Every ‘90s Kid Will Remember Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson looking her very best.

From the early 1990s all the way to the mid-2000s, Pamela Anderson reigned supreme. Every boy (and girl who appreciates girls) who grew up during this time period should wholeheartedly agree.

Who knew that one fateful day in 1989 an unknown pretty blonde girl from Canada would attend a B.C. Lions Canadian Football League game and set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to tens of millions of horny teenage boys spilling much of their seed during their formative years? The so-called “Butterfly Effect” can be a funny thing to behold.

Pamela Anderson soon afterward would pose for Playboy in October 1989, which launched her stardom. After moving to Los Angeles, short guest appearances on Home Improvement would lead to a prominently featured role in Baywatch, a TV show that launched a few other noteworthy (but not necessarily valuable) careers. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A groundbreaking sex tape, a few failed high-profile relationships, and several plastic surgeries later, Miss Anderson elevated herself beyond stardom. She became an icon. She became in the ‘90s what Marilyn Monroe was in the ‘50s, Raquel Welch in the ‘60s, Farrah Fawcett in the ‘70s, and Brooke Shields in the ‘80s. These women defined not just the beauty and fashion standards of those decades past, but the adolescent experiences of boys everywhere as well.

Although what Pamela Anderson added to the mix could either be the greatest thing or the worst thing ever. She added the element of actual sex to her iconic image. The infamous sex tape with Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee notwithstanding, she lived in a time period in which pornography started to become mainstream. And not just elegant “topless” glamour shots, but hardcore porn involving real sex acts, nudity that leaves nothing to the imagination, and unbridled sexual expression that makes no attempt to be subtle.

Miss Anderson could do what Marilyn Monroe could not (or would not) do. If Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly had participated in such explicit pornography, their careers would have been toast. They probably could never fully recover from such a scandal. Yet, regardless if you consider such breaking of social taboos to be positive or negative, there was something lost when hardcore porn turned mainstream: Classiness.

But that is a whole other discussion for another time. Let’s get back to the biography of Miss Anderson.

Pamela Denise Anderson was born on July 1, 1967 in Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to her modeling and television career, she’s become an outspoken animal rights activist, participating in many awareness campaigns conducted by the controversial People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is obviously a vegan and eagerly encourages everyone to become one as well. Whether you choose to follow her advice is, well, completely up to you.

Pam offering up her ass.

As a woman who just turned 50 years old, Miss Anderson has for the most part been out of the spotlight since the mid-2000s. The problem with building a financial empire based solely on your physical appearance is that when your looks do start to erode, there’s not much left for you to do. She isn’t 25 anymore. She isn’t 35 anymore. And no amount of cosmetic surgery is going to change that. But somehow, one gets the impression she doesn’t have any regrets. It seems doubtful that she would still prefer to be in the public spotlight as if it were 1996 all over again. But that could be an incorrect assessment.

Pam recently returned to the national conversation when she expressed support for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Whether you think the man is a freedom fighter or a terrorist (or a puppet of Vladimir Putin), you got to give him credit if the “It-Girl” of twenty years ago who inspired millions of teenage boys to perfect the art of masturbation thinks you’re good for the vitality of democracy.

Alright, so what does Pamela Anderson have to do with muscular women? The answer is absolutely nothing. She’s always been a skinny blonde bimbo (which is meant to be endearing, not insulting) who never attempted to gain extraneous muscle mass in her life. She’s never been – or aspired to become – a bodybuilder, athlete, or fitness model. So what’s the big deal?

Perhaps the most significant contribution Pam made to modern day female muscle enthusiasts is providing us with our “Awakening” moment.

When we were 12 or 13 years old and just beginning to go through the awkward phase of puberty, there came a moment for almost all of us that hit us like a ton of bricks. Yes, there are the simple moments like when that annoying girl you’ve known all your life suddenly becomes someone you actually enjoyed looking at. But more often than not, you had someone – most likely a celebrity – whose beauty punched you in the face so hard, you felt like your world has just been opened up to new possibilities.

From a personal point of view, I cannot remember the first time I “discovered” Pam. It was probably somewhere on TV. Or maybe during the early days of dial-up Internet. But it doesn’t really matter. Like many teenage boys and young men who grew up in the 1990s, Pamela Anderson single handedly sent us on the fast lane through adolescence into adulthood. I clearly remember downloading and printing nude pictures of her and stashing it underneath my bed for illicit late-night use. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to what that “use” consisted of.

Pam with her “enhancements.”

For lots of us, Pamela Anderson opened our eyes to a whole new world called Female Beauty. For the first time in our lives, we learned why Daddy wanted to marry Mommy in the first place. We found out why Prince Charming felt the need to search the entire kingdom for Cinderella. Every kissing scene we ever saw in movies and TV shows suddenly developed a deeper meaning. She, and others like Carmen Electra and Cindy Margolis, gave us an education on human attraction, sexuality, reproduction, womanhood, and growing up that no textbook could ever come close to providing.

We were no longer boys. We were men. Because we discovered women.

While I don’t really hold a lot of nostalgic feelings for Pam, I can reflect upon my childhood and appreciate her for who she is: A gorgeous blonde bombshell who made my pulse race and my hormones rage into overdrive. There’s something to be said about that.

Coincidentally, at around the time Pamela started to fade into the pop culture background (God forbid she turn 40 years old!), I discovered female bodybuilders.

I don’t think the two events are related, but I cannot help but suspect that they are. I first discovered the glorious world of female bodybuilding during my freshman year in college, which would have been 2005. Pamela would have been 38 at that time, which from my perspective wasn’t super old, but old enough that I was ready to “move on” to other avenues of eye candy.

Female bodybuilders quickly filled that void and became that much-desired candy.

In a way, I felt like I had matured as well. I was not a dopy teenager anymore (even though I was still technically one at 18). I was now into “strong, independent women” who weren’t afraid to show off their big chiseled muscles. I tossed my old photos of Pamela Anderson in the trash can and replaced them with videos of Monica Brant, Karen Zaremba, and Deidre Pagnanelli saved on my laptop computer. I had moved on. Or had I?

I don’t want to suggest that muscular women are a “step up” from more traditionally beautiful women like Pam, Carmen, Sophie Marceau, or Monica Bellucci. I would never say that Monica Brant is definitely more beautiful than Monica Bellucci, because she isn’t. Miss Bellucci still holds a special place in my heart, even though she, like Pam, has never been anything close to a bodybuilder.

Muscular women are just one more tool in my toolshed. It’s one more taco I can put on my plate. Muscular women haven’t replaced traditionally beautiful women. Rather, they’ve just been added to the list. Even at the ripe age of 50, if Pamela Anderson – despite her years of extensive plastic surgery and sordid romantic past – were to approach me and ask me to take her to bed, I would not hesitate to say “yes.” I suspect many of you would probably do the same thing.

Pamela with one hell of a lucky guy.

Maybe that’s nostalgia somewhat kicking in, or maybe it’s not. If Alina Popa and Pamela Anderson both approached me with the same proposition and I had to only choose one of them, my decision would favor Miss Popa instead. As much as I (still) love Pam, I cannot say no to a younger muscle goddess who might be The Most Perfect Woman Ever Constructed on God’s Green Earth.

However, without question the female celebrities who defined my past have played an immeasurable role in shaping who I am today. I fully accept that if it weren’t Pamela, it would have been someone else. And yes, there were girls I knew in junior high and high school who caught my eye and made human sexuality more tangible for me. But I have to give credit where credit is due. Miss Anderson was a huge deal. It was like she held a baseball bat with the words “How to Appreciate Female Beauty” etched in it and whacked me on the back of the head a hundred times with it. I was for a brief period of time obsessed with her. I thought about her every night before I fell asleep. I never talked about her publicly (even with friends who were most likely sympathetic with my opinion of her), but she definitely pervaded my thoughts and fantasies during my early teen years.

She was one of the first celebrities who made me feel a certain way that I couldn’t quite explain. I knew she was attractive as hell. I knew there were only a small handful of human beings on planet Earth who looked as stunning as her. I knew she was a rare specimen. But what I couldn’t point my finger to was the root of my obsession with her.

I wasn’t obsessed in a “celebrity crush” sort of way. Rather, I was obsessed in an I-Can’t-Believe-Human-Beings-Are-Able-To-Be-As-Fucking-Gorgeous-As-Her sort of way. Perhaps it was because I was relatively young and inexperienced in appreciating Female Beauty, but I could have sworn that Pamela couldn’t actually be real. She has to be a human-looking cyborg who was developed in an underground laboratory specifically to test the limits of human beauty. After all, how can someone actually be that beautiful?

Well, someone can. Later, other women would either replace or complement Pamela as objects of obsession. Rena Mero, Trish Stratus, Sophie Marceau, Famke Janssen, Monica Bellucci, Carmen Electra, Cindy Crawford, and Halle Berry immediately come to mind. And yes, female bodybuilders would also follow. But Pamela still holds a special place in my heart. Even as she began to age (not-so-gracefully, unfortunately) and newer and younger sex symbols took her place (paging Megan Fox), I would come to appreciate a middle-aged Pamela and realize that one cannot stay young forever. Nobody wants to become Joan Rivers. Nor should anybody.

Pam cooling off in the sexiest way possible.

Still, looking back upon Pamela’s career, I’m saddened by how she’s become more of a punchline than someone whose contributions to pop culture are rightfully recognized as being noteworthy. If you were to ask the typical person on the street (who’s older than 25) what you think about Pamela Anderson, you’d probably get two typical responses:

  1. Wasn’t she the one who couldn’t decide what kind of boobs she wanted?
  2. Didn’t she make that horribly crass sex tape with Tommy Lee?

While both observations explain why her name was always in the tabloids, they both ignore what she truly provided for the lives of teen boys (who are now adults) like myself:

The discovery of Female Beauty.

Through her, we learned what it means to be so darn attracted to a woman that it would drive you to do things you’d never thought you could do. I never knew about the concept of masturbation until I accidentally tried it one fateful Saturday afternoon – and oh boy, did that leave an unexpected mess! I never thought I’d ever download porn, print it out on our shabby HP printer, and hide it underneath my bed. I never thought I’d be sweating bullets every time my brother or parents wandered into my room, fearing they’d inadvertently stumble upon my “collection.” But the discoveries we make as adolescents do lead to bizarre and unexpected life choices.

Pam looking coy.

I realize as I write this that the unexplainable electric feeling Pamela conjured up inside me would later return the moment I first discovered female bodybuilders. It was as though Pamela first introduced me to Female Beauty and female bodybuilders later introduced me to a whole new subculture within Female Beauty. They are two sides of the same coin.

So that’s it. My obsession with Pamela eventually faded away, but it wasn’t because I “grew up” or “matured.” It’s because someone else took her place. Or more specifically, hundreds of others took her place. Lindsay Mulinazzi. Denise Masino. Debi Laszewski. Emery Miller. Victoria Dominguez. Ginger Martin. Brandi Mae Akers. Tina Nguyen. Amber DeLuca. Angela Salvagno. Shawn Tan. Mavi Gioia. Monica Martin. Larissa Reis. Annie Rivieccio. The list goes on and on.

I’d like to thank Pamela Anderson for playing a role that she probably never intended to play. She acted as the catalyst for hundreds of millions of boys to discover a whole new facet of their humanity that they never knew existed. She made all of us feel a certain way that we couldn’t put into words but are certainly not complaining about. While I would never go as far as to say that if it weren’t for Pamela I wouldn’t have discovered female bodybuilders, I think a compelling argument could be made that she opened my mind to new possibilities. She inspired me to seek out beauty in new and wondrous places. She put me on the path toward searching for other women who could conjure up those same feelings I had for her when I was 14.

I craved bolder forms of Female Beauty that would push the limits of my imagination and light a fire inside my soul that I thought had died out the moment I left childhood. I wanted to rekindle that fervor. Badly.

Well, I eventually found what I was looking for.

You can probably guess what that was.

In the Palm of Her Calloused Hand: Female Bodybuilders and Exhibitionism

Seeing Gillian Kovack wearing that dress in public would definitely make me stop dead in my tracks.

Seeing Gillian Kovack wearing that dress in public would definitely make me stop dead in my tracks.

When a female bodybuilder walks into a crowded shopping mall, how can you not stop whatever you’re doing and just stare at her?

After you pick your jaw up from the floor, you might need to sit down on a nearby bench to prevent your heart from going into overdrive. You wouldn’t want to die from cardiac arrest right then and there, huh?

Well, if a brief moment of regarding upon the stunning physique of a beautiful female bodybuilder happens to be your final life experience before the Almighty claims you, at least you died happy!

But consider this: The moment our hypothetical female bodybuilder walks into that public space, does she want people to notice her? Does she want people to freeze in place and do nothing but stare at her body? Does she want her muscles to be the center of attention?

Obviously, the answer more often than not is “no.” Female bodybuilders, like celebrities and other famous people, want to be able to enjoy their lives with a minimal amount of disruptions. She wants to be able to go to the movies without being harassed. She wants to be able to take her dog out for a walk without being the unintended cause of a fender bender caused by a negligent driver who was distracted by her and took his eyes off the road. She wants to be able to be in public without seeing people whisper to each other about her, gossip about her, or creepily fetishize her. These are all things non-bodybuilders and non-famous people take for granted.

Yet, it is interesting to wonder whether or not if, deep down inside, a female bodybuilder wants people to stare at her. Maybe not all the time, but at certain moments. If she’s going out to a popular nightclub and is wearing a sexy revealing dress, that’s certainly an example of her wanting people to notice her body. She obviously doesn’t want people to harass her, but perhaps she’d welcome a few conspicuous stares of admiration, awe, and lust.

On this blog there is an article discussing the fact that female bodybuilders are always nude in public, even when fully clothed. Please read that column before reading this one. To summarize, it discusses the idea that because large muscular women are rare in our society, she stands out like a sore thumb. So even if she has no intention of being seen or noticed in public, she can’t help but be seen and noticed in public. She can’t wear an oversized parka for the rest of her life. So she’s always nude (in a symbolic sense, of course) whether she wants to be or not.

This article is a sort of follow-up piece to the previous one. This time, we’re going to discuss the flip side of the coin. We now know a female bodybuilder will inevitably receive unwelcomed and unsolicited attention from complete strangers purely because of the shape of her body. Most of the time, our culture would interpret this as her being in a vulnerable position. Our society teaches us not to judge other people by their looks, but a female bodybuilder is constantly being judged by her looks.

In fact, if she’s a competitive bodybuilder (or physique/fitness/bikini competitor) she intentionally goes out of her way to be judged by her looks. Therefore, the other side of the issue is this: Instead of a female bodybuilder being in a position of vulnerability when she’s in public, is she instead in a position of immense and total power?

Sophie Arvebrink has a body that can cause time to stop.

Sophie Arvebrink has a body that can cause time to stop.

Her body can cause car accidents. Her body can make men (and women and children) stop dead in their tracks and lose all sense of appropriate social behavior. Her body can make guys shell out hundreds of their hard-earned dollars just for the opportunity to touch it. Her body can spark arguments over the Internet. Her body alone can provide her hundreds of thousands of social media followers. Her body can give her a stable career, money in her pocket, and adoration from fans across the globe.

That’s power. That is a tremendous amount of power. A muscular woman’s body is so powerful she can gain massive amounts of attention with little to no effort toward promoting herself. An anonymous woman with an affinity toward exercise and fitness could post a selfie taken in her wretched bathroom on Instagram, use the right hashtags, and find herself in front of thousands of eyeballs around the world within minutes. And she didn’t have to spend a single dime to gather that kind of international attention.

Wow. What a world we live in these days!

A woman with a muscular body has an asset (or several assets, if you get my meaning) that’s indispensable. Her body can be as financially lucrative as she wants it to be. If our hypothetical female bodybuilder wants to offer muscle worship sessions, she can easily earn $1,000 of tax-free income (yay for avoiding government regulations!) for one evening’s worth of work. If you take traveling expenses out of the equation, that’s a significant chunk of change.

But let’s talk about this from another angle. Does there exist deep within her psyche a hidden streak of exhibitionism? In case you need a refresher, exhibitionism is defined as:

  1. A perversion in which sexual gratification is obtained from the indecent exposure of one’s genitals (as to a stranger).
  2. The act or practice of behaving so as to attract attention to oneself.

Psychologically speaking, exhibitionism is when someone fetishizes the act of exposing himself or herself to the public. Streakers at professional sporting games or creepy people who flash their genitals to complete strangers are prime examples. Theoretically, one could also include people who like to send unsolicited “dick pics,” web cam performers, and Tumblr users who enjoy uploading their own amateurish porn. But in this context, we’re talking about exhibitionism in a more casual sense.

We’re dealing with definition #2 instead of definition #1. Deep down inside, are female bodybuilders inherently exhibitionistic? It’s an interesting question; one that doesn’t have a definitive answer but should be explored nevertheless.

There probably isn’t any concrete scientific research to back this up either way, but it seems like a small streak of exhibitionism is sort of inevitable when we’re dealing with female bodybuilders. As mentioned earlier, FBBs exist in a world that runs counter to what our society is currently teaching us not to do.

Remember those ads launched by Unilever (an Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company that specializes in creating food, beverage, cleaning agents, and personal care products) called The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty? The marketing campaign aimed to show what “real women” looked like, which was presumably supposed to provide a counterbalance to the countless Photoshopped supermodels we traditionally see in mainstream advertising. Despite its criticism, the ads were effective in changing the national conversation around beauty standards and how we should (or shouldn’t) judge women’s bodies.

This national and international movement to change people’s minds around beauty standards has caught fire in the past few decades. Anyone who values self-worth should applaud these developments. The creators of these marketing campaigns are right that the images of women (and men) you see in mass media do not accurately represent the entirety of womanhood. These images that are reinforced everywhere – movies, television, billboards, magazines, books, Internet ads, pornography, etc. – have the unfortunate symptom of creating self-esteem issues for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

Every body is beautiful. Especially the body of Coco Crush.

Every body is beautiful. Especially the body of Coco Crush.

But standing in stark contrast to this – but not in opposition to, it should be noted – is the industry of bodybuilding. We are taught to not judge women by their looks, but female bodybuilders are encouraging people (or more specifically, a panel of judges) to do exactly that. Competitive FBBs train, diet, and work for years and years on end for the purpose of gaining certain people’s approval. It’s a strange juxtaposition, but that’s the nature of the business.

So logically, it follows that female bodybuilders, to a certain extent, want to be noticed by people. She wants to be judged. She wants the public to observe her physicality. She wants all her hard work to be put on display and appreciated by others. A female bodybuilder doesn’t just sculpt her body for the sake of a few judges. She sculpts her body for a whole host of people to see: Fellow bodybuilders, customers, fans of the sport, the media, corporate sponsors, friends and family, and so on.

Lindsay Mulinazzi doesn’t bust her tail just for a small select number of people to see her fabulous figure. Rather, she wants as many people as possible to see the fruits of her innumerable hours of sweat and labor. Many FBBs proudly display their bodies on social media and other places on the web. Obviously, we are grateful for such presentations of their beautiful bodies. Debi Laszewski doesn’t hide her hard work. She makes damn sure we all know she’s a bodybuilder. Whether we’re disgusted by her or aroused by her, she doesn’t apologize for her muscles. Nor does she go out of her way to shield her muscles from public view.

Whether it’s a small child or a Catholic nun walking by her, it doesn’t matter. Debi will not hide who she is. She’s a muscular woman. Deal with it.

Yes, there definitely is an element of exhibitionism inherent in the sport of bodybuilding. Whether an FBB receives any sexual thrills from displaying her body is almost beside the point. She wouldn’t be doing what she’s doing unless she enjoys people noticing her work.

A classically trained pianist doesn’t practice for hours upon hours just to play their instrument in complete solitude. He or she wants to eventually play at Carnegie Hall. A painter doesn’t dedicate his or her life to creating gorgeous canvases just to allow their artwork to collect dust in their basements. They dream of having their work hung up in The Louvre. No little kid grows up dreaming of playing basketball in the driveway with their buddies. They aspire to make slam dunks in front of thousands of screaming fans in jam packed stadiums across the country.

Likewise, a female bodybuilder doesn’t endure the daily grind of being a bodybuilder just to wear baggy clothing all day and be anti-social. She craves the attention. She feeds off of the jealousy, lust, and admiration her body instigates. Her body is a catalyst for sparking strong societal reactions – both negative and positive – whether she intends it to or not. And this isn’t necessarily an intentional choice; it’s an inevitable outcome.

Karen Zaremba is a woman who inspired me to start this blog four years ago. I highly doubt it was ever Miss Zaremba’s intention to motivate a random guy like me to launch a website dedicated to talking about female muscle. But whether she knows it or not (I highly doubt Karen even knows this website exists), she did indeed inspire that kind of action. She never asked me to do this. She’s never spoken with me or communicated with me in any way. All she did was display her gorgeous body on the Internet. And the rest is history.

However, I do wonder if FBBs care about the ramifications of their bodies being displayed in public. I wonder how often Pamela Anderson (who will be 50 next year!) ever thinks about the hundreds of thousands of adolescent boys and young men (and older men) over the years who have masturbated while thinking about her. Think about how many millions of self-induced orgasms Miss Anderson has encouraged throughout the past few decades. Count me in as someone who has contributed to this phenomenon.

Does Pamela Anderson get an erotic thrill knowing she solicits this kind of reaction out of people? Or for that matter, any high profile female celebrity who puts herself out there? It’s an interesting question. Female bodybuilders should be included in this conversation as well. But, to add fuel to the fire, unlike most mainstream female celebrities, the reactions elicited from an FBB’s body can be polarizing. To be fair, every celebrity is going to have their fair share of critics, but without a doubt muscular women will have much more.

They may not have the sheer volume of passionate vitriol thrown their way, but within mainstream culture muscular women are polarizing. To add an additional layer to this conversation, not only are muscular women primed to be noticed by the public, they also frequently spark debate, arguments, and raging fits of jealousy. I wonder how a lot of FBBs feel about that.

A lineup of gorgeous ladies at the 2015 Arnold Classic Australia.

A lineup of gorgeous ladies at the 2015 Arnold Classic Australia.

When a female athlete decides to pursue the life of a bodybuilder, she’s making a bold choice. She isn’t just signing herself up for radically changing her exercise, diet, and sleep habits. She’s agreeing to put up with everything we just talked about: people will react to her with admiration, repulsion, respect, jealousy, fascination, lust, perplexity, confusion, cognitive dissonance, irrationality, etc. One cannot avoid this; it’s deeply embedded within the reality of being a female bodybuilder.

Thus, is it fair to say that some FBBs enjoy doing this to people? Do they welcome the “haters” just as much as they appreciate their adoring fans? Do they relish the fact there are guys and gals around her who are envious of her and wish for nothing but her downfall? Do they secretly get a thrill from knowing there are large numbers of men scattered around the world who masturbate to photos of them on the Internet? They obviously know this happens, but do they delight in all of it – the good, the bad, and the ugly?

The answers to these questions differ from FBB to FBB, of course. But even to the slightest degree, I’m sure every single muscular woman has a streak of exhibitionism residing inside her. There may not be a sexual component to this. Maybe she just loves the attention. It feeds her ego. It makes her feel empowered and emboldened. She loves the compliments. She loves seeing the looks on the faces of jealous girlfriends who cannot stop their boyfriends from staring at her. It’s just another day at the office.

The power a female bodybuilder has over the people around her cannot be underestimated. She holds more influence over people’s thoughts and feelings than she probably realizes. But undoubtedly there are plenty of FBBs who fully understand this power. And they stop at nothing to capitalize on it. These are the FBBs who are financially successful. They are the real winners, whether they formally compete or not.

Cindy Phillips is making many bold statements with her muscular body.

Cindy Phillips is making many bold statements with her muscular body.

So when a muscular woman goes to the gym and pumps iron, she’s not just making herself physically stronger. She’s also making her entire presence stronger. Her grip on other people’s minds becomes stronger and stronger with every muscle fiber growing in size. When she walks into a room, she has everyone inside it in the palm of her calloused hand. She controls how they think, what they think about, and even how they choose to behave.

Will the guy lifting next to her be able to concentrate on his workout…or will he be distracted and accidentally drop a dumbbell on his foot? When she goes out to eat at a fancy restaurant, will an infatuated waiter bump into an unsuspecting patron and drop $250 worth of steak and lobster on the floor? When she goes home and makes love to her husband, will a Peeping Tom neighbor try to sneak a peek through the semi-closed blinds?

That type of power isn’t given. It’s earned. Earned with blood, sweat, and tears. If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, female bodybuilders must be constantly turned on every single moment of their waking lives.

Whoa. Now there’s a thought! No matter how many blog posts I write about female bodybuilders, I will always find more material to talk about. That’s another indication of the power they have over people like me.

And you know what? I’m not complaining one bit!

In closing, female bodybuilders may or may not be exhibitionistic. It’s impossible to assess who has that fetish and who doesn’t. But that’s not nearly as important as recognizing that FBBs are always being watched. And the people doing the watching often times cannot control their behavior, no matter how rational or sexually mature they think they are. When she’s being watched, she’s not in a position of vulnerability. She’s in a prime position of power. If that turns her on, so be it. If it doesn’t, I understand why. But no matter who we’re dealing with, even the most sexually prudent female bodybuilder must receive some kind of thrill from knowing she’s at the center of attention every damn time she’s in public.

Even if she doesn’t, we can all sleep well at night knowing there are millions of people on planet Earth who get a thrill from seeing her. That I can guarantee!

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.

A Female Muscle Fetish Isn’t as Complicated as You Might Think

The reason why Jill St. Laurent is gorgeous definitely isn't complicated.

The reason why Jill St. Laurent is gorgeous definitely isn’t complicated.

Sometimes in life, we tend to overthink things.

Nobody needs to spend twenty minutes thinking about which brand of hair coloring they need to buy. Or a whole hour organizing your wardrobe for the day. Or testing out twelve different fad diets only to discover that none of them actually work.

Overthinking things can be exhausting. It can waste your time, money, energy and faith in your own judgement. Don’t we all wish someone would have the good sense to knock us over the head and tell us this before it becomes a problematic obsession?

Yes, perhaps we do. But our tendency to overthink things can usually be remedied by following this general guideline: KISS.

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

In other words, sometimes the simplest explanations are the best. Occam’s Razor, anyone?

The same could be said about female muscle fetishism. We all have our own explanations as to why and how we got into female muscle. Everyone has their unique personal story. And the truth is, anecdotes can be remarkably insightful in explaining so much about our lives. For some, it was a single magazine cover that did it. For others, it was following the career of one specific female bodybuilder. Maybe you caught a glimpse on television of a female bodybuilding competition back in the good old days of the 1980s. Regardless, everyone remembers the time they “discovered” this amazing world and had their eyes opened to an aesthetic that transcends “traditional” standards of female beauty.

There are psychologists, sex experts and ordinary people everywhere who try to “explain away” the larger meaning of these personal stories. Do they reflect hidden insecurity? Or do they reveal latent homosexuality? Are guys who are into “muscle chicks” self-hating men? Do they secretly wish to be physically dominated by their girlfriends? Are they sexual deviants who need counseling? Is this a sign of obsessive behavior that can eventually consume his entire life?

Yikes. That got out of hand in a hurry. Perhaps not all of these stereotypes immediately come to mind when you learn a guy really digs strong women. But certainly these thoughts cross your mind at some level. If it does, don’t worry. Here’s something that will bring ultimate clarity to this situation.

We’re overthinking things. Maybe, just maybe, female muscle fetishism isn’t that complicated. It’s just a simple form of lust that’s inherent in all of us (or, almost all of us).

Hm. An interesting thought. So a guy who drools over the Ms. Olympia contestants is no different than a middle school boy who drools over the girls in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues? Well, I’ll be darned!

Remember when Pamela Anderson was strutting her stuff on Baywatch? The 90s were a glorious time, indeed.

Remember when Pamela Anderson was strutting her stuff on Baywatch? The 90s were a glorious time, indeed.

Most of us guys know what we’re referring to. Face it. We all kept a hidden stash of dirty (or semi-dirty) magazines under our bed. Or old VHS tapes of cinematic sex scenes in the sock drawer. Or porn we printed off the computer when mom and dad were out of the house. Raise your hand if this described you when you were a lad of 14.

You can put your hands down now. Thank you for participating in this unscientific study.

Now turn the clock forward 10-25 years. You’re now a fully grown adult. You might be married, in a relationship, divorced, or single. It doesn’t matter. You’ve ditched the contraband magazines for more sophisticated resources. In the decades between your teen years and adulthood, you expanded your preferences to include beautiful women with more…bulk.

Yes, bulk. Adult women with more muscular development than the pop stars, movie starlets and celebrity socialites of yesteryear. Of course, you might still retain a faint nostalgic lust for these types of females, but you’ve moved on to bigger (emphasis on “bigger”) and better options. You prefer a brawnier look. You prefer fitness models, athletes and bodybuilders over silicone-enhanced Playboy bunnies, Photoshopped fashion models and Botox-injected Hollywood ingénues. So these new preferences can coexist with your old preferences. Expanding your horizons doesn’t mean shutting yourself off to the “old.” It means incorporating more things into the “new.”

So, with that in mind, what’s changed? Why is it considered socially normal for a teen boy with raging hormones to obsess over “mainstream” looking girls but it raises eyebrows when an adult man can’t stop fantasizing about being crushed between the legs of a female Olympic powerlifter?

Lust is, simply put, simple. Whatever floats your boat, right? Whether you’re into skinny women, rotund women, muscular women, skinny men, rotund men, muscular men, light skin, dark skin, tall, short, long hair, short hair, hairy legs, green eyes, tattoos, or whatever else you can think of, does it really matter? What does one’s preferences say about that person?

Uh, who knows and who cares?

But this is not meant to breed any kind of negativity. By and large, guys who dig muscular women are not a persecuted class by any stretch of the imagination. Not even close. That has never been a contention of myself or, to my knowledge, anyone else for that matter. But all the blatant misconceptions can get annoying after a while.

Taylor Smith is everything you could have asked for. EVERYTHING.

Taylor Smith is everything you could have asked for. EVERYTHING.

On a side note, if being annoyed is the worst thing any of us ever experience, then consider us to be lucky. Very lucky.

The real message is this: female muscle fetishism probably doesn’t have an explanation beyond simple carnal lust. The same lust we started to feel when we reached the age of puberty. Remember that adolescent madness we went through when those icky girls with cooties suddenly transformed into immaculate creatures of divine beauty? Yeah, of course you do. Remember when you first thought of female bodybuilders as gross, freaks of nature she-males who are disgusting to look at…but now you consider them to be Amazonian Goddesses of Higher Consciousness?

Same deal. We might be exaggerating a bit, but the basic idea should ring true. Human attraction isn’t that complicated. It’s what allows for human civilization to persist for generations upon generations. The “Circle of Life” stops the moment we find no reason to find a partner, copulate, reproduce and sow the seeds for the future of humanity. Lust is instrumental to the survival of our species. It can get us in trouble at times, but without it, none of us would be here today.

Some guys are into long legs. Other guys are into muscular legs. Some gentlemen prefer blondes. Other gentlemen prefer blondes with bulging biceps and a six-pack abdomen. Some men want to watch the world burn. Other men fantasize about a Powerful Muscle Goddess lighting the torch.

All of this is to say that not everything in life has a clear and clean explanation. Not every sexual kink has to be picked apart and analyzed like the stock market. Sometimes, it is what it is. That sounds boring and un-academic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the most prudent answer.

Nobody is denying that it can seem a bit odd for a guy to obsess over muscular women. Men are, theoretically speaking, the stronger sex. This is a role that has given us (both fairly and unfairly and with mixed results) dominance in the social sphere over our female counterparts. Who would want to abdicate that kind of power by allowing (even in a playful context) a woman to take on the “stronger sex” role? Wouldn’t guys feel intimidated by being in the presence of a muscular woman? Would that challenge his manhood? Would she attempt to challenge his manhood? What happens if he “loses?” Would this change his very identity? Why risk it in the first place?

Strong yet sexy, sturdy but feminine, striking yet accessible. Rita Sargo is all that.

Strong yet sexy, sturdy but feminine, striking yet accessible. Rita Sargo is all that.

But these questions might be completely irrelevant. In fact, one could argue they are all tone deaf to the reality of things. Female muscle fetishism most likely has nothing to do with gender roles, gender identity, self-esteem or even sexual orientation. It’s just one particular tool he has in his toolshed of lust, right next to the “Shy Catholic School Girl” and “Sexy Older Librarian Wearing a Skimpy French Maid Outfit” fetishes.

On a side note, I don’t know what a “Toolshed of Lust” would look like, but I can imagine the possibilities.

On second thought, let’s not!

In conclusion, I’ve discovered an irony in this whole essay. I could have simplified my thesis by merely stating:

A female muscle fetish isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Well, that’s sort of the title of this blog article. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in our modern age of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and social media, it’s that our shrinking attention spans are making it so that all we have the time or the inclination to do is read the headline and be on our merry way. Nobody wants to read anymore. That takes effort that I could be using watching Netflix or ordering an overpriced caramel macchiato at the eight different Starbucks located across the street. But I digress, the actual point is that this whole 1,898 word (which, by the way, is an exact word count) essay isn’t really necessary to make my point.

Don’t overthink the concept of female muscle fetishism. You can, but you might be wasting your time. It’s not pointless or futile, but probably unnecessary. We do lots of things in life that are unnecessary. We put “lol” at the end of every text message despite the fact we didn’t actually laugh out loud. We say “just sayin’” after getting done saying something. Maybe overanalyzing certain sexual fetishes is a similar exercise in frivolity.

Some guys love muscle chicks. Why? They just do.

BAM.