A Female Muscle Fetish Might Not Actually Be a Fetish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we really that far outside the norm?

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

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

Nobody defined the 90s like Pamela Anderson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Misconceptions About Having a Female Muscle Fetish

The fabulous Fabiola Boulanger.

The fabulous Fabiola Boulanger.

I’d like to think that one day it’ll become more acceptable to being attracted to muscular women. After all, I do sense a somewhat significant backlash against the “skinny is beautiful” aesthetic that we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing.

I’m also willing to bet the recent debate about healthcare will also spur some further dialogue about the health of our country and what it means to be healthy. Is starving yourself in order to achieve that rail thin look good for your body? The answer, of course, is a resounding NO.

Maybe someday we’ll actually see more muscular women in everyday society once we get past the irrational concept that women can’t lift weights in the gym like guys do. Face it: You all know what I’m talking about. Which demographic almost always dominates the weight room at your gym? Men. This isn’t even up for debate.

So, once we see more ladies pump iron in the weight room, perhaps this will lead more and more straight guys (and non-straight guys, to be fair) to openly admit that a women with muscle isn’t gross, but beautiful. Is it so strange to finally admit something that was once “taboo” the moment it becomes mainstream? I would hope not.

But seeing muscular women walk down the streets in droves is far from a reality and probably will never become commonplace (though one does hope and pray!) in my lifetime. Nevertheless, let’s delve into ten common misconceptions about having a female muscle fetish that we should clear up in anticipation of a complete social paradigm shift in how we define “sexy.”

I'd go to the gym more often if women like Ericca Kern were hanging around the weight room.

I’d go to the gym more often if women like Ericca Kern were hanging around the weight room.

1. Straight men who are attracted to muscular women are secretly gay.

There’s this belief out there that straight men who love a female with brawn is somehow living a lie. He’s not really straight, but instead a fabulously gay man ready to burst out of the closet with two chiseled female bodybuilders sitting on his shoulders.

If my understanding of sexuality is correct, gay men are attracted to OTHER MEN, not women. I’m heterosexual and have no desire to be intimate with a guy. I do, however, have many fantasies about being intimate with women like Gayle Moher, Tazzie Colomb, Ericca Kern and Angela Salvagno. I’m attracted to these women (and scores of others) because they’re beautiful women; regardless if their beauty is or is not commonly accepted among the general population.

That’s correct. They’re WOMEN who are BEAUTIFUL by standards that happen to be outside of the norm. My personal standards for female beauty are my own. I’m not saying you should agree with me, but you should accept this fixation of mine and move on with your life.

Sound good?

Great!

I could write a whole essay describing the beauty of Denise Masino. I just might...

I could write a whole essay describing the beauty of Denise Masino. I just might…

2. Having a female muscle fetish also means you’re into BDSM.

BDSM, for those of you who don’t know what this means, is an acronym for Bondage, Discipline (it could also be Domination) and Sadomasochism. In short, this means chains, whips, being tied up, tying up someone else, spanking, role playing, domination, submission, safe words, leather outfits, consensual pain, pleasure though pain, pleasure through risqué social relationships, pleasure through power, pleasure through the lack of power, paddles, rope, orgasm control, dungeons, anal plugs, kinky toys, blindfolds and a whole host of other elements.

You get the idea, right? Think “50 Shades of Grey,” if you’ve ever heard of that before.

Hell, at this point who hasn’t?

While many female bodybuilders often engage in BDSM activities outside of their bodybuilding careers (being a professional bodybuilder, unfortunately, isn’t a very lucrative business), there is no direct link between being having a female muscle fetish and being into the D/s subculture.

Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not judging those who are into that sort of thing. In fact, I believe that whatever you’re into is your own business and no one else’s. What happens between consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes is not for us to judge. So…I am not saying all of this because I want to distance myself from DBSM culture.

Rather, you can be attracted to an FBB and not want her to tie you up, spank you with a paddle and call you dirty names while she makes you do her bidding. Your lust for her can be very “vanilla,” just as if you had a crush on the girl next door.

Except this girl happens to have steel thighs, bulging biceps, wide pecs and rock hard abs!

But this all brings me to my next point…

Would I want Tina Lockwood's massive thighs around my neck? No, but don't knock it unless you've tried it, right?

Would I want Tina Lockwood’s massive thighs around my neck? No, but don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it, right?

3. A guy with a female muscle fetish wants a female bodybuilder to physically dominate him.

Nor is this a true statement. Speaking from my personal life, all my fantasies about being with a beautiful female bodybuilder has nothing to do with her physically dominating me.

I would love nothing more than to make love to a woman like Lisa Cross. She doesn’t have to wrestle me, sit on me, grapple me, pick me up, or pin me to the ground till I beg her to let me breathe. A simple evening with her involving candle light, a bottle of wine, fresh fruit and silky white bed sheets will suffice.

Seriously. That would be awesome.

While many guys who love female muscle are also into D/s role playing, I want to make a point that not every guy fantasizes about the same thing. Just as most regular people have a diverse range of sexual fantasies, so do guys who love ladies with muscles. We’re no different, no freakier than you are. We’re just into a different sort of woman.

Contrary to popular belief, I still find women like Kate Upton to be beautiful.

Contrary to popular belief, I still find women like Kate Upton to be beautiful.

4. A guy with a female muscle fetish isn’t attracted to “normal” looking women.

On the contrary, I find women of all types to be beautiful. When I was in high school, I had the biggest celebrity crush on Monica Bellucci, whom I thought was literally the most beautiful woman in the world.

Upon further review, there is little evidence to suggest that my assessment at the time was wrong. Even as a middle aged woman, Ms. Bellucci remains a supremely gorgeous creature. My high school-self had every rational reason to be enamored by this Italian Goddess.

Like most young men, I see beautiful women everywhere I look and frequently fantasize about being with them (guys think about sex every, what is it…seven seconds?). One young lady I particularly like at the moment is the polar opposite of a female bodybuilder: She’s small, petite and possesses absolutely no upper body strength. Kim Chizevsky could snap her like a twig if she wanted to. But I nevertheless find her supremely beautiful.

She has narrow hips, skinny legs, pale white skin and flat breasts. She’s half Asian but looks very much like she could be full. She’s smart, funny and shares a lot of the same interests as me. I’m very much in love with her, but unfortunately she doesn’t quite share the same mutual feelings (my confession of my love for her and her subsequent “friend-zoning” of me could make for a whole other blog post). Regardless, I think she’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met.

All this is to say that I’m also attracted to “normal” looking women. It’s not like guys who love muscular women find their less muscled counterparts to be repulsive. We don’t expect every woman to look like Lauren Powers or Lora Ottenad, so it’s unreasonable to assume if you don’t look like them, we don’t care. It’s not like that at all.

Having a female muscle fetish isn’t a one-track deal. It’s just one tool in the tool shed, so to speak. Of course women like Megan Fox and Kate Upton also catch our eye. But ladies like Deidre Pagnanelli and Monica Brant do as well. That’s all there is to it.

If being attracted to a woman like Gayle Moher means I'm unhealthy, then I'm one sick puppy!

If being attracted to a woman like Gayle Moher means I’m unhealthy, then I’m one sick puppy!

5. Having a female muscle fetish is a “condition” that’s unhealthy.

This is a misconception that especially gets me angry. I don’t know how common this belief is, but I do know that a small percentage of folks out there might think this.

Clinically speaking, the proper term is sthenolagnia, which means “sexual arousal from displaying strength or muscles.” This isn’t a condition. It’s just a kink. Of course, any interest that goes too far can be unhealthy. When a fetish becomes an obsession, you can be prone to adopting some very unhealthy behaviors.

Wasting money you can’t afford to spend to satisfy your kink. Alienating your friends and family. Breaking the law. Endangering your physical being and psyche. All of these things can be associated with a fetish gone too far.

But this definitely is not normal for people with a harmless and unusual fetish.

To be fair, I should say that the word “fetish” can be misleading. In some definitions, the word “fetish” implies that someone needs that particular object in order to get sexually aroused and cannot get aroused otherwise. In other words, if feet are your thing, nothing will turn you on except for feet and feet only.

This definition might be a bit extreme, but like I mentioned before, being attracted to muscular women doesn’t mean I can’t be attracted to non-muscular women. There are lots of non-FBBs who strike my fancy.

So there is nothing unhealthy about having a female muscle fetish. It doesn’t affect my personal or professional life. My relationships with my friends and family aren’t strained because of it. My relationship with women also isn’t suddenly off-the-wall because of this particular fandom. I’m perfectly normal. And many other guys who share my kink are as well.

Growing up, I considered Monica Bellucci to be the most beautiful woman on the planet. After looking at photos like this, I can see why.

Growing up, I considered Monica Bellucci to be the most beautiful woman on the planet. After looking at photos like this, I can see why.

6. A female muscle fetish is caused by unresolved childhood trauma.

Can my love for female bodybuilders be explained because of some unresolved childhood trauma? Was Mommy overbearing, despotic and cruel? Was Daddy weak, complacent and effeminate? Could this be the cause of my lust for strong women?

I’m no psychologist, but I’m guessing there’s absolutely no link between liking female muscle and having a troubled childhood. But it does seem rather tempting to make a Freudian connection between having a strong mother and gravitating toward strong women as an adult.

I’m willing to bet there’s some truth that someone who was spanked as a child (by mom, perhaps) might develop a fetish for being spanked as a grownup. But I have absolutely no empirical evidence to back me up.

Alas, I can only speak from personal experience that my attraction to female muscle is completely independent from my upbringing.

Then again, it’s hard to self-analyze, isn’t it?

Maybe I should see a shrink after all…

I don't think my attraction for Gina Davis will ever go away.

I don’t think my attraction for Gina Davis will ever go away.

7. A female muscle fetish is temporary and will eventually go away.

Sticking with this theme of a female muscle fetish being a “condition,” is it like the common cold and it will eventually go away with plenty of bed rest, cough drops and chicken soup?

I highly doubt it. This is not some sort of temporary fad that I’ll get into and eventually move on from as if it were a trend diet. The South Beach Diet, Atkin’s Diet and the recently chic Paleo Diet may come and go, but I don’t think the love for female muscle will ever go away.

If you browse chat forums that discuss muscle worship, wrestling sessions and the love for FBBs, many of these folks talk about loving female muscle for many years, sometimes dating back to childhood. It’s like a light going off: Everyone who loves muscular women can remember the exact moment they first discovered this love. Whether it was pursuing through a fitness magazine, catching a glimpse of a female bodybuilder on television or seeing a strong female character in a comic book, everyone with a female muscle fetish can share their personal testimony of “how it all started.”

This is why I very much doubt the belief that this kink will simply run its course after a new fetish is magically “discovered.”

Unfortunately, not all female bodybuilders are as beautiful as Monica Brant.

Unfortunately, not all female bodybuilders are as beautiful as Monica Brant.

8. Guys who are attracted to female bodybuilders are attracted to ALL female bodybuilders.

There are lots of FBBs whom I find attractive. Katka Kyptova, Victoria Dominguez, Tina Lockwood (who retired from bodybuilding a while back), Colette Guimond, Amber DeLuca and scores of others are some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever laid eyes on.

However, this doesn’t mean I find every female bodybuilder attractive.

I hate to say it and sound sexist, but there are some FBBs who do indeed look “gross.” Whether it’s because of veins sticking out of their skin, “masculine” faces caused by an imbalance of hormones, or some other reason, there are some FBBs in this world that don’t even come close to turning me on. While I wholeheartedly reject the notion that female bodybuilders are disgusting because women shouldn’t have muscles, unfortunately (and it hurts me to say this) this is somewhat true for a select few.

Whew. There you go. I said it. Not every muscular woman looks sexy and beautiful. I hope I don’t offend anybody out there!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the old saying goes. Generally speaking, we all have our standards for what we find aesthetically pleasing in a human being. Some folks fit in those categories, and others simply do not. We should try our best not to be judgmental about these sorts of things, but that doesn’t change the fact that some women (and men!) are naturally more beautiful than others.

I have nothing against FBBs whom I don’t find pleasant to look at. They have every right to sculpt their bodies into whatever shape they want. I just don’t need to find it attractive, necessarily.

To each his own, eh?

Sandra Faas is beautiful, regardless of what others might think!

Sandra Faas is beautiful, regardless of what others might think!

9. A female muscle fetish is misogynist because we’re objectifying a muscular woman.

I’m no feminist scholar, but I’m sure some folks out there might object to us guys with the hots for strong ladies because we’re treating them like sex objects instead of human beings.

This is one misconception that might, unfortunately, have a certain degree of truth. I suppose it’s not a stretch to say that a guy who likes the muscles on a woman is similar to a guy who likes a woman with fake breasts, artificially tanned skin and excessive Botox treatments. We like what we see instead of who she is as a person.

If we lust after a woman because of her looks, does this make us sexist? This is a whole other discussion that I’m not too keen on getting into right now. But here is what I can say with a certain degree of certainty: Guys who like muscular women probably aren’t typically going to be the sexist, misogynist pigs you see on Mad Men.

I say this because I think the hatred of female bodybuilders is more fueled by sexism than the love for female bodybuilders. While objectification under any circumstances is unacceptable, I’m willing to bet if there is a group of straight men out there who is less likely to be against a woman demonstrating her independence and bodily freedom, it would be guys with a female muscle fetish.

Personally, I think it’s awesome there are women out there who could care less about what society says and choose to pursue bodybuilding regardless. I’m all for someone striving to be the best they can be at what they do. The beauty about bodybuilding is that it’s a sport where, ultimately, you’re competing against yourself more so than against other people.

Think of it this way: Us guys who like strong ladies do so because we like the way they look. Fine. But there’s a hidden layer underneath this. We also like their will, tenacity and dedication to looking the way they do. Lots of guys are scared and intimated by a woman who’s not afraid to break stereotypes.

Guys like me aren’t.

The peerless Kim Chizevsky could care less if you think muscles aren't sexy on a woman. You go girl! Keep pumping those biceps!

The peerless Kim Chizevsky could care less if you think muscles aren’t sexy on a woman. You go girl! Keep pumping those biceps!

10. A female muscle fetish is rare.

My last point is another point that might be partly true. It’s very hard to say how many guys are actually attracted to muscular women. It is fair to say that the number of guys who are open about their attraction to muscular women is rare. I’ll give you that.

But how many guys (like myself) keep their love for strong lassies a secret? As we all know, it’s a taboo to openly admit this, so this could explain why we think it’s so rare. But is it actually more prevalent but kept underground because of the stigma attached to it?

Anything that’s considered “weird” ceases to become weird once it becomes more popular. I could list a million things that fit into this category. But as much as I love female muscle, I’d be very hesitant to openly admit this fetish in casual conversation with my friends. Complete strangers on the Internet? No problem! My best friends? Uh, no.

So is a female muscle fetish rare? Maybe, maybe not. I’m in no position to say either yay or nay.

But maybe it isn’t. Maybe there are a lot of men out there who wouldn’t hesitate to confess that a woman with muscles is way more sexy than a woman with a bony body if it weren’t so “strange.” Maybe the more we see muscular woman in public, the more willing guys would be to whisper to their buddies, “Hey, she’s pretty hot. And strong, too!”

Maybe, and bear with me here, if more guys admitted to liking a girl with a little bulk, more women would abandon ridiculous fad diets and do more bench presses. Starve yourself to get skinny? Screw that! Go to the gym instead and LIFT to your heart’s delight! If we want to see more women in the weight room, all we simply need to do is encourage them. Hmmmmm…

Is strong the new skinny? We can only hope so.

Or, at least, I can only hope so.