Sexy is not a size thing … Except when it is. Which is also cool. Honey, there’s one thing I want you to know, and it’s really important. So listen up. You are beautiful. Not when you get in shape. Not when you lose those five kilos lurking behind your hips. Not when your abs resemble a washboard and your butt no longer exists. Here. Now. As you are. You are gorgeous. Not despite your body. Not even because of your body. Just because you’re you. And you’re a knock-out. Look in the mirror. Really SEE what’s there. Now say it to your reflection: “You’re stunning.” If you’ve read this far, chances are good you don’t believe me. So, let me lay some science on ya. (And by “science,” I mean internet polls and interesting online articles, obviously.)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … and sexy is not a size thing
Huffington Post recently ran an interesting piece by Katy Horwood, entitled “Why Men Don’t Fancy Big Women - But They Should.” Now, before I tell you about the article, I want to go on the record and say that I don’t actually agree with the premise.
In my experience (and I’m probably just lucky, but even so), the men I know like women. All of them. Old and young. Short and tall. Thick and thin. Their criteria seem to go something like, “Is she a lady? I’m in!” What’s even more interesting (to me, at any rate), is that most of them claim they prefer their ladies “curvy”. Plank thin? Not so much.
Katy Horwood, the author of the Huffington Post article, is a matchmaker, and the men she was referring to are the ones she was trying to connect to great women, but who couldn’t see the amazing women they were being introduced to, thanks to their media-blinkered vision of what beautiful is “supposed to” look like.
She hit the nail on the head with this:
“... some of the hottest women I know are ‘curvy’ - and leave most thin girls for dead in the sexy stakes. Not because they necessarily, have better bodies (although some of them actually did - bigger but fitter and far more in proportion) but because they own what they have. Their weight isn’t an issue for them. It isn’t at the forefront of their mind or something they consider to be a hindrance in life. Not only does this make them sexy but it makes my heart weep for every guy (lonely, I’ll add - you don’t join a dating agency if you’re not looking for someone to fill an emotional gap) who’d joined up, entrusted (and paying) somebody else to find them love to then turned a person down, before they’d even met them, based on their weight.”
Sexiness is about confidence, not skinniness.
In fact, more than half of the men surveyed on the subject said it’s really not about the skinny. At all. For some of them, skinny is actually a turn off. That’s kind-of unfair, too. It can be as difficult to gain weight for some people as it is for others to lose it.
The basic truth is this: Beauty is different for everyone. Which means (wait for it …) Beauty is not a single, exclusive, objective, measurable thing. Everyone is beautiful.
Jes Baker, the genius photographer behind the Body Images (possibly NSFW, you’ve been warned) series, has a bit of a conspiracy theory about why we all think we should be rake-skinny, and when the myth began. “In the 50's when the housewares economy and the power of the Feminine Mystique sunk, advertisers looked to a market that wouldn't disappear.
They wanted a promise of riches that wouldn't fade with the times... and so they chose two things that would always be: age and beauty. They then created an "ideal" that doesn't physically exist, so that women would forever attempt to purchase perfection. Here we are, 60 years later still hating ourselves and our bodies for not being something that was created in an office by professional marketers decades ago.
Because of this history, we all find ourselves in the same boat of self-doubt no matter our size, shape, or shade. This leaves us with a choice. Will we listen to others and their "opinion" of our worth? Or will we decide our own definition of beautiful and know that it means each and every single one of us? I, personally, will choose the latter.”
What Men Actually Want
Woah, girl! Before your feminist hackles get themselves into a pretzel, let me start by saying you gotta love you for you, not for what anyone else says or thinks. But. We’ve been sold a lie. We’ve been told that men want women to look a certain way. And we believe it. When I ask my girlfriends about this, they all assure me that their men say that they look fine the way they are … and that THAT is how they know their men are lying. You can see why this is a problem, right?
We believe we know what our partners want from us. And we believe that our partners would lie to us, while the media would not. Because, obviously, the media wants what’s best for us, right? Yeah, no. So … Let’s just unpack that lie for a bit.
Rebel Circus conducted a poll, asking if men preferred their ladies bigger or smaller, and why. The results are interesting because what they reveal is that tastes are diverse. Different men like different kinds of women. Weird, right? It’s almost as if they were a whole breed of self-aware, sentient beings with their own minds and wills and ability to choose for themselves, with or without the help of the media. Oh, wait. They are. And they do.
Here are the top eight reasons given by men for liking their ladies a little larger.
- Softness - almost every respondent said the same thing. “She’s softer than me. I like it!”
- Womanly and abundant - as one user so eloquently expressed it, “It's... I dunno, abundance, which my hindbrain interprets as luxury. All those curves, all that soft flesh... I mean sure, that plate of cheese and crackers over there looks tasty as hell - but ... there's a full-on Valhalla banquet walking by over here, and I'mma just dive in.”
- There’s more of her - there’s a sense of exaggerated womanness. The things that make a woman specifically NOT a man are more in evidence when there’s more of her. Anyone can have taut abs and flat derriére (or so they tell me!), but you need a woman if you want dem boobies, or dat butt.
- Lovely to watch - many readers conveyed the pleasure they get from watching the great sensual motion of a more ample woman walking or moving.
- Feminine “Most of what I like is that they lack boney hips stabbing into me, firm muscles that feel like mine, and any worry that something they eat is going to ruin their lives.” said a reader.
- Luxurious Another respondent explained, “Curves feel amazing. There's a certain degree of abandon one can enjoy with ample padding between two partners which (I know from experience) can be agonizingly painful with bonier physiques (ever get a skinny pelvis to the pubic bone? Ouch.), plus it's just... luxurious! I mean this in an extraordinarily positive way, but chubby and fat partners are like … a bouncy castle! You move, their flesh yields, then they bounce back, and it's just incredibly dynamic!Never mind the glorious sight of curves. I know that there are certain curves that are supposed to be 'ugly' in our society, but I've never seen ugly fat on a partner. A chubby stomach is sexy! Muffin tops are cute! I find big, thick thighs and wide hips incredibly hot, and I think the entire rest of the world will take up my slack in extolling the virtues of dat ass and dem titties.”
- An earthy humanness - something REAL. Many readers shared this gent’s feelings on the matter, when he said that he felt like he could be more relaxed around a girl who wasn’t too concerned about her size: “In terms of what attracts me to a chubby girl's personality: it's gotta be the indulgence. Some chubby people are dieting, but I am attracted to the ones who enjoy their food, because I do too.”
- Resilient and cuddly - most of the men who responded said they felt that small, petite girls make them feel afraid that they’ll break somehow. A larger girl, on the other hand, is easier to hug, cuddlier, and more resilient.
You need to learn to be okay with your naked self
In an entertaining look at the challenges of sex when at least one of the participants is on the heavy side, Marianne of XO Jane explores how important it is to be cool with who you are and how you look, no matter what.
“Practice being naked. If you cannot be naked with yourself, it is probably going to be really hard to be naked with other people. It is totally okay to need to dip your toe into nakedness a little bit, but being comfortable enough to take off the T-shirt is going to improve your sex life. And not just because the T-shirt will be out of the way but because it's easier to have a good time when you feel comfortable.You’ll need to overcome the idea that your partner doesn’t know how fat you are.”
Ms Vagina Science takes it a step further with some plain truth on Persephone Magazine.
“Instead of pulling away, enjoy it when your partner embraces your stomach or fondles it – soft voluptuous flesh can be a real turn-on. The way a woman’s form often holds its extra weight – around the belly, hips, thighs – is seen by many partners to be uniquely feminine and extremely erotic. The love handles you might hide under hoodies during the day should come out at night in all their glory.”
Exactly. Your partner either knows - and is totally fine with it (or even into it!), or they’re not your partner. And if they’re not okay with you just the way you are, Lesley Kinzel has some great (unsolicited) advice:
“expect that anyone you elect to spend the rest of your life in matrimonial bondage with would be someone you love fully enough that their attractiveness to you is rooted in the person they are, not the body they have today.”
How to feel sexy when you’re heavier than Abercrombie & Fitch says you should be
Size is just a number. Subscribing to some arbitrary media-generated standard that completely fails to consider how unique each of us is - both in terms of body composition and preferences - is a shortcut to misery. Plus, it’s totally unnecessary. (Even supermodels agree.)
We’re lucky to live in an age where body-positive messages are starting to be more mainstream. Stars like Rebel Wilson and Meghan Trainor have made being bootilicious a very sexy thing indeed, and not a moment too soon.
By all means - let’s bring booty back!
Jes The Militant Baker agrees:
“The second you stop looking for a skinny model in your mirror and start looking at YOU... is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. You are perfect. You are more than enough. You are the best thing that has ever happened to you.”
It’s so much easier to love what you see in the mirror if you deck it out in all your favourite pretty things. Lingerie is definitely not the exclusive preserve of girls who get a side job as a coat hanger. As women become more body positive, plus-size lingerie is becoming more and more popular. If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Our handy lingerie size guide is a great place to start. Remember: the bigger the present, the more wrapping it needs. That’s a good thing. We all love a little abundance!
Plus-size lingerie – some inspiration
This “Golden-Age-of-Hollywood”-inspired babydoll is perfect for showing off those assets. Scalloped trim and classy stripes reveal just enough to appeal, while leaving a tantalising amount of all of you to the imagination.
This elegant burgundy and black cami set shows you off for the goddess you are. A super classy look for boosting (or boasting about) your body confidence. There’s a whole range of sexy, stunning, body-positive stuff here.
And if you’re ready for some real fun, we have a wide range of games and playthings for everyone, from novice to aficionado. Just remember, no matter how you feel about your body, your lover, your bedroom adventures, or – well, anything, honey: Communication is an essential sex toy. Don’t enter the bedroom without it.