Beyond Fat Girls

Labbie wrote a piece about weight and self-image recently. I enjoyed it. Then, later the same morning, I was watching my previously-taped episode of “Rescue Me” in which firefighters, Probie Mike and Sean, are making their way up the stairs to the flame-filled fifth floor, talking about a recent date, which ended in the Probie getting laid with this apparently model-thin chick.

“It was like her hips were cutting into me,” he said, continuing, “I’m afraid to get on top of her. It’s like I hear this cracking sound or something.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m part of the bonus-lover plan. Yeah, I’m carrying extra, for sure. I’m told “I wear it well” and for the first time, I believe them, most of the time. But I do know I’m cute, at the very least. I’ve got punky short light hair and green eyes with a sly grin, and I’m pretty comfortable with myself when I put an effort into lookin’ like a cutie. And hey, I even get a little approval streetside.

I’ve written before about overcoming insecurities in order to love yourself for who you are. It’s been a long road for me. I was always very sexual, but I never really believed it about myself until the past three or so years. This year, though, has been the year of the my greatest emergence. I am what I am now, and I know it. The journey has been a long and interesting one, the journey of becoming sexual, not just seeming sexual. It’s fabulous.

My weight always held me back. I always tried to say the right things. I always tried to toe the line and be the proper chick, so I wouldn’t offend too many people. I played it safe. One day, I realized that I felt like a fake, and I started saying exactly what was on my mind. I stopped appeasing everyone. I slowly started to work on my self-image. Simple things, like trying a new kind of clothing, pushing myself in physical exercise, losing a little of the weight, talking to someone seemingly out of my league. There are days I forget how to be the Better Steff, days I forget about being the strong, proud, sassy chick I know I am. It happens. But it always passes, too. I suspect, however, that there’s something universal about that.

The biggest part of my transformation came from finally accepting myself for what I am, but more importantly, realizing that my faults and weaknesses weren’t nearly as sizeable as I had feared. I learned to look at myself as someone on the street might; if I met that woman, how would I judge her? Not nearly so harshly, I thought.

In finally being open enough to talk about my body image with the guys I have seen or considered in that way, I realized that the men I’d found seemed to nurture a very different impression about weight on a woman. They felt exactly as Mike the Probie would — that a woman with a few extra pounds was someone you could play a little more roughly with, someone you didn’t have to worry about harming if things might escalate a bit between you.

Soon, I realized something great: The thing that I always thought held me back in the bedroom was the thing bringing me exactly the kind of physicality I enjoyed — sometimes rough, always unrestrained.

It’s interesting how perspective can alter your enjoyment of something, but there’s an incredible shift that occurs when you really begin to embrace yourself in your lover’s presence.

I think this is part of the dilemma that lays behind the number one complaint I hear from women — their inability to orgasm at all, or the difficulties faced when eventually achieving one. We’re so wrapped up in our body images, trapped in our insecurities, concerned with public perception, and inundated with the pressure to come, that we just can’t enjoy sex. It takes years for women to get past this shit, and I personally believe that it’s why we do not peak sexually until the average age of 32.

I happen to now be 32. If any of my friends had known the kind of sex I was already having in my early 20s, their perception of me would have been wildly different. In that regard, I was definitely advanced for my age.

I began having bondage with sex at the relatively young age of 19. I had sex in very, very public places the first time at the age of 18. By the age of 21, I had no qualms having sex in a semi-public private room where anyone could walk in without warning (but I’m secretly glad they never did). Voyeurism, for me, was a two-way street, and I liked to travel on it. All that said, though, and I still never really embraced my sexuality until this year, my 32nd.

Sex, for me now, is better than it has ever been — and not because of my lovers, but because of the roles I’m willing to play, the brazenness I bring to the bedroom, because of my changed perspective. My god, had I even begun to suspect it would be like this, I’d have ditched those insecurities years ago.

The rewards of youth aren’t nearly as great as we’ve all been led to believe. Sex improves with age, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry spends to make you believe otherwise. Sex isn’t just about hard cocks and screaming orgasms. It’s the one language that transcends geography. It’s an otherworldy experience you can share where you need nothing but skin and sweat and stamina. We’re so hung up on needing to be hard, needing to come, that we’ve forgotten everything that happens in between — the places in which our mouths can linger and toy; the dexterity and flexibility of the hand; the thrill of warm, sweaty skin against our own; the scores of peaks and valleys found in that symphony of gasps and moans.

With age and maturity and realism, we’re able to begin letting go of those hang-ups. When we allow ourselves the freedom of being beautiful to that one person, we find ourselves experiencing things we never thought we’d feel. And that, that’s the ultimate goal to have in any sexual relationship: the absolute ability to lose all apprehensions and fear, the evolution of trust and willingness.

If only it were that easy. It’s hard. Very. But the reward is worth the struggle. Oh, so very.