Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2017-04-12

FAT SEX WEEK XXL: A Queer Couple Reflects on Their Nude Adipositivity Photo Shoot

Welcome one and all (who are knowingly entering into this adult-themed conversation)! This is Fat Sex Week XXL, the second edition of QueerFatFemme.com Fat Sex Week where I explore many facets of fat sex. Named for Magic Mike XXL, which was even better than the first Magic Mike, I’m hoping this edition is louder and fatter than ever before! Check this tag for all of the posts!

I love the Adipositivity Project! Photographer Substantia Jones has been tirelessly taking gorgeous art nudes of fat bodies for over a decade. As Jenna says below, seeing naked fat bodies helps normalize body diversity and is a gateway for fat acceptance.

Photo (of me!) by Substantia Jones. From the Adipositivity.com website: The Adipositivity Project aims to promote the acceptance of benign human size variation and encourage discussion of body politics, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that’s normally unseen.

I love this project and have so loved my collaborations with Substantia. I really value shooting with photographers multiple times over the course of years. It’s so fun to develop as artists and continue to check in.

When I shot with Substantia in LA last summer I did my first with my partner for the annual Valentines Day series. (You can dig around the Adipositivity website to find it!) A series intended to show that fat people are totally worthy of love, it always gets a lot of media attention. Substantia said that she suspects that most couples get busy after their shoot and it got me curious about the experience of a fat couple in the Valentines series.

Jenna and Sam were kind enough to answer my questions in honor of Fat Sex Week XXL!

What was the process behind your decision to pose for Adipositivity?

Sam: I had found Adipositivity before I met Jenna, and was already a fan. I got a bit starry eyed when Jenna mentioned she knew Substantia online. We joked for a bit that she should pose at some point, and the joking got a little more serious. I thought Jenna would make a great model, so I was all in favor. Then Substantia posted a call for couples, and we decided to jump in with both feet.

Jenna: Sexy pictures of other fat people set me on my body love journey. Among these pictures, I came across Adipositivity. Seeing Substantia’s work meant a lot to me, especially since her work included fat people just being. For me, being visible is part of my activism and of course someday dreamed for posing for Substantia. Then the day came when she was looking for couples for her VDay series. It was fairly soon and we made our schedule work so we could go to NYC and do it. Most of me couldn’t believe I was going to do it, but I knew it was something I had to do. Letting other people know that fat love, fat bodies are important and valued and beautiful. I did have a moment of “I won’t be able to be president if I’m naked on the internet”.

Jenna and Sam for Adipositivity! Photo by Substantia Jones.

How did you feel after the shoot? After the photos were released?

Sam: The shoot was honestly one of the most positive body-related experiences of my life. We had so much fun doing the shoot and hanging out with Substantia, that it was really just kind of a high for a couple days. The photos actually being online, though….that was both exciting and little anxiety inducing.

I don’t know if other communities talk about this, but for public speakers in the LGBTQ community we have a concept of “oversharing” – this feeling when you’ve talked about very personal things in front of strangers, and you’re left feeling kind of vulnerable and drained afterwards. For me, I had to learn my boundaries around this, and also to accept that this was cost of my activism. In a way, I felt the same way about our Adipositivity pictures. I felt a little overexposed and vulnerable, but I was aware that I was going to feel that way, and I was okay with it. I felt the change we were helping make in the world was worth the cost.
Primarily, though, it was thrilling. I was so excited to be an Adiposer, and to see which pictures were picked up for which sites. It was also really fun when someone who knew us would send us a link and ask “is that you??????”. We enjoyed the experience so much we did it again the following year!

Jenna: Substantia made us feel awesome. We read over her information she provided before the shoot and we kind of just paced around until she got there. Once she was there, it was really easy to get naked. I felt awesome after the shoot, never really knowing how I got to this place in my life where I was naked and proud. After the photos were released it was just so neat to see us through Substantia’s eyes. How she posed us, how we looked at each other and how my body looked. I saw the stretch marks and lumps and my hangy breasts but thought it looked great and I was so happy that I didn’t spend hours going over my imperfections. I was just really
content with all the photos and loved seeing our love translated into images.

This question is specifically for Sam. You included a rare model statement with your photo for this year’s Adipositivity Valentine’s Day series. Will you tell me more about how you feel at home in your body after taking T and how this has interacted with your feelings about your size?

Photo by Substantia Jones.

Sam: Being fat with a female body I think was particularly difficult for my dysphoria. A fat female body is especially soft and curvy – something I love in my partners, but it was the opposite of what I wanted my own body to be. Taking T helped a lot with that – I’m still soft, but I have firmer muscle underneath, and my fat has shifted on my body to a more male distribution. So, it was easier to not hate my body so much, when it looked at least somewhat closer to what was in my head.

Being fat has been both a blessing and a curse in terms of passing. I still have fat rolls, and those can still be perceived as a feminine shape. When I had breasts, they were large and difficult to conceal. I had (and still have) quite an ample ass. Those things combined really made it difficult to pass consistently, even after I’d been on T for quite a long time. However, being physically larger has always seemed to make people think I was stronger and tougher than I was really was, and definitely made it so I was challenged by transphobes less often than my slighter brothers.

When I think of myself in relation to body positivity, I definitely think of it in terms of both my physical transition, and my lifelong struggle with my size. My gender dysphoria was so much easier to deal with, honestly. Even though I transitioned quite a while ago (twenty years as of last month), there was a pretty clear path for how to change my body to match my mind. There were definitely difficulties, of course, but it was pretty easy to see how I could “fix” the problem. Learning to be comfortable in my fat body, in a fat phobic society, has been a much more difficult challenge. There is so much internalized crap around size that’s reinforced every day. The body positivity community provides some help here, but I find it so heavily tilted towards the feminine (with good reason, of course, women bear the brunt of our fat phobic soceity) that it’s not really as much of a support system as I could use. Online, at least, I find the most comfort in the gay bear community. There is something very powerful in seeing men who look much like myself being viewed as sexual objects of desire.

As what I would affectionately call a “Fat on Fat” couple, do you have any fat sex tips for my readers?

Jenna: I really like being naked as much as I can. That has really helped me feel comfortable in my body and Sam compliments and loves on me all the time about it. It’s nice to hear that and know he is so attracted to me.

Sam: I think it starts outside the bedroom. We both have baggage when it comes to our
bodies, so it’s not always easy to climb into bed and feel instantly sexy. Having Jenna make sexy comments about my body in passing does a lot towards making me feel like she actually likes my body, and makes me feel safer when the clothes come off.
I also think our queerness and openness around sex itself helps a LOT, as does our acceptance of ourselves as fat. We don’t have as many preconceived notions about what constitutes sex, and that makes us more willing to experiment with what works for us, and to be honest about what doesn’t work. Sometimes we have to change an angle, or move a fat roll out of the way, or whatever. We laugh if we feel silly, and then get back into it.

Photo by Substantia Jones.

How do you keep the spark alive in a committed relationship?

Jenna: I think accepting our sex life as it is has kept the spark alive. It may sound strange, but not worrying if we still love each other because we haven’t had sex in a month has really been affirming for me. We achieve intimacy in so many other ways that I feel really fulfilled in my life with Sam.

Sam: Like Jenna said, intimacy seems to be very important for us. We probably don’t have actual sex as often as other couples, to be honest, but we are always very intimate with each other. We’re always touching each other, kissing, holding hands. That seems to be very satisfying for both of us in a way that only sex achieved in past relationships. Not that we don’t enjoy a good sexy romp, but I don’t think we *need* it nearly as much, because we always feel connected.

Substantia works so hard to keep this self-funded project going! Consider buying prints for your home (both helping to normalize body diversity and supporting fat art)!

2015-10-15

Full House the Musical is Awesome

I already gave away my review in the title, there I go again. But knew I was going to love Full House the Musical before I even saw it because it was written by Bob and Tobly McSmith. They are the duo behind the musical parody of Saved By the Bell (Bayside the Musical) and Showgirls (Showgirls the Musical). Tobly and Bob know how to tease out and highlight the most ridiculous elements of their characters, string together a plot featuring the greatest hits of the show and write jaunty tunes revealing the innermost turmoil of the cast. The 90s is full of material just waiting for their treatment.

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Full House, for those not familiar, is the iconic show where dad Danny Tanner (played in the original by Bob Saget and here by Perez Hilton–yes that Perez Hilton), is suddenly widowed (widowered?) and left alone to raise three daughters. Enter brother-in-law Uncle Jesse (played by John Stamos and here by John Duff) and best friend Uncle Joey (played by this Canadian actor who once dated Alanis Morisette, and here by Seth Blum) to help out and provide hijinks only three single guys together raising three girls can have. Full House is the reason that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are famous and why whenever you see Bob Saget in anything on TV or movies he’s swearing up a storm to prove how edgy he is. (See Entourage, Season 2.)

The musical is full of 90s nostalgia. From the playlist of 90s singalong songs that plays while you wait for the show to start, to the opening jingle of TGIF (anyone who watched Full House on TV knows it), to the Alanis Morissette references peppered throughout, it’s a group cultural experience touching back on 20 year old things you forgot you remembered. That alone makes it an amazing group theater outing–I know lots of folks go to the Bob and Tobly shows as Bachelorette parties, because 30 somethings these days are going to a lot of weddings and 90s nostalgia makes for a fun, raucous night out. Also there’s a bar attached to the historic theater and they encourage booze to support the arts.

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One of the most brilliant songs was “There’s No Gays in San Francisco (As Demonstrated by this TV Show).” Because, in a town as culturally diverse as San Francisco the cast is completely white and there is no reference to homosexuality in San Francisco even once in almost 200 episodes. Full House is a shining example of how mainstream media ignores anything that’s not convenient for them. I’m glad the musical addressed the lack of any reference to San Francisco as a center of Gay Liberation.

The actually most brilliant song in the show is “Kimmy Gibbler Don’t Give a F*ck.” It really encapsulates the essence of Kimmy Gibbler, the wacky and pesty next door neighbor. There’s a queef solo.

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John Duff is the babe that played gay Slater in Bayside the Musical and I was so excited to see him as Uncle Jesse. He shined in his musical solos and necessary Uncle Jesse Elvis impersonations. He was discovered by Bob and Tobly on a subway car heading home from auditions for Bayside the Musical! And now he’s getting songs written for him. New York City dreams do come true, you guys!

Seth Blum is the kind of actor who truly lets everything go on stage. His physical comedy is full force and in Bayside as his roles of Mr. Belding/Torey the Bad Girl/Anyone Else they needed I was stunned at how quickly he was able to change backstage and the same is true here in his role as Uncle Joey “and others.” He is brilliant, I’d go see whatever shows he’s in.

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Perez Hilton is working on changing his image. You know him as the gossip website maven who shot to fame by talking shit about famous people. He’s got two kids now and is making a conscious change to be less of a person who is famous for tearing people down and instead resting on his own talents. I was curious if he would be any good, and I was impressed. The first few notes he sang you could catch a whiff of the Uma Thurman character in Smash, where it’s clear he’s not a musical theater native, but the rest of the show he blended well musically with the other actors. His acting range was very impressive, given the character arc of Danny Tanner in the musical, which goes from Dad speeches to the more nasty and raunchy elements of Bob Sagat’s public persona. I thought the range showed acting talent and I’m excited to see what Perez does next!

The women playing the girls of Full House were also really talented (and somehow are heighted exactly right in descending order to match the show). The show had to be pretty offensive (it’s the Bob and Tobly McSmith way) and it relies heavily on the clumsy way in which Full House addressed the burgeoning sexuality of the two older daughters. There’s a very realistic cum dumpster prop that is used in one of the later scenes.

BOBANDTOBLYBob and Tobly, photo by Allison Michael Orenstein who also took the photo of me in my shark dress that is the deader for my blog. Small queer arts world overlap.

Full House the Musical is worth a trip. Off-Broadway shows like this are my favorite in NYC. The smaller theaters are more intimate, you can see the actors and often I find them more fun with better storytelling. (I saw the Anna Nicole opera and I definitely thought Tobly and Bob do better at celebrity parody. There, I said it.) Plus I like to support hard working artists I know from the LGBT community!

You can get tickets through their website. Use code “Olsen” for 25% off! And be sure to sign up for their email list for future discounts and announcements. I saw Screech in Bayside the Musical, who knows, maybe Candace Cameron will give up her fundamentalist lifestyle to come visit the set?

P.S. Have you seen John Stamos in Grandfathered? It’s a cute show!

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