I'll start with a couple of definitions from Webster's dictionary:
feed v. (fed, feed-ing) give food to; supply, support; take food
feed'er n. one who or that which feeds
Hmmm. Not much to go on there.
I've had contact with many feeders and "anti-feeders" (the best term I could come up with for a person who's against feeding) over the last couple of years, through such mediums as AOL chat rooms, mIRC, Usenet news groups, mailing lists or e-mail, and even a few Web sites. Let me see if I can come up with a generalized definition that both sides (feeder and anti-feeder) might agree on:
feeder n. a person who gains (sexual) pleasure from the act of eating by, or feeding of, another person.
Not a very good definition so far, but one that the majority can agree on, I think.
Let me try and define the word "feedee", while I'm at it:
feedee n. a person who gains (sexual) pleasure from eating or being fed by another person.
This definition could also use some work, but it'll do for now.
So do the definitions above infer that in order to have a feedee, you must first have a feeder? Not really. True, where there's a feedee, there's usually a feeder, but not always. A feedee could be someone who enjoys eating (alone) for their own pleasure. However, I find the opposite isn't true. A feeder must have a feedee. Does that mean that they have to have some sort of contact between each other (either in person, or through some sort of other contact, such as the internet). Not necessarily. A feeder may enjoy reading or hearing about the "exploits" of a feedee, but that doesn't necessarily mean any contact between the two. A feeder may enjoy reading some of the "feeder" stories which may be found on the Internet in various places, but that doesn't imply any feeder/feedee contact. So, that brings me to my first two assumptions:
Feedees can enjoy eating without a feeder. Feeders can enjoy the exploits (either real or imaginary) of a feedee without having any personal contact with them.
To further develop my definition, I'll address another question: "If a feeder/feedee relationship does exist, does it mean that the feeder wants the feedee to gain weight?". Not always. It is true that most of the people I've had contact with express a desire to "fatten up" their feedee (either real or imagined). However, I have ran across people (albeit, few) who enjoyed feeding (or being fed) purely for that reason. They felt that both food and the act of eating could be sexually enjoyable. They expressed no desire to fatten (or be fattened up by) their partner. This leads me to another assumption:
Where a feeder/feedee relationship does exist, it does not always mean the relationship involves any weight gain.
Okay, so what if the feeder/feedee relationship does exist and it does involve weight gain or fantasizing about it? Does that mean that the feeder really wants the feedee to actually gain weight for real? Again, not always. Out of all the questions I've posed so far, I feel I can answer this one the best, since I fall into this particular category myself. I think the key word here is "fantasize". I enjoy reading feeder stories. I enjoy fantasizing about feeding someone and having them gain weight. But, in my entire life, I have never set out to fatten up any partner in any relationship I've been in. It's purely a fantasy for me.
For example, take someone who's in a dominant/submissive relationship. Does that mean that they advocate slavery for real? They probably just practice it in the bedroom. How many so-called "normal" guys have fantasized about being stranded on a desert island with a beautiful girl (or girls)? Does that mean they'd actually want to be stranded on a desert island? Probably not. When guys/girls look at the latest issue of the Playboy/Playgirl, I'm sure (at some time or another) some of them have fantasized some sort of contact with the person in the magazine. For those who don't read those type of magazines, how many people out there fantasize about meeting their favorite actor/actress in person? What would they actually do if they met this person in real life, especially if they were in a long term relationship?
I could come up with many other examples, but I hope you see my point. It's possible to fantasize about something, and enjoy the fantasy, but not actually do it for real. I've run across people in chat rooms and mIRC who like to play a role while they're on-line (similar to the concept of cybersex, I guess) They'll try to find an on-line partner to play out their particular fantasy, even to the point of wanting to meet that person for real. Many of them I've chatted with, don't actually want to fatten someone up. Many of them are content to keep it strictly as an on-line "relationship". Others who do advertise to meet potential partners aren't really serious about their claims. For them, it just heightens their fantasy. How many people do you know that pretend to be something they're not on-line to further a particular curiosity or fantasy? This brings me to me next assumption:
In a feeder/feedee relationship, although there may be fantasies between both parties about gaining weight, it is possible (and common) for no actual long term weight gain to occur, even if the fantasies involve the infrequent use of food (usually in conjunction with sexual contact).
Finally, this brings me to my last question: "In a feeder/feedee relationship that involves the feedee gaining weight for real, is it necessarily the feeder's intention for the feedee to gain so much weight that it's unhealthy for them?" Not always. The majority of people I've known who fit this category may have actually had a weight gain during their relationship, but not a dramatic one (less than 25 lbs), even over a long period of time. So, my last assumption is:
In a feeder/feedee relationship that involves the feedee actually gaining weight, it is possible (and common) for the amount of weight gained to be relatively small (25- 50lbs).
Admittedly, I have ran across a few people who I believe were genuine in their desire to gain (or have someone else gain) a large amount of weight (100 lbs or more). There were even a couple who wanted to feed (be fed) to the point of immobility. I can see where the "anti-feeders" would be strongly against this (I'm not exactly for it, either). It involves a great potential to permanently damage another person's physical (and mental) well-being. However, I feel that as long as something is between two consenting, sane adults, and it doesn't involve directly hurting anyone other than those two people, then that's purely between them.
Sadly, I find that most "anti-feeders" tend to lump all feeder/feedee relationships into this last category. For the most part, feeders and feedees tend to be ostracized in most internet circles, if any of the people in those circles have even a vague understanding of what a "feeder" or "feedee" means. Usually, it seems to be among those in the size acceptance movement itself. I think it's ironic. Here's a group of people, loosely connected by bonds forged mainly on the internet, who band together for support, understanding, and solidarity, because they're different from the "norms" laid down by Western society. All they really claim to seek is tolerance, because they're different. Many of these very same people who seek tolerance for themselves, are the least tolerant of feeder/feedee relationships. Ironic, indeed.....
So what definitions for "feeder" and "feedee" did I come up with from all these questions? I think I'll leave them as they are: vague. I think it's okay to lump feeders and feedees under such cloudy, generalized definitions. As long as those using such terms recognize those terms for what they are: merely labels. People shouldn't be judged by the labels arbitrarily affixed to them. They should be judged as individuals; one at a time.