Female Bodybuilders in Limbo

Monique Hayes is out-of-this-world.

Female bodybuilders seem to exist in a world all by themselves, don’t they?

Mainstream culture certainly doesn’t fully recognize their impressive accomplishments. The IFBB doesn’t seem to care about female competitors nearly as much as their male counterparts. Feminists, for whatever reason, don’t loudly embrace them as examples of “strong independent women” (even though they are undoubtedly exactly that). Sports media will celebrate a few physically gifted female athletes, but usually only go as far as the Williams sisters and a few MMA fighters. And even then, they still need to be traditionally feminine, beautiful, and not be too muscular.

The only group of people in our society who truly embrace female bodybuilders with any sort of passion would be…a very small subculture that consists of folks like me and those of you who read this blog.

Hm.

Female bodybuilders do appear to exist in limbo, don’t they?

They live in a strange, isolated world. We fans also exist in this world, but we are certainly not on the same plane as them. Celebrities and their fans will always exist in the same universe, but no one can deny that there’s always going to be a clear separation between the two cohorts. And in this case, female bodybuilders are celebrities as far as we’re concerned. Maybe not according to our mainstream culture, but in our hearts they’re as revered as any Hollywood icon or pop singer.

If female bodybuilders live on one continent on Planet FBB, fans like you and I live on a different continent on the other side of the hemisphere. Same planet, but different environments. Way different environments.

FBBs are not lonely, but they don’t have too many advocates on their side. Their list of partners, associates, allies, and lobbyists (not necessarily in the political sense) are few and far between. And it appears to be shrinking as the years go on. This might be an exaggeration, or maybe it is not. But what we can say for sure is that FBBs exist in probably one of the most bizarre cultural environments possible.

Female bodybuilders are sort of like Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, or Furries. We’re all aware that these sort of people exist, even though we may never come into contact with one of them. We might have a buddy from high school who may have implied on Facebook that he/she is into that sort of thing, but other than that these folks exist mostly on a theoretical level. I’ve never personally met a practicing Scientologist, but they sure do claim that they’re the “world’s fastest growing religion.” Maybe I need to get out of my apartment more.

Sherry Mayumi is a former U.S, Marine who will kick your ass…if she had reason to, that is.

Most people in the world know that female bodybuilders exist. But only an infinitesimal number of those people could name at least one current (or past, for that matter) athlete. If you were to ask a random person on the street what they thought about female bodybuilders, most of the responses – regardless if they come from a man or a woman – probably won’t be too positive. Or they’ll laugh it off and say they don’t know enough about them to make a comment. Fair enough.

It goes without saying that the vast majority of us don’t personally know a female bodybuilder, never mind being on a first-name basis with one. Even those of us who love female bodybuilders more than anything else probably can’t call one a friend or even an acquaintance. FBBs tend to know (or at least know of) each other very well, which makes sense when you consider how intimate of a community they belong to. But their numbers are small – unfortunately – while the number of their fans is larger…but still remarkably small.

According to Catholic theology, “Limbo” is a speculative place where souls go after their worldly bodies die if they did not receive the Christian baptism. Without getting into further detail, this basically means your soul is stuck in an environment that is neither Heaven, Hell, nor Earth. You exist in “no man’s land.” You don’t have a home because no one wants to claim you. It’s pretty darn depressing when you think about it.

Female bodybuilders, therefore, exist in a similar – albeit without the element of “spiritual damnation” attached to it – situation. No one is willing to openly embrace them. Not sports journalists. Not feminists. Not fellow non-bodybuilding athletes. Not Hollywood producers. Not hot shot talent agents. Not even some powerful people within the bodybuilding industry. And those of us who do love them do so in secret. I don’t tell my friends, family, and co-workers that I love muscular women. And I know for a fact I am not alone in making this decision.

So even the most enthusiastic supporters of female bodybuilding aren’t willing to be vocal about it. I try to be as vocal as I can, but I choose to do so under the guise as an anonymous blogger. I’d like to think of myself as a “friend of FBBs,” but can I really stake this claim when I’m too embarrassed to publicly declare my admiration for them? What kind of an ally is that?

Georgina McConnell is like the girl next door. If you happen to live next to a House of Muscle Goddesses.

This isn’t meant to shame anyone or spur any of you to take a specific action. Although if you feel compelled to take matters into your own hands, be my guest. Rather, this is meant to point out a strange yet fascinating aspect of female bodybuilding: They have no home, but that’s okay because they don’t need one.

Huh?

Female bodybuilders don’t need a massive amount of public adoration in order to justify their existence. Nor do they need that to validate their considerable accomplishments. FBBs have carved out a small yet not insignificant niche market for themselves. Their biggest fans may not feel comfortable expressing their fandom quite like football fans or cosplayers do, but that’s perfectly fine. That’s not entirely necessary. Female bodybuilding fans are able to live out their fandom with complete anonymity if they so choose – and many do.

Likewise, female bodybuilders do not have to conduct all their business in broad daylight. Obviously, activities such as competing, endorsing corporate products, running a business, modeling, personal training, and acting are done publicly. In fact, the more publicized these activities can be, the better. Obviously.

However, there are other entrepreneurial actions that do not need to be so public. Offering muscle worship/wrestling sessions and performing in “adult” entertainment media can fly more under the radar. These activities are not a “secret” in the dictionary definition sense of the word, but they aren’t exactly ones that all FBBs are willing to blast out to the world. Also, every FBB is different. Some are very open about the seedier sides of their lives. Others prefer to keep a more “clean” public image and leave the other stuff behind closed doors. To each her own.

Therefore, FBBs exist in multiple worlds. They exist in the open, but also in the shadows. You can read their biographies on Wikipedia or their own websites, but you’re only seeing a fraction of the truth. You can follow them on Instagram, but you need to go behind a paid subscription firewall to really see what kind of photography they like to participate in. You may see that they offer “sessions” to paying customers, but you actually need to set one up in order to truly know what goes on in those hotel rooms.

Lightness and darkness. Truth and secrets. Openness and guarded candidness. Experienced reality and unsubstantiated rumors. The tip of the iceberg and whatever exists below it.

Female bodybuilders live in all of these worlds, often at the same time. They simultaneously write an email to a personal training client to remind them to eat more kale while sitting in a cheap motel wearing a sexy BDSM outfit. They chat on the phone with one of their protein supplement sponsors minutes after wiping a random guy’s semen off her chest. They send a loving text to their children wishing them “good night” just moments before filming a gang bang porno on an amateur movie set.

Not all FBBs can relate to these hypothetical scenarios, but many can. Or at least some of them. For female bodybuilders who wish to make a living doing what they do, they have to live in both worlds – whether they like it or not. Only the elite of the elite can make enough money doing competitions, working part-time or full-time, and endorsing products. Most FBBs have to add to their income through, ahem, “nontraditional” means.

And that means living in a world that is, as explained earlier, simultaneously in the light and in the shadows. Or, it means living in a world that is neither completely in the light nor completely in the shadows. It’s both at the same time. Or neither.

Essentially, they got to do what they got to do. No matter what form it takes, a paycheck is a paycheck that subsidizes the rent and puts food on the table (and bodybuilders have to eat a lot of food to remain that big). Money earned under the table is still money that you can deposit in the bank. Uncle Sam just isn’t able to tax it.

The elegant Elise Penn.

Also, fans of FBBs – like FBBs themselves – want to keep their fandom as under the radar as possible. You don’t just casually declare on Facebook that you’re about to meet a female bodybuilder for fantasy wrestling, muscle worship, and (hopefully) a hand job at the end. That’s just not what most of us do. Instead, we also live in the darkness, albeit for a temporary amount of time. But that’s not all bad. FBBs with families and public reputations want to keep the more erotic side of their business a secret. Guys (and gals) who engage in these erotic activities also want it to be kept a secret. So confidentiality is desired by both parties. Both sides benefit. Both sides consent to what is happening. Both sides want it kept hush-hush. It’s not only a win-win, it’s a situation in which “losing” is considered unacceptable by both sides.

“Losing” means risking public ridicule. It means embarrassment. It means lost sponsorships. It could mean jail time. It could also mean being ostracized by your own industry. Whatever the case may be, this sordid world existing in limbo is in everyone’s best interests.

One more observation about public adoration. It’s overrated. Big time.

Sure, many FBBs love it when peers, fans, and friends compliment their looks. After all, what’s the point of all that hard work if nobody is around to appreciate it? While more eyeballs on you could mean more lucrative opportunities down the road, FBBs don’t necessarily need hundreds of millions of rabid fans frothing at the mouth, hanging on your every word and action. Rather, all they need are a few dedicated but respectful supporters who will pay them $400 per hour doing perfectly legal activities in complete secrecy. These folks will not just verbally compliment you, they will worship you. They will lay their fingers on your body and admire your handiwork without words. Yet, their silence speaks volumes.

These fans aren’t just casually expressing their fondness for an FBB’s work. They’re treating it like a quasi-spiritual experience. Or maybe it’s a full on spiritual experience in the literal sense. Touching a muscular woman’s body is much different than clicking the “like” button or leaving a nonsensical comment on Instagram using the appropriate hashtags. Look at it from the perspective of the session provider: her clients aren’t casual participants, like someone turning on the TV to the baseball game just for the background noise. They’re giving her a significant portion of their month’s wages for the opportunity to see her for just one single hour.

That’s quite a sacrifice. And showering her with verbal and physical compliments on top of it all proves that this is no joke (what exactly is a “physical compliment?” That’s up to your imagination to decide…). Public adoration is fine. It really is. But it can’t beat the kind of adoration that’s more intimate, quieter, deeper, and meaningful. One cannot easily replicate that outside of the context of an erotic session.

It’s one thing to download Beyoncé’s albums and follow her on Twitter. It’s quite another thing to pay a quarter of your hard-earned paycheck to an FBB, meet her at a hotel somewhere far away, and make yourself vulnerable to each other. These sessions are extremely vulnerable for both parties. Probably more so for the provider, but it is as well for the client. An FBB opens up her body – her most treasured asset – to a complete stranger. A client expresses their inner most desires to someone who might – or might not – be judging them; often times these desires being uncomfortable to talk about.

Erin Tolen is showing us that baby got back.

In my experience, when I first started participating in muscle worship sessions I had to give myself permission to enjoy the experience. I had to repeatedly remind myself that it’s okay to be indulgent every once in a while. It’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to seek what you want and not apologize for it. So there is without question a high degree of vulnerability required to be a participant. As there is to be the one opening her own body to be touched in the most intimate ways imaginable…and the possibility of pain, injury, and violation.

Therefore, FBBs should be living in limbo. They don’t need to live in a black and white world where there are definitive rules that govern what people should and should not be allowed to enjoy. Of course, there are reasonable parameters that should be observed. But when both sides are consenting to everything that is going on, it’s best for all involved to not think about whether what’s transpiring is considered “socially acceptable” or “popular.” Those are superficial labels we attach to behaviors that don’t encompass the full spectrum of what makes people happy.

At the end of the day, that’s what it all boils down to. Whatever makes you happy. Whatever makes female bodybuilders and fans of female bodybuilders happy is alright, regardless of whether they exist in the light or the dark. Lightness and darkness are boundaries we arbitrarily place on things that we are comfortable acknowledging. It has nothing to do with what the actual truth is.

The Truth with a capital “T” is somewhere in between. Or somewhere else. Or both. Whatever.

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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.

***

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.

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

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

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

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

***

When did you first discover your love for female muscle?

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

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

Why are you attracted to female bodybuilders?

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

Have you ever met a female bodybuilder?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Strap-On Fantasy: Ready, Willing, and Well-Endowed

Denise Masino showing Lisa Cross who’s the boss.

Imagine you’re lying on the ground with your hands and feet tied together with rope. There’s a gag in your mouth. You cannot speak a word. You struggle to move. But for some odd reason, you feel no desire to speak or move. You just lie there. Waiting. In complete silence.

Suddenly, a door opens. The silence is broken. You cannot look behind you, but you can clearly hear the clank of high heels banging against the cement floor. The steps come closer. And closer. And closer. Finally, the clanking stops. You hear a low gravelly voice barking out orders. It sounds masculine, but strangely feminine at the same time. But instead of being confused or perplexed, you’re frightened, nervous, and uncontrollably aroused all at the same time.

A strong pair of hands takes hold of you and turns you around. Finally, you see who it is that has graced your presence. It is that of a muscular woman. Tall, confident, and ripped from head to toe with big bulging muscles, she’s a sight you’ve never seen before. You will never forget this moment, the moment your eyes first see her size and strength. It is forever burned into your memory. And for that, you are eternally grateful.

You look at her gorgeous face, then her pecs, shoulders, biceps, six-pack abdomen, and her tree trunk thighs. She definitely goes to the gym regularly! But the one thing that you cannot help but notice is the enormous strap-on attached to her pelvis. Your eyes focus on a huge ten inch long black dildo hanging between her legs. It is the most intimidating thing you’ve ever witnessed. It looks hard, violent, and unforgiving. It is a tool of punishment. It is her way of asserting her deserving and rightful dominance.

However, no matter how scared you get, there’s a small part of you that desires that dildo to penetrate you. You want it shoved deep inside your body, invading your most intimate parts. You want her to be the one to do it. And from the way she positions herself over you, it appears as though that’s precisely what’s about to happen. Again, you are powerless to object. You cannot escape from your fate. She is going to do it. Hard. Over and over again. Until she decides to stop, not when you decide it should stop. She may want to penetrate you for hours. Or maybe for only a few minutes. Or seconds. Regardless, it’s her choice…not yours.

You fully expect the penetration to hurt immensely. It will be the most painful and humiliating experience of your life. But you wouldn’t have it any other way. You want this to happen, even though you’re terrified out of your wits. You’re sweating. Your heart is racing a million miles per second. If the dildo doesn’t kill you, cardiac arrest might instead. But if that were to happen, it would be tragic but at least you will die happy.

The moment of truth is approaching. She parts your thighs, preparing to enter you. She licks her lips. She grabs onto the black dildo and strokes it up and down as suggestively as possible. She then takes out a bottle of lubricant and dabs a small amount onto her fingers. She reaches down and smears it on you. It feels cold, but comforting. The anticipation has reached a fever pitch. It’ll only be a few moments until she finally enters you. She smiles. You grimace, but you also remain calm. You’ve accepted your fate. You choose to accept what’s coming to you.

At last, she positions her dildo right at your entrance, and she squeezes it in…

Alright, wake up sweetheart! It’s time for school.

Huh? What just happened?

If the following anecdote arouses you in any way, I suppose that means I’ve done my job, which is to act as a (de facto) scribe of your dirtiest inner thoughts. Your fantasy world may not be this vivid or kinky, but I’m sure you’ve had your moments. I can guarantee it. Whether you’re truly into kink or if you’re more vanilla, you’ve probably at some point during your female muscle fandom watched a video or two that features a strong powerful woman wearing a strap-on dildo.

Melissa Dettwiller cannot help but submit to Lynn McCrossin (may she rest in peace).

Maybe she’s penetrating a guy. Or a woman. Or a fellow female bodybuilder. Or maybe she’s just by herself and she’s teasing you with it. No matter the circumstances, this fantasy scenario is not uncommon within the female muscle fan community (believe it or not, such a community actually exists!). Watching a hypermuscular woman wear a gigantic strap-on dildo – the color specifications can differ depending on who you are – can be quite arousing, even if BDSM isn’t necessarily your “thing.”

Why is that? Why do we enjoy watching Angela Salvagno or Yvette Bova wear a strap-on around their waists while they prepare to unleash pain and humiliation upon a hapless victim? How many of us wish we were that victim? Or at the very least, how many of us wish we could witness in-person this act of tyranny up close?

The Strap-On Fantasy is a fascinating one to ponder about. It covers a wide range of ideas that exemplify why female muscle fandom is so perplexing. Whether we secretly wish for an FBB wearing a strap-on to enter us where the sun doesn’t shine or whether we get turned on watching it happen to somebody else, let’s dig deep into this phenomena further (no pun intended).

The first major observation is that many female muscle lovers enjoy watching a muscular woman assert her sexual dominance. Many of us don’t fantasize about making love to an FBB as if she were our equal (although I do!). Rather, many of us desire that she take control, declare her sexual sovereignty, and do whatever she wants with us. However, such a fantasy isn’t just reduced to a powerful woman “being on top” in the bedroom. It takes it one step further.

Any woman – muscular or not – can assert her dominance in the bedroom. Either she decides what transpires or she determines the pace of play. Whichever it is, neither option is particular unusual or noteworthy. But when you add the element of a strap-on into the mix, things get a bit dicey. A muscular woman with a strap-on attached to her isn’t trying to become more “masculine” or “man-like.” It certainly appears that way, but underneath the surface we come to realize that a strap-on isn’t just a fake penis. It’s an external (and material) symbol of sexual dominance.

As a society, we view the penis – for better or for worse – as a symbol of sexual sovereignty. It’s an external organ that, when stimulated, provides pleasure for the person who has it. Women have organs that provide her sexual pleasure as well (her vagina and clitoris, primarily), but neither organ is pronounced enough for our psyches to relegate them as “vehicles of pleasure.” The vagina is internal and the clitoris is very small. For this reason, when we were little kids we thought that “boys have a penis” and “girls don’t have a penis,” as opposed to “girls have a vagina.” Girls do have a vagina, but it’s less obvious. Women can have orgasms without a partner, but far too many across the world aren’t explicitly aware of this ability. You can’t learn anything unless you’re taught, right?

Given this backdrop, a muscular woman wearing a strap-on is an exaggerated and crude way for her to showcase her sexual abilities. It’s her way of communicating to the world that she possesses (even in an artificial sense) a sexual organ that exists for the purpose of giving her sexual pleasure. Obviously, a strap-on is just a toy and doesn’t actually provide her pleasure (unless it’s a double sided strap-on), but that’s beside the point. It’s all about symbolism. If we associate a large sexual organ with sexual dominance, a strap-on hammers this point home unlike anything else.

Along the same wavelength, our culture tends to associate sexual dominance with the ability to penetrate. If you can penetrate your partner, that makes you powerful. It makes your partner subordinate to you. It makes him or her passive. It makes you the active participant who’s initiating the coital act. You are not surrendering your body’s autonomy by allowing someone else to enter it. You are the invader, not the invaded. If all of this sounds violent, it certainly does. On a more serious note, that’s often why we consider rape the highest of all crimes, perhaps worse than murder. Or at the very least, it’s the crime that’s just below murder as the worst possible crime you can commit against another human being. There’s something unholy about entering another person’s body without permission or with ill intent. It’s unseemly, discomforting, and appalling to comprehend. These sentiments stem from our cultural associations of “the ability to penetrate” with “strength” and “being penetrated” with “weakness.”

There’s nothing weak about Angela Salvagno.

Fair or unfair, that’s how we tend to view these matters. I am not here to argue whether or not I like this; rather I’m just pointing out the way things are. So the bottom line is this: Sexual dominance can take many forms, but the ability to penetrate your partner with a pronounced sexual organ is chief among them. Because women do not (normally) possess such an organ, a strap-on is the next best thing; a symbolic way for them to exhibit their power, independence, and authority.

The second major observation is that we enjoy watching female bodybuilders hug that fine line between “feminine” and “masculine.”

Of course, we love muscular women because they’re women with big beautiful muscles. Not because we think they look like men. And not because they exhibit qualities that we traditionally associate with masculinity. Female bodybuilders are feminine. They’re just a different kind of feminine. Or, they’re an “enhanced” version of feminine that embraces muscular curves in addition to her conventional curves.

But on second thought, perhaps there’s a shred of truth to the stereotype that guys who love muscular women are, whether they realize it or not, also embracing the FBB’s “masculine-lite” qualities. Or maybe, and this sounds much more plausible, guys like us are really turned on by strong ladies who walk that fine line between what we are and are not supposed to be attracted to.

We love watching a beautiful feminine FBB sport a large strap-on dildo not because it appears she has a penis – and thus appears to be a “man” of sorts – but because she doesn’t really, but she acts like she does. As men, we may or may not be proud of our phalluses. We may like the power it gives us, or at least the perceived power it gives us. And we love seeing our favorite FBBs share in that power, even if it’s superficial and temporary. Deep down inside our dirty imaginations, we secretly want our FBBs to be strong, powerful, and well-endowed. We want them to act like men while still being women. In our minds, acting masculine doesn’t make you masculine. You can exhibit masculine qualities while still being unquestionably feminine in nature.

As I’ve written before many times, female muscle fans love large clits because it’s their way of demonstrating their sexual power. It’s a (albeit, smaller in size) phallic-like external organ that gives sensual pleasure when stimulated by one’s self or by a partner. It provides orgasm. It becomes engorged when aroused. It grows in size when aroused. And if it’s large enough, it can be sucked on or jerked off to the point of climax. Sound familiar?

Due to extra testosterone in the body caused by both muscle growth and taking synthetic steroids, women bodybuilders often see their clitorises grow significantly in size. There’s a perfectly rational scientific explanation for this phenomenon. So the “female phallus” theme is more evident when we’re dealing with ladies such as Denise Masino (a goddess among men), Angela Salvagno, and Brandi Mae Akers. These women possess abnormally large clits that are gorgeous, sexually alluring, and allow them to demonstrate their power in the bedroom.

We all know that Denise, Angela, and Brandi Mae do not have penises. They have clitorises and vaginas just like every other woman. But without a doubt, the shape of the meat between their legs is noteworthy and sets them apart from the rest of the female species. Their status as women is undeniable. Nobody – at least, nobody with a fully functioning brain – seriously believes these ladies are anything but ladies. Internet trolls aside, it is because they’re strong, beautiful, confident, sexy, and feminine that we love them so damn much. They’ve captured our hearts because they break the mold of what society traditionally expects women to look like while still retaining much of that mold. They don’t defy these notions so much as they redefine them. And that is an impressive feat.

Yet, we are still intrigued by tiny voices inside our heads that tell us there’s more to these ladies than meets the eye. Is it that these ladies expand the definition of “feminine,” as I’ve argued above? Or, do they shatter these definitions completely and flesh out the argument that there’s actually no such thing as “masculine” and “feminine?” Are these labels real or perceived? Are they based on objective biological scientific fact or are they shallow and archaic holdovers from a less enlightened time? Maybe straight men aren’t actually attracted to women…they’re attracted to femininity, regardless of who (or what) exhibits these characteristics.

This brings to mind all sorts of questions regarding sexual orientation, the nature of gender, and whether or not our understanding of biology is totally accurate. But suffice to say is that we know what we like and do not like. Sometimes, someone will come along and challenge our previously held conceptions of our personal preferences. This can be a good thing, but it can also be a confusing thing. The world is a complicated place, indeed.

Meet Mistress Kiana, a London-based erotic service provider.

There is something intriguing about people who are androgynous. We may or may not be attracted to them regardless of who they are – or claim that they are. Female bodybuilders are not always cleanly in the “feminine” category, mostly because the definition of “feminine” changes depending on who is doing the defining. FBBs can walk that fine line between the labels we choose to place on each other and ourselves. Perhaps this ambiguity is what enthralls us the most.

The Strap-On Fantasy forces us to reconsider why we associate a penis with masculinity. After all, we know not to associate big muscles with masculinity. We can think of hundreds of examples of big muscles being very feminine. Muscles are universal, not monopolized only by men. So by that logic, why should we associate a large phallus hanging between one’s legs as being solely masculine as well? What if, instead of the strap-on being designed to look like a penis, it were designed to look like a comically oversized clit? I have no clue if such a contraption actually exists, but the idea should bring a smile to your face.

So, we love seeing a strong woman with a fake penis, but only because it enhances her femininity, not because her appearance traverses into the territory of masculinity. Got that? Don’t worry if you find this confusing. I do too!

The third major observation is how intertwined the concepts of strength, power, and sexuality are. I’ve touched on a lot of these ideas already, so here’s what I’ll say about this. It seems nearly impossible to separate a female bodybuilder from her sex appeal. She isn’t a robot. She isn’t a machine. She’s a flesh-and-blood human being who strives to sculpt the “perfect body” as she sees it. And such an endeavor will inevitably augment her sex appeal. Whether this is intentional or unintentional, as casual onlookers we cannot train our eyes to see things differently. We cannot help but look at a female bodybuilder as a sexual object.

Perhaps we also see her as an athlete, trainer, entrepreneur, model, wife, mother, sister, community leader, celebrity, and most of all, a human being. But how can you not also look at her beauty and find your mind drifting off into all sorts of erotic places?

Don’t make Mistress Treasure (Victoria Dominguez) angry!

Connected to a female bodybuilder’s body is her strength and power. I define “strength” as her pure physical strength and “power” as the dominion she has over her surroundings, including the people around her. We are drawn to FBBs not just because of what they look like, but also because of how they act and what they can do. It arouses us to see them lifting heavy weights at the gym. It turns us on to watch them grapple a helpless male opponent to the ground while he begs for mercy – and doesn’t receive it. We may not fantasize about being the hapless chap whose face turns red while his torso is contorted in all sorts of unpleasant directions, but we sure enjoy witnessing it. Or at least, many of us do. I’m not super into that sort of thing, but whatever.

It’s not enough for us to see our favorite FBBs be strong. We need them to act strong. And not just do stunts like bend steel or crush an apple with her bare hands. That’s all fine and dandy, but what really gets our blood boiling is seeing an FBB exhibit her strength through her sexuality.

These concepts cannot be separated, no matter how much we try to. Strength, power, and sexuality are almost synonymous at this point. They aren’t of course, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking about these ideas within the same framework.

The final major observation is this: No strap-on dildo can possibly compete with a real penis. Regardless of the size of your penis – whether you think it’s small, medium-sized, or large – no dildo in the world can act as a substitute for the real thing. Women often say that as much as they love masturbating with a dildo, nothing beats the feeling and knowledge of a man’s actual flesh entering her. Synthetic materials can provide the same orgasmic effect, but it’s not psychologically the same.

A female bodybuilder wearing a strap-on is just that – a female bodybuilder wearing a strap-on. She isn’t an “honorary” man. She isn’t actually well-endowed. Her endowment is fake. She’s still a woman and a man is still a man. Even a man being anally penetrated by a woman wearing a strap-on is still a man. The power she derives from having a phallus is superficial and disappears the moment she takes it off. A man, on the other hand, never relinquishes that power.

Perhaps this is why erectile dysfunction is considered such a bruise to one’s ego. The inability to produce an erection consistently (or at all) is essentially a form of emasculation. His penis isn’t literally cut off, but it might as well be. It’s limp. It’s useless. It cannot bring a woman to orgasm. In a way, the failure to bring a woman to a satisfying climax is the height of emasculation.

Never mind he can’t bring pleasure to himself. That’s almost beside the point. He cannot successfully penetrate his female partner – which in turns makes him less of a man. “Male enhancement” medication sells like hotcakes for a reason.

However, despite all that, even a small and limp penis is still much more potent – mostly in a symbolic sense – than every single dildo sitting on the shelves of every single sex shop in the world. As an elongated piece of meat that protrudes outside of the body, a phallus is the ultimate symbol for maleness. Women, even muscular women, have no such external symbol. No strap-on ever created in a factory can compete in the long-term with the real thing. An FBB wearing a strap-on has power in the bedroom only temporarily. As I mentioned earlier, the moment she takes it off she instantly returns back to her normal state. She is “emasculated” as well – figuratively speaking, that is.

Porn star Ava Devine teaching a lesson to naughty Brandi Mae Akers.

It provides a small amount of giddiness knowing that men still hold the ultimate bargaining chip: a perfectly functional and real penis. No FBB can possibly match that. Regardless of how big her muscles get and how large her dildo is, she’s not even close to being a man. She can never actually be one of us.

But alas, is that necessarily a bad thing? Sexual power can come from anyone, no matter what is hanging (or not hanging) between their legs. So does it really matter whether a man has a penis and an FBB has a strap-on – or no strap-on at all?

Let’s think of it this way: the next time you see Angela Salvagno or Brandi Mae Akers wearing a large dildo around their waists, ask yourself this question:

Does the strap-on complete her dominating presence, or does it merely complement it?

In other words, does she even need the strap-on in the first place, or is it just a fun toy for her to play with for the time being? In the back of your mind, do you secretly wish that she actually has a phallus hanging between her legs? It could be a penis that co-exists with her vagina or it could be a clitoris that’s grown far larger than normal. Either way, is that a must? Do you clamor for her to have such an endowment? Or are you perfectly content with her having a slit between her legs and allow her muscularity to speak for itself?

Muscles give women power. The penis gives men power. When a woman can have both, it’s understandable why we’d have such vivid daydreams that prevent us from getting to school on time.

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

Emery Miller in her natural state.

Emery Miller in her natural state.

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

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

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

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

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

Kathy Johansson showing off her best side.

Kathy Johansson showing off her best side.

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

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

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

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

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

The gorgeous Lindsay Mulinazzi.

The gorgeous Lindsay Mulinazzi.

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

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

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

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

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

What can you conclude by seeing Michelle Tuggle fully nude?

What can you conclude by seeing Michelle Tuggle fully nude?

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

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

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

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

A very sultry Desiree Ellis.

A very sultry Desiree Ellis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is how she’s meant to be seen.

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

The real Jungle Woman: Rita Sargo.

The real Jungle Woman: Rita Sargo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Year That Was 2016: Muscular Women Will Bring Us Together

Debbie Leung would like to wish you a happy new year!

Debbie Leung would like to wish you a happy new year!

If you were to ask a random person on the street whether 2016 was a good year or a bad year, I’d wager a guess that the vast majority of respondents would say it was an atrocious year.

What would prompt someone to say such a thing, you might ask? Let’s count the ways why 2016 could be considered a disappointing year for all of us:

  • Beloved celebrities passing away
  • Political and social unrest
  • Undesirable election outcomes
  • Mass shootings, riots, bombings, terror attacks, and random acts of violence that threaten our sense of safety and stability
  • International conflicts like war, famine, genocide, territorial disputes, religious conflict, etc.
  • Terrorism, despotism, and rising civil conflicts
  • Technological advancements that threaten the job prospects of working class people
  • Uneasiness about environmental issues
  • Eroding distrust in governments, media, and academic institutions
  • Economic insecurity
  • Rumors of war, belligerence, and frightening socio-political trends
  • Dissipating freedoms of speech, choice, religion, and association
  • Disintegrating sense of “national unity” and “common culture”
  • General feelings of anger, anxiety, and cynicism on a global scale

Yikes. You may not necessarily feel all of these things, but certainly if you’ve been paying attention to the news – regardless of where on planet Earth you live – you must recognize at least a few of the tribulations listed above. Some historians (and quasi-historians) compare the times we’re currently living in to the 1930s when we were on the cusp of World War II, which caused devastation on a scale never before seen in human history. I tend to not buy into a lot of that hype and fearmongering, but I sympathize with people who do. That’s not me being snarky or dismissive.

I’m not an expert in international relations, social psychology or foreseeing the future. However, I am someone who is keen on attempting to clarify the unexplainable. Perhaps this is why I started my blog in the first place. Yeah, I wanted an avenue for publishing my fiction writing, but as it turns out my essays are what drive traffic to my humble website. My audience spans the globe, a reality that still has not set in yet. Can you believe that? Wow!

Wow, indeed. So in a futile attempt to wrap a somewhat positive bow on the year 2016 Anno Domini, which hasn’t been so positive for far too many of us, I’ll try to talk about how muscular women can bring us together. Maybe not all of us, but certainly some of us.

Muscular women are, in many respects, the ultimate symbol of postmodernism. In case you need a quick refresher, “postmodernism” was essentially a social, artistic, and cultural movement in the 20th Century that rejected and challenged previously held assumptions about the world. It’s unfair to think about postmodernism as being over, because it definitely is not. Even in the 21st Century, we’re still questioning how we traditionally think about things like gender constructs, science, political movements, sexual identities, philosophy, religion, aesthetics, and social cooperation. So postmodernism isn’t dead and buried by any stretch of the imagination.

I hope Annie Rivieccio becomes famous one day.

I hope Annie Rivieccio becomes famous one day.

If you want to point to one facet of modern life that encompasses so much of the conversation surrounding postmodern thought, it would be the world of female bodybuilding. The existence of muscular women challenge so many of our previously held assumptions about gender, biology, sex roles, femininity, masculinity, identity, and lust. A woman with big muscles would have been unthinkable 200 years ago. Or 100 years ago. Even today many of us have a hard time believing a woman can get that muscular without freakish genetics or a comical amount of steroids.

Let’s spin this another way: Consider the way our culture celebrates the concept of the “strong independent woman.” It’s a motif that we see everywhere: novels, movies, comic books, television shows, music, political campaigns, social media, and everyday casual conversations with friends. We saw Britain appoint its second ever female prime minister. The United States saw a woman run for president for the first time. Tsai Ing-wen was elected Taiwan’s first female president, a country that exists in the shadows of an increasingly confrontational China.

Yet, the concept of the “strong independent woman” has more or less been watered down by pop culture to mean a woman who uses the right hashtags and properly criticizes Donald Trump. It’s more of a rallying cry than an actual archetype that’s justifiably acknowledged. Most of the women in the world who are creating significant social change are scientists, teachers, engineers, data analysts, and investors whom most of us have never heard of before. The visible “strong independent women” celebrated by pop culture are usually pampered celebrities who don’t actually deserve such accolades.

How funny it is that real “strong independent women” like female bodybuilders are largely ignored by our society while a pop singer like Beyoncé is heralded as the lady version of Alexander the Great or William the Conqueror. I have nothing against the Queen Bey (her music is okay), but being a major celebrity isn’t that much of an accomplishment considering there are countless anonymous female scientists out there who are working to find cures to cancer.

Isabelle Turell is a genuine strong independent woman.

Isabelle Turell is a genuine strong independent woman.

Likewise, female bodybuilders are, for the most part, anonymous. Not to readers of this blog, of course, but to the general public. It’s too bad that women like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande will always be more famous than Shawn Tan and Annie Rivieccio, but that’s the way it is. There’s no use complaining about something that’ll never change.

However, that’s not something worth fretting over. Seriously. Muscular women may not be able to change the entire world, but they can definitely change our world. As we transition from 2016 to 2017, this is a fantastic opportunity to remind ourselves that at the end of the day, we are in control over our own destinies. It may not always seem that way, but it’s true for the most part. Consider the lessons female bodybuilders can offer us:

FBBs live in a hostile world. They are women who break convention, defy our traditional definitions of femininity, and forge their own paths despite what others say. They face obstacles that are both seen and unseen, spoken and unspoken, obvious and not-so-obvious. They are at a biological disadvantage, as well as a social disadvantage. How many times have FBBs heard the pestering question “do you really want to look that way?

Well, yes they do. They do in fact want to look that way, thank you very much. But despite the peer pressure to resist building up muscle mass, there are plenty of women in this world who ignore the noise and pursue their dreams regardless of what others say. We should applaud them, as many of us often do. Let this be a crucial lesson to all of us that you can do whatever you dream of doing – no matter how many people tell you it’s unacceptable, irresponsible or improper. I completely understand that there’s a fine line between doing foolishly stupid things (like dreaming of becoming a world famous stunt motorcycle driver) and things that are merely “frowned upon” in polite company. I get that. But there’s nothing terribly risky about being a bodybuilder, unless you recklessly put God-knows-what kind of chemicals into your body to get “gains.” That’s a whole other matter.

Female bodybuilders don’t aspire to attain the impossible. They strive to attain the possible, though far too many of us think it’s impossible. There’s the difference. It is possible for a woman to be both irresistibly sexy and ridiculously muscular concurrently. Most of us don’t think it’s possible, therefore we look down upon those who pursue this path. That being said, no matter how rocky the road will be and how choppy the waters will seem, FBBs prevail at the end.

Kim Perez is like she's from my dreams.

Kim Perez is like she’s from my dreams.

They exist. Female bodybuilders exist. And that’s all they need to do to defy an unsympathetic society that treats them with unfair skepticism. In this regard, FBBs personify a thought-provoking paradigm: Muscular women aren’t supposed to be real. But they are. Period.

This is the essence of the postmodern worldview. Whatever assumptions we previously held about the nature of femininity, biology, and human sexual attraction must be questioned and subsequently tossed out the window. Not only do muscular women exist, but they should exist. They need to exist. It’s critical that the world be able to bear witness to a group of human beings who’ve chosen to ignore thousands of years of conventional wisdom and cultivate a new reality. There isn’t a logical reason why a woman (or man) should choose to build superhuman-sized muscles, but there doesn’t have to be. People do things because we can. We create goals and try to reach them even though it doesn’t provide any apparent utility.

We climb Mount Everest because we can. We sent a rocket ship to the moon because we can. We landed a spacecraft on Mars because we can. We don’t need to, but we want to. Want. That’s all this is about. The desire to accomplish something awesome and the will to go for it.

I’m not naïve. Female bodybuilders won’t become more popular in 2017. I don’t know if they’ll become less popular (as if such a standard can be adequately measured), but certainly I don’t foresee muscular women popping up everywhere in the media. But that’s irrelevant to this discussion. FBBs will never – although it may be imprudent to use the word “never” – achieve a high degree of popularity in our mass culture. However, they’ve been able to carve out a fine little niche with folks like you and I. It’s better to have a thousand passionate supporters than one million casual onlookers.

This is how female bodybuilders continue to exist. The support from their tiny army of rabid fans will sustain their lifestyles more than being featured as a token extra on Game of Thrones or the next Avengers flick. This business arrangement won’t be radically different in 2017 than it was in 2016 (or 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and so on), but that’s just fine. It doesn’t have to be. Economic prospects for female bodybuilders could always be better, naturally. The same could be said for any industry. But until we reach a point of financial unsustainability, I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

Will Jennifer Thomas be a breakout star in 2017? One could only hope...

Will Jennifer Thomas be a breakout star in 2017? One could only hope…

The truth is, the changing of years don’t really matter all that much. The universe won’t look profoundly different on January 1 than it did on December 31. A year is just an artificial benchmark we use to signify when the Earth makes a full rotation around the Sun. So for as bad as we think 2016 was, it makes no difference whatsoever. Events (both good and bad) happen to us regardless of what day, month, or year it is. That’s just the way it is. The concept of New Year’s Day is just a fun excuse to party too much, drink too much, and watch a crystal ball drop in Times Square. For what it’s worth, that’s okay with me.

Contrary to the title of this blog post, muscular women won’t actually bring us together. At least, they won’t bring billions of people across all cultures, languages, religious convictions, and skin colors together. Realistically, they can bring hope and joy to certain individuals who are feeling down on their luck. Sadly, there are way too many folks in this world who are feeling that way. Perhaps when it seems like optimism is lost and everything is spiraling out of control, we’ll suddenly remember ladies like Denise Masino and Brandi Mae Akers who are unapologetically sexy and don’t seem to be ready to quit anytime soon.

Remember what they have to go through every single day to achieve their dreams. Keep in mind how emotionally and physically strenuous it is to maintain a muscular body – especially for a woman. When the going gets tough, FBBs worldwide don’t just get going…they look damn good while doing it.

Oh yeah, they sure do. So here’s to another year of female muscle fandom. May 2017 bring you peace, love, joy, and unbridled sexiness.

Perhaps We Should Vote for a Female Bodybuilder for President

I'd vote Tina Jo Orban as "Best Legs" if such a category were to exist.

I’d vote Tina Jo Orban as “Best Legs” if such a category were to exist.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two years, or if you live outside of the United States and you don’t particularly care what happens in this country, most of you should be aware that very soon we will be bringing this God-awful presidential election to a merciful end and will choose who our next Commander-in-Chief will be.

I refuse to even name the two candidates who are running for my nation’s highest public office on the grounds that both of them have received enough attention from people like you and I. So perhaps this post will remain relevant four, eight, or twelve years from now. Who knows?

If this excruciating and painful election cycle has taught us anything – and it has indeed taught us many valuable lessons about the state of my nation and politics in general – it’s that qualifications for the job don’t matter to the typical voter when it comes to selecting the next U.S. President. So, in an effort to not get too political and keep matters civil, I will lay out a tongue-in-cheek argument for why Americans (and people from other countries who are blessed to live in a representational democracy, or at least a country that practices such style of governance in theory) should decide to vote for a female bodybuilder for president on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

I will admit that I am embarrassed as a U.S. citizen to subject the world to watching our political theater play out in all its horrifying glory. Let’s hope 2016 is just one of those “weird” years that we look back upon decades later and proudly declare that we were fortunate enough to have lived through it (for the most part) unscathed. After all, we could do worse. And odds are we will actually end up doing worse sooner or later.

But I digress. I am no political commentator, but in my opinion the most significant reason why U.S. politics sucks right now is because we expect our politicians to deliver on promises that were unrealistic to begin with…which then breeds contempt, more unrealistic expectations, and more extreme candidates who can only get elected if they continue to up-the-ante and foster a whole new set of stupid promises. This means personality tends to matter more than qualifications or knowledge about the job, which explains an awful lot.

However, a female bodybuilder lives in a completely different world than politicians – but can offer said politicians a lot of life lessons that could go a long way in generating better public policies.

Think about the world a female bodybuilder inhabits. She’s working in an industry that persistently is trying to weed her out of it. The Ms. Olympia is dead and buried and doesn’t appear to be coming back any time soon. Other competitions may rise out of the ashes and attempt to take its place, but that doesn’t change the fact that the IFBB isn’t too keen on allowing hypermuscular competitors to be the “face” of the female side of the sport. They’d rather more “audience friendly” fitness and bikini competitors take center stage over the bigger and buffer ladies who’ve worked harder to achieve their physiques.

So, right off the bat a female bodybuilder has to endure working in a profession where the chances of cultivating strong career prospects are becoming dimmer and slimmer as time marches on. Yet, money doesn’t fall from the skies and she has to make an income somehow. This is where things like personal training, one-on-one online consulting, fitness entrepreneurship, and ahem, offering wrestling or muscle worship sessions to paying customers (all under the table and away from the prying hands of tax collectors, of course!) fit into the picture. She may not necessarily want to do any or most of these things, but as I mentioned before, money doesn’t grow on trees and food won’t miraculously appear on the dinner table out of thin air. So, a female bodybuilder who wants to pursue bodybuilding as a profession – more or less – must adapt to her present circumstances or face the inevitable option of having to choose a different career path.

Another lovely and gorgeous Tina: Tina Chandler.

Another lovely and gorgeous Tina: Tina Chandler.

Adaptation isn’t easy or seamless, but it does happen. People who live in the real world adapt every single day of their lives. What worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today and sure as hell won’t work tomorrow, so it’s foolish to remain stilted in one’s ways of doing things. One must always look for the next best opportunity or face the consequences of becoming poor, irrelevant, or both. This requires understanding the bodybuilding industry well, knowing what customers want (if you get my drift), and being willing to forge a new pathway if the current ones leads to a dead end. I didn’t say it’s easy to do this, but it can be done. We can collectively name hundreds of female bodybuilders from all across the world who can testify to this.

Another aspect to female bodybuilding that’s important to realize is the independent nature of the sport. Unlike team sports like baseball, football (the one that features tackling, throwing, and catching), basketball, hockey, soccer, rugby, and others, bodybuilding isn’t a sport that consists of teams, teammates, and being dependent upon others to win games. It’s solely on the shoulders of each individual athlete.

Of course, it deserves to be said that every single top-level bodybuilder – male or female – has a large team of coaches, trainers, nutritional experts, doctors, and assistants who aid them on their journey to becoming an elite competitor. No man is an island, and perhaps no woman is an island either. So a female bodybuilder isn’t completely paddling a single canoe. But there’s no denying that bodybuilding is ruggedly individualistic in nature. The panel of judges that decides who wins and who doesn’t win only looks at the individual competitors, not who they have standing in their corner cheering them on.

Muhammad Ali is known as the greatest boxer of all time – not Muhammad Ali and his army of personal trainers, physicians, sparring partners, promoters, advisors, and so on. Though every top athlete has help from a team of professionals, but only one person is in the ring fighting against his or her opponent. And the last time I checked, Ali was the only one in that ring staring down his hapless challenger.

Bodybuilders of all stripes understand this reality intuitively. If they make a mistake, they alone must answer for it. They can’t blame a lazy teammate, idiotic coaching, or an overall poor supporting cast for being a perpetual loser. They only have themselves to blame if they placed 3rd at last year’s competition but 10th this year. That drop-off can have plenty of rational explanations (biased judging being a prominent one), but at the end of the day every single competitor is responsible for their own training, progress, dieting, and outcomes.

Which leads us to the next point…

Female bodybuilders aren’t striving to achieve a goal that exists only in the abstract. Rather, they bust their tails every day of their lives working toward a goal that’s specific, tangible, measurable, attainable, and very damn difficult to meet. There’s an element of poetic beauty integral to this reality, isn’t there?

If a new and up-and-coming female athlete looks at photos of Alina Popa, Debi Laszewski or Brigita Brezovac and says to herself, “I want to look like that one day,” guess what? She can! Granted, it won’t be easy and the journey from Point A to Point B will be arduous, tumultuous, and full of plenty of doubt. But nevertheless, one cannot deny that the goal can be met if she sets her mind to it and educates herself on what is necessary to get there.

Annie Rivieccio earns my vote for "Best Bicep Peak."

Annie Rivieccio earns my vote for “Best Bicep Peak.”

Unlike politicians who promise big and bold achievements that probably aren’t realistic and only will set their constituents up for disappointment, a female bodybuilder has a distinct goal in mind that’s specific and can accurately be visualized ahead of time. It doesn’t exist in a theoretical universe that looks great on paper or in a rousing speech but doesn’t actually work in real life. Bodybuilding is a sport where end results aren’t achieved by dumb luck or happenstance. It materializes when an athlete makes a definitive decision to take specific action toward achieving a precise goal.

Nobody will argue that it’ll be easy to look like Lisa Cross or Rene Campbell. That high degree of muscularity doesn’t come easily. But one cannot also argue that such objectives are impossible. They are quite possible to meet, albeit after one is eager to dramatically reorganize one’s lifestyle.

Point B isn’t a hypothetical reality that exists only in one’s mind. Building an impressive level of muscle mass is a concrete end that arises after participating in concrete means. Gaining x number of pounds of muscle or placing in the top five of a certain bodybuilding contest are measurable and quantifiable aims that are either achieved or not achieved. There is no middle ground. There is no ambiguity. Either it happened or it didn’t. Period.

And who is to blame if one sets out to gain bigger biceps and triceps and fails? You guessed it. The person who established these goals in the first place and nobody else.

One other facet of female bodybuilders that must be addressed is the fact that FBBs are, for the most part, not worried about being popular or widely accepted by society. A woman who chooses to pursue bodybuilding in any serious manner is opening herself up to a variety of different kinds of obstacles – many of which she would not face had she not decided to become a bodybuilder.

It’s no mystery that a woman with big muscles is an unusual sight to see. Simply put, these women are rare in our world. Yet, a small number of remarkable women are actively working to build big muscles despite the potential backlash that might come with it. Many will receive looks of repulsion or disgust. Accusations of being “too manly” or “becoming a man” will start to flood in. There will be those who will ask her “do you have to get that big?” Others will question her life choices and wonder if she’s hiding something.

But no matter what comes her way, a female bodybuilder must be tough-minded and relentless in the pursuit of her dreams. She must endure people looking at her differently. She must accept the fact trolls on the Internet will post nasty remarks about her. She knows the road to becoming a pro bodybuilder will be strenuous…but she does it regardless. That’s not easy to do. There aren’t too many of us in this world who are capable of breaking all those barriers, jumping over all those hurdles, and trudging through all those obstacles when the easier road is to not pursue bodybuilding in the first place.

She does what she wants to do knowing it won’t be popular with everyone. Yes, she will meet people along the way who will support her, but certainly that won’t be everybody. Doing the right thing – following your dreams – despite outside noise takes emotional and intellectual fortitude. Do you honestly believe some of our elected representatives share that same level of internal strength?

Catherine Holland could start a nuclear war over her physique.

Catherine Holland could start a nuclear war over her physique.

The final point I’ll make (although I could go on further) is that a female bodybuilder possesses a deep understanding of how the world works and must apply this knowledge practically in the quest of her chosen profession. She needs to be an entrepreneur, agent, marketer, business manager, scheduler, public relations specialist, nutritionist, athletic trainer, and personal ambassador all at the same time. As a small fish in a big pond, an FBB’s success or failure wholly depends upon how well she understands her circumstances and how she can cultivate an accomplished career from it (or despite it).

In this respect, female bodybuilders earn what’s coming to them. They aren’t “given” success. Nobody votes for them to have large muscles or a chiseled physique. They have to expel blood, sweat, and tears day in and day out to achieve their bodies. Granted, a panel of judges does elect how she places at a competition, but that’s an exception. For the most part, she wouldn’t have been able to reach that point of being on that stage unless she put in the hard work beforehand. Besides, actual competing is only a small part of the rewards that come from bodybuilding.

The biggest reward is the personal satisfaction of knowing that you’ve accomplished something grand. Nobody can take that away from you. Your opponents may have more trophies than you, but what every single competitor has is the sense of triumphant pride that comes with pursuing a goal with manic obsession. Truly, an FBB earns her success. That’s how the real world operates.

Presidents, prime ministers, senators, representatives, governors, MPs, city councilmembers, mayors, and other positions of elected authority do not always share these same traits. It seems rather odd to have a system where the power to regulate, tax, create new laws, authorize war, or incarcerate citizens are given to people who get that job simply by winning a glorified popularity contest. Very strange, indeed. But, that’s the system we have until something better replaces it.

Here in the United States of America, we give the nuclear codes to people we wouldn’t trust to manage the local Burger King. We trust those who’ve never ran a business to regulate businesses. We ask people who’ve never served in the military to send young men and women they’ve never met to a foreign country and die for an ambiguous cause. To summarize, we elect people who don’t understand how the world works to decide how the world works.

Insanity.

However, ask I’ve just articulated, a female bodybuilder does understand how the world works. She has to in order to survive. She must understand how to relate to people. She knows what it’s like to be a businesswoman…because she essentially is a one-woman business. She does what she does regardless of how unpopular it might make her. At the end of the day, a female bodybuilder shares these characteristics:

  1. Mental toughness
  2. Adaptability
  3. Entrepreneurial savviness
  4. Focus
  5. Intelligence
  6. Knowledgeable about the real world
  7. Grit
  8. Strength – both physical and emotional
  9. Ability to earn her success
  10. Independence

As I’ve said before, the list can go on and on. But you get the idea. I’m not suggesting that we should actually elect current or former female bodybuilders to high positions of political power just because they happen to be current or former FBBs. However, what I do want to illustrate is that FBBs boast a unique perspective on life that cannot be easily replicated or transferred.

I'd appoint Nikki Fuller as my Secretary of Muscle.

I’d appoint Nikki Fuller as my Secretary of Muscle.

She’s earned her success. She’s forged her own path. She’s self-taught herself topics in areas like calisthenics, biology, science, nutrition, sports medicine, etc. She lives in an environment that can be cruel and adversarial toward her. She knows how to persevere through obstacles and come out better for it. She must adapt to her surroundings…or die refusing to do so.

That’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not for everyone. Certainly not people who’ve existed in an Ivy League-encrusted silver spoon-fed bubble for their entire lives. As Americans go to the polls on November 8 they should ask themselves, “How the hell did we get here in the first place?” It’s a perfectly valid question; one that doesn’t have any easy answers.

But perhaps the answer is simple. We, as a nation, don’t value the right things. We value what we want to hear, not what we should hear. We live in a fantasy world full of bright shiny objects, not in the real world where decisions have actual consequences.

Female bodybuilders, on the other hand, do not get to live in such a magical universe. They must always be on their toes. They cannot get lazy or entitled. They must continuously grind in order to reach the Promised Land – which nobody actually promised them at all. In short, female bodybuilders represent humanity at its best. FBBs don’t make empty promises about what they think they’ll do. They actually do it every single day of their lives.

I’d vote for that.