what it is, we can’t help but sense a diminished sense of giddiness living in today’s media-saturated environment. Our love for female bodybuilders seems cheap. Easy. Casual. Maybe not mainstream, but certainly less-out-of-the-ordinary-than-before. Female muscle fetishism has lost some of its naughtiness. What should we make of this?

Well, not much. But this does provide a valuable lesson about the relationship between cultural acceptance and modern communications technology.

People tend to react viscerally to things that are unusual, even if they aren’t necessarily “weird.” Unusual is simply anything that is not usual. But the more common it becomes, the less unusual it is, and the more “normal” it seems. This is not rocket science. This simple observation is also true for female muscle and our reaction to it. We think it’s strange to see women with big muscles precisely because women with big muscles are rare. But as our definition of “mainstream” starts to veer away from legacy corporate advertising and toward more grassroots-based media, the doors to almost anything will swing wide open.

The list goes on regarding things you once never saw but now can see whenever you feel like it: Plus-sized models, South Korean soap operas, documentaries about dwarfs (not the Lord of the Rings kind), Bollywood movies, Japanese pop music, Australian rugby matches, Brazilian cooking shows, cosplay conventions, Facebook groups for people who identify as “Gender Non-Conforming,” and so on. And yes, this includes photos, videos, blogs, and communities dedicated to female muscle. Almost anything you can think of is out there for public consumption.

An iconic female bodybuilder, Rachel McLish.

You just have to know where to look for it. Because not all of it will appear right under your nose when you least expect it.

Maybe this is why our love for female bodybuilders seems less naughty in today’s world than it did in yesteryear’s world. It’s not mainstream in the traditional sense of the word, but the very concept of “mainstream” is being challenged like never before. The Internet has allowed for the proliferation of subcultures and subcultures within subcultures to meet and convene in ways that were unimaginable even twenty years ago. And that’s not a long time ago, in relative terms.

Hence, we may be reaching – or have already reached – the point where the familiar scenario outlined in the beginning of this article will no longer be familiar to the younger generation. Those of us in our late 20s and early 30s might be the last cohort who remembers sneaking dirty magazines into our bedrooms. Today, this is a thing of the past. Those days are over. Everything we love is now digitalized. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Only time will tell.

Laurie Noack Gibson by the swimming pool. Want to jump in?

But what we can conclude is that for lovers of female muscle, this is a fantastic cultural development. Our access to beautiful muscular women has reached unprecedented levels. Well, actually, our access to anything you can possibly think of has reached unprecedented levels. As much as this can be a cause for celebration and popping the champagne corks, there is something tangible that’s been lost. That rush of adrenaline we all felt when we were scared out of our wits about being caught with muscle magazines has now been replaced with remembering to delete your browsing history. Ho hum. Boring!

Or is it? Is feeling naughty – and by extension, guilty – really a positive thing? Or does it only serve to suppress our natural desires and keep us shackled to society’s stringent standards? The answer to this is impossible to fully know, and perhaps we’re just being prisoners of nostalgia. We want the next generation to experience the same things we did when we were younger…for no other reason than we enjoyed it.

But will they? Maybe all this sneaking around wasn’t healthy at all and that society will actually benefit from being more open about sexual attraction, desire, and impulses. In this case, we should applaud the trends we’re currently witnessing.

But one suspects that being naughty, no matter what form that takes, will always be with us. And if that’s the case, does it matter how crotchety old fogies like us think about it?

This is the Moment When She is at the Peak of Her Power

Tina Nguyen is at her most powerful right here.

She stares straight ahead, her gaze can pierce through your soul. She’s exhausted. She’s fatigued. She’s determined. She’s ready.

With 65-pound dumbbells in each hand, hanging casually next to her hips, she takes in a deep breath and regards herself in the mirror – not out of vanity, but out of a concern for maintaining proper form and technique. She’s a professional in mind and spirit, though not in livelihood (yet).

With astonishing confidence, grace, and strength, she lifts one dumbbell up to her chest, the cold metal barely grazing her collarbone. She exhales and slowly lowers the heavy weight back to her side, returning it perfectly to where it previously was. Then she lifts the other dumbbell upward in the exact same manner, this time her other collarbone experiences the unforgiving touch of the frosty iron. All the while, curious onlookers can see large veins running down her hardened biceps as she powers through these lifts. It seems like with each repetition, the veins get more pronounced as her biceps grow larger and larger.

The blood rushing into her arms coincides with the blood rushing into the private areas of the males in close proximity. They are unable to concentrate on their own workouts because they are too distracted by hers.

But none of them would have it any other way.

Oh boy. Have you ever experienced a scenario similar to this? I know I have. Maybe not at my local gym – though there have been a few isolated incidents – but certainly while watching Internet videos of female bodybuilders lifting heavy weights. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing such a beautiful phenomenon in recent days, drop whatever you are doing and conduct a few Google searches to whet your starving appetite.

For people who love female bodybuilders, athletes, weightlifters, and fitness models, there are few things that turn us on more than to watch our beloved ladies grind at the gym. Glamour photoshoots behind a pristine white backdrop are fine. So are professionally-done photo sessions taken on an immaculate white sandy beach. But few pieces of media can seriously contend with a video (even if it’s grainy and shot on an iPhone) that showcases a muscular woman laboring hard to become – or remain – a muscular woman.

Indeed, workout videos are our porn. This is nothing new. There already exists a blog post exploring this topic. However, what deserves further examination is a specific moment in these videos that particularly makes our hearts leap out of our chests:

The moment of muscle peak.

This is probably best exemplified in the above example of a female bodybuilder doing bicep curls. But it’s even more evident when she’s doing preacher curls. Preacher curls are, in case you are not familiar with exercise jargon – isolation lifts in which you place your arms against an incline bench (or pad) and lift either a barbell or dumbbell upward toward your chest, targeting specifically your biceps. Visually speaking, preacher curls make for excellent video fodder because you can noticeably see the participant’s biceps swelling up as he or she completes the lift.

Sexy muscle mama Dena Anne Weiner.

When we see a muscle-bound woman’s face strain as she struggles to finish the final repetition of her grueling set, it’s difficult to watch this with zero physical reaction. How can your pulse not start to race, your heart beat a little faster, and blood not rush to your groin? I’d stop being such an adamant female muscle lover if such reactions ceased to take place inside me.

It is at this moment when her biceps are at its largest. “The Moment of Muscle Peak” is so arousing because it symbolizes in a single still frame why we love female bodybuilders so much: They had to earn their gorgeous muscles through hard work and hard work only. No shortcuts, no underserving gains, and certainly no free passes. She didn’t earn her muscles by paying a plastic surgeon to implant them underneath her skin. She may take drugs, but drugs alone do not produce large muscle mass. That only comes from expending sweat, energy, and burning more calories than some of us consume.

Here is the video that inspired me to write this post. It shows world-renowned Swiss female bodybuilder Jay Fuchs doing preacher curls at the gym. Follow her (or periodically revisit) her Instagram account if you don’t already. She completes a few repetitions of preacher curls with her left arm. We see the veins pop out of her skin. We see her bicep grow to its largest possible size. We see it expand and contract. We witness how tired she must be. We empathize with her struggle and admire how she is able to persevere through it. But we also notice how beautifully her bicep “jumps” up as she squeezes the dumbbell close to her chest. It’s as though it’s going to burst open. We are amazed how her skin is able to physically contain so much swollen flesh.

But alas, her muscles are able to expand and contract without her skin peeling open. What a miracle! After she is done with her set, she drops the dumbbell on the floor and flexes for her audience. We now see, in a classic sequence, the simple dynamic of “cause and effect.” We see her lifting weights at the gym. And now we see the results of her years of hard work!

How Miss Fuchs transformed herself into an Angelic Muscle Goddess isn’t a mystery. It’s not a secret. There’s no magic potion that made it happen. It’s all out in the open. The ways and means are as simple as it gets: Hard work, hard work, and more hard work. She has nothing to hide. She also has everything to gain. So do we.

The aforementioned Jay Fuchs.

Jay Fuch’s social media feed, as well as the feeds of hundreds of other beautiful muscular women around the globe, provides a simple yet provocatively arousing look into why some men love muscular women so damn much. “The Moment of Muscle Peak” isn’t just confined to when her muscles are actually at its largest. It’s the exact moment (or moments) when you symbolically get to witness what it is that separates a muscular woman from a “normal looking” woman. It’s the moment when it stops being all fun and games and, as the colloquialism goes, “shit gets real.”

Maybe it’s when Minna Pajulahti is attempting an impressive single deadlift. Or when Lisa Cross finishes her last squat. Perhaps it’s seeing Theresa Ivancik grunt her way toward completing a set of shoulder presses. Or seeing a female Olympic sprinter cross the finish line. Or a lady CrossFit athlete climbing up and down a rope.

It’s the moment when she’s at the peak of her power. When she’s actively doing the hard work necessary to transform herself into a better version of herself. It’s not for show. She’s not showing off for the camera or trying to put on a performance. She doesn’t care if she’s wearing makeup or if she looks “camera ready.” All of that is inconsequential nonsense. The only thing on her mind is finishing her set, breathing steadily, and moving on to the next lift. The rest will take care of itself. She doesn’t care one iota if her hair is unkempt or if she doesn’t quite look like a polished supermodel. After all, when you have muscles that big…who has the right to criticize you?

The Moment of Muscle Peak is when she is at her most unstoppable. It’s when we are helpless to do anything else but witness “true beauty” in action. Unlike a boring and passive Sleeping Beauty, a female bodybuilder busting her tail at the gym is a Wide Awake Muscle Queen Who Refuses to Take Shortcuts and Deserves Her Accolades. She ain’t no princess, sweetheart. She isn’t even a queen, despite the idiomatic expression. Instead, she’s a peasant. She’s Cinderella without the Fairy Godmother granting her temporary “princess status” until the clock strikes midnight.

She’s so damn beautiful because she’s a peasant who earned her regal status not by merely wearing a tiara, but by building up so much muscle on her body that you can’t help but mindlessly stare at her while you struggle to pick up your jaw off the floor.

The biceps on Monique Jones are enough to give me a heart attack.

A female bodybuilder isn’t at her most powerful when she’s got some hapless guy in a headlock or a scissor hold. Nor is she at the height of her authority when she has someone tied to a bed while she squeezes his balls until he begs her to stop. That is, in my humble opinion, a somewhat superficial form of expressing one’s power. Rather, she’s at the height of her power when she’s all alone in the weight room, with sweat dripping down her face, struggling to finish that one final rep before she can’t handle it anymore. Afterward, as she’s breathing hard like a racehorse and chugging down water to help her recover, she’s at her weakest. But in her weakness she finds her strength. She punishes her body so that it can emerge even more powerful than before. She’s drained of her energy for now, but not for very long. Eventually, she’ll refuel and rest up to the point where she can do it all again…this time harder and more strenuously than before.

Female bodybuilders are lone wolves. They aren’t lonely by choice, rather it’s a byproduct of the life they’ve chosen to lead. More often than not, her workouts are not made public. A short 30-second video clip posted on YouTube or Instagram doesn’t do justice to her full training regimen. It’s not even a drop in the bucket. The vast majority of the time she’s all alone at the gym (or at least, she’s all alone in her own personal bubble) away from smartphone cameras or preying eyes. She grinds away for several hours a week in the privacy of her own little world. She spends an inordinate amount of time cooking unglamorous food that tastes the same but plays a crucial role in helping her build muscle mass. She’s constantly reading up on supplementation tips and making valuable contacts – both in-person and online – who can help her succeed at her dream of living life as a bodybuilder.

These lone wolves do have their moment in the spotlight, however. They do compete in bodybuilding shows. They do pose for sexy photo or video shoots. They do meet starry-eyed clients for muscle worship or wrestling sessions. They do walk out in public and see the stunned faces on complete strangers who were not expecting to randomly see a woman with so much muscle. When you’re an entrepreneurial female bodybuilder, it’s impossible to be kept a secret forever.

Muscle goddess Angie Semsch.

But once again, that’s just a drop in the proverbial bucket. The process it takes to be a bodybuilder isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it terribly exciting day-in and day-out. But for those of us who do appreciate the arduous journey it takes to become a Divine Muscle Goddess, we cannot help but stare with our undivided attention as she’s lifting that heavy dumbbell. In that moment, she’s defying gravity, challenging our preconceived notions, and taking one step closer toward reaching her final destination. We can’t always describe why we love watching this; but we do regardless.

The Moment of Muscle Peak, therefore, has two meanings: It’s both the moment when her muscles are at its most swollen and strained; and it’s the moment when she’s at her most empowered. It’s both literal and figurative. When Jay Fuchs is isolating her biceps and lifting that dumbbell toward her beautiful chest, she’s showing us two sides of her personality. One side is her willingness to do the hard work necessary to develop large muscles. The other side is her devotion to striving toward an ideal.

And what is that ideal? She wants to be the best version of herself that she can possibly be. She refuses to settle for anything less than that. And why would she? What would be the point?

As fans of Miss Fuchs and countless others like her, we do not see any other point. Seriously. If you can think of a reason why Jay shouldn’t pursue her personal ideal, you can tell us after we’ve picked up our jaws off the floor.

Muscular Women in Still Motion

This old school photo of Cory Everson still gives us chills all these years later.

This old school photo of Cory Everson still gives us chills all these years later.

They say a photograph is a moment in time captured on film; one that can never be reproduced because such a moment will never happen exactly as it did ever again.

Well, today most photos are taken digitally from point-and-click cameras or cell phones. But the idea remains the same: The purpose of still images is to provide a snapshot of a particular moment in time and to allow the viewer – whether they see it a hundred days later or a hundred years later – to experience from a distance what the moment might have been like.

Maybe we’re talking about a photo from your kid’s 6th birthday party. Or your father’s grand retirement celebration. Or when your mom won a prestigious community service award. Or when you and your buddies experienced your team winning the World Series. Or when your lovely partner finally said “I do.” The possibilities are endless.

That’s the inherent advantage between a still photo and a video clip. A still photo captures a precise moment in time. A video captures a stretch of time, which could last seven seconds or seven hours. Technically speaking, a video clip is more accurate in documenting reality while a photograph can be deceptive. How many times have we seen a nice photograph of a couple enjoying a night out on the town only to learn this couple tragically died in a fatal car accident only hours later? Or an image of a star high school athlete relishing in triumphant victory…but later his or her life is unexpectedly cut short after he or she is victim to a heartless shooting?

Thus, the beauty of photographs is that they encapsulate a specific moment without delving too deep into the context of said moment. Even if the subjects of the picture are moving around (as opposed to posing for the photographer), moments very rarely happen in stillness. Yet, a photograph is still. They don’t move or communicate motion. Think about those creepy turn-of-the-century black and white family photos where one of the “posing” members is a dead body. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

The subjects of photos appear to be not just still, but frozen in time. We see who they are instead of what they’re doing. It illustrates the poetic truth that time is not a continuous arc of events, but rather a series of individually poignant moments.

Except when it comes to female bodybuilders.

You knew I’d eventually get around to this subject, right?

For us fans of female bodybuilders, muscular women, athletes, fitness models, and amateur gym rats, the most prominent way we’re able to “experience” these women is through still images. Thanks to YouTube, social media, Vimeo, and other video sharing platforms we’re also able to watch them in action. But the most significant avenue through which we satisfy our female muscle fix is through good old fashioned still photos that we can view on our computer, phone, or tablet device.

What hides under the pasties being worn by Larissa Reis?

What hides under the pasties being worn by Larissa Reis?

Back in the day all we had were fitness/bodybuilding magazines that we tried to purchase inconspicuously at the grocery store and hide under the bed away from prying eyes. Thank God for the Internet.

Recently, I had a bit of an epiphany while scrolling through a Tumblr blog dedicated to muscular and fit women. This blogger also posts photos of “normal” women – meaning they’re gorgeous but gorgeous within mainstream parameters. I began to notice something strange when seeing images of muscular women juxtaposed with images of non-muscular women.

The muscular women seemed to be more alive.

That’s an odd observation considering all the women featured on this blog are, uh living and breathing. No dead bodies posed to look like they’re still alive. But when you take the time and actually look at images of female bodybuilders next to images of non-muscular women, the contrast is both jarring and difficult to explain.

Their body language is nearly identical. Most modeling shots consist of the subjects (or “talent,” using industry parlance) sitting on couches, standing around, laying down provocatively, leaning against a wall or large object, engaging in a suggestive activity, or contorting their bodies in weird ways. Sometimes the subject looks directly at the camera, other times they pretend like there’s nobody in the environment with them. While FBBs will frequently pose for photos of them at the gym doing what they do best, for the most part what their non-muscular counterparts do they will do also.

So, what exactly do I mean when I say that female bodybuilders seem to exist in “still motion” when photographed?

More old school images: Laura Creavalle.

More old school images: Laura Creavalle.

In short, there’s something inherently and inexplicably “active” about a muscular woman. Her muscles give her a sense of liveliness that isn’t present in women who aren’t muscular. A photograph of an FBB conveys energy, vivacity, and dynamism like nothing else. This isn’t true of all photos of female bodybuilders, of course. Ones taken in poor light, terrible conditions, or on a grainy cell phone camera obviously aren’t nearly as good as ones taken by a professional photographer (which goes to show you that the world still needs professional photographers, online photo “filters” be damned). I’m only referring to images that are produced with a certain degree of artistic integrity.

A lot of this has to do with how a woman earns her muscles to begin with. She didn’t get big and buff sitting on her couch eating potato chips and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. She earned her impressive physique through sweat, labor, supplementation, dieting, and making wholesale lifestyle changes. So because of this, when we see a still photo of a female bodybuilder, even if she’s not doing anything explicitly active, we know she leads a highly active lifestyle when she’s away from shutterbugs.

She’s constantly lifting, running, stretching, eating, cooking, drinking protein shakes, working, lifting, jogging, eating, lifting some more, eating a bit more, cooking more food that she’ll eat later, and lifting.

Did I mention that female bodybuilders lift weights on occasion?

The point is that female bodybuilders seem to be more active because they are more physically active than the average adult. So it makes sense that their proactive and demanding lives would transfer over to photographs taken of them, even if they’re just sitting down on a chaise or lying down in a frilly white bed. When you see her posing for the camera, you know in the back of your mind that she wouldn’t be in that position in the first place if it weren’t for her impressive muscularity.

That is, you wouldn’t be completely enraptured by her beauty unless she were as muscular as she is. She could very well be quite beautiful even if she didn’t have muscles, but it’s not the same thing. Not even close. A female bodybuilder’s muscles is what takes center stage when we look at her.

Sharon Madderson definitely jumps off the screen.

Sharon Madderson definitely jumps off the screen.

Yes, we know that muscular women are active in their everyday lives. That’s obvious. But that still doesn’t fully explain why they look like they’re ready to jump off the celluloid and into your lap.

Another reason is how surreal it is to actually look at a woman with big muscles. For as many years as I’ve been appreciating female bodybuilders, I still sometimes do a “double take” when I see a picture of a muscular woman unexpectedly. For example, not too long ago a friend of mine shared on Facebook an article talking about HIIT – or high intensity interval training. I don’t know whether this method is best for burning fat and staying in shape, but that’s not the point. The point is that the article featured a picture of a beautiful young lady with gorgeous curvy muscles. I was taken aback. My heart fluttered a bit. I felt a surge of energy run through my core.

Why did I suddenly react this way? I’ve spent countless hours watching and looking at hundreds of muscular women. Why did this “out of the blue” experience cause me to react as if I had just seen my first ever female bodybuilder?

It’s because it was unexpected and out of context. When I’m searching my usual lineup of blogs for pictures of beautiful muscular women, I know what I’m going to get. But if I stumble upon an image of one accidentally, it’s as though someone just socked me in the face. I think this is because at the end of the day, no matter how many hours I spend looking at images of muscle-bound women, my brain is preconditioned to produce a strong reaction whenever I witness them. I’m socialized to think of muscular women as being “abnormal” no matter how normalized they seem to be to me.

This is why muscular women appear to be suspended in still motion when photographed. My brain subconsciously tells me that this is unusual and therefore I should react accordingly. No amount of zombie movies will actually prepare you for a real-life zombie invasion. You can read all the post-apocalyptic themed fiction you want; if World War III is ever right around the corner (don’t be too surprised!) you’ll have no idea what to do next.

Likewise, you can watch thousands of hours of female muscle videos and meet dozens of FBBs for muscle worship sessions. Still, your mind will intuitively tell you that the sight of a woman with muscles is strange. Strange, bizarre, peculiar, irregular, atypical, odd. That’s not a product of how you personally view muscular women; rather it’s a product of the lack of muscular women in our society.

Anything that’s rare will stand out when it happens. Throwing a perfect game is so unusual that many baseball aficionados could probably name at least a dozen pitchers who’ve done it throughout the game’s history. And when it happens, it’s huge news. The same goes for muscular women. No matter how familiar you are with seeing FBBs, it’s still a memorable experience when it happens outside of normal parameters.

Unlike most amateur photographs, modeling shots are intended to capture the essence of the subject, not the moment. What a model is actually doing is not nearly as important as what they look like doing it. The same goes for FBBs who pose for model shots, but our reactions to seeing them are remarkably different. We don’t just see who they are. We also see their accomplishments, hopes, dreams, successes, aspirations, and passions. A muscular woman doesn’t just stand around and look pretty. She invades her space. She communicates a clear message to the viewer. She owns the frame. She doesn’t want you to just look at her, she wants you to react viscerally toward her.

See the difference?

Back in the glory days of the 90s, I’d surf the Internet and ogle photos of Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, and Anna Nicole Smith. As an inexperienced teenager with raging hormones, I was introducing myself to a whole new world that I’d never known before: female beauty. It was an epic time of discovery. But even back then, I never experienced any sort of spiritual connection with the gorgeous ladies popping up on my computer screen. As odd as it sounds, I sort of feel that way with photos of muscular women. Sort of.

The lovely Elena Oana Hreapca rocking a sexy silver dress.

The lovely Elena Oana Hreapca rocking a sexy silver dress.

It’s as though photos of FBBs exist for purposes that go beyond that of normal photos of beautiful women. Cindy Crawford wants you to appreciate her natural beauty. Debi Laszewski wants to challenge your notions of femininity, gender roles, social stereotypes, and human biology. I don’t think these thoughts literally go through Debi’s mind as she’s posing for the camera, but that’s the sense I get when I look at her flawless visage. Pamela Anderson inspired hundreds of thousands of teenage boys – myself included – to masturbate in the privacy of their bedrooms. Cory Everson may have inspired similar reactions (though on a much smaller scale), but what she’s done that Pamela couldn’t is transform the way you view humanity: Women can be as buff as men – and look fabulous at the same time!

Muscular women can do that, even though many of them don’t intend to. They allude a degree of power and influence that most of them – including fans like us – don’t entirely comprehend. Hell, I’ve been writing about muscular women for nearly five years and even I continue to struggle to articulate this phenomena into words. Our love for female bodybuilders isn’t just rooted in good old fashioned lust. It’s also explained by our intrinsic desire to make sense out of a hectic and chaotic world. Muscular women, simply put, create chaos. How we adjust to that chaos is up to us on an individual level.

So that must be it. There’s the kicker. Muscular women create chaos in our brains. They cause our imaginations to spin out of control. They challenge our beliefs. They unleash our hidden impulses. They awaken our basest desires. They grapple our minds and refuse to let go, even for a moment. And this is something we don’t try to stop because we love every single minute of it. Isn’t that something?

Female bodybuilders appear to be in still motion because they’re perpetually active, even when they’re captured in a lifeless photograph. They activate our hearts, minds, and souls like nothing else can. In this respect, a photograph doesn’t just capture a single moment in time. It captures many moments, both those that have come and those that are yet to be.

As the old cliché goes, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. But not just words that immediately come to mind, but also words that are yet to be written or conceived. When we stare at a still image of a beautiful muscular woman, we’re not just staring at her. We’re staring at ourselves. And others. And everything around us. All at the same time.

Faster, Female Bodybuilder! Grow! Grow!

An example of FMG art, via David C. Matthews.

An example of FMG art, via David C. Matthews.

Female Muscle Growth (FMG) stories are a staple of online female muscle fandom. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend some quality leisure time reading stories about big and buff female characters doing what big and buff female characters do?

Well, what exactly do big and buff female fictional characters do? Whatever the author wishes, of course! Bashing in the skulls of dastardly villains, taking on a horde of flesh-eating zombies singlehandedly, warding off an alien invasion, or befriending a small and nerdy male protagonist (usually to the erotic benefit of said male protagonist) are all par for the course. Naturally, this genre of fiction appeals to a wide number of female muscle fans out there in the wider world.

Therefore, one would expect that yours truly, Ryan Takahashi, would be an avid fan of FMG stories. And do you know what? I’m……………..not.

Wait, what?

That’s right. As shocking as this might sound, FMG stories don’t really appeal to me. This sounds especially odd since I’ve published lots of female muscle-themed fictional stories on my blog. Doesn’t it make logical sense that Mr. Takahashi would also be a passionate supporter of FMG tales?

Well, not really. I’ve tried to read some FMG stories posted on popular female muscle websites, but they don’t allure me as much as you’d think. I’m not in any way shape or form judging these writers, editors, and contributors in a negative fashion. It’s not the quality of the writing, plotlines or narrative structures that I find unappealing. Rather, it’s the general concept of FMG that turns me off.

Like always, I shall explain what I mean in further detail.

Before you dust off the pitchforks and torches (as well as the tar and feathers), let me provide a little background on the genre of FMG so you can be assured I’m not speaking out of ignorance.

Female Muscle Growth is a subgenre of erotic fiction that features a female protagonist – although the character could be the antagonist – who starts off as a normal-sized young woman but eventually finds herself transformed into a beautiful, sexy and hyper-muscular She-Hulk of epic proportions. Usually this transformation happens for reasons such as a scientific experiment, a magical spell is cast upon her, special DNA is injected into her bloodstream, a supernatural talisman, side effects from a new brand of medication, a potion created by a sorcerer, latent superpowers that she just discovers, and so on.

The specific reason why our modest heroine is transformed into a Super Muscle Goddess changes, but the general idea remains the same. It isn’t because she’s a pro bodybuilder who built her muscles naturally by eating right, working out like a mad woman, strategically using steroids/human growth hormones, and resting in proper increments. That sort of transformation takes months and years, not mere seconds. It’s not magical; it’s scientific.

She-Hulk!

She-Hulk!

Popular forums for finding FMG stories include Diana the Valkyrie’s Library of Amazon growth stories, Forum Saradas, and various DeviantArt pages. There are of course individual blogs, websites, and Tumblr sites also dedicated to publishing or sharing FMG content. There might be printed books and e-books that follow the FMG formula, but I haven’t done enough research to point you in any specific direction. Without question, all the FMG fiction you want is just a simple Google search away. Isn’t the Internet a swell place?

As mentioned previously, many times these stories also feature a male protagonist who is usually meek, nerdy, socially awkward, and not very popular with the ladies (of any size). Just like a lot of us! I don’t want to paint all of us with a broad brush, but it’s probably not a stretch of the imagination to say that many of us aren’t what one would consider a modern day Casanova. Yes, I know many of you readers are happily married or are in a stable relationship, but that certainly isn’t every single one of you. I can speak for myself when I say my personal history with women isn’t full of proud successes!

So these stories are a perfect avenue for less-than triumphant guys (some would call them beta males, but that’s a whole other story) to live vicariously through these fictional characters. Even guys who are popular with the ladies occasionally want to fantasize about being with a big and buff female companion…if even for a few moments.

FMG stories are usually accompanied by either illustrations of these ladies (often times in the style of Japanese hentai) or images of real women enhanced generously by Adobe PhotoShop. Or there may not be any images at all. Not everyone is an artist or a PhotoShop wizard. Also, not everyone is unethical enough to steal images produced by another artist or wealthy enough to pay a professional artist to sketch illustrations for them.

That being said, why am I not a big fan of this genre of fiction? Well, there are a few reasons. The first is that I prefer muscular women who earn their muscles through hard work and dedication rather than through supernatural means. In all the fiction I’ve written featuring a female muscle protagonist, all of them are professional or semi-professional bodybuilders who became big and strong the old fashioned way. This better reflects the type of characters I find most appealing.

My love for muscular women isn’t just defined by the fact they have large muscles. I love big muscles just as much as any other female muscle fan, but I also love the context behind their fabulous muscles. I love that they had to earn every single muscle fiber they have on their beautiful bodies. I love knowing they’ve had to make difficult sacrifices in order to get that big (no FBB spends all her free time watching TV, drinking beer, and eating pizza). I appreciate their willingness to restructure their lives around building up the muscle mass they need to compete at the highest level. I love their vulnerability, toughness, emotional fortitude, discipline, and supreme confidence.

In other words, I love strong women because of what it takes for them to become strong women.

FMG stories aren’t my cup of tea because these characters don’t earn their muscles. Their muscles are given to them with little to no effort on their part. A magic potion, one individual super strength vitamin pill, a single injection of experimental DNA and things like that are cheap ways to gain unreal muscle growth. But Rene Campbell, for example, is different. She makes sacrifices. She’s costed herself a stable love life in order to pursue bodybuilding. She gets looks of disgust from people all the time because she can’t simply turn off her muscularity like a light switch. Her muscles are with her 24/7/365. They are a part of her identity. They are embedded within who she is as a human being.

A fan-created FMG interpretation of popular anime character Sakura Haruno.

A fan-created FMG interpretation of popular anime character Sakura Haruno.

As fantasy fiction, FMG stories do what they’re supposed to do. They provide quick titillation and entertainment for legions of female muscle enthusiasts. Fantastic! I have no quarrel with that. It’s just not for me. That’s it. I’m not judging the genre, insulting those who love the genre, or calling for the genre to adapt to my specific tastes. My opinion doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this world. Even if it did, I wouldn’t alter the genre in any way. People love it, so they should be allowed to enjoy it. Sound fair?

It’s just not my cut of steak. That’s all there is to it.

Another reason why I don’t particular dig this genre is that the “beta male” stereotype annoys me. I understand not every single FMG story features this archetype, but many do. Look, I am in no way a “man’s man” or anything like that, but the perception that all guys who dig muscular women are somehow emasculated man-children who fetishize being in a hapless subordinate position to powerful women gets a bit tiring after a while.

One other reason is that at the end of the day, I find realism to be much more appealing than fantasy. I realize that all fiction is unreal, but what I mean is “realistic.” Effective erotic fiction should, in my opinion, reflect a certain degree of plausible realism. That isn’t to say that the sci-fi and fantasy genres can’t be erotically appealing. It’s just that on a personal level, I tend to prefer realistic situations that closely mirror real life.

This preference isn’t for everybody, nor should it be. I’m not judging people who don’t share my views. It’s totally fine to disagree with me. This is just how I assess what excites me.

This is why I find the vast majority of mainstream porn to be boring, stupid, and uninteresting. I don’t want to sit down and watch 30 minutes of two plastic surgery-enhanced doofuses have passionless sex all while hurling fake screams and moans in between painfully written dialogue. Wait, there’s actual dialogue in porn? Yeah, I guess there is. If you care about that sort of thing.

The kinds of porn that I do find fun to watch is when I can identity (or come close to identifying) the people involved. The “plotline” in most porn is so unimaginative it’s become an ongoing joke. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl take off their clothes. Boy and girl then have sex. And more sex. Then from different positions. Then a second boy or girl enters the room. Then the pizza delivery guy knocks on the door. Then mommy or daddy unexpectedly arrives home early, carrying with them the usual assortment of whips, handcuffs, dildos, vibrators, rope, and bottles of lube.

Yuck. We all know how it goes.

In similar fashion, FMG stories tend to (although not all of it is like this, to be completely fair) follow the same general outline. The names, faces, and specific situations may change, but not too much. We are introduced to a girl who is shy and weak. Then she miraculously becomes muscle-bound. Then she meets a boy. Then…well, the rest is up to whoever is writing the story.

A more pen-and-paper version of FMG art, via Diana Valkyrie.

A more pen-and-paper version of FMG art, via Diana Valkyrie.

I suppose I shouldn’t slam this too much. Lots of guys (and gals) in this world love FMG, so who am I to spoil the party?

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Perhaps a better approach to this subject is to explain not why I don’t like FMG stories, but why other forms of female muscle fiction appeal to me more. I love browsing through photos of fitness models, female bodybuilders, and other kinds of muscular women. Cartoon drawings of such women don’t entice to me as much. I have nothing but respect for these artists (as the tiresome cliché goes, I can barely draw a stick figure!), however I much prefer the real thing. Just spend a few moments and take a look at Minna Pajulahti’s Instagram account. Oh boy. That’ll get your blood boiling!

Want some examples of female muscle fiction that I happen to enjoy? Read “Chemical Pink” by Katie Arnoldi (who herself is a former bodybuilder) and “Devil and Disciple – The Temptation” by L. J. K. Cross (a.k.a. Lisa Cross, the famed British female bodybuilder). These two novels are fantastic reads. Go check them out if you can! It’s easy to order them on Amazon.com if you have a few extra bucks lying around.

Here is how I will tie this all in together. If you haven’t started preparing the tar and feathers and searching for a railroad track to parade me on, go ahead and do so. I’ll wait. In the meantime, what I’ll say is this:

I love muscular women for many reasons. The main one is aesthetic. I REALLY love how they look. On this point, we should all be in universal agreement. Muscular women are Goddesses on Earth and should be treated as such. There’s a darn good reason why many of us fantasize about worshipping their muscles as if they were deities in the flesh. That’s because in our fantasy worlds, they ARE deities in the flesh. And they have a lot of muscular flesh on their gorgeous bodies, ready for us to touch – if they let us, of course.

The other reason why I love muscular women is because they’re beautiful in ways that they have to earn. Nobody gave them their muscles. They didn’t sign their names on the dotted line and a FedEx delivery guy simply drove their pre-packaged muscles to their homes and dropped them off on the front porch. You can’t buy big muscles at Target. You don’t sign any contracts. You don’t sit around and wait for someone or something to hand them to you.

You have to earn it. Every single day of your life.

And that’s exactly what female bodybuilders do. They earn their muscles. Since we love looking at their muscles, logically speaking they also earn their beauty. Unlike the beautiful Abercrombie & Fitch models you see on wall-sized advertisements, many female bodybuilders (although not all) are not born conventionally beautiful. We often get jealous of professional models because they make a living – although recent news stories have reported that there is copious abuse within the industry, which unfortunately shouldn’t surprise any of us – thanks to their natural God-given looks. In a way, that kind of jealousy is understandable.

But not so with female bodybuilders. Their beautiful muscular bodies were not given to them from birth. Good genetics did not automatically grant them their six-pack abs, bulging biceps, broad shoulders, thick thighs, rounded calves, and toned butt. They had to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears to get those assets. While we may harbor some level of envy toward women who can bench press more than us, at the end of the day she busted her tail year-in and year-out to be able to do those lifts. If we put in the same amount of hard work, so can the rest of us. It’s that simple.

Personally, I'd rather look at photos of real life female bodybuilders like Minna Pajulahti.

Personally, I’d rather look at photos of real life female bodybuilders like Minna Pajulahti.

Getting to the top of Mount Everest isn’t nearly as impressive as putting in the work, strategic planning, and preparation necessary to be able to climb Mount Everest in the first place. The journey is just as compelling as the end goal. In this respect, I love female bodybuilders because of the arduous journey they’re on. We can appreciate the final product, but we can also appreciate the road they had to travel to achieve that final product.

At the heart of FMG fiction is cutting through that long and windy road and getting from Point A to Point B in a matter of seconds. That’s not intriguing to me; not because a particular FMG story isn’t well written or well-conceived, but rather because it eliminates the very core reason why I love muscular women in the first place. They earned their muscles through strenuous hard labor, not a magic pill concocted by a mad scientist.

I want female bodybuilders to grow and grow just like the next guy. But I want the journey to take as long as it needs to. Give me a photo of a young fitness Instagram model over a hyper-muscular ‘roided up cartoon character any day. But if that’s your thing, go for it! I encourage people to express their female muscle fandom in any way they choose (as long as it’s legal and consensual, of course).

But alas, I digress. If FMG stories are what rock your socks, I am in no position of authority to say it shouldn’t. By all means, read, write, and draw all the FMG art your heart desires! Do whatever makes you happy, I say. This is not a condemnation of FMG, people who like FMG, or people who create FMG. This is just my humble take on the genre. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and reactions in the comments below or by sending me an e-mail at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com. I may even write a follow-up post sharing what you write (or rant) to me.

In the meantime, I swear I can smell the tar boiling in the cauldron…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Kudos goes out to David C. Matthews for being a supremely talented female muscle artist. Please check out his comic series Tetsuko if you haven’t already! The FMG drawing of popular anime character Sakura Haruno is created by Pegius. The illustration of She-Hulk is done by Michele Frigo.

A Salute to Deidre Pagnanelli

Without a doubt, Deidre Pagnanelli deserves a salute!

Without a doubt, Deidre Pagnanelli deserves a salute!

If there is one female bodybuilder in this world who has enough crossover appeal to please both fans of muscular women and fans of “conventional-looking” women, it would be the one and only Deidre Pagnanelli.

Miss Pagnanelli is a woman who should make you go “Wow!” She has The Wow Factor. She has “It.” She can make your heart stop mid-beat and you would be powerless to stop it or complain about it. In fact, you might be perfectly fine with the image of Miss Pagnanelli being the final thing you witness during your time on Earth.

As the premiere fitness model of the 1990s, Deidre Pagnanelli is someone you don’t forget. Once you learn who she is, you want to be able to experience more and more of her. Your standards of beauty are raised exponentially. What you previously judged as being “beautiful” diminishes once you regard upon Deidre’s physical being for the first time.

Deidre has, as you can clearly tell, been one of my favorite female bodybuilders for years now. Here’s some background information about her:

Deidre Pagnanelli was born on October 1, 1974 in Italy, but currently resides in the United States. She made her fame being a fitness model and competitive bodybuilder. At the ripe age of 41 (as of this writing), she still works as a personal trainer and mother of four children. You read that right. This gorgeous woman has given birth four times in her life.

Unbelievable.

Standing at 5’9”, her striking good looks and exotic features made her the go-to fitness model of the 90s. Back then she was featured in a small handful of workout videos, but her stardom never really took off. Early in her life, Deidre participated in many low-level fitness and beauty competitions. Her contest history is a bit difficult to pinpoint. One source says she placed 4th at the 2010 NPC Excalibur and 1st at the 2011 NPC Iron Man Magazine Naturally Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships. I know she’s done more than that, but the available information is scarce.

Deidre showing off her guns.

Deidre showing off her guns.

There are also not a whole lot of Internet videos featuring her. There’s a modest YouTube channel dedicated to her. I cannot verify whether she started it herself or if a fan moderates it, but it only features four videos posted in 2012-2013. That’s not much.

It’s possible her birthday is different than what I could research. Some sources say she’s in her mid-40s, while I can only muster that she’s in her early 40s. Either way, her remarkable figure at her age is both impressive and erotically appealing.

That’s all the confirmed (or semi-confirmed) biographical information I can find on Deidre Pagnanelli. It’s not a lot, but perhaps that’s intentional.

As a mother of four children, I perfectly understand why Deidre would want to keep a low public profile (assuming that is her intention). The Internet can be a horrible place for a beautiful woman. I’d guess she doesn’t want her children to grow up reading and hearing horrible things about their mother. In this post, I will try to be as respectful to her as possible. I hope others will do the same.

Or maybe information about her is scarce because she doesn’t feel any inclination to publicize herself. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t have an official website or too many official social media channels. Her IMDb page only has one credit from 1998. From the looks of it, it’s probably a project she wants to forget about. I don’t blame her one bit. I too would want to scrub from the Internet any evidence that I once was in a low-budget piece of garbage with Andrew Dice Clay.

Judging from past and current photos of her, Deidre was never really a bodybuilder. She is more accurately described as a fitness model or fit model. Her muscularity has never been super impressive, but her physique must be applauded nevertheless. Deidre’s appeal isn’t measured by her degree of muscle mass (unlike Ms. Olympia contestants), but rather by her impeccable balance of traditional beauty, unquestionable femininity, athletic muscle definition, and universal sexual attractiveness.

Of course Deidre appeals to all audiences.

Of course Deidre appeals to all audiences.

Deidre has big enough muscles to appeal to guys like me and more than enough curves and natural beauty to appeal to everyone else. Regardless of how you view muscular women, hopefully we can all agree that Deidre is a one-of-a-kind Goddess whose gorgeous good looks are both unforgettable and unparalleled.

I can say with pretty strong confidence that Deidre has one of the most beautiful faces I’ve ever seen. She’s gorgeous. No, she’s actually drop dead gorgeous. No, no, she’s much more than that! She’s…beyond words.

Her beauty is indescribable. Her body is flawless. Her entire aura is divine. If there’s ever a reason to use theologically-based language to describe a human being, Deidre Pagnanelli would be that reason. She’s a Goddess, an angel, a celestial being. She is not of this planet.

Can you tell I think she’s beautiful?

I often wonder why she isn’t more famous. I brought up the same observation in my post singing the praises of Minna Pajulahti. I’m saddened that both women aren’t international superstars. The difference is that Minna willingly puts herself out there to the public through her social media presence and proactive marketing efforts. I don’t think Deidre is doing the same thing. But perhaps that’s by choice, not necessarily circumstance.

It also helps that Minna is about 6 or 7 years younger and understands how to use modern technology to her advantage. I am not implying that Deidre isn’t social media savvy, nor am I saying that she isn’t putting enough effort to make herself more famous. She grew up in a different generation than Minna. Plus, she has a family. I don’t think Miss Pajulahti has a family quite yet. How public you want to make your personal life really depends if you have a husband and kids in the mix.

As I’ve mentioned before, there isn’t a whole lot of information out there about Deidre. I’ve also just lamented the fact she isn’t better known to the general public. There might be a connection here. Maybe Deidre doesn’t want to be better known. Maybe she tasted fame during the 1990s and was disgusted by what she experienced.

We’ve all read horror stories about the modeling industry. There’s a reason why drug abuse, eating disorders, risky medical procedures, and depression are experienced by some of the world’s most recognizable models. I have no doubt rampant sexual abuse goes on by the bigwigs in charge against their young and vulnerable employees. The pay isn’t great. The gigs are scarce, unpredictable, and often humiliating. By the time you reach the age of 28, your shelf life gets close to expiring. Who would want to go through all that?

I am not suggesting in any way that Deidre went through any of those horrible things when she was younger. I am not basing this off of extensive research, hearsay, or personally talking to people close to the situation. I’ve never met Deidre (although I’d love to!) nor have I ever communicated with her. This is all based on speculation. But I’m guessing she loves doing what she does now and wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Good for her.

Sexy heels. And sexy body. Sexy everything, to be exact.

Sexy heels. And sexy body. Sexy everything, to be exact.

Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise me that she’d rather be a personal trainer (and full-time mother) instead of doing whatever is necessary to become more famous. There isn’t a wealth of videos or photos of her on the Internet. Her modeling career seemed to end by the time the 20th century turned the corner into the 21st. But that’s perfectly okay. Not everyone needs to enjoy the spotlight. The road to gain further fame and fortune isn’t for everyone.

Instead, Deidre Pagnanelli will remain one of the most beautiful women on planet Earth that you’ve never heard of. Well, a good portion of female muscle fans will know who she is, but we’re certainly not in the majority. She could have been a major star, but that wasn’t in the cards for whatever reason. I am not critical of her life decisions, of course. I’m just a bit bummed out she never took off like she had to potential to.

It’s not every day you meet the second coming of Sophia Loren but have never heard of her before stumbling upon her by happenstance. While I don’t know her personally, she seems like a sweet and genuine person. She could have been a contender, as Terry Malloy would say. She has the gorgeous good looks to be just as famous as Ms. Loren, Monica Bellucci, and any other Italian beauty. But alas, she isn’t.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy here isn’t that she missed her opportunity at stardom, but rather we fans don’t have more of her to experience. I perfectly understand Deidre doesn’t “owe” us anything. If she wants to live a quiet life away from the public’s eye, that’s her decision and she’s definitely allowed to make that decision. But if she had chosen to pursue a career similar to Debi Laszewski or Denise Masino (I understand she never developed the level of muscle mass achieved by those two), we could have thousands of more photos and hundreds of more hours of video footage of her to appreciate.

But maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing. Instead of viewing this as a missed opportunity, I should instead look at this as being a positive thing. Deidre never had to sell herself out to make it big in the modeling industry. She never had to resort to doing porn or anything else degrading to her reputation (I’m not ripping anyone who chooses to do porn. If you want to and you feel like it empowers your career, so be it. But all too often desperate young women will debase themselves in order to get their foot in the door of certain employment opportunities).

Applying the Scarcity Principle practically, the fact there’s limited media and information about her might work in her favor. It makes her mysterious. It makes her more legendary. It forces us to use our imaginations. It forces us to treat her not as a run-of-the-mill 1990s fitness girl, but instead a mythical creature who forces guys like me to beg for more and more. She can choose to provide us more of her, or she can deny us what we want. Either way, it’s her choice and her choice alone.

Not too many 40-something mothers with abs like that!

Not too many 40-something mothers with abs like that!

I’m actually sort of okay with Deidre Pagnanelli being shrouded in mystery. I love the fact that in 2016, Deidre is a 40-something mother of four who used to be one of the rising stars of the fitness industry during the Clinton years (we may have 4-8 more years of a Clinton administration ahead of us, but that’s a whole other story. My non-American readers should consider themselves lucky). I refuse to call her a certain term that’s given to attractive women who also happen to be mothers. It’s a vulgar label that’s totally beneath Deidre. Miss Pagnanelli is a classy lady who deserves better. I will treat her better.

Deidre could have been an internationally-renown crossover superstar who brought muscular women into the mainstream of society. She could have been on the covers of magazines for years, making millions of dollars from the fruits of her labor and natural God-given assets. I will say it one more time: Deidre Pagnanelli is one of the most beautiful women in the Universe. From head to toe, she’s absolutely immaculate. She’s the very definition of female beauty. She’s a masterwork.

I don’t know what she’s specifically up to right now, but I’d imagine she’s happy. She’s probably helping people become the best they can be (a personal trainer for busy moms, perhaps). It sounds clichéd, but there are actually people out there who inspire that kind of positive change in others. It takes someone with a special kind of flair, work ethic, compassionate attitude, and charismatic demeanor.

Yup, that’s Deidre alright.

Denise Masino Might Be the Greatest Female Bodybuilder of All Time (NSFW)

A woman of Denise Masino's caliber deserves a tribute blog post, wouldn't you agree?

A woman of Denise Masino’s caliber deserves a tribute blog post, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s not too often that I’ll make firm declarative statements on this blog, but here’s one for the record:

Denise Masino might be the greatest female bodybuilder of all time.

Uh, what? Really? Out of all the thousands of women in this world who’ve pursued the sport of bodybuilding at some point in their lives, is Denise Masino really the GOAT (Greatest of All Time)? Surely there must be someone else, like Iris Kyle or Cory Everson, who should really take this prize. What on earth are you thinking, Ryan?

Well, hear me out on this. My opinion here is based less on competitive merits and more on entrepreneurial success. So maybe the “Greatest Female Bodybuilder of All Time” is a bit inaccurate. Perhaps “Greatest Female Bodybuilding Businesswoman of All Time” is closer to the truth.

First, some background information on Ms. Masino.

Denise Masino was born Denise Sanchez on May 1, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents are from Puerto Rican descent. A diminutive 5’2”, Denise was married to Robert Masino for 14 years before her current marriage to Gregg R. Simpson, a filmmaker. She credits her parents for instilling in her a hard work ethic and belief in her ability to carve her own pathway to success. Clearly, her parents taught their daughter well.

Her competitive history is respectable but not overly impressive. She won her first contest in 1994 by being the first overall winner at the 94’ NPC Florida Championships. Between the mid-1990s to 2007, Denise placed consistently in the top 10 in competitions such as the NPC Nationals, Jan Tana Classic, Ms. International and the most prestigious of them all, the Ms. Olympia. Her best placement at the Olympia was 2nd in 2004 in the lightweight category.

Nevertheless, Denise has made her mark on the world of female bodybuilding by being a shrewd businesswoman. She has many assets and isn’t afraid to show every single one of them off. Denise has graced such publications as Muscle & Fitness, Flex Magazine, Muscular Development, Muscle Mag, Women’s Physique World, Playboy Europe and others. She’s also appeared in a few independent films and has made a handful of television appearances. She remains on good terms with her ex-husband Robert and frequently collaborates with him on projects. Denise currently lives in Fort Myers, Florida but regularly visits Los Angeles for business purposes.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into why I believe Denise deserves such high praise.

In a previous blog article, I listed my top 10 favorite female bodybuilders and foolishly ranked Denise at #4. Big mistake! She should be my #1 favorite, which is where she stands as of right now. No disrespect to anyone else, but Denise is clearly a head above the rest. I hope I don’t offend any of my faithful readers who are actual FBBs themselves! I love you all dearly, too!

However, Denise has an incredible arsenal of talents and assets that are unmatched compared to her competition. She has an almost flawless combination of natural beauty, muscularity, intelligence, business savvy and personality that makes her a winner in all categories. She’s a gorgeous muscle woman who’s unquestionably feminine and celebrates her femininity. She’s highly intelligent but doesn’t condescend down to anyone. She’s sexy but playful at the same time. She’s not afraid to become erotic for the camera but never resorts to crudity or crass behavior. She’s also not afraid to showcase her most unforgettable physical asset (we’ll get into this later) and does so with class, dignity and pride. She reveals a lot about herself but keeps just enough under wraps so that we keep begging her for more. I could be wrong about some of this, but I should never let facts get in the way of a good argument!

Denise showing off her most talked about asset.

Denise showing off her most talked about asset.

Luckily for us, Denise is quite active in the adult film industry. Though not a “star” in the traditional sense, for anyone who loves female muscle, she’s a superstar. But it’s not just her large volume of erotic videos that endear her to us; it’s her personality that makes her so irresistible.

I get the feeling Denise is the one who crafts her own image. She obviously has a team of marketing professionals (web designer, videographer, photographer, copywriter, etc.) who work closely with her to build her brand, but without Denise’s own shrewdness, none of that would make a difference. Denise knows what people want and is not afraid to deliver with a bang. She’s also smart enough to deny her fans just enough so that they remain hopelessly intrigued with her forever. These are rare talents.

Denise’s brand is simple yet brilliant. She’s a beautiful, strong woman who loves sex, embraces her sexuality, loves to have fun in her life and isn’t afraid to be herself…all while maintaining an approachable, friendly persona. Denise Masino isn’t intimidating. She isn’t scary. She isn’t a powerful female muscle Goddess who will dominate you or humiliate you. She’s essentially that cool lady at the bar who will shoot pool with the guys and can probably bench press more than all of them. Her sexiness doesn’t feel forced. Her personality doesn’t appear to be manufactured. It’s all real. It’s genuine. You can trust Denise to be just Denise.

In reality, every media star has to craft a somewhat fake persona to a certain degree. We all know our favorite Hollywood movie stars aren’t necessarily in reality how they act on the red carpet or while sitting next to Jimmy Fallon’s desk. Hollywood can be very fake. We all know this. So to a degree, how Denise comes across in interviews and in her videos may or may not be how she is in real life. But I’d wager that’s pretty darn close to being the real Denise Masino.

Her personality is what really stands out. I genuinely would want to sit down with her and chat with her over a few beers. She could be wearing sweat pants, a fuzzy parka and no make-up and I’d still want to hang out with her. She’s an undeniably beautiful woman, but she also appears to be sweet, genuine and has a lot to say about certain things.

Outside of who Denise is as a person, everyone who knows about her will remember her for one particularly striking physical asset:

Her enormous clitoris.

And, to an extent, her meaty labia.

Yes, it’s unusual for anyone to hone in on someone’s genitalia like that (or is it?), but her large feminine endowment is without a doubt her most memorable physical trait. But it’s not this endowment that unto itself adds to her legend (although it most certainly takes on a life of its own), it’s how open she is to showing it off. I’ve written before why men – and women – are fascinated with a female bodybuilder’s genitalia, so there’s no need to get too detailed into this. However, it is crucial to understand that what lies between her legs is one of the most enticing and sexually titillating features I’ve ever seen on any human being, male or female.

I would argue that Angela Salvagno also possesses between her legs beautiful feminine flesh that matches Ms. Masino’s, but that’s not entirely the point here. Denise does an expert job at exploiting her best physical attribute for the camera in a way that challenges us to look away. We cannot look away. Whether we’re disgusted by her clitoris or we’re uncontrollably aroused by it, either way once we’ve seen what she has, there’s no turning back. She has us in the palm of her hand and we’re powerless to resist.

I can't even.

I can’t even.

Let’s be very clear here. Many female bodybuilders possess enlarged clits. They are not penises. Not by a long shot. A feminine endowment is in no way comparable (though biologically symmetrical) to a male endowment. Female bodybuilders are women – period, end of story. There’s no debating this. But we’re especially intrigued by FBBs because their physical strength and atypical anatomical features come just close enough to traversing into the territory of masculinity…but remain clearly set in the realm of femininity.

When Denise masturbates for the camera, we watch her not as a woman masturbating like a woman, but rather as a woman masturbating like a man. She “jerks off” her clit very much like how guys jerk off their penises. When she climaxes, we half-way expect her to ejaculate semen like the rest of us. She doesn’t of course, but the thought is still in the back of our minds. In this respect, Denise almost seems like “one of the guys” while still unambiguously remaining a woman. When Denise experiments with a clit pump, her sensitive nub of flesh nearly grows to the size of a small penis, which further titillates our imagination. We know she doesn’t have a penis, but it looks so much like one that we seem to (at least momentarily) identify with her.

Perhaps that’s it. Maybe thanks to our society’s increasing sexual multilateralism, the stark differences between “men” and “women” are starting to crumble. It isn’t enough for “men to be men” and “women to be women.” We sort of like it when a woman temporarily takes on masculine characteristics while staying true to her established feminine identity. Not only does she sort of “become one of us,” we can still find her sexually attractive as a woman at the same time.

In our modern age of social media, media saturation, sexual pluralism and postmodern sexual mores, it’s not enough to just look at photos of a beautiful woman or watch her engage in sexual activities for the camera. We also want to know who she is as a person. If she seems like a “pretty cool chick,” we feel more at ease in watching her do her thing. Perhaps this is a victory of sorts for 20th century Feminism. We don’t see women as being mere sexual objects. We see them as peers who can also carry immense sexual appeal. I don’t know if that counts as a “victory” per se, so I’ll leave that conclusion up to you.

I have one final observation to point out. Pay attention to what kinds of videos and photos Denise participates in. She’s either by herself (going solo) or in the company of other women. She’s never, to my knowledge, done any videos or photoshoots with other men. Perhaps content like that exists somewhere, but I’ve yet to locate it. If it does, feel free to send it to me! I will, ahem, gladly study it for academic enlightenment.

Looking like one sexy college co-ed.

Looking like one sexy college co-ed.

So she’s seen either performing solo or engaging in sex with other women. She masturbates, poses for the camera, uses a clit pump, has cunnilingus performed on her by another FBB, allows an FBB to penetrate her with a dildo or strap-on, penetrates herself with a dildo, and engages in other activities that don’t involve a man. I’m guessing she chooses to do this because she’s married and doesn’t want to put her husband in an awkward situation, so I get that completely. But this also works to her advantage whether she intends it to or not.

It allows guys like me to fantasize. I know she’s married. I know I have a snowball’s chance in Hades to ever have sex with her. However, I can watch her have sex with other women and not feel jealous. I can watch dildos penetrate her but not feel slighted or excluded in any way. But I’ve never seen an actual man’s penis penetrate her. I know she probably gets plenty of sex in her everyday life, but that makes not a lick of difference. In my own personal fantasy world, I can continue to imagine what it would be like for me and Denise to enjoy a romantic evening consisting of a candle-lit dinner, an expensive bottle of wine, a glowing fireplace, and a long warm evening of lovemaking.

Obviously I’ll never be able to experience that with her. But that’s the beauty of fantasy. It’s your own reality, independent from actual reality. And her choice to never do any scenes or photos with other men makes it easier for me to have these fantasies. My fantasies aren’t “spoiled” by images of real guys having sex with her. There’s no “other man” for me to compete with. Yes, I know she’s married. And I’m sure Denise and her husband have an active sex life that rivals that of the characters in a romance novel. But that’s not important. In my own mind, that “only man” could be me. Heck, in my dreams, it is me.

Denise being Denise. What I'd give to be her left hand at this moment in time.

Denise being Denise. What I’d give to be her left hand at this moment in time.

So that’s it. That’s why Denise Masino might be the “Greatest Female Bodybuilding Businesswoman of All Time.” She understands branding better than few others in the industry. Denise knows what makes her marketable and isn’t afraid to use it to her advantage. More power to her. She’s stunningly beautiful yet approachable. She’s sweet yet possesses a kinkier side. She’s a strong independent woman, but she appeals to men of all types. She’s the type of woman you want to be your friend and your girlfriend at the same time. She has physical assets that she isn’t shy about showing off. She’s proud of what makes her unique. There’s a lot to be said about confidence. Confidence is sexy, no doubt about it. She allows us to indulge in our fantasies while smartly not going too far and mistakenly ruining the fantasy. She is who she is and is damn proud of it.

This is a difficult balance. Only a shrewd businesswoman can maintain this persona year after year with impeccable precision. That’s Denise for you. I get the feeling she doesn’t struggle to build her brand. She does it seamlessly. It’s second nature to her. It’s tough being a self-made entrepreneur in today’s stagnant globalized economy when you work in an industry that’s shunning women more and more. But if there’s anybody who can do it successfully and with grace, it’s her.