At 23, I only just started feeling okay in my body this past July.
I remember the exact moment that I decided to accept my fat trans Guatemalan body. I was sitting in Blue Stockings bookstore in New York, eating a gyro from the corner store and reading Virgie Tovar’s “You have the right to remain fat.” About an hour beforehand, I didn’t know that fat activism even existed. I walked around the bookstore, trying to find something that would really intrigue me and then stumbling upon this beautiful piece of absolute acceptance. I grabbed it because I’d never seen anything that told me that being fat didn’t mean I was a bad person. Immediately after reading it, I sought out my local fat positive group back home in California. Shortly after, I swam in my first public pool as an adult, wearing the first two piece swimsuit in public that I had ever worn.
At the time, I was dating someone wonderful who never brought up my body in a negative light but I still felt self conscious during sex. I was never completely naked when we fucked. Something I didn’t know was even strange until he asked me if it was okay to take off my clothes 4 months in. I was shocked that I’d never noticed this subconscious action.
My whole life, I had treated my fatness like a secret. I thought, “If I don't bring it up, no one will know”. But I’d felt more liberated from society’s perception of my body so I decided to talk openly about being fat. I started acknowledging every aspect of my body, good and bad and just like that, I stopped feeling the need to hide as much.
And then i started researching. I turned to Google.
“How to have sex with fat people” I wondered how many people had typed that before. Obviously I know how to have sex... I mean, kinda. But I wanted to know positions, I wanted to know stamina, I wanted to know toys. . I wanted to know everything that had to do with fat sex and how to make it better.
What I found was depressing and not really helpful. There was a lot of “be confident in your body!” “don’t try to hide your fat!” and “your partner wants to have sex with you!” like okay great, thanks but I'm actually looking for advice OUTSIDE of magically learning how to be confident. Within the first page of searches, (the very little) advice ceased and immediately articles of “why do men fuck fat chicks?” started. I wondered how many different people with different bodies had experienced this. The lack of representation and information, and overall desexualization and absorbtion of romance between bodies that weren’t perfectly abled, white, thin, cisgendered, or hetero.
So when Sabrina (Wasil Clothing) asked me to do an article for the Mag-zine, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at first, but finally settled on accumulating tips on inclusive intimacy - romantic and sexual. I made a survey that had an array of questions that included the following marginalized communities: people with disabilities, people who had been previously abused, people with mental illness, transgender/non binary/genderqueer people, fat people, people with a disability or chronic pain, people who had erectile dysfuntion or vaginismus, and an option for other which ended up becoming asexual people. This article isn’t meant to generalize anyone or their bodies and identities, not all people in marginalized groups want the same thing - DUH but these are things that come from genuine people with genuine opinions and are worth thinking about. I’m going to break down submissions and topics based on categories. Yes, I am a big fat virgo.
Here are some noteworthy things:
1) Across all marginalized communities, all submissions mentioned communication,
affirmations, exercising understanding, listening skills and patience. Oftentimes people mentioned that they would like their partners to ask them questions about what is comfortable and listen when they are told the answers while not taking it personally.
2) Almost all people who filled out the submissions said that the marginalizations of their body made them more empathetic, caring, and attentive lovers and partners who acknowledged and appreciated the flaws of their partners.
3) Most of the Transgender people who submitted said that the best sex they’d had and the most they felt listened to and understood was by other trans people. (step it up cis) They also all mentioned that they would like to see representation of all trans people, not just passing/thin/white etc trans people.
4) All the people who submitted under mental illness/have experienced abuse said they
had trouble with being intimate/connecting, voicing their needs, trusting people, and with feelings of guilt/taking space when setting boundaries. They also all mentioned that reminders that their feelings were okay was comforting and helpful.
5) All the people that submitted under being fat mentioned feeling insecure pretty regularly and feeling limited by their body. They also mentioned that having reassurance regarding their body helped when it came to intimate partners.
As a fat, trans, person of color there are a lot of ways that I consider how my body moves through spaces but there were so many things I had no idea about or had even thought about. The next portion will be highlights and specific tips within categories. Again, these are a few thoughts from a few people but like with any part of this article, please just ask your intimate partners instead of assuming they like or don’t like something. This article is meant to be a talking point with a few helpful tips to think about and help navigate where you or your partner may want to take ideas from. It is also focused on people who hold intimate and sexual relationships with only two people who specifically mentioned that they are asexual
Here are highlights from folks with a disability and/or chronic pain. The categories are combined because there was an incredible amount of similar feelings, wants, and needs from both categories and many folks in one group also categorized themselves in the other group.
1) Having sex while having a disability or chronic pain can sometimes make sex painful, something that can help is using props (cushions/pillows) so that positions don’t stress the body as much. Pillows are great but if you’re looking for specific angles, you can always check online for sex positioning cushions.
2) Gentle but firm movements are preferred over sharp and quick movements. For instance, instead of thrusting in and out quickly or penetrating deeply all of a sudden, work up to those movements. Depending on the pain levels of your partner, you may not be able to penetrate deeply at all so just remember to ask.
4) Massages are another great way to be intimate, considerate, and sexy with your partner. They relax the body and can help with muscle tension. Adding in a massage oil/balm is a bonus (make sure to check for your partner’s allergies). **My personal favorite is a CBD muscle relaxing balm sold by Magpie Alchemy.**
5) Move with the body instead of against it.
The categories of someone abused and someone with mental illness were also very similar in tips and opinions so I am linking them together. However, not everyone with mental illness is someone who has been abused and vice versa. Most of the information within these categories was more information than tips and steps you can take, so I’m adding in my lived experience to this information. Mental illness and people who had been previously abused:
1) Be conscious of possible challenges to build trust. It may take a while for someone to warm up to you and even once they are warmed up to you, it may take extra time to gain trust that is needed for additional intimacy levels. Accept that you might need to take things more slowly.
2) Sometimes codepency can become present in intimate relationships. Things that help in checking this are to acknowledge why you are feeling codependent. For example, I definitely struggle with making my partner a staple of my time and emotions. Acknowledging that I do that because I don’t feel good enough for most people but with my partner I do, means that I love being around them and love getting my validation from them. After acknowledging codependency, having a conversation about it with my partner is really important. After a conversation, we go to taking space and letting each other know that it’s okay to take space even if neither of us likes it. But that can be so hard!! (The book “codependent no more” is a great tool to read more on the subjest” Here comes the next tip:
3) Work on projects and make plans with friends and family! If you don’t have friends or family, get involved in your community or a really cool hobby that involves other people. Whenever you feel you need to take space, work on a project or make plans with a friend or to volunteer. It’s WAY easier to balance out time when you’re making plans then sitting at home missing your partner’s company.
4) Make space for your partner's feelings. The very worst thing someone can do is belittle your feelings and experiences. Acknowledge that although you may not understand your partner's feelings or what they’re going through, you can respect that they are really real feelings and thoughts for them. As someone who has borderline personality, I struggle a lot with abandonment issues. Something that really helped was asking if friends could give more detail behind any kind of rejection statement and if they wanted to hang out, to mention it within the rejection. Here’s what that could look like:
Me: Hey! I’m having an art exhibit on Valentines day, I’d really like you to come. Friend: Hey, I won't be able to make it since I’m working. If you have time to take a video for me, I’d love to see it over coffee!
Something like that, feels a lot better to my brain than “sorry can’t make it”. It gives reason for the rejection and includes a soft follow up.
5) Don’t push your partner when they say no, with whatever it is. It’s hard to say no to someone you love and it doesn’t need to be tested. In addition, allow room for “no”. When asking your partner something out of their comfort zone, add “if it’s too uncomfortable I understand.”
Erectile Dysfunction and vaginismus and asexuality will be in one category together. Not because everyone with ED or Vaginismus is asexual but the only two people in this survey who categorized themselves as Asexual were people who sometimes have sex but with greater difficulty due to ED or Vaginismus.
1) Being okay with not partaking in sex or stopping at any time is really important and discussing that with your partner when deciding to be intimate.
2) Foreplay can still be fun, so can dirty talk. Ask your partner what they like to partake in if in anything.
3) Normalizing it and making space to talk about it non judgmentally is really helpful.
4) The more pressure you put on your partner to be wet/hard/cum, the more difficult it can. Some people can cum/have sex every now and then and some don’t like it at all. It just depends on the person, but pressuring them into something is never going to be helpful.
5) Weed can sometimes help relax the body and someone with vaginismus said that being really stoned helped them enjoy sex with their long term partner.
6) Physical therapy,OB/GYNS and psychiatric therapy can also help for vaginismus.
There’s a great article about it here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/pain-sex-vaginismus-causes-treatment_l_5cacc68ae4b0 584efaf83cfa
7) For people who are interested in sex but have ED or vaginismus, oral sex can also be another option. A penis doesn’t need to be hard in order for oral to feel good and a penis can cum with a semi or even while flaccid. A penis sleeve (fleshlight) can also be used if the penis is too flaccid for partner penetration and makes for great intimacy time.
Over the age of 50:
1) Allow time for your partner to rest in between sex if they need to. Our bodies get more tuckered out as we get older. Great resting can include kisses and hair stroking, massages etc!
2) Consider invisible illnesses. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean the body isn’t going through it!
3) Lube up if you need to!
4) Alter positions to be more comfortable if needed. See chronic pain/fat positions for help!
5) The older you get, the more stimulation you might need. Make sure to involve yourself in foreplay. A favorite stimulation technique of mine is to be blindfolded while my partner interacts with different senses. Breathing in my ear, kissing my neck, having me lick chocolate of their chest etc!
1) Reassurance of your partner’s fat body is really helpful. If you think they look hot, tell them! Be careful not to stray into fetishisizing fat bodies though. No one wants to feel like you only like them for some physical aspect of themselves.
2) Positions that can be tricky are ones where the tummy might get in the way of a deeper penetration. For instance, missionary feels good with my partners that have a bigger penis but doesn’t feel as good with partners who have a smaller penis. However, you can put a pillow to position your body so that the hips are raised higher off the bed.
3) Doggy style is awesome for optimal penetration (if that’s what you’re looking for) and is my personal favorite. I personally also enjoy being on top in a position where my knees are on each side of my partner and i’m sitting up straight instead of hovering over their body. This makes the penetration fairly deep and also allows my partner (or me) to finger my clit so I can cum, it’s awesome.
4) Cuddle fucking is a difficult position. It’s hard for my partner to fuck me from behind while we are both on our sides because i’m a lot bigger than most my partners and it doesn’t quite work. An adjustment to this is to have both people on their side and then the fatter partner can lift their leg up while the other partner holds it. You kind of wrap your leg on their shoulder while they thrust in and out.
5) Find adjustments to different fucking positions. Unfortunately, this might be kind of difficult with intimate partners that you’re not super close with because you WILL fail at some and some will be silly but once you get it right, it’s so dope!
6) Sometimes I don’t always feel comfortable being naked so wearing cute outfits can help. For instance, if I'm feeling self conscious about my tummy one day, I’ll put on my school girl skirt with no panties and some thigh high socks. That way I can turn my comfort into a sexy kink!
7) Something that was really hard for me to find online and in stores was a plus size strap on. I stumbled across a sex store in hollywood and found one that went up to a size 30! Link here: https://www.sportsheets.com/collections/strap-on-plus/products/divine-diva-plus-sized-str ap-on
1) Some trans folks prefer you not touch certain parts of their bodies because it can cause some dysphoria/uncomfortability. Other trans folks dont mind and other trans folks love it! All trans people are different. Instead of avoiding an area and treating it off limits, ask your partner! It might feel isolating for someone to treat them like they don’t want to be touched when they do and vice versa so just ask!
2) If your trans partner is taking hormones, ask if you can open up the conversation about how their hormones affect their sex drive to get on the same page.
3) If your partner is taking hormones, it’s totally normal for their sexual desires to shift. I’ve known folks who went on hormones and went from liking being bottoms and then took hormones and loved being topped. Check in with your partner and experiment your wants!
4) Have safe words or other ways to check in and make sure that their identity and body are comfortable. This is good for everyone to practice but may be even more helpful if your trans partner is having a rough body day.
5) Explore toys! They don’t make you less of a ___! My personal favorites are any kind of vibrator for clit stimulation and the steel g spot wand. The steel wand is easy to clean and super simple. It’s labeled as g spot stimulation but it’s also great for prostates! Link here: https://alexnld.com/product/stainless-steel-handheld-full-body-manual-massager-wand-g -point-stimulate-massage/?gclid=CjwKCAiAuqHwBRAQEiwAD-zr3axR31PGuvv7mnsXB vEHa5-XKcfDuEPJ1WFnzJbYWJqyIAUGFWYKCBoCTjgQAvD_BwE
6) Check ins before and after sex are awesome!
7) Stop watching bad porn! Watch and look at sexual content that represents you! Here’s a list of feminist porn: https://unboundbabes.com/blogs/magazine/list-of-the-best-feminist-porn but some of my personal favorites can be found on instagram! @teeveedinner @shooglet @chubbieparadise @death_by_femme
Like with anything, it takes time, practice, and patience to get it but a good sex life is possible for anyone if we stop participating in the idea of “good sex” as this weird hetero/thin/abled etc way.
Every body can have fun and everybody is sexy. Hope this helps and if you ever want to talk sex, I would love to hear from you!