Fear of Fat Sex

Lynne Murray says:

Recently I found out about an icky situation through Ask a Guy Who Likes Fat Chicks, a wonderful blog by a young admirer of the larger figure.

The guy in question, Dan Weiss, pointed out that an ad for an online matchmaking service promoting adultery, uses a photo of Jacqueline, a fat model, seductively posed–with the caption that this sight would terrify any man, and justify cheating (presumably with a thin partner).

the ad as described in this post, with "Exploited" covering the woman in big red letters

The model labeled as “scary” was offended, and said so. (The picture above is Jezebel’s mark-up of the ad.) Ashley Madison, the adultery match-up site (which we’ll call “AM” for short), happily compounded the damage with a second ad using the same picture of Jacqueline paired with a thin model in a similar outfit and pose, more pointedly making the equation that fat = bad, skinny = good.

AM’s treatment of Jacqueline is consistent with the website’s cheating, lying, hurtful ethos. “Did I accidentally hurt you before? Good, let me hit you harder on purpose.” They certainly don’t want to be accused of kindness to a fat woman–some of the stigma might rub off on them.

Madison has a habit of scraping up free publicity by using the trademark skills of lying, cheating and sneaking around. Most notably, the site offered Fox Network a raunchy (and stupid) possible Super Bowl ad a raunchy ad with overtones of bestiality. Fox, of course, is not noted for its enjoyment of openly sexually sleazy material.

Surprise, surprise, the ad was rejected. For the price of a shoddily made, offensive TV ad, AM got publicity for being censored as too risqué.

AM’s stated reason for existing is not to open up marriages to allow partners who agree on swinging (for lack of a better word) or polyamory. AM’s open purpose is to facilitate adultery. The site is looking for clients who want to keep the benefits of an ongoing relationship and set up something else clandestine on the side. Sexual attraction can, of course, dissipate in a relationship, but an honest partner talks about it and considers letting both parties look elsewhere.

AM had a clear agenda in using the image of a fat woman to justify lying, sneaking and cheating. Their goal was to offload the negativity onto the injured spouse. Essentially saying, “She got fat; it’s her fault I’m cheating.” The argument wouldn’t be as successful if they used photos of some of the ways that people can change after marriage. They would never dare say, “My spouse has erectile dysfunction,” or “he/she got disabled, ill or too old to interest me.”An ad like that could backfire and stir up sympathy for the person being cheated on. Once again fat women are fair game for blame.

Presumably, however, fat cheaters need not apply.

Let’s wash the AM slime off our hands. Consider an honest split in a relationship because one partner found the other too fat. Could a discarded fat spouse find sex elsewhere? Quite possibly so. Laurie and Debbie discussed this in one of the most controversial posts in the history of Body Impolitic.

In the spirit of fat people finding sex, I want to mention that a new edition of Hanne Blank’s landmark 2000 book on fat sex has just been reissued in an updated edition: Big Big Love, Revised: A Sex and Relationships Guide for People of Size (and Those Who Love Them)

In a Salon.com interview, Blank says:

[F]at sex is … [is] one of the kinds of sex that mainstream culture tells us we’re not supposed to want, have or approve of. There’s a machine, a huge cultural and industrial juggernaut that is devoted to making us believe that the right kind of sex and the right kind of sexual desirability is the be-all-end-all.

We have a huge fear and a fascination with excess, especially in American culture. We have a fear of sexual excess and of the excessive body. But we also have a huge fascination with excessive bodies, whether that’s excessive in terms of a fat body or in terms of a very, very sexual body.

I highly recommend Big, Big Love and also Blank’s book of fat erotica, Zaftig: Well Rounded Erotica as eye-openers for anyone who thinks fat people are not sexual or cannot be viewed as objects of desire (and as interesting reading for people who are over that).