Body Building
by Margaret Deirdre O'Hartigan

(This article was later reprinted by Harpers Magazine)


Call me a bodybuilder, for lack of a better term. A bodybuilder is a man or woman who treats his or her body as a piece of living sculpture, a plastic medium to develop to the fullest their ideal of physical perfection. There really isn't a good word for the kind of body building I'm into. "Feedee" seems a bit too passive for what I do and sounds a trifle too similar to "needy" for my taste. But if you know what a "feedee" is you know what I do: I deliberately overeat to give my body the plushest, most voluptuous contours I can acquire.

Growing fat is anathema to most people in our society, let alone deliberately choosing to grow fatter. This probably accounts for the popular misconception that women like me are mere victims of ruthless men who seek to take advantage of us to satisfy their own perverse desires. My own experience couldn't be further from that image of "feeders." Growing fatter is one of the most intensely sensuous things I have ever experienced and I came to the realization that I enjoy gaining weight of my own accord, only later seeking out those rare men who enjoy a woman's physical growth.

I love the sensation of eating beyond satiation almost as much as I love the subsequent expansion of my entire body. The fatter I grow the more exquisitely attuned to my own body and to another's touch I become. Then, too, there is no small amount of satisfaction for me in seeing a lover's eyes widen in amazement at my growing bulk, knowing all the while that there are very few women willing and happy to let someone share in such a simple pleasure.

Growing fatter, however, is first and foremost a matter of loving myself, and only secondarily a form of erotic expression to share with my lover.

My first experience with weight gain occurred when I quit smoking in the late 80's. In less than three months I put on 30 pounds. But far from being dismayed, I found myself in a state of heightened emotional and sexual excitement. I enjoyed the added fullness to my breasts and thighs and loved how much more I jiggled when I moved. It was such a wonderful experience that over the next several months I experimented with deliberately overeating and gained yet another 30 pounds. This latest addition was even more of an erotic experience than my first growth spurt. In addition, this time I discovered that overeating itself could be a near-sexual experience for me. In the intervening years I have on numerous occasions overeaten as much as possible for days on end, and each time the resultant fattening is as pleasurable as the time before.

For the longest time I thought I was unique in my desire to gain weight, until I discovered from reading a men's magazine that caters to a preference for fat women that a number of men are aroused at the thought, let alone the sight, of a woman eating to grow fatter. Actually meeting such men, however, has at times taken on the aspects of a comedy of errors.

I quickly discovered that in the personals columns of daily newspapers, ads from women seeking men are subject to a double standard. While papers have no problem with phrases such as "chubby, but losing weight," or "overweight and dieting" the editorial pencil weighs heavily on as innocent a phrase as "pleasantly plump and growing more so." These are mainstream newspapers, however, and as such could be expected to reflect society's dim view of fat women who enjoy being fat.
Imagine my surprise, then, when a popular venue for fat women and their admirers changed "eager to gain" to "has sense of humor" without bothering to notify me. I felt betrayed and belittled, and while I received a lot of well-meaning replies to the ad none came from men who were interested in fattening me. Dimensions is the only publication which has published my ad exactly as I submitted it ("Take me to 400 pounds! Or more!...loves to be fattened.") My latest attempt, with a weekly metro, was very subtle ("assist me in my expanding personal growth"). I was delighted when, in the midst of the other 37 oblivious responses, a self-described "enthusiastic feeder" turned up. Talking to him during a follow-up telephone conversation and hearing his obvious appreciation of very fat women sent a shiver of desire down my back, and made my tummy rumble in anticipation.

So what is there about being fed and fattened that I find so attractive? I thrill to the touch of a lover's hands massaging my belly when it is swollen to its capacity; a glance at his eyes reflects the knowledge that he knows I'm ready for love. Whoever said that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach obviously didn't know anything about the relationship between a "feeder" and his woman. There is something almost primitive in having a lover encourage me to eat more, knowing how it puts me in the mood for making love. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not partaking of a human experience that goes back to the dawn of time, back to when our ancestors dwelt in caves and the supply of food was so uncertain that a surplus was stored like a treasure trove in the bodies of women as the earliest form of conspicuous consumption. Surely there is something very ancient in my growing resemblance to the corpulence of figures such as the Venus of Willendorf.

I expect there are many people, even readers of this magazine, who would be aghast should they know the pride I take in my swelling body and the joy it brings me and others. Fine; let them be horrified. I'm not coming out as a woman who has deliberately grown fat to gain acceptance from them-I'm coming out because what I'm doing is one of the most fat-positive things a woman can do in a society that hates fat and fat women in particular. I'm coming out as a fat woman who has chosen to be fat to let my sisters know that they are the most beautiful women on earth and worthy of emulation. I'm coming out as fat-by-choice to remind women like me, and the men who love us, that being fat is not an affliction but an accomplishment, and something to be desired. I see fattening as the next stage in growing to maturity, of blossoming and ripening. Being painfully thin as a child spared me the horrible denigration fat children in this society incessantly experience, but I have since learned all too well what it is to try to make my way through a world designed by small-minded people with Lilliputian concerns. Yet, however maddening their attempts to constrain me may be, they are bound to fail. My horizons are expanding along with the rest of me.

Those men and women who watch my burgeoning breasts, belly and hips with love and appreciation magically transform each new stretch mark into a love-bite and turn each new ripple of flesh and roll of fat into an embrace that can be shared. I love having my fat body fondled and caressed, assured I will continue to be loved the fatter I grow. I love the sense of awe that my swelling body engenders. I love growing fatter.

Call me a bodybuilder. For lack of a better term. ß



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