Warm Flesh —
Note: I was provided a review copy of this book by the author.
What’s the one thing that the vast majority of consenting adults would like to get from somebody special (presumably, not Santa) this Holiday season?
SEX SEX SEXY SEX! (totally SFW).
Yes, fat people, thin people; tall people, short people; able-bodied people, disabled people; young people, old people; people of every gender and sexual orientation; and people of every race, creed and color — a plurality of humanity would like somebody to caress and to hold and to make sweet, sweet love to. But contrary to popular belief, your chances of finding that special somebody has less to do with what you look like than you might think.
In Rebecca Jane Weinstein’s Fat Sex (available in paperback and on Kindle), we meet fatties from across the sexual spectrum, from a porn star to an insecure woman who has difficulty enjoying sex. In each essay, the man or woman’s sex life is somehow affected by their weight.
It begins with Rebecca’s own story of how her grandmother told her when she was a child, “No man will ever love you.” At the age of 10, words can scar, and these words certainly wounded Rebecca. Her grandmother’s cruel words still haunt her.
[M]y grandmother did a number on me, and it’s taken work to un-brainwash myself. I still struggle with it every day. But humans are resilient and sex is a powerful motivator.
Fat Sex explores those motivators in a very human way. Each chapter, we meet someone new, someone special, someone who has lived a long and complicated life that has brought them to their current sexual standing. Sometimes it’s a circuitous route, overcoming years of self-loathing and negativity, while other people have always been comfortable with their bodies, jiggly bits and all.
Yet as detailed as the stories get, the book is more sociological record than lurid tell-all. There are no tips for having sex with fatty, just stories of fatties navigating the uncertain world of sex and dating. Through Rebecca’s engaging narrative, we hear from Danny the Fat Admirer, Alice the Cyber-Dater, Amber the Reformed Dieter, Ruby the Painfully Self-Conscious, Delilah the Groundbreaking Porn Star, Allison the Fat Lesbian, David the Pickup Artist, and Colin the Gay Gainer, among others.
One of the stories revolves around Charlotte, an Army wife who moved with her husband to a military base in Europe. Contrary to everything I’ve ever heard about the military, Charlotte shares the juicy details of a libidinous free-for-all.
It’s not that everyone was having sex parties, but anything you could think of was taking place by some group or another… [T]he married service members’ compound would be the spot for hookups and sex parties… Though partner swapping was common, it was all heterosexual or women with women, as far as Charlotte knew. She never saw gay male sex. However, there were three-ways… Charlotte was a woman and a military wife, not a soldier, so it was acceptable for her to “experiment” with other women.
Man, if I had only known that the military was such a swinging hot spot, I might have enlisted myself!
These kinds of details make Fat Sex an interesting book, but its real strength is in revealing sexual diversity. By providing a pseudonymous platform to share their stories, Rebecca gives us a glimpse behind the green door and into the sex lives of fatties; sex lives that both confirm and obliterate stereotypes about fatties in bed.
Yes, there are the fatties who feel so disgusted by their own bodies that they have a hard time engaging in relationships, including the skin-slapping good time they could be having with their partner. But there are also the fatties who are comfortable in their own abundant flesh and are willing and able to flaunt what Mother Nature bestowed upon them.
In the end, what seems to distinguish the two groups is not so much the amount of skin in the game, but how each person sees themselves. If you view your body as a grotesque burden, then finding someone for hanky-panky becomes nearly impossible. But if you view your body as a playground of sensual delights, that confidence can attract lovers like nothing else.
Once you are able to abandon your preconceptions of what sex should look like and feel like; once you stop comparing yourself to the Hollywood celebrities, porn stars, and some younger, thinner version of yourself; once you stop expecting others to be disgusted by your body, only then will sex be as fulfilling and satisfying as it is for some of the sexual role models interviewed in Fat Sex.
Although this book is for anyone with an interest in how weight affects sex, it can also be a textbook lesson in how to overcome those insecurities. By “witnessing” the struggles of others, Fat Sex provides a road map for struggling fatties to learn from the experience of others who have been where they are today.
I highly recommend this book, which is available in paperback and on Kindle, as an open exploration of ideas that aren’t typically shared in polite company. Even if you run with more sexually emancipated circles, there are probably perspectives in this book that you have not heard.
Whatever the case, having an open dialogue about the sexual habits of fatties performs a dual service: dispelling the dichotomous myths of the celibate fatty versus the promiscuous fatty, and encouraging fatties to view themselves as sexual beings.
Rebecca Jane Weinstein has humanized fatties in a way that provides us a way to express our sexuality without judgement, either from ourselves or others. It turns out that the sex lives of fatties are not unique; they’re just as intensely personal and unique as the sex lives of thin people.
If you’ve already read Fat Sex, then I would also recommend that you contribute to Rebecca’s next book, Fat Kids. She already has a Kickstarter up and running. She needs $5,000 by January 29th, so help out if you can.