How I Have Sex: ‘Fat People Don’t Only Have Missionary Sex in the Dark’
In How I Have Sex, we bring you candid retellings of people’s sexual lives that explore the multidimensional nature of this human experience. In this installment, 30-year-old R. talks about navigating sex and desire as someone who is fat.
Initially, weight impacted my understanding of desire. Fatphobia is so deep-rooted that fat persons like me get messages that we are undesirable and unfuckable in so many ways, it’s not funny.
But fat people have amazing sex! There are so many things people get wrong about having sex as a fat person. So, here are some things I want to say on the record: fat people can be sexy and sexual. Sex with a fat person can be great! It’s not something that requires “extra” effort. And just like any other good sexual experience, it requires communication and trust.
Fat people don’t only have missionary sex in the dark.
How fat bodies have sex could definitely be different but just in the way that every sexual encounter is. No two persons, bodies, or personalities are the same, right?
Allowing myself to be sexual has taken a lot of time. I think sometimes the idea that fat people are sexual, and therefore, by extension, I am too is so underrepresented. I believe every fat person I know has to go through a journey of coming to terms with their sexuality and desires.
I go into any sexual encounters hyper-aware of my weight. Because of how conscious I feel sometimes, it takes me a long time to trust someone in the bedroom. I don’t do any spontaneous climbing on a person or put my full body weight until I’m very comfortable and confident that they know what they are in for.
Weight is definitely a factor in deciding sex positions. I need to work up to positions where I have to put my weight on my partner — so, me being on top will never happen the first time. Additionally, standing positions need to be talked about and worked on. And also, I don’t do dressers, tables, flimsy chairs. I have trust issues with pieces of furniture so I often feel safe only against sturdy walls, in beds, on the floor. I’m otherwise scared I’ll break something.
I guess some things are off the table from the beginning — you’re not going to lift me and throw me on a bed for sure!
Related on The Swaddle:
I’m an “I’ll try anything once” kind of person in bed. So generally, I’m happy to try out things and fantasies that partners have. I like sex with a lot of communication – to be asked what I want and also be told what they want is a turn-on. The ability to laugh and have fun in bed is a turn on too.
I do like foreplay; all kinds of foreplay are extremely enjoyable. I think what we conventionally call foreplay is also sex. It’s valid and I don’t need penetration of any kind for it to be sex.
For me, safety is linked to high sexual attraction. As a woman, if I feel safe, not just physically but even emotionally and mentally, I’m able to feel high sexual attraction. On the other hand, uncertainty, judgment, passive-aggressiveness all mean low sexual attraction.
I don’t label myself as demisexual, but I believe I’m on the spectrum so I don’t experience much spontaneous desire. I do masturbate but very rarely, and often after being stimulated by a partner or an experience. I have tried vibrators, but only in partnered sex. I don’t feel like using them by myself.
What makes me feel sexy about myself is a great mental health day, honestly. When I’m feeling accomplished, my self-worth is high, I’m happy, I’m having a good time – I feel great about myself.
All my relationships have been pretty normal. I’m attracted to intelligence, kindness, good conversation, and progressive politics. I think growing up fat, I somehow conditioned myself into not being vain and I don’t feel any attraction based on physical attributes or body types. I think that being fat is like a great filter. It’s how I filter out shallow, misogynistic people just by looking like how I do!
The constant narrative in extended family and acquaintances and parts of the media just makes you think like being thin=being desirable. And it took following a lot of fat and fat positive creators and educators online for me to even recognize the narrative we are fed and how much fatphobia is internalized in fat people ourselves.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.