Artwork by Sage Guillory

Body PoliticsSex & Gender

fat girl sex: the new year, and a nastier, new you

January 8, 2020
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Fat Girl Sex is a bi-weekly sex column devoted to the celebration of the sexual empowerment of women, body- and sex-positivity, featuring personal meandering about all the nasty things we do in the dark.

I wasted the first half of my twenties not having sex because I was ashamed of my body. Needless to say, last month when singer Lizzo was endlessly attacked for wearing something smaller pop stars would have worn without upset, it triggered every last one of my body dysmorphic bullshit insecurities.

Wasting no time whatsoever, everybody and they mama’s cried out in feigned outrage over the sight of butt cheeks at a sporting event that featured cheerleaders in booty shorts and crop tops. “It’s just not tasteful.” Meanwhile, Rihanna is a fashion industry darling when she hits the red carpet in a wildly sheer Adam Selman dress and is celebrated as the boldest and confident woman in the world. That’s her whole brand. And we fucking love her for it. Why is it so hard to do the same for Lizzo?

And, sure, context is key. But at the surface, both share in their Black womanhood, and both make bad-bitch pop music. And, yes, after ignoring her for years, people love Lizzo’s music and vibes — but they still can’t stand to see a fat Black woman step out of her place.

“We’re worried about her health.” No, you’re not. You just don’t like that she’s fat. Funny how no one’s worried about Rihanna’s health or that of any other straight-size celebrity.

As if healthiness starts and stops with weight.

With very few exceptions, plus size women are never as visible or as popular as a Lizzo or Adele. Despite our prevalence in the actual world, what happens when people with bodies like mine and Lizzo’s are actually visible is that they are not embraced and respected as sexual entities. And when you realize that you and your body aren’t good enough for society, the shame can crush your spirit, and your ability to be an authentic self.

And what is human sexuality if not one of the highest forms of self-expression?

The worst thing you could do for yourself is be stifled by what other people have to say, think, or believe. Back in my early twenties, I wasn’t using my physicality in expressive and positive ways. In my shame, I numbed the bond I had with the machine I occupy. I wasn’t living in my body — I was running from it.

I let society convince me that my body wasn’t worthy of sexual attention, or capable of giving pleasure. And the longer I accepted this, the harder it became to imagine a life with romance, great sex, and intimacy.

I wish I can cite some destiny-altering, world-shaking event or person that brought me out of the fog that was my early twenties. In fact, I really just need some D. (Mostly kidding.)

More than that, it was like my heart telling me that I deserved to stop punishing myself for other people’s discomfort. Imperfect, but wholly my own: my body is my body. And the moment I started treating myself with sincere compassion, I was able to open myself up to fierce self-love. Self-love refined my clarity, and it empowered me to see how sex could be a tool for self-expression and self-realization. And that I could write my own narrative through it. The rest didn’t matter.

When I stopped apologizing for my sexual expression, I found an untapped eroticism in my ability to be unabashed about my body’s sexual nature. Especially in the deepening connection developing between my mind and body, as I pushed, explored, teased its limits. As I came to embrace and then love my juicy roundness, I flourished into a supreme vessel for giving and receiving pleasure.

The latest Lizzo bootygate moment reminded me of how unbearable it is for less secure people to see big girls not hating themselves. But in 2020, we are done apologizing for it and we’re taking up all the goddamn space.

Here’s to a New Year, and to a nastier new you <3.