We Need to Talk About Nataliya Kuznetsova

Nataliya Kuznetsova 4

This is a real human being. Seriously.

By now, you should be familiar with Nataliya Kuznetsova.

Nataliya is the kind of woman that even the most wildly imaginative female muscle fan will admit – if they’re pressed into being realistic for a hot minute – can’t ever really exist.

No woman, even with the help of all the synthetic steroids, supplements, food, weightlifting equipment, and expertise possibly available, can ever actually look like that. Whether you’ve been a bona fide female muscle fan for 40 years or 40 days, you’ve seen your fair share of muscular women. Perhaps even in-person. Yet, the rational part of your brain understands full well that no woman can ever look like her. No woman can ever have arms the size of a Mr. Olympia contestant. Or legs so thick that they resemble actual tree trunks. That’s not physically possible. It’s not scientifically possible. It’s even too absurd to draw a cartoon that looks like that.

Uh, right?

Well, you would be wrong. There is in fact one particular woman who walks on planet Earth – or is it continuously squats and bicep curls on planet Earth? – who defies your expectations of what a female bodybuilder can and cannot look like. She challenges what you previously thought was the limits of human achievement. Sure, guys who take drugs and work out like a madman with his hair on fire can become that huge. But…a woman?

No way! No how! That ain’t right!!!

Yet, it is so right. And it is possible. Her name is Nataliya Kuznetsova.

Nataliya was born on July 1, 1991 in the city of Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai in Russia. She was born just a few months before the Soviet Union officially dissolved; and although the Iron Curtain had fallen, a child had been born who would take her iron pumping quite seriously (did you see what I did there?). She has won many accolades in her life, including being the bench press and deadlift world champion. She’s also a champion armlifter, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen her arms.

She aspired to become a professional bodybuilder at age 14 and never looked back. In addition to breaking several records, she’s dabbled in the field of coaching and personal training – which is not uncommon for many bodybuilders, both male and female. She’s maintained a strict diet since the early days of her career, which has clearly paid dividends. After graduating from the Moscow State Academy of Physical Culture in 2013, Nataliya proceeded to pursue her dream of shattering several powerlifting records.

And put her name in the record books is exactly what she did. In 2014 and 2015 she won various contests in Russia and Europe. While it doesn’t appear that she continues to compete in powerlifting, she’s since gained international notoriety for her unusual eye-popping physique that she proudly promotes on her social media channels.

Oh boy. And she’s also not shy about her usage of anabolic steroids and estrogen blockers. I mean, it’s not humanly possible to get as huge as her without drugs. We all know that. But in her case, it isn’t really about whether or not she “fairly” achieved her musculature. What really matters is that she looks exactly how she looks – and that’s the way she wants it.

Her brand is dependent upon the final result, not the process it took to get to that final result.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 1

Muscles on the beach.

Nataliya is the Ultimate Real Human Photoshop Illusion. You’d swear that she’s not actually real. She must be the product of a female muscle growth fiction artist’s imagination. Someone must’ve artificially enhanced her arms and legs. Or, someone superimposed a male bodybuilder’s arms onto her torso, like a G.I. Joe action figure’s arms being popped inside a limbless Barbie doll.

Yet, that is not the case. She is not a character in an FMG story. Nor are photos of her not genuine (to be fair, very few Instagram and magazine photos are 100% genuine) in the proper sense of the word. Her biceps are really the size of most guys’ quads. Her quads are really as thick as your girlfriend’s torso. It’s all true. It’s definitely not all natural, but if we’re only interested in aesthetics, who cares?

And that’s the crux of the argument. Whether she could ever achieve so much muscle mass naturally – the short answer is “no way, José” – is not the point. Insecure guys who constantly insist that she’s “juicing” or “roiding up” are just projecting their own inadequacies onto a complete stranger. They’re envious that they are unable to get that “swole,” so they need to add as many caveats as possible onto Nataliya’s achievements because it, uh, makes them feel better. Or something like that. I don’t know exactly.

But that’s not really where I’m getting at. Nataliya is noteworthy because she is who she is. Whether she “cheated” or did it through unnatural means isn’t what’s truly important. What’s important is that she’s a human cartoon in the flesh. She’s a female muscle fan’s dream come true, if extreme FMG artwork happens to be your thing. It’s not for me personally, but it doesn’t have to be. I can acknowledge her importance without being totally smitten with her looks.

Personally, Nataliya is a bit too much. Everything about her is superhuman, including her lips. Dang. She makes Angelina Jolie look like the before-and-after photo at a lip enhancement surgeon’s office. I tend to prefer ladies who are both large and traditionally curvy. Alina Popa is my jam. So is Isabelle Turell. And Shannon Courtney. And Theresa Ivancik. And Lindsay Mulinazzi. And many others. I have nothing against Miss Kuznetsova as a human being. I’m sure she’s cool and pretty interesting to be around. Apparently, she’s bisexual – which will make any FMG artist go hog wild when crafting erotically-charged dime novel-style fan fiction.

Perhaps this is a reflection of my limited imagination. Is Nataliya’s physique now the new Mount Everest? Are former Ms. Olympia contestants like Iris Kyle, Tina Chandler, Debi Laszewski, Anne Freitas, and Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia merely the tip of the iceberg? Previously, we may have thought of these ladies as being at the peak of the female muscle pecking order. But maybe our standards were set too low. Maybe women like Nataliya Kuznetsova (are there any others like her? Asking for a friend) are where the proverbial bar is now set. Or should be set. It’s not enough to train for a few hours, give yourself a couple of rest days, and intersperse within your daily routine plenty of Tupperware containers full of brown rice, grilled chicken, and boiled broccoli. Perhaps the new normal should be to train for several hours a day – as if it’s practically a part-time job – and eat as much protein as you possibly can without throwing up. This doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but one must suffer for one’s art.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 2

Nataliya’s quads don’t lie.

Hm. Maybe that’s exactly the point. One must suffer for your art. In Nataliya’s case, her body is her art. Her muscles are her canvas. Dumbbells, vitamin supplements, anabolic steroids, and protein are her paintbrushes. And her Instagram feed is her museum. And we are patrons of her art. Instead of sipping champagne, we down a carton of Muscle Milk. Same thing.

All bodybuilders are artists as well as athletes. They might consider themselves athletes first and foremost, and that would be their prerogative. But whether they consciously consider it or not, they’re also artists. Michelangelo used marble. Nataliya uses her own flesh and blood. That sounds odd, but it’s true. Bodybuilders don’t try to hit a baseball into the centerfield bleachers or dunk a basketball over a 7-foot tall defender. They try to look awesome, prioritizing muscle mass, symmetry, and aesthetic perfection over all else.

Yet, I’m perfectly fine with Nataliya being the exception and not the rule. She can be an Internet sensation who makes our eyes pop out of our skulls. She can be someone who essentially provides fodder for clickbait articles on second-rate news aggregate sites. I highly doubt female muscle fans worldwide are clamoring for more women to look like her. If more do choose to look as extreme as possible, so be it. But we’re perfectly content with more “conventional-looking” female bodybuilders (as contradictory as that may sound) such as Miss Popa and Miss Ivancik. At least, they’re conventional within the context of the world of female bodybuilding.

Here’s a question: Is Nataliya Kuznetsova good or bad for female bodybuilding and fans of female bodybuilders? It’s the question sports commentators always make regarding dynasties like the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots, the UConn women’s basketball team, Alabama football, Manchester United, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe (ha ha). Is dominance a good thing? Can the lack of parity hurt the overall product? Or does it enhance it? Is temporary dominance – because dominance rarely lasts forever – actually a good thing because it provides an incentive for others to work harder in order to catch up?

Chances are she’s not going to have much of an effect on anything. Nataliya exists in her own little universe. She’s carved out her own unique niche. She doesn’t really exist in the realm of bodybuilding because she isn’t a competitive bodybuilder (to my knowledge). She’s a mini-celebrity whose body is her selling point. Her extreme physique is why she’s famous, not because she climbed up the industry ladder or won so many accolades that we cannot help but notice her. In a way, she’s the perfect example of how the entrepreneurial female bodybuilder is most likely the archetype that will survive the longest.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 5

Ever seen someone like this at the gym? Yeah, didn’t think so.

The bodybuilding industry’s marginalization of female competitors doesn’t need to be rehashed here. The death of the Ms. Olympia is really all you need to know. Wings of Strength is doing their best to resuscitate the spirit of the Ms. O, and we wish them all the best in this endeavor. Long story short, female bodybuilders need to find alternative avenues of earning an income in order to continue doing what they love to do.

Nataliya has done exactly that.

She’s found a void and filled it perfectly. Impeccably. She busted her tail to look as hypermuscular as possible. She knew not everyone would dig her look, but that didn’t matter one iota. There are plenty of people who will. And do. She’s made sacrifices – including long-term risks to her body – to achieve her Human Photoshop figure. She was able to go “viral” because she stood out from the rest of the herd. There are plenty of muscular women out there. But few are as surreal in their musculature as her.

So because of that, she was able to break through in front of more “mainstream” eyes because of her freakish physique. Cindy Landolt or Minna Pajulahti are famous within the small community of female muscle fans, but Nataliya has been able to rise above that and attraction attention from non-female muscle fans. And chances are pretty good that for many people, Nataliya is the only muscular woman whom they care to follow on social media. She’s “famous” – in a 21st century viral Internet meme sense – for being a living and breathing statistical outlier, not because she happens to be a female bodybuilder who’s broken the mold of her predecessors and peers.

And that’s the meat and potatoes of our discussion. Miss Kuznetsova is nothing more than a freakish statistical outlier to the vast majority of Internet-savvy people out there. She won’t help the visibility of the female bodybuilding industry. She won’t hurt it either, but that’s beside the point. She’s a Human Island. A once-in-a-lifetime Black Swan Event. She’s like the people who love to follow Tiger Woods but couldn’t care less about other golfers.

There are golf fans. And there are Tiger Woods fans. And they are often not one and the same. Likewise, there are Nataliya Kuznetsova fans. And there are female muscle fans. And they are not necessarily the same thing.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 3

Can’t tell if those are her quads…or an actual tree trunk.

Some people love Eminem but don’t particularly like hip hop. Some people loved “The Dark Knight” but never read a single Batman comic book. And some people are enamored with Nataliya Kuznetsova but couldn’t identify Alina Popa in a police lineup.

Life is funny like that.

Whether you love her, hate her, or have neutral feelings about her, one thing is certain: You’re totally justified to initially think that this woman couldn’t possibly exist. This has got to be like “Simone,” that 2002 Al Pacino movie about a movie star who’s digitally animated and isn’t really real. Certainly Nataliya has got to be a digital avatar, right? A fake persona meant to punk all of us into thinking a woman could genuinely build muscle mass that male bodybuilders could only dream of? Well, the truth is that she’s real. Very real.

I have no idea how long she can maintain her physique. I’m not a nutritional scientist or biology expert, but it seems reasonable to worry about her long-term health. All that animal protein, steroids, and hormone-blocking drugs can’t be good for you. Years and years of living like that should eventually take its toll, right?

Eh. Maybe, maybe not.

For now, let’s just appreciate who she is and what she’s been able to accomplish thus far. Only time will tell as to how much of an impact she’s making on the visibility of female bodybuilders, if any at all.

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In My Own Words: Marc from Germany

Marc would love to have been Kim Chizevsky’s husband back in the good old days. I cannot say I’d disagree with him.

The submissions keep pouring in! Today we feature a reader who hails all the way from Germany. See? Proof that yours truly actually enjoys an international fan base!

Want your story to be featured next on my blog? Contact me at ryantakahashi87 (at) yahoo (dot) com to join the conversation. Also, let me know whose photos you’d like me to share in your post, as well as what name (or pseudonym) you’d like to go by. I also reserve the right to edit your post as I see fit.

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When did you first discover your love for female muscle?

I was about 7 years old. My grandpa and I were in a department store where there was also a corner with a news dealer. My grandpa looked for a TV guide and was filling out a lottery ticket while I was wandering around looking at all these different types of magazines, when I suddenly stopped and was grabbed with fascination with one of them. It was a bodybuilding magazine! If I remember correctly it was a German issue of “Muscle & Fitness” where they covered the Ms. Olympia 1990. The pages were full of interviews, pictures, and stories about all the legendary female bodybuilders: Corey Everson, Anja Langer, and so on. And the icing on the cake was the Ms. Olympia photo section – I was hooked and in love! From that day on I knew that this is the type of woman I admire.

I went to my grandpa with the magazine and told him that I wanted it. He was the kindest grandpa one can imagine and without questioning my choice he bought it; and from that day on this issue became my personal Playboy magazine and you can imagine what I used it for. Since that very transformative moment, I fantasized about female muscle whenever and wherever I could.

Why are you attracted to (or an admirer of) female bodybuilders?

That’s a very good question. If you want to know what exactly triggered this attraction, I have my theories, but no definitive answer. I am attracted to female bodybuilders because the thought of a beautiful woman with muscles who can be stronger than I am is a very attractive fantasy. The bodily perfection they achieve, the thought that you can massage these muscular bodies or put chocolate sauce on them and lick it – hahaha… – yeah, that is very attractive to me! What I saw in the Ms. Olympia coverage was so aesthetic, beautiful, strong but at the same time feminine. I am a big fan of the female bodybuilders from the ‘80s to the ‘90s. In my opinion that was the golden age.

Have you ever met a female bodybuilder (or a woman with a lot of muscles)? If so, what were the circumstances?

I haven’t met a female bodybuilder yet (never had the opportunity), but when I switched to high school there was a muscular girl in my class and I couldn’t believe my eyes. How small are the chances that in a small town in German a muscular girl would be in your class? I always called her the “woman of my dreams.” She was all natural and gifted with incredible genetics. She is a personal trainer now. Unfortunately she never wanted to become a bodybuilder. She would have been a beast! But regarding meeting a female bodybuilder, that will happen!

German female bodybuilder Anja Langer.

Have you ever engaged in a muscle worship or BDSM session with an FBB? If so, how did it go?

No, but I would have loved to have been Kim Chizevsky’s husband during her most massive years! 😀

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

It is not about how “would” I, but how “did” I. I kept it a secret for very long, just my best friend knew about my fetish. Slowly I opened up because I thought it to be ridiculous why I should perceive myself as a deranged person only because I love female muscles. How many of us have been labeled as “secretly gay” and that we hide behind our female bodybuilding fetish? Such a stupid theory. I love women with muscles; not guys, transsexuals, etc.

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

With time and age I did, but I’m still careful. My family and friends know it but they can’t understand why.

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

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Laura Creavalle in her prime.

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

Maybe I have to be the person who will make that happen and be the Russ Meyer of female muscle!

The fact is that more women are working out and aren’t afraid to do so, but society is still modeled by this mainstream stereotype: a woman with muscles is not a woman.

Yeah, there are some female bodybuilders who look like dudes and I would puke if I see them, but you can’t say that, for example, Laura Creavalle at her best was not feminine.

I am up to the point that I can find a normal woman attractive, that I would feel the urge to kiss her, but when it comes to her body I would not want to touch her if she doesn’t have at least muscular legs. Whenever I am walking around I look at women’s calves and legs and sometimes I see a woman with something I coined “bodybuilding potential.” I’m like the Terminator scanning the environment for potential future female bodybuilders.

My goal is to put a female bodybuilder in every short film or movie I make. I wish that female muscles could be the new norm or at least promoted more in the media.

Take, for example, “Wonder Woman.” Why isn’t she muscular? She is fit like most women want to look like, but that is not true muscle beauty. She could have been well-trained like Jessica Biel in “Blade: Trinity.” I really hoped that she would make the difference and bring about change, but still we have the same old mainstream type of picture how a woman should be built like.

I hope that women with muscles will become accepted, not because of gender identity issues or because some of them are gay and feel discriminated against, but because of their hard work and aesthetics.

Self-Worship: The Unspoken Confessions of Female Bodybuilders

Four of the most beautiful women in the world: Yaxeni Oriquen, Anne Freitas, Alina Popa and Iris Kyle.

Four of the most beautiful women in the world: Yaxeni Oriquen, Anne Freitas, Alina Popa and Iris Kyle.

Everyone knows how amazing female bodybuilders are in every aspect of life: Physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, sexually and perhaps even spiritually.

It should be obvious that lots of men out there share these feelings. Female bodybuilders, athletes and those who love pumping their bodies at the gym are, simply put, a thing of beauty. They are beautiful in ways that cannot justifiably be put into words. The context of their beauty is so unfathomable that 100 volumes of encyclopedia-level text could not explain it all.

But that’s just one perspective. That’s the perspective of straight men who love strong women. But there’s a whole other side of the coin that deserves its own discussion.

What about women?

Specifically, women who are also strong and muscular. What do they think of their fellow muscular sisters? Or themselves?

For the past year I’ve been in correspondence with a real-life female bodybuilder who has expressed her love for my blog. Yes, I was floored when I learned that an actual flesh-and-blood FBB was reading my posts! In our many discussions, this topic recently came up: Female bodybuilders are often turned on by each other…and themselves.

A very tanned Nicki Pimm.

A very tanned Nicki Pimm.

Wait, what? In addition to that being perhaps the hottest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, in many ways this makes perfect sense. Of course, it goes without saying that I myself am not a female bodybuilder, so my knowledge on this subject is somewhat limited. But from what I do understand, let’s take some time to discuss a topic that definitely deserves a blog article unto itself.

The Underlying Assumption

First, let’s begin with the Underlying Assumption. A female bodybuilder is a woman who dedicates nearly every waking moment of her life toward one singular goal: to achieve a desired physique that maximizes her body’s muscular potential.

This potential could be realized in terms of muscle mass, aesthetic proportions, striking the perfect balance between muscularity and traditional femininity or a combination of all three. Regardless, the ultimate goal is to sculpt one’s body to become Beautiful (despite, of course, not everyone in our society sharing this definition of “Beautiful”). I capitalize the word “Beautiful” because it’s not just a general classification of “beautiful.” Conversely, “beautiful” with a lowercase “b” is defined as “pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically.” That dictionary definition is pretty basic and covers a lot of ground. “Beautiful” with an uppercase “B” means (in my personal dictionary) “pleasing one’s own personal senses or mind aesthetically.”

In this definition, “Beautiful” is not a term defined by others. It’s a standard defined by one’s own self. Yes, obviously competitive bodybuilders are being judged by a panel of other people, but that’s beside the point. Ultimately, an FBB (or male bodybuilder) is really competing against herself. Her standards are the only standards she cares about. Perfection is an internal goal, not an external one. She doesn’t seek to please others. She seeks to please herself. PERIOD.

So given all this, the Underlying Assumption is the basic premise that female bodybuilders are actively pursuing to achieve “Beauty” as they define it. It’s a lofty goal that takes years and years of dieting, lifting, supplementation, drugs (yes, this happens. Get over it), strategic periods of rest, consulting, tears, anguish and sacrifices. All to achieve what? That’s right. Beauty. To become Beautiful in ways that are almost comparable to a religious experience. It’s a spiritual quest that one always pursues, yet never fully achieves.

Sheronica Sade Henton is a rising star.

Sheronica Sade Henton is a rising star.

No professional athlete worth their weight in gold would ever admit out loud that they’ve “made it.” Michael Jordan never believed he reached the mountaintops of being a great basketball player. Even at the prime of his career, he always believed he could be better. There was something about his game that could be improved. While we all know now (and at the time) that he was indeed the greatest of all time, he never believed that. He always needed something to push him further, to motivate him to become better at what he does. Greatness is not an end result, it’s a process. A process one never stops chasing.

That being said, a female bodybuilder is – every single day of her life – climbing her own bodybuilding Mount Everest. She’s seeking out her muscular Nirvana. Her spiritual quest, though unorthodox, resembles more a Tibetan monk striving toward Enlightenment than a professional athlete preparing for game day.

Which leads us to…

Now that we’ve established our Underlying Assumption, we can now move on to the idea that started this discussion.

Cindy (which is not her real name, but a fake one to conceal her true identity), confesses that many female bodybuilders get sexually aroused by both themselves and their fellow FBBs. Whether it happens during a contest, while working out or during interactions with her muscle sisters, there are FBBs who can’t help but become sexually provoked by it all.

Just to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, here is an excerpt from a recent conversation I’ve had with Cindy:

Cindy: Women are omnisexual. Everything turns us on. Men are more likely to be oriented in one or the other direction.

Cindy: There are a lot of bisexual men, but bisexuality in general comes STANDARD with the women’s psyche.

Ryan: Do you get turned on by yourself?

Cindy: YES very

Cindy: When I see or feel my body growing, pumping

Cindy: And my body reacts when I see other women’s bodies although I really NEED a man for sex

Ryan: Fascinating

Ryan: Are you turned on by the fact that it’s a female form that’s muscular, or because muscularity is traditionally associated with masculinity?

Cindy: No because of how it feels, the sensuality of it

Cindy: I feel so STRONG

Cindy: It makes me wet to feel this way

Cindy: And my body responds, my pits get moist, my nipples get hard

Cindy: It is just so erotic

Wow. What a fascinating conversation, wouldn’t you say? While this is coming from her own perspective, it probably isn’t a stretch of the truth to assume that other FBBs share this same experience. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that all of them do, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume this experience is common enough.

So, we’re not talking about lesbians who are naturally attracted to other women. That’s an oversimplification. We’re talking about straight (or semi-straight) women who, in certain circumstances, become aroused through the mere fact of being a bodybuilder. This means there must be something inherent within the lifestyle that causes this to happen. But what is it?

What this all means, in a nutshell

It’s not surprising that some bodybuilders (male or female) find their profession (or when participating in activities associated with their profession) to be so sexually arousing. These are men and women who are the top of their class competing with themselves to achieve a physique of gargantuan proportions. Our Underlying Assumption returns us to the concept of “Beauty” and how attaining this level of “Beauty” is an unrelenting driving force behind everything these athletes do.

You don’t reach the pinnacle of athletic achievement without passion. You don’t reach it without being out-of-the-ordinary. You don’t get there unless there’s something deep within your soul that aches to be the best you could be.

And that attitude can be very arousing. Especially when you mix in the dynamic of creating perfectly sculpted bodies, which already carries heavy sexual overtones.

The blonde goddess Johanna Dejager.

The blonde goddess Johanna Dejager.

Think about everything related to competitive bodybuilding. The time. The preparation. The sacrifices. The heart. Everything. Just to qualify for a competition is an accomplishment unto itself. But more than that, it’s a very sensual experience. The hot lights flashing down on the stage, the sweat dripping off your brow as the judges write down notes about you, the sounds of people screaming your name as you strike a pose, and especially the high stakes drama associated with any competitive environment.

Sexual arousal is predicated upon being exposed to stimuli that create a physiological and mental response conducive to sparking arousal. These stimuli come from the five senses: sight, taste, touch, sound and smell. Whether you’re in the gym, backstage before a show or in the privacy of your bedroom admiring your physical progress in the mirror, opportunities to being exposed to stimuli are numerous.

So what is “stimuli?” Stimuli can come from a variety of sources. It’s highly sensual and differs from person to person. We’re not all turned on by the same thing. But when exposed to these stimuli at the proper time in the proper manner, it triggers a sexual response in the mind.

Anything can trigger a response. Anything. A sight. A scent. Someone’s voice. Someone’s moan. Bright lights. Dim lights. Natural light. Warm air. A cool breeze. A crowded room. A lonely room. Your partner. Yourself. A thought. A memory. A nightmare. A long forgotten dream. A conversation you once had with someone. Hunger. Fullness. Thirst. Feelings of happiness. Feelings of contentment. Feelings of uncertainty. A contorted mixture of emotions too enormous to describe. Excitement. Anticipation. Anxiety. Melancholy. Nervousness. That sensation of butterflies fluttering about in the pit of your stomach. The joy of victory. The agony of defeat. The mixed feelings of seeing a loved one win while you lose. Sweat. Your heart pounding. Your pulse racing a million miles per minute. Someone’s breath. Someone’s jittery mannerisms. The look on someone’s face. The position of someone’s body. The way a beam of light shines down on someone’s face. Her face. His face. Your own face. Youthfulness. Experience. Love. Anger. Hurt. Awkward encounters. Sickness. Good health. Cleanliness. Filth. Body heat. An unspoken sense of connectedness. Intuition. Ambiguity. Jealousy. Envy. Admiration. Unconditional respect. Her muscles. His muscles. Their muscles. My muscles. Flexing. Showing off. Demonstration of hard work. Playfulness. Egos. Competition. Fierce rivalry. The epic build up. The inevitable let down. Persistence. Shattered dreams. Dreams that really come true. Waiting for your turn. Waiting for his turn. Waiting for her turn. Waiting for our turn. The spotlight. The attention. The tens of thousands of voices screaming your name. The hundreds of thousands of voices screaming the other person’s name. Loudness. Quietness. Silence. Stillness. Shaking in your boots. A chill running down your spine. A tap on your shoulder. A pat on the back. A handshake. A kiss. A whisper in your ear. That one time you made love. That one time you masturbated. That one time you saw him. That one time you saw her. That one time you looked in the mirror and liked what you saw. That one time you looked in the mirror and hated what you saw but vowed to change that immediately. The promise you made to yourself to accept who you are regardless of what other people think. Dancing in the rain. Feeling snow hit the tip of your tongue. Basking in the warm glow of a summer evening. Looking out the window at a peaceful autumn storm. The feeling of your sore muscles after a strenuous workout. The feeling of his muscles after his workout. The feeling of her muscles after her workout. Craving that pump. Needing external affirmations. Desiring to be desired. Being desired. Being the one and only. Being the focus of attention. Knowing your destiny is entirely up to you. Knowing you can fail. Knowing you can succeed. Succeeding. Failing. Not giving a damn either way. Epic moments. Subtle moments. Everyday moments. The logical. The unexplained. The magical. The divine. That which you know but cannot put into words. That which you are embarrassed to even think about. That which you need more than anything else. A goal. A purpose. Existing. God. Humanity. Everything.

Everything.

Or, better yet, anything.

Who’s to say you’re wrong to be turned on by any of this? After all, everyone has different sensual triggers. We’ve all lived lives as diverse as anything you can imagine. The list goes on and on and on. But that’s the beauty of the human mind. You can’t explain any of it. You feel things because you can. The heart and mind sometimes work in tandem, other times they work against each other. It’s all out of your control.

Sophie Legace is a spectacular view, is she not?

Sophie Lagace is a spectacular view, is she not?

Any athlete or artist who spends so much time, sweat, emotional vulnerability, personal discomfort and sense of “normalcy” is bound to be a person with heightened passion. That drive isn’t found with just anyone. The “average Joe” or “Average Jane” could not do what a room full of hot, sweaty, smelly and divinely beautiful female bodybuilders could do. Not by a long shot. What they have to do to look the way they do is simply beyond what most of us would do to pursue our so-called “dreams.”

But for them, it’s not just a mere “dream.” It’s a calling. It requires mental toughness that only a small handful of us could emulate. So when you’ve invested so much into your craft, when you’re finally surrounded by peers who know exactly what you experience on a day-in and day-out basis, you have every reason to be aroused by your surroundings. You have every reason to want to participate in a mass muscle orgy right on the spot. All your pent-up desires have to come out or else you might explode.

So…why are some female bodybuilders easily aroused by each other?

For God’s sake. Isn’t it bloody obvious?

The Wow Factor

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

I’ve finally figured it out. In all my years of my female muscle fandom, I’ve never really been able to put into succinct words why I love muscular women so much.

Sure, long essays can explain the bread and butter of why I find female bodybuilders and athletes so appealing. I can even post a ton of photos of my favorite FBBs for all of you to salivate over. But that still doesn’t even begin to describe why exactly we love them.

But now I’ve got it figured out. Finally.

Simply put:

The Wow Factor.

That’s it. The Wow Factor. “Wow” is a word we use to describe something so amazing, Earth-shattering, incredible and astonishing that no other monosyllabic utterance could do it justice. Wow. You could substitute that for “whoa,” but let’s not confuse our female muscle fandom for the vernacular of California surfer dudes or college stoner kids. I’m talking about something else here.

Wow. Just…wow.

The Wow Factor is my best way of describing it.

Women like Debi Laszewski are so damn beautiful that “wow” is the only way I can properly react when I see a photo of her. Yes, “Damn girl” or “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn” are also sufficient substitutes, but I’m not interested in catcalling Ms. Laszewski like a dirty-minded construction worker on his lunch break.

I’m interested in communicating what’s on my mind. And “wow” is the only thing on my mind. Is there any other way to put it?

How can this image of Victoria Dominguez lifting this heavy weight not turn you on?

How can this image of Victoria Dominguez lifting this heavy weight not turn you on?

But it’s not just about putting your feelings into words. It’s describing your gut reaction the moment your brain processes what your eyes have just seen. The millisecond your mind realizes that it just saw an image of a strong, gorgeous woman showing off her hard work in all its erotic glory – you can’t possibly articulate what that feels like. No way. It’s a feeling that hits you on a level that goes way beyond mere “attraction.”

It’s not just lust. It’s not just turning your head when you see a pretty woman walking past you and thinking to yourself, “That’s one fine looking lady.” That happens all the time (at least, it happens to me all the time!). The Wow Factor goes way further. The Wow Factor isn’t an everyday occurrence. The Wow Factor changes the way you think. It changes the way you look at women (all women, not just those of the muscular variety). It changes the way you behave. It changes your paradigm.

This Wow Factor explains why bloggers like me continue to post pictures and essays about female muscle nonstop. This explains why guys like me are willing to pay $350 for an hour-long muscle worship session with a complete stranger in a hotel room. This explains why we can’t get enough of those glorious FBBs and their immaculate beauty.

The Wow Factor is a visceral gut reaction you can’t control. Here’s an anecdote for you. As strange as it sounds, sometimes I occasionally forget why I love female muscle in the first place. It’s sort of like a professional baseball player who’s played for 10 years in the league but lacks passion because he plays for a terrible team. But the moment his team catches fire and he’s playing in Game 7 of the World Series, suddenly his childhood love for the game returns and he’s playing with rejuvenated energy.

He suddenly remembers why he loves the game. The nervous energy. The thrill of competition. The joy of victory. The heart-wrenching depression of defeat. That child-like love for the game all of a sudden returns in that moment when you’re actually playing for something.

A rising star, Jill Rudison.

A rising star, Jill Rudison.

I sometimes get like that in regards to my female muscle fandom. I know I love strong women, but all it takes is a singular image of Alina Popa flexing her large, beautiful biceps wearing nothing but a microscopic thong bikini, and…I suddenly remember why I think Ms. Popa is a gift from God. I’ve always known that, but The Wow Factor hits me like a semi-truck blindsiding me out of nowhere and I’m instantaneously reminded why I feel the way I feel.

It’s a feeling that causes you to stare at your computer screen with your jaw dropped to the floor and your heart ceasing to beat. It makes me forget that other women exist in this world.

Lisa Cross. Denise Masino. Lindsay Mulinazzi. Angela Salvagno. Victoria Dominguez. Nikki Fuller. Yvette Bova. Amber DeLuca. Autumn Raby. Gayle Moher. Lauren Powers. Annie Rivieccio. Brandi Mae Akers. Jill Rudison. Shannon Courtney. Desiree Ellis. Jana Linke-Sippl. Lora Ottenad. Brenda Raganot. Monica Martin. Gracyanne Barbosa. Juliana Malacarne. Karen Zaremba. Michele Levesque. Sheila Bleck. Monica Brant. Lisa Marie Bickels. Lenda Murray. Iris Kyle. Julie Bourassa. Kris Murrell. Sondra Faas. Vilma Caez. Kris Clark. Melissa Dettwiller.

The list goes on and on and on. This doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Pick anyone on this list and spend five minutes doing a Google Images search on her. I guarantee you’ll be hooked within seconds. You’ll be completely enraptured by her power, beauty and strength. Her feminine prowess and physical stature will make you as hapless as a little puppy dog. You’ll totally forget why you used to ogle at the rail-thin supermodels in the Sears catalog (if you actually at one time did that, I’m really sorry!).

The Wow Factor exemplified in Larissa Reis.

The Wow Factor exemplified in Larissa Reis.

This is what it’s like to experience The Wow Factor. You’re struck by a lightning bolt and feel like there is no definition of “beauty” other than what you’ve just witnessed.

Before Lindsay Mulinazzi, there was nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason why there’s so much animosity against female bodybuilders. Haters (who are, pardon the expression, going to hate) have never experienced The Wow Factor. They’ve instead experienced The Ew Factor. The Gross Factor. The Utterly Disgusting Factor. The Why-the-Hell-Would-Anyone-Want-To-Look-Like-That Factor. It saddens me when people choose to shut themselves out from a certain part of life. True, no one has an obligation to like female muscle, but why say “no!” when instead you can choose “sure, why not?”

It’s clear to me that someone who says they’re repulsed by female bodybuilders say that mostly because deep down inside they’re insecure about themselves. They don’t feel secure in their masculinity. They don’t feel secure in their femininity. They react negatively to what they don’t understand or want to understand. They insult others because the only way for them to feel good about themselves is to bring down everyone else. This is a vicious cycle that especially comes out on the Internet. Anonymity brings out the worst in us. There’s no harm in expressing your true feelings when nobody knows your name. Insecurity and a forum for acting upon that insecurity can be a hurtful combination.

One can never see enough photos of Karen Zaremba.

One can never see enough photos of Karen Zaremba.

It should be obvious to anyone who follows the sport of female bodybuilding that the industry is pushing our favorite ladies off to the side and telling them “we don’t want you as much as we did in the past.” People may have wanted to see you on the cover of magazines thirty years ago, but that’s all changed now. Iris Kyle will never be a sports superstar. No way. We don’t care how many Ms. Olympia titles she’s won. We don’t care how dominating she is in her sport. None of that is relevant. What speaks is dollars. And, quite frankly, she doesn’t bring in the dollars like others can. Sorry. You lose. Better luck next time.

Does this make you angry? To anyone who’s experienced The Wow Factor, it should.

Additionally, The Wow Factor affects you in one other way: It makes you defensive whenever you feel like your passions are being attacked. How many times have you been told that female bodybuilders look “gross?” How often do you read articles about the decline of female bodybuilding and you just want to throw your computer against the wall? Does replacing the sport with pole dancing competitions make you want to face-palm over and over again till your forehead turns beet red?

These reactions are classic examples of wanting to defend what you love. The Wow Factor makes us feel as though any attack on a strong woman is also an attack on us. Insult the sport of female bodybuilding on a public forum? Expect fans from across the world to fight back. Someone wants to deny Alina Popa’s right to climb the mountaintops and finally win the Ms. Olympia? In no time will you see her countless fans defending her on her behalf.

Gracyanne Barbosa. Baby got back.

Gracyanne Barbosa. Baby got back.

Though this negative energy can be seen as a bad thing, anything can be used for something positive. Being angry and defensive all the time will get you nowhere. A more constructive use of these emotions is to become pro-active. There are a lot of things we can do to make sure female bodybuilding doesn’t become extinct. Write letters. Send e-mails. Boycott those who vigorously marginalize the FBBs we idolize. Buy books and magazines promoting female muscle. Open your wallets and hearts to the women we adore. Openly support these athletes as if they truly are our best friends. Don’t let society dictate what you find beautiful. Do what you can to make these amazing athletes more mainstream.

What if one day female muscle becomes more mainstream? Imagine a world where gorgeous women like Larissa Reis are seen in the media as often as we see Kate Upton. Think about how awesome it would be if we can turn on the summer Olympics and instead of being perplexed by the presence of strong women, we can just sit back and enjoy watching her hard work being proudly displayed on the world’s brightest stage.

Instead of thinking to ourselves, “Ew!” we can have a more complimentary reaction:

“Wow.”