As a lifelong fat girl, I’ve always had one stable observation that’s never wavered: Thin people overwhelmingly don’t understand what it’s like to be fat.
And because thin people don’t understand what it’s like to be fat, they make a lot of assumptions. These range from harmlessly incorrect to dangerously hurtful and can affect not just the plus-size people in their lives, but perceptions of fat people worldwide.
In the hope of combating such assumptions, I’ve collected a list of four of the most embarrassing and insulting misconceptions people often have about “fat sex.”
Myth 1: Fat people can only do certain sex positions.
While fat people may find some sexual positions uncomfortable, this is not universal. Rolls of fat certainly can inhibit flexibility or even act as physical barriers in certain positions, but many fat people don’t experience these issues.
Every person’s body is different. Just because one fat person lacks the flexibility or anatomy for one position does not mean every fat person will encounter that same issue. I mean, have you seen some of the plus-size yogis on Instagram?
The fact is people of all different shapes and sizes can struggle in certain positions. When a partner is unable to do certain sex positions, it has more to do with that individual than with their size. If an inability to perform a specific act or sexual position is a deal-breaker, then you should be having that conversation with any potential partner, not just the fat ones.
Myth 2: Fat people aren’t confident in bed because they’re insecure.
Body insecurity is not exclusive to fat people. Many people all along the body-size spectrum struggle with how they look.
It’s difficult enough to maintain a healthy level of self-confidence when we’re constantly comparing ourselves to images of flawless, airbrushed models who are more Photoshop than flesh. I mean, they couldn’t even give Wonder Woman a slightly more plump figure without the internet losing its mind at the thought of “glorifying obesity.”
As a fat woman, I’ve encountered my own insecurity issues. It is difficult to love yourself when so much of what you see and hear tells you that you shouldn’t. Even so, when I’m in bed with someone who accepts me and my body the way they are, I couldn’t be more confident.
It is true that some fat people may prefer having sex with the lights off or may have areas where they don’t like to be touched. Again, these are fairly common boundaries that partners of any size can have. Fully discussing boundaries with your partner, regardless of size, will prevent awkward misunderstandings of each other’s needs and limits during sex.
Myth 3: Thin people who have sex with fat people must have a fetish.
Shocker: It is possible for a thin person to be interested in a fat person without a fetish driving their interest.
Assuming a thin person could never love a fat person without a fetish shows a dangerous lack of respect for both parties. Fat people are as capable of engaging in romance as any other person. Implying that loving a fat person is equivalent to a fetish flattens the complexity of a romantic relationship into an easily digested stereotype.
Still, fat fetishists do exist and present a real challenge for fat people looking for love. More often than not, “chubby chasers” or similar fetishists do not make good partners in general, as they see the fat partner as more of a sexual object than as an equal. These people are to be avoided.
No matter what size someone is, people generally don’t want to worry about whether their partner will still love them if their body changes. While some relationships between people of different sizes may be centered around a fetish, just as many, if not more, are not.
Myth 4: Fat people just aren’t sexy.
While everyone is entitled to their individual tastes and preferences, this blanket statement is plainly untrue. Fat people can be sexy, beautiful, awe-inspiring, flamboyant, intimidating and any other number of adjectives.
Body-type preference is a fairly elastic trait. Looking at trends in art history, you can see how wildly each era’s individual taste affected what was seen as beautiful. Beauty is and always has been a fluid concept, unique to each time, place and individual. While everyone is entitled to their taste, claiming that fatness has never been and will never be sexy is simply untrue.
Remember this: Fatness is not a monolith. Fat people are all different, just like any other people. Make assumptions about sex with a fat person and you might not only make an ass out of yourself, but you’ll also miss out on some fun, too.